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Senior Capstone Project: Guide

Senior Capstone Project and Symposium


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Quarter One


Background Research [Lit Review]

Questions to ask and answer in your research:

To help avoid plagiarism the reading/research strategy of journalistic questioning is recommended. The "Gist" worksheet allows you to make notes on a book or article, and then put the source away and write from your notes. The strategy includes the 5Ws and H -- Who, What, When, Where, Why and How 

Kick Start Questions for Background Research [Lit Review]

WHAT - What is my paper about? What are the key points? 
WHY- Why am I writing about this? Why should anyone care? 
WHO - Who are the researchers in the field? Who am I writing about? 
WHERE - Where does the research take place? Is there a prominent location in the study?
WHEN - When does the research take place? What dates are significant? 
HOW - How was the research conducted

Summation of the source [focus on what is unique about the source] A brief evaluation statement(s) [is this a "scholarly" source or not] How the work is relevant to your research [How, specifically, do you intend to use the source (e.g. as evidence to support a claim, as a counter-argument, etc.)] 

Webb Library Catalog

Subscription Databases

Free Online Journals



JURN finds arts and humanities journals, book chapters, and theses. Science Direct site has 250,000 open-access articles.
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) searches more than 7,000 open-access journals, which are searchable at the article level. Wiley free and open-access journals.
High Wire Press boasts that it provides “the largest archive of free full-text science on Earth!” Look for journals marked “free site.” National Institutes of Health offers some of the most extensive access to health research.

Field Trip

Wednesday, October 16, 2019 Seniors will complete research in the MTSU library. 

We will take a bus from Bell Buckle leaving around 8:00 am. 

Day student drivers may meet at 9 am sharp at the library.  

We will research for senior projects for about three hours, then have lunch at MTSU food court.

The bus will return to campus in time for sports practices. 

Seniors look sharp, but you can wear jeans. Bring money for lunch [about $10]

Drivers get a parking pass from Ms. Little

Leave campus

at 8 am​

All residential students must ride school transportation unless you have permission in advance from Mr. Bloom or Mr. Foulk.

​Mr. Quinn will have the bus at Rand we will leave campus at 8 am​


Walker Library Lobby by 9 am sharp

Day students must be in the lobby of the Walker Library by 9 am sharp!

If you are driving, please see Ms. Little today to get a parking pass. [Otherwise, you will get a parking ticket or be towed]


Lunch 11:30 am


Please bring $10 or debit card for lunch.  

What we are doing


MTSU librarians will go over the databases within the JEWL SEARCH​  and give a tour of the library website, including ​Subject Guides​​ .  You will also be able to check out books. 


What to Bring

We will have access to a computer lab with a computer for every student.   The databases will not all automatically connect with Noodle tools; however, most all will provide the citation information.

  • Bring phone but not your computer – for taking notes and communicating with the group
  • Bring about $10.00 for lunch – more if you want Starbucks
  • Bring parking pass if you are driving

Printing and Saving


You will be able to print articles, but they will not be accessible after the visit. 

Another way to save items is to download as PDF and send it to your email address.




Primary Research

Begin Incorporating Primary Research

This portion of the paper is meant to transform information into insight

“A good researcher knows how to use both primary and secondary sources in her writing and to integrate them in a cohesive fashion.”

Primary Research  must be approved by both your adviser and the lead senior adviser

Research Methodology [Primary Research - Survey, Interview, Test, Experiment, Case Study, Contrast/Comparison, Project Journal, Internship]
Findings/Data/Results [explanation of results includes the use of Tables, Photos, and Maps] 

25 Ideas for Primary Research

Primary research involves collecting data about a given subject directly from the real world. [Driscoll & Brizee]

  1. Interview an Expert or Professional face to face

  2. Interview an Expert or Professional via phone, Skype, OR email

  3. Visit a Museum

  4. Tour a Factory or Business

  5. Volunteer at an organization

  6. Attend a meeting or service [church, brotherhood, fraternity, society, club]

  7. Shadow an expert [in person or online]

  8. Internship or Externship

  9. Camp or Retreat

  10. Attend a cultural festival [PowWow, Storytelling festival, African Street Festival,  Nashville Greek Festival, etc.]

  11. Participate in an event [charity or community]

  12. Curation - Creating a collection of resources [physical or online]

  13. Following Twitter Feeds or Blogs - journaling your impressions

  14. Starting a Twitter Feed or blog about your topic

  15. Keeping a research journal

  16. Video Journal an experience

  17. Conduct an Experiment

  18. Test Computer Code

  19. Create an App

  20. Chart a Contrast/Comparison

  21. Creating an “Infographic” to include in your presentation

  22. Questionnaires to a small group of people

  23. Survey a group [survey must be approved by Teacher and Lead Adviser]

  24. Create a Statistical survey

  25. Opinion Poll





Senior Summit with Ms. Little - August 13, 2019

Topic Selection and Pre-search

Use the GALE – Topic Finder Tool, Use JSTOR text analyzer, Read the 3 topic starter lists in the LibGuide


Oct 14-15 - Complete before Research Field Trip

Six GIST sheets - 6 scholarly sources from JSTOR, GALE, or another Library Database

Turn in English IV classes and Ms. Little for AP


October 16, 2019, University Library Visit - Research Field Trip

October 21

Outlining,and Thesis

[AP independent study]

November First Draft in class


Final Exam for all classes except AP

Research paper final draft

Second Semester

Ms. Little and Senior Grading Team


January Seminar instruction

How to Give a Research Project Speech


Elevator Speech

100 words due January 2020 / [typed, submitted electronically via Google docs to Lead Sr. Adviser] Where to start: attention-grabbing statistic, very brief anecdote, or a poignant quote.  This is an Advertisement for your presentation


Practice with Presentation Visuals [at least 2-types Charts, Illustrations, Graphs] - Presentation Visuals

February - March

Feb - March Research Symposium

Presentations will be 10 – 12 minutes in length Must follow formatting instructions / We will hold in 3 to 4 locations on campus grouped by discipline – Q & A to follow the presentation

presentation grading sheet must make a 70%

"Pre-search" or "Google it"

You will conduct “pre-search” to ensure that your topic is viable.

Make sure that enough scholarly material is available on the topic.

Type 10-20 Key Words to use in your pre-search 

Here are some Tips for Google

Topic Selection is Research

Choosing a topic is a process.  Choose a topic that is neither too broad nor too narrow. Make sure that enough scholarly material is available on the topic.  When was the last time you were listening to the television, news, or a speaker and you felt compelled to “fact check”? What Broad Discipline do you find most interesting? List 1-2 things that you think might be viable research topics.



1970s Retro Literary Topic Starters

Modern Topic Starters

AP and Current Affairs Starters


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Writing and Sharing

Quarter Two and Three


Writing the Paper


Ms. Camp style Outline 

Jump Start:

Write your paper with the presentation in mind.  

Maybe even build your presentation slides to help organize and outline the paper.   

Things to include in the Presentation: 

  • · Introduction
  • · Background Research
  • · Primary Research Methods
  • · Primary Research Findings
  • · Conclusion



How will you introduce the topic to the audience? 

· Brief gripping story or anecdote

· Surprising, and highly significant facts or statistics

· Summary of a compelling case study

· Powerful quote that leads into your research

Background Research:

  • WHO - Who are the researchers in the field? Who am I writing about?
  • WHERE - Where does the research take place? Is there a prominent location or institution in the research?
  • WHAT - What are the relevant studies? What is the state of the art today? 
  • WHEN - When does the research take place? What dates are significant?
  • HOW – How was the research conducted? How have others gone about trying to solve problems you want to tackle, and in what ways will your approach build on and vary from previous work?


Primary Research 

Primary Research Methodology:

Write about how you conducted research - Methodology [Primary Research - Survey, Interview, Test, Experiment, Case Study, Contrast/Comparison, Project Journal, and Internship] 

Primary Research Findings:

Data to include - Findings/Data/Results  

[Explanation of your results can include the use of Tables, Photos, and Maps]

Writing a Thesis Statement

Elevator Speech


Video your elevator pitch.

An app with a teleprompter is BigVu  

Apple      Google Play



Ideas from YouTube University of Manchester 

100 words due January 2020  [If you are having trouble check out the Thesis tab video]

[typed, submitted electronically via Google docs to Adviser, English Teacher, and Lead Sr. Adviser]

Where to start: attention-grabbing statistic, very brief anecdote, or a poignant quote. Then …

What is the topic of your research?

• What is the problem, issue, or question that you are

asking and addressing in your research? 

• Why is that problem interesting and important? (i.e. So what?)

• How does your work connect with a broader disciplinary conversation about this topic/problem in your field, and what does it add to that conversation?


• key nouns  • offer topical touchstones that are accessible to wide range of educated people • avoid jargon if possible or deliver specialized terms using appositives

Crafting the elevator pitch:

• Delivery

• Eye contact--read your listener

• Enthusiasm

• Practice, practice, practice!


the elevator pitch: presenting your research in conversation  From University of Notre Dame -  Matthew Capdevielle, PhD, University Writing Center,  Ralf Bendlin, Electrical Engineering and Gretchen Busl, Literature {}

Presentation Tips

Presentation Rubric

Mrs. Little's Google Slides Presentation

Before Public Speaking Ted Talk playlist

Pecha Kucha

Free Google Slides Templates

Free Google Slides Backgrounds

Get Ideas from these Google Slides Templates



The Science Lecture Hall 

The Library                  The Chapel           


- seats 63

- seats 75

    - seats 300


The Webb School Senior Symposium

February 24-March 23


Grading Team



World Languages and Global Affairs


World and US History


Social Sciences / Psychology



Lamb / Mahoney

Health and Sports topics


Cite Your Sources

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