A lot has changed for students across the world. Lectures and classes are being moved online, assessments are replacing some exams, and the kitchen has become the new classroom.
We are aware that for our final year apprentices, your 3rd year of the programme has been slightly different to what you may have imagined. But regardless of whats going on in the world, we want to help you reach the end goal, particularly with completing your final year project.
Now that the end is in sight, we want to provide you with some key tips on completing your Capstone Project.
1. Your findings should relate to your research hypothesis or research questions
Avoid the temptation to take an academic detour and head off on a tangent. Data will often tell you the “what” or the “how” but never the “why”. The challenge for every thesis writer is to hold the detail of the data in focus without losing sight of the big picture of the research. This is why reporting data analysis is not enough.
You need to:
- Establish the connection between the patterns that emerge from your analysis and your research questions and
- Relate those connections to the existing research and theory in order to make clear your contribution to knowledge in the field.
2. Use Excel
The Excel PowerPivot function is a great way to “slice and dice” your datasets and present them in a visually engaging format. There are numerous YouTube resources available to suit all levels of knowledge.
3. How do you know if you have done enough?
• Your argument and conclusions should be plausible.
• Your argument will be convincing and coherent.
• You will have achieved the aims that you set out to achieve in your research and have reported this in your thesis and finally and most importantly,
• Feedback from your supervisor indicates that your work is complete.
4. Writing an abstract
An abstract is a 150 to 250 word paragraph that provides readers with a quick overview of your dissertation. It should express your thesis (or central idea) and your key points; it should also suggest any implications or applications of the research you discuss in the paper.
Here's some key tips:
• The function of an abstract is to describe, not to evaluate or defend, the paper.
• The abstract should begin with a brief but precise statement of the problem or issue, followed by a description of the research method and design, the major findings, and the conclusions reached.
• The abstract should contain the most important key words referring to method and content: these facilitate access to the abstract by computer search and enable a reader to decide whether to read the entire dissertation.
Note: Avoid beginning your sentences with phrases like, “This essay will examine...” or “In this research paper I will attempt to prove...”
5. Finally, polishing
Make sure you have a table of contents, table of figures, list of tables, list of abbreviations. Check all your quotations are accurate, double check your references are complete. If you were wise you have been using Zotero to maintain your bibliography, but it is never too late to start. (Zotero is a free resource).
Remember, all your points should be well illustrated with examples. Is every chapter clear and coherent? If at all possible, get a friend to read your thesis, sometimes writers are so close to their work they can’t see the leaves for the trees. You need an honest, critical set of eyes.
Good luck to all of our final year apprentices!