Creating a Timeline (Capstone)

Application: Time LinePlanning a major project requires organization and planning. You are currently in Week 1 out of 11 weeks. Creating a time line is useful in planning the various stages of the project. This Application Assignment will assist you in planning and completing your Capstone Project by having you identify the various stages of the Project and create the time line for its completion.To prepare:Review the “Capstone Project: PSYC 6393” PowerPoint presentation in this week’s Learning Resources to determine the components of the Capstone Project.Review the document, “Creating a Time Line for the Capstone Project,” located in the Resources area on the left navigation bar.Review the Syllabus, paying particular attention to the Weekly Course Schedule.Review the document, “Writing a Capstone: Things You Should Know,” in this week’s Learning Resources.The assignment:Create a time line for the accomplishment of your Capstone Project.Capstone Project:The Capstone Project will address a specific problem or issue related to your MS in Psychology specialization. The Capstone Project is a major paper that must include a problem statement and an integrative literature review using critical analysis that leads toward resolution of the specific problem. The Capstone Project is due by Day 7 of Week 10.Submit your assignment by Day 7.****I’m looking to collaborate with a tutor over the next 11 weeks on this project. This is step 1, which is creating a timeline. This is Week 1 out of 11 weeks.
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Creating a Time Line for the Capstone Project
The Capstone Project will be built in stages throughout the quarter. It is useful to develop
a time line to ensure that the Project is progressing in a timely manner. The time line
should have at least two columns: the name of the component to be completed and the
date it will be completed. Feel free to include intermediate steps to help with pacing
yourself. Be sure to return often to the time line to check off when you have met each
step.
See the sample time line below. Make sure to include the specific dates that are
applicable for your particular quarter. This 11 week course goes from 12/03/18 to
02/11/18
12/03/17
Identify problem for capstone
12/10/17
Read article on how to write problem statement
12/17/17
Write a problem statement
12/24/17
Spend several hours in the Walden Library
12/31/17
Collect literature sources
01/07/18
Summarize and critique all collected sources
01/14/18
Complete integrative literature review
01/21/18
Read articles on critical analysis
01/28/18
Complete critical analysis narrative
02/04/18
Generate list of possible solutions
02/11/18
Review list with classmates
02/18/18
Identify and write up main solution
02/25/18
Complete final editing of Capstone Project
03/04/18
Turn in final Capstone Project
*your timeline should reflect an 11 week schedule, not a 14 week as presented in this
sample
Writing a Capstone: Things You Should Know
Pick a topic you are passionate about. You will spend a great deal of time
reading, researching, thinking, writing, and talking about your capstone project,
whether you write a thesis or complete an organizational change project. To pick
a topic that you are only vaguely interested in is like marrying someone you only
kind of like. Do not do it. It is true that your “idea” may change as you write, but
the general area should be one in which you can answer “yes” to questions like:
Are you passionate about this? Do you enjoy talking about your topic area to
others? Do you honestly want to become an expert in this area? Do you think
you can study this and still be interested in it a year from now? Have you been
interested in this area for sometime?
Journal and brainstorm about your capstone. Buy a journal, the kind that is
bound so that you are never tempted to tear out a page. Brainstorm, journal,
doodle, make “to do” lists in this book. It will be very handy to have a living piece
of your own personal history of the capstone. This method may work well for you,
whether it is because you need one place to keep track of all you have done (or
need to do) or because you actually come up with pretty good ideas while
brainstorming. During a moment of writer’s block, you can thumb through this
book and either find some mundane task you can do while waiting for your
creative juices to flow, or read some of your own ideas to get yourself going (you
might be amazed to “rediscover” so many of your own ideas this way).
Maintain regular contact with your chairperson. Many graduates claim the
best advice they ever got in graduate school was to regularly schedule meetings
with their thesis chairperson or capstone mentor. The capstone course will
support you in this endeavor. Weekly postings will force you to write or
accomplish something at least once a week. Having regular contact with your
chairperson has been shown to impact degree completion; therefore, the course
is set up to require weekly participation and interaction with your capstone
chairperson.
Have realistic expectations about contact. You must have contact with your
capstone chairperson while at the same time respecting the commitments and
competing responsibilities that faculty members have. Remember, your
chairperson is a resource that will gladly guide you; however, do not take up their
time in the name of wanting to prove you are working on your thesis (unless you
tell them otherwise, they will assume you are doing just that). For example, do
not submit a poorly written paragraph just for the sake of having some
“interaction.” Rather, you can report briefly what you have accomplished and
keep your chairperson abreast of your progress. For example, you could inform
the chairperson in the weekly discussion that you did more research this week
and that you think your first chapter should be ready for review in about two more
weeks. Or, you can share an exciting study you read and how you think it might
fit in with your design that you are still hammering out. Or you may be completely
at a loss when writing the design and analysis sections of your project. Maintain
contact, and when you need extensive feedback, be patient and know you will
get it as soon as possible.
At all times, be honest. Your chairperson wants you to succeed, and if you are
not honest about your progress or lack thereof, it will be difficult for the
chairperson to assist you. In a land-based program, a chairperson has the benefit
of regular departmental events during which the “absent” student is noticed. The
lack of face-to-face contact makes it difficult for chairpersons to follow the
progress of individual students. If you are having serious problems, please let
your chairperson know about them.
Make lists. Research on the subject of degree completion suggests lists are
helpful for time management. You should consider keeping a list of things you
need to do to complete the capstone. Keep this list handy in your journal; this
way you will have a history of things you have done as well as things still yet to
do. Crossing items off of your list is satisfying, and getting to see pages of tasks
accomplished is a great way to see how much work you have actually done (and
there will be times when you need to remind yourself of simple facts like this).
Have a plan. Have a plan for completing your capstone. It is important that you
think about a plan, and write it down. The take-home message here is that you
must be self-disciplined; this is difficult to do without a plan.
Research takes longer than you think. Be aware of this fact. Next, work to
accept it. Undertaking and completing a capstone will probably be unlike any
other task you have done. Do what you can to ward off disappointing thoughts if
things do not move along like you thought they would. You have a plan, but, as
John Lennon so succinctly put it, “Life is what happens to you while you are busy
making other plans.” Thus, if your capstone has gone through 11 revisions (and
you only planned for three), take a deep breath and know you are not alone.
Remember that once you think your document is perfect, it will go through at
least one more revision. Also, just because your chairperson approves your
completed capstone does not mean it is complete; you may still be asked to
make final revisions when it goes through academic review.
Reduce other responsibilities as much as possible. Many land-based
graduate students are full-time students. Sure, they may teach and hold research
assistantships, but these jobs are qualitatively different from having a career. In
addition to working, many distance learning students have families. If it is
possible to arrange for a reduction of responsibilities, do it. Writing a capstone
can be stressful, and this stress is a burden that will be shared with those close
to you. It is in everyone’s best interest for you to finish your thesis in a timely
manner. Find out if it is feasible to arrange for a reduced workload and/or
reduced childcare responsibilities. This can be the difference between writing a
capstone in two quarters versus four (or more!). In some cases it is even the
difference between finishing and not finishing the degree.
Expect good days and bad. Writing the capstone project can be a difficult stage
in your academic career. Some days you will feel pride, a sense of
accomplishment, and passion for your research; other days, you may feel
anxiety, insecurity, or even boredom. Talk to others in your same situation (use
the Discussion board, Class Café, or e-mail). You may also want to spend some
time on a favorite hobby (all work and no play is no good). The bottom line is that
these feelings are normal. You need to remember that. Further, because you do
not write your capstone in a bubble (although you may feel like you are alienated
from the world around you), other life stresses may exacerbate the “capstone
blues.” Things like divorce, a health crisis, or death in your family can have a
large impact on your progress. If you find you are overwhelmed, seek
professional assistance for managing the stress in your life.
Find a buddy. As psychologists, we all have the common knowledge that social
support is important in all aspects of life. A spouse, child, or cat can be your
cheerleading squad (and you should enlist their support), but you will need a
graduate school “buddy” in addition to family, friends, and / or pet support. This
buddy will preferably be someone in your program with whom you have
developed a relationship with while taking classes; perhaps it is a person you
meet in the capstone course. In a land-based program, students often form these
buddy-type relationships due to proximity. While a distance-learning environment
does not afford such luxuries as sharing a student lounge, there are many things
you can do to make this buddy relationship work. Find someone that you enjoyed
conversing with in the Discussion areas of past courses. The value of this can
not be underestimated. Sometimes all you need is another set of eyes to validate
your work before sending it off to your chairperson, or you may want to bounce
what you think may be a semi-crazy idea off someone before approaching your
chairperson with it. A peer is an excellent resource in these types of situations.
Learn to accept criticism of your work. Let’s face it, you are getting your M.S.
degree. Thus, you more than likely have a touch of the trait called
“perfectionism.” Don’t be surprised when the close-to-perfect draft you submit
comes back with a lot of changes in some color. Your chairperson and academic
reviewer know what they are doing. Have faith that their comments will make
your capstone the best it can be. There may be times you disagree about
something you think is critical to your project. If this happens, think about the
suggestion or concern, do some more reading and reasoning, and if you still feel
strongly about your original plan, then respectfully present your reason(s) for not
wanting to make the suggested changes. If you go through this process you will
likely find that either your chairperson or academic reviewer was right, or you
simply did not explain your reasoning well enough the first time for them to
understand what you wanted to do (or what you meant). Your capstone will go
through many changes.
Adopt a motivational technique that works for you. Maybe it is a quote. For
example, “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” Paste it next
to your computer; look at it and repeat it often, especially if you ever feel like you
are never going to finish. Other quotes you might find worth repeating frequently
are: “Rome was not built in a day” or “An elephant can be eaten one bite at a
time.” Other examples of motivational techniques may be visualizing how things
will be different once you have your degree (a new job?), or visualizing what it
will feel like at graduation.
Talk to others about their capstone presentations. It will take the “mystery”
out of the presentation and help you psychologically prepare for the big day. Ask
others how the oral presentation went and what they learned from the process of
getting prepared.
Get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and eat well. Although this is common
knowledge it is worth mentioning here, simply because most do not do this as it
is. When you find yourself having a difficult week (or month), make an effort to
attend to sleep, exercise, and diet for one week. You may be surprised at how
much this helps get you through the slump.
Keep a positive attitude; you are almost there! Attitude is critical, do what you
can to make yours positive.
Capstone Project
PSYC 6393
Components of Capstone
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Introduction
Problem Statement
Integrated Literature Review
Critical Analysis
Problem Resolution
Conclusion
References
Introduction
• The purpose of the introduction is the
introduce the identified problem/issue and
why you chose this specific topic. In 1-2
paragraph provide specific details about
the nature of the problem and your
rationale (why this problem is important to
you).
Problem Statement
The problem statement describes the
identified problem/issue in more detail
including how the critical considerations
(diversity, social change, ethics, globalism)
addressed in week 2 apply. Please see the
Problem Statement Template for more
discussion and examples of a problem
statement. The problem statement should
be 1-2 pages in length.
Integrated Literature
• The literature will involve a detailed
summary and critique of at least 4
relevant sources related to the
problem/issue. The literature review
should be between 3-5 pages. Please
review the readings for guidance on
completing an integrated literature review.
Critical Analysis Narrative
• In this section you will critically analyze the
problem/issue using the sources collected
in week 5. Please review the Critical
Analysis Template for step-by-step
instructions on completing this section.
The critical analysis narrative should be 35 pages in length.
Problem Resolution
• Using the steps outlined in the Problem
Solving Template, develop one solution to
the problem/issue. Describe the solution in
detail including the costs and benefits, and
the challenges and barriers to
implementing this solution. The problem
resolution should be 2-3 pages in length.
Conclusions
• End the Capstone with a 1 page narrative
of your final thoughts about the problem
and generated solution. Also include your
reaction to the project and what you have
learned about yourself in completing the
project.
References and Form and Style
• Be sure that your references are in APA
format.
• Make sure that your capstone is double
spaced in 12 pt font.
• Be sure the do spell check and grammar
check.

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