Capstone Planning

Course Syllabus

Course Information
Course Expectations

Course Information

Course Description

Students will begin the research for their capstone project, one that is directly related to the major and meant to be the final entry in the professional portfolio. Project ideas and topics will be discussed, refined, and formally proposed. Students will complete a review of the appropriate literature and construct a methodology by which they will carry out the capstone project in the final quarter.

Students will revisit and revise their work from Applied Research (DCM 309) as preparation for the Capstone Project (DCM 322). This course focuses on the problem statement, the research question, the literature review and the selection of an appropriate research method.  Students will be guided through the necessary steps to compete this work, which will be part of the Capstone Project. 

Course Outcomes

In this course, you will develop the following outcomes:

Course Resources

Chambliss, D.F. & Schutt, R.K. (2013). Making sense of the social world: Methods of Investigation (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage  Publications Inc.

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Course Structure

This course consists of 5 modules. The estimated time to complete each module is a week.

The following table outlines the course:

Week,  Module # and Title



Week 1, Module 1: Revisiting Applied Research


  • Module 1 Introduction and Overview
  • Chambliss & Schutt, Appendix A: Finding Information


YouTube Video on Selecting a Research Question

1.1 Review of the Applied Research Paper

1.2 Applied Research Self-Assessment

1.3 Revised Problem Statement & Research Question

1.4 Question/Problem Statement Discussion

Week 2, Module 2: Finding the Problem/Asking the Question


  • Module 2 Introduction and Overview
  • Chambliss & Schutt, Chapter 12
  • Review and listen to all links within your chapter



Literature Review video

2.1 Chambliss & Schutt

2.2 Review of the Literature Self-Assessment

2.3 Sources for the Review of the Literature

2.4 YouTube video and reading Discussion

Week 3, Module 3: Revising the Literature Review & Considering Research Methodologies


  • Module 3 Introduction and Overview
  • Leedy & Ormrod, Chapter 3: Review of the Related Literature pp 79-84


Literature Review video


3.1 Leedy & Ormrod Discussion

3.2 Drafting the Literature Review

Week 4, Module 4: Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods


  • Module 4 Introduction and Overview
  • Chambliss & Schutt, Chapters 8 & 10
  • View the links within your book


Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research

4.1 Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research

4.2 Initial Choice of Methods Discussion

Week 5, Module 5: Developing Your Tools for Data Collection


  • Module 5 Introduction and Overview

5.1 Putting Together the first part of your Capstone Project(Due in Week 6)

5.2 Completing the Design of Your Research Tool(s)

5.3 Creating a Pilot Study Discussion

Course Grading Scale

A = 95 to 100

A- = 91 to 94

B+ = 88 to 90

B = 85 to 87

B- = 81 to 84

C+ = 77 to 80

C = 73 to 76

C- = 69 to 72

D+ = 65 to 68

D = 61 to 64

F = 60 or below


 Please note: Grades lower t han a C- do not earn credit at the School for New Learning.

Percentage Distribution of Assessment

Completed Problem Statement, Research Question and Review of the Literature
Fully designed research tool or tools & plan for piloting them
Online Discussion participation

Grading Policies and Practices

To complete the course, you must complete each of the assignments as described in the course and submit them to your instructor by the assigned deadline.  In addition, you must participate in the course discussion forum by responding to all instructor requests and by interacting with fellow classmates as necessary.

Points are deducted for late work.

General Assessment Criteria for All Writing Assignments

All writing assignments are expected to conform to basic college-level standards of mechanics and presentation.

Consider visiting the Writing Center to discuss your assignments for this course or any others. You may schedule appointments (30 or 50 minutes) on an as–needed or weekly basis, scheduling up to 3 hours worth of appointments per week. Online services include Feedback–by–Email and IM conferencing (with or without a webcam). All writing center services are free.

Writing Center tutors are specially selected and trained graduate and undergraduate students who can help you at almost any stage of your writing. They will not do your work for you, but they can help you focus and develop your ideas, review your drafts, and polish your writing. They can answer questions about grammar, mechanics, different kinds of writing styles, and documentation formats. They also can answer questions and provide feedback online, through IM/webcam chats and email. Obviously, the tutors won’t necessarily be familiar with every class or subject, but they are able to provide valuable help from the perspective of an interested and careful reader as well as a serious and experienced student-writer.

Schedule your appointments with enough time to think about and use the feedback you’ll receive. To schedule a Face-to-Face, Written Feedback by Email, or Online Appointment, visit

Online Discussion

Discussion Boards are a forum for discussion and sharing information among students. Your instructor may create one or more discussion boards related to the topics you are studying each week.

At the beginning of the quarter, your instructor will set up two discussion boards. These two discussions will help you and your classmates get off to an immediate start on the course, by providing conversational spaces for necessary, ongoing social and administrative activities. These discussions are:

The Q&A discussion is where the management and administrative tasks of the course are conducted, and where you can ask ‘process’ questions and receive answers.

Your instructor will add additional discussion boards as you move through the modules. 


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Course Policies

College and University Policies

This course includes and adheres to the college and university policies described in the links below:

Academic Integrity Policy (UGRAD)

Academic Integrity Policy (GRAD)

Incomplete Policy

Course Withdrawal Timelines and Grade/Fee Consequences

Accommodations Based on the Impact of a Disability

Protection of Human Research Participants

APA citation format (GRAD)

Additional Course Resources

University Center for Writing-based Learning

SNL Writing Guide

Dean of Students Office

Changes to Syllabus

This syllabus is subject to change as necessary. If a change occurs, it will be clearly communicated to students.


This course was designed and produced by Dr. Ann Stanford (the author), Dr. Cynthia Stevens, and staff at SNL Online of the School for New Learning of DePaul University.

©2015 School for New Learning, DePaul University. All Rights Reserved by SNL.

Printed in the USA.

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