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How to Write a Capstone Project in Chemistry: Drilling Down the Bedrock

What’s a capstone project? There may be more than one definition if you start looking up. But the single thing that remains clear for every student is that it is a special type of a written assignment that is obligatory for a graduate problem. It is a sort of culmination task on the topic relevant to your specialty — chemistry. Those, who’ve successfully passed the process of working on a capstone project, say it resembles a thesis. However, experts agree that its structure is way complicated than that of thesis. Plus, it shows all the skills you’ve gained during the 3-4 years of your studying.

How to Write a Capstone Project in Chemistry: Knowing the Goal

Isn’t it obvious that to know how to write, you need to learn the main goal of any capstone project? Actually, there is more than a single goal. First, your project shows whether or not you can think critically. Second, through writing, you are to achieve educational goals: you are exploring your mind while researching the topic.

Third, by presenting the project, you improve your speech, the manner of communication, and the presentation mode. And fourth, the entire process aims at motivating college and university students to improve their self-perception as well as confidence, demonstrate a high level of proficiency, and increase aspiration for career development.

What is more, in addition to fulfilling the aims of the project, you contribute to the buildup of own career. There are many examples when, upon completing a capstone project in chemistry, students showed their talents, gave reflections on what they really could do, and decided on the scientific direction they’d like to be engaged in.

How to Write a Capstone Project in Chemistry: Structural Specifics

Preparation. This is the cornerstone of your capstone project in chemistry. Around 60% of project time must be devoted to researching. And your research starts with choosing the topic to disclose.

Topic
Have you already chosen it? If you have, take time to think about whether it’s a match. If you haven’t, consider the following.

During the classes, professors and textbooks share various ideas. If any of them pose your interest, write them down. Don’t choose the topic that seems manageable. Choose the ones that are captivating, rise discussions, make readers think. Below, there is a list of topics that might be of interest to you, your supervisor, and readers:

Tired of all the guides and never-ending instructions?
  • Compared Methods of Chemical Reactions;
  • Stem Cell Research;
  • The Influence of Acid on Teeth;
  • Teeth Whitening Process and Its Hidden Results;
  • How Does Hair Coloring Work?
  • The Chemistry of Acid Rains;
  • Conductivity and Chemical Reactions;
  • Catalytic Decomposition of Hydrogen Peroxide;
  • What Is Gravimetric Analysis in Chemistry?
  • Chemical Genetics vs Classical Genetics;
  • The Impact of Pesticides Use in Agriculture;
  • Medicinal Chemistry as the Part of the School of Pharmacy;
  • Drawing a Lewis Structure;
  • Explaining the Concept of Stoichiometry;
  • DNA and Its Chemistry;
  • How to Calculate pH Level in Chemistry;
  • Rules of Conduction Chemical Experiments;
  • The Chemical Life of the Human Body;
  • A Brief History of Chemical Kinetics;
  • The Neutralization of a Strong Acid and Strong Base.

Other interesting areas are the shipment of dangerous chemical compounds and chemical disposal. Recently these two directions have become a popular choice for many university-level capstone projects. While disclosing any of the topics, it is a must to apply what is known to real-life situations. When choosing the subject to study, you need to examine a dozen areas including those hidden from broad masses.

Project proposal
Many students have already got acquainted with research proposals during their college years. When creating a capstone project, you need to write a proposal too, and then submit it to your supervisor.

A project proposal is a paper of over 200 words that covers several essential points like the following:

  1. Topic disclosure and a single sentence explaining why exactly you’ve chosen this project for further development.
  2. Experience sharing or background sharing in a particular topic. It’s better when there is both your personal experience and evidence provided by other researchers.
  3. Data scope highlighting shows the number of sources you are covering to disclose this very topic.
  4. Methodology description that helps readers understand how the research is going to be conducted. Typically, you analyze the process and emphasize the top important details.
  5. Aim setting. Tell what your aim exactly is and what makes it essential for further studying and the field of chemistry on the whole.

Sometimes, supervisors ask students to hand in broader proposals. In this case, you need to develop your methodologies and literature review. Upon having the proposal of your capstone project approved, it is easier to move on since you have the exact academic direction.

Research
While working on the proposal for your capstone project in chemistry, you’ve collected literature sources to study. Now, your task is to research the data inside articles, textbooks, and interviews.

Textbooks from your course are, perhaps, the most reliable sources — they can easily become a dependable basis for your capstone project in chemistry. To properly organize all data, we suggest you create a special folder on your laptop and save all helpful links and references to valuable information to properly-named files.

Remember that each of your theories or analysis should find relevant support in more than one book or journal article. Why? When you will be presenting your project, expect your supervisor to ask you several questions you need to answer relying on trustworthy studies. If the data is plucked out of nowhere and you can’t support it, expect a poor grade for your project in chemistry.

Timetable
By setting a timetable and involving your time-planning skills, you are able to meet the toughest deadlines when working on a voluminous paper. If visual perception is what rules your life, print out a calendar with tasks and their deadlines. Or you can use your phone organizer as well.

Structure
To begin with, the capstone project structure may vary depending on the topic and requirements from your supervisor. Nevertheless, when it comes to the project in chemistry, the structural example is mostly the same. Being clear, the structure helps you divide all the researched material into logical pieces and avoid mixing up things.

So, the usual structure covers the title page and introduction to the project, the review of data sources and applied methodologies, results and their discussions, logical conclusion and further recommendations. Then, there goes a correctly-organized list of references.

  1. We omit the title page stage as the example will be provided by your supervisor. So we proceed to the introduction to the capstone project in chemistry. In this part, you need to highlight the problem. The introduction shouldn’t be long: 2 or 3 sentences are enough to state the topic, name the issues, and add a transfer sentence that will leed a reader to the next structural element. When successfully written, the introduction prevents readers from veering off the topic.
  2. The next step is providing the literature review. This is the very part when you are brainstorming the subject you are studying. We suggest you use any data sources you can find: textbooks, websites, scholarly literature, articles from journals — any electronic or printed source with research(es) under the topic that is similar to yours. When there are really essential prior research findings, they should be added to the project either as quotes (but you need to make them short) or as paraphrased pieces (that will help to avoid the plagiarism-related issue in the future). When you find opposite ideas or research results in your chemistry topic, contrast, compare them and then formulate the in-depth analysis.
  3. Enumerating and justification of methods is your step number three. When it comes to researching, there are many various ways of collecting data and analyzing it. In this section, you need to highlight the ones you used for data collection, evaluating the sources and their reliability, handling possible issues and getting closer to results. Roughly speaking, the entire data on your capstone project in chemistry is set to inhere. Our only recommendation concerning this very part is that you must discuss all of your methods and methodologies with your supervisor. It’s not that they might be wrong. It’s just that the supervisor can suggest you use the method that better adapts with the set requirements.
  4. Now you need to show readers that the research helped to answer the question of the topic. Moreover, you need to show that the research proved your hypothesis. In other words, you share results. In this part, give the cognitive description of the information you’ve gathered. Peel all the layers of the study, evaluate each of them and answer the main issue that you have proposed prior to research.
  5. Even though the conclusion is the final part of your work, it doesn’t mean it should be less interesting than the rest four. In the two or three sentences of your conclusion, you declare the sense of your capstone project in chemistry, covering the major points of the project work, suggesting recommendations and leaving the CTA part. In simple words, your concluding part shows your long way has led you to accomplish the mission.
  6. If you believe that making a full stop after a conclusion means you’ve coped with the capstone project, you are absolutely wrong. Take your time to proofread the text and make corrections if necessary. When proofreading it is essential to add important sentences and cut those that are deprived of any meaning, look through typos and incorrect grammar, format the project according to the requirements from your supervisor and (if you still have doubts) ask for feedback from friends or family. Don’t forget that your written piece should be also checked for plagiarism. Use any of the free online software that delivers the check results in PDF version for you to have proof of the originality of your project.

The defense is the final stage. It is true that the greater part of projects should be defended in front of a supervisor and the committee. The thing is that the quality of the presentation is almost half of your final grade. When defending, start with the main point of your work, cover the top aspects of the research, and share the list of chemistry-related findings. Though the committee members have looked through the work, upon the presentation, the committee will ask questions on the findings. It means that defense will look like a discussion during which your task is to show your knowledge and expertise.

How to Write a Capstone Project in Chemistry: A Few More Suggestions

At the end of our guiding article, we would like to concentrate your attention on the few more points you need to consider to let the tough writing process become a successful result:

  • The recommended length of the capstone project in chemistry is around 45 pages, which is as long as 12,00 words.
  • The number of provided data sources shouldn’t be lower than 14.
  • It is a must to organize the list of references properly. Whether you are asked to follow the Harvard or Chicago style referencing method, stick to all the guidelines and norms. They are in free access online. Plus, there are tools that help to properly structure the list of references.

Your capstone project in chemistry will take time, much time. But this is a usual thing with any written assignment. If you want it to be the evidence of your intellect and deep knowledge, great research and writing skills, desire to learn and contribute to the field of chemistry, let the instruction above guide you through the writing process.

References:

  • Bemker, M. and Schreiner, B. (2016). The DNP degree & capstone project : a practical guide. Lancaster Pa: Destech Publications, Inc.
  • Capstone Writer (2009). Producing the capstone project. Raleigh: Lulu Enterprises Inc.
  • Center For Curriculum And Assessment (Ohio). Office Of Career-Technical And Adult Education (2002). Senior capstone project : education today– careers tomorrow. Columbus: Ohio Dept. Of Education, Center For Curriculum And Assessment, Office Of Career-Technical And Adult Education.