Hey there! I want to start off by asking you guys a question.
Ever felt like a researcher while being in the final year of engineering or while in the final year of B.sc research?
If not, then you will have to be one such researcher at some point of time in your course, most likely when your degree is coming to an end, especially while doing a capstone project, which involves deep research on a particular topic and consequently presents your results in the form of the research paper.
Research has led man to new heights which he has never seen before. Man has constantly put in effort from his side to find solutions to problems, in-fact a famous German-American Psychologist Kurt Lewin who is considered as a modern pioneer of social, organisational and applied psychology has famously said this line about research, “ No Research without Action and no action without Research”, which is very well apt to the situation we were discussing till now and even in the future, in order to invent new technology and for a better standard of living, research is something that one must do, to achieve all this.
So, this article discusses one such research-based projects that we all as undergraduates come across (especially in Engineering) known as Capstone Project. In this article, we will first know, what is a capstone project, the procedure for writing a capstone project, and later discuss some tips to pull off a successful project. So, let us get started!
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What is a Capstone Project?
A capstone project is basically a research project that is given as a final task for students in their undergraduate programs (or Post-graduate also in some cases) for a duration of about 2 semesters (approximately), wherein students are expected to research on a particular question or topic of their own choice and find the solution to that under the guidance of a faculty mentor, and finally produce a substantial research paper that reflects your solution and your understanding on the topic.
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How do you write a Capstone Project?
Here are some of the things you need to keep in mind in order to write a capstone project paper:
- Choose a good project topic: Choosing a project topic is the most important step, we will discuss this in detail in the next section.
- Create a Capstone Project Proposal: You will need to submit a proposal to your faculty mentor, mentioning the topic you chose, the reason you chose that topic, highlight the scope of that topic and available information and sources, highlight the background or experience you have on that topic(if any), mention your method of analysis, the equipment and workplace required, the approvals you need from various people for your project and finally mention what do you wish to achieve by the end of the project.
- Building up your Project: Once the formalities are done, you need to get into the act by gathering information, building up a well-organised timetable and strictly following it by allotting time to all your other activities as well.
- Structure: The structure of the timetable needs to be as follows:
- Title page
- Literature Review
- Methods of analysis
- Results and discussions
- Conclusions and Discussions
- Start writing your project with utmost concentration and prepare a draft at first and then try editing it and trimming it and make it as short and as informative as possible.
- Finally, get ready to defend yourself to the questions asked by your professors, take all types of cases into considerations, all types of possible questions they might ask.
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How to choose a project topic?
After knowing what a Capstone design project is, the first important step is to choose a project topic. It is one of the most fundamental steps because all the other further activities would be based on this aspect. So, the selection of topic involves certain steps which are as follows:
- Firstly, you should have a clear mindset about the topic you are selecting, you need to have an idea of what the topic is and it is recommended to take a topic on which you have an edge over the others and which interests or amuses you the most! It should never be a random choice.
- Also do keep in mind that your selected topic needs to have a value addition such that it enhances its value during business or an idea which can be proposed to the world and make massive strides in any form, be it a groundbreaking discovery on the basis of which others can build on or a solution to a long term problem and which can be advantageous to people.
Finally, try to select a topic which can develop you as a person as much as it can by improving your technical and Managerial skills and most importantly your presentation skills. Presentation is all that matters at the end of the day!
6 Tips to build good capstone projects
So, finally, it all boils down to one project that decides your quality as a student, and hence here are some tips you need to keep in mind in order to pull off a fantastic Capstone Project:
- Firstly, research about your selected topic online and make sure that whatever your research is true and you have all your questions answered at any point regarding any point in your research as they can help you to prepare you well in advance for the questions you might face. Read all the journals and research papers from different people around the world so that you gain knowledge and several inputs as well.
- Approach the subject experts in your college, make sure that you maintain a good rapport with them so that you can interact with them about your project. Don’t limit the meeting only to your faculty guides, but also other faculty who really has knowledge on your topic of research. Also, you can best make use of technology by connecting with subject experts across various parts of the world through social media so that you can get many good inputs and have a clear idea on your project topic.
- And then start planning about the resources you need for the project, the cost estimation, about the various aspects of methods of analysis you use in the project, about your fabrication methods (if required) and prepare a well-organised timetable accordingly and make sure you follow it strictly and be punctual.
- Being punctual in all aspects such as the ordering of the required material on time, the time of availability of material and the step by step targets you want to achieve during the duration of your project is one of the most important things in order to get efficient and accurate results.
- Finally, just fabricating a project, experimenting it, getting results from it and preparing thesis papers does not make your project a successful one. Only when you would be able to present your results and research on the topic, it becomes a successful one. So, you need to make sure that you practice, practice and practice your presentation and be ready to face any kind of questions. As they say, practice makes a man perfect. Also, a reminder once again, make sure that you are spot-on on your facts and data and not present anything which is false.
So, here is where your efforts pay off, it is very important for you to have good communication and presenting skills as they come into play over here.
These are the tips you need to keep in mind to pull off a successful project!
Also, SKYFILABS is a website that can provide more guidance on it.
Refer to the link below for more details.
Thank You and Best of Luck!
6 Tips to build good capstone projects