Each student is to select an organization, privately held or publicly traded, in which the student has a
special interest and for which the student has access to organizational leaders or available information
for public use. The organization will be the basis of the Capstone Research Product, a paper intended to
integrate the research project with what has been learned in prior courses and with student employment 5
experience. Capstone emphasis could focus on topics such as (a) strategic organizational leadership,
(b) human services strategy, (c) organizational strategic planning, (d) strategic management of
information systems, or (e) other approved strategic topic that integrates prior coursework
The Capstone Research Paper is to have five chapters (40-50 pages of value-added written content)
plus other supporting pages as described below.
Item Pages (50) Questions to Answer
Title Page – Necessary but does NOT count toward the 40 – 50-page requirement
Approval Page – Not Necessary
Executive Summary – Necessary but does NOT count toward the 40 – 50-page requirement
Acknowledgements – Not Necessary
Table of Contents – Necessary but does NOT count toward the 40 – 50-page requirement
List of Tables – Not Necessary
List of Figures – Not Necessary
Chapter 1: Introduction 10
• Overview of the Research Project 1 • What is the paper about – in very general terms – e.g. is this about solving an marketing problem – a culture problem – a strategic problem – give some detail but do so a high level
• Organizational and Environmental Profiles 2 • Describe the organization: e.g. Mission – Vision – Markets – Shareholders – Stakeholders – Regulatory Environment – Global Presence – Society Expectations – Diversity – Maturity – et al
• Describe the unit: How does the unit fit into the organization – what are the expectations of performance for the unit – what are some of the metrics / data points relative to the unit?
• Perform a SWOT or SWEATT analysis on the organization / unit – reference this and put this document in the appendix
• Research Goals and Objectives 3 • Background of the Business Problem:
What EXACTLY is the problem – why is the problem important – when did the problem start – what is the impact of the problem – what / who caused the problem – what has been done to resolve the problem – why have previous actions failed?
• Research Goals and Objectives 2 • Business Problem and Opportunity Statement
What is the benefit of solving the problem – what will have to change if the problem is solved?
How long should it take to frame and solve the problem?
What type of measurement will be needed as the problem resolution activities are undertaken?
How will the measurement process be developed – and sustained?
• Research Goals and Objectives 1 • Scope and Limitations:
What Did You Not Consider – what Are the Missing Independent Variables – what Are the Threats to Validity
• Research Goals and Objectives 1 • How does the research problem, research goals, and research objectives link to the SWOT / SWEATT analysis?
Chapter 2: Literature Review 6
• Background 2 • What are some examples of other organizations that have faced or confronted a similar problem?
• What is similar and dis-similar relative to the problem statements?
• Specific Studies 4 • What were the results of the problem-solving efforts of the other organizations?
• What was the impact of the problem-solving efforts?
• What did the organizations do worth emulating?
• What did the organizations do that should NOT be emulated?
Chapter 3: Method 10
• Statement of Purpose 1 • What is the purpose of your method – e.g. what type of data will you collect – what will be the risks associated with your data collection – how will you validate (or how have you validated) your method?
• Research Questions 2 • Alternatives: Using the defined problem statement how have you framed the problem in order to gather data – what are the null and alternate hypothesis statements
• Criteria: What are the independent and dependent variables associated with your alternatives – what are the relative risk of each variable – how will / did you compensate for the risk factors.
• Data Collection 6 • Data Collection Procedures: What process did you follow to collect the data – what biases are associated with your data collection process?
• Analytical Tools and Tests: – put the data into tables and charts – use statistical analysis to get information from the data – use the language of statistics in your analysis – identify statistical risk – focus on the data and not the meaning of the data
• Conclusion 1 • Was your data collection effort successful – or are there areas where you were not able to adhere to your data collection procedures – explain the deviations, if any.
Chapter 4: Results and Analysis 10
• Findings 8 • What do the results to your data collection efforts mean – does the data support the problem statement you identified exists (or existed) – does the data support the problem is as significant you might have indicated in the Introduction Chapter – what, if any, conclusions can you draw from the data that would be beneficial in solving the problem?
• Implication for the Research Questions 2 • What areas of application would the findings have in other areas of the organization or in other organizations?
Chapter 5: Discussion 14
• Recommendations and Implementation 7 • Given your data and findings, how would you go about resolving the problem – what are the specific actions – and time lines – what would be the challenges faced and how would they be overcome – what would be the resources needed to solve the problem?
• Discussion 5 • What would be the outcome of solving the problem – will the unit / organization benefit – will stockholders have a measurable benefit – will this outcome have ancillary benefits on the individuals involved, other organizations, society, et al?
• Limitations 2 • What does the problem solution NOT take into account – could the problem solution cause other problems to occur?
References – Minimum 15: Necessary but does NOT count toward the 40 – 50-page requirement
Appendix – Insert SWOT or SWEATT analysis
• To write a 50-page paper will need to write an 80-page paper and then edit it down to 50-pages. Good papers are well edited papers.
• Each chapter will require a first draft, research, a second draft, additional research, and a third draft – followed by a final draft for the entire paper. You should NOT underestimate this effort – this will take dedicated and focused time to complete each chapter. It is very difficult to write this paper over one weekend.
• You should NOT wait for my feedback in order to progress – although I will work to provide timely feedback you should be able to move ahead independently on each chapter.
• In order to receive a satisfactory mark for each chapter submission there must be a significant amount of work provided (e.g. the approximate page content listed above).
• Keep direct text transfers to a minimum – that is very little “cut and paste” from other sources.
• There is significant work in the course other than the paper – e.g. the external environment paper, the Peregrine Assessment, two (2) team presentations (we will be in teams of two individuals), the online discussions (2 significant entries per week), and the capstone presentation.
• Time management is critical in this class – take the time to put together a schedule for yourself and clear your calendar, as needed, in order to do well in this class.