Doing a capstone paper is a very important part of your studies and it will determine how you finish your high school journey. There are many rules and requirements that need to be followed when writing this paper, and you should pay careful attention to these if you want to avoid mistakes. Your grade for this paper is vital and it is best to plan and prepare before you jump into it. Through the years, we have seen the same mistakes being repeated by students, and it is easily avoidable if you know what to look out for. Here are some of those mistakes that seem to always pop up.
- Improper citing
By the time you start writing your capstone paper, you should understand the importance of citing your work properly. Taking credit for someone else’s work is strictly discouraged, and you should always be sure to give credit to your sources. If you do not do your citing properly, you could be accused of plagiarism, and that would greatly affect your marks.
- Too much quoting
There is nothing wrong with including quotes in your capstone paper, but be careful to not use too many. You want to give your own opinion on your findings and not include too much of what others have stated. This is a research paper, so you should be able to discuss the reason for including the quote. Do not use quotes to fill up some space, but instead use them only when needed to discuss your thesis.
- Incorrect format
Before you start your project, look at some capstone paper examples and take note of the format used. You want to be sure that you do not lose marks for using an incorrect format. A lot of schools prefer the APA format, but this comes with a lot of format rules that you should be aware of. You cannot simply write this paper like you would an essay. There is a specific format and structure that needs to be applied.
- Poor thesis
The whole idea of a capstone paper is to show off your research skills and analytical thinking. If your thesis is broad, your writing may become excessive. However, if your thesis is very narrow, you may not be able to write as much as you can to reach the minimum word count. Do not rush the process of coming up with a thesis statement, because this is the foundation of your paper.
- No proofreading
If you are going to write anything, you should count proofreading as part of the process. Many students do a really good job with their research papers, but then fail to go over their work and make sure all grammar mistakes are corrected. You can save yourself a lot of marks by simply doing a quick proofread and edit.
- Excluding what you learned
In your capstone paper, you want to be able to showcase what you have learned during your course. Include some skills that were covered and do not simply write a watered down essay. This is your final project of the course and you have to give it your all. Even if it is for the sake of your professor feeling special, just make it known through this project that you are ready to practice in your chosen field.
Do not underestimate the time you would need to dedicate to this project. Just because you see the length of time given does not mean that it is not going to run out on you. Start early and do all the necessary prep work. Look at a capstone proposal example or two to get your head in the game.
- Nothing new
Try to add some value to your capstone paper and don’t just include the same old information that has been covered a thousand times. You want to be controversial, with facts that back you up. If you want to stand out and receive an excellent grade on this project, you have to do something that no one else has done before. A great way to do this is to come up with a new thesis that no one else has discovered yet.