CA700 Graduate Project

for S1P 2009

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Mission Statement: The mission of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Park University is to provide leadership and directions to Park University's graduate and professional programs to assure that they are specialized, scholarly, innovative, and designed to educate students to be creative, independent, and lifelong learners within the context of a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University's School of Graduate and Professional Studies will be an international leader in providing innovative graduate and professional educational opportunities to learners within a global society.


CA 700 Graduate Project


S1P 2009 MCB


Dr. Joan Aitken


Professor, Communication Arts

Office Location

Copley 229

Daytime Phone


Other Phone

Email me and I'll give you my home phone.


Web Page

Class Days


Class Time



You will want to have half of the coursework in your program complete.

Credit Hours


APA (2001). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. 5th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Additional Resources:
See the Project requirements in the Park University and Department Guidelines for the time that you began the MA program.

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Course Description:
CA 700 Graduate Project: Capstone course for students who work individually with a graduate advisor to research an approved organizational issue. Offered in 8 and 16 week format. Variable: 1-3 hrs. may be repeated: must total 2-5 hrs. Permission Required.

Educational Philosophy:
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General Information

about the MA Program

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See Department Guidelines for Project Requirements.

Remember, the project is NOT a portfolio and NOT comprehensive exams. You still must take the comprehensive exams separately.


DEPT. & PARK RULES. The student has the responsibility of finding out and following departmental and Park University rules. You will find those in the graduate catalog. Your advisor cannot over-ride departmental or university rules. The department and university requirements supersede faculty requirements.

GRADUATE RECORD EXAM (GRE).  Park University requires that you complete the GRE and submit your scores to the Graduate School.  You cannot graduate from the program without completing this step. See

COMPREHENSIVE EXAMS. The department or university requires separate comprehensive exams of students who complete a project.  These need to be PASSED at least 8 weeks prior to graduation.  Ask three faculty--probably your committee--to submit questions to Dr. Cohn.  When you are ready to take the exam, you contact Dr. Cohn to schedule the test.  You will have 24 hours to write.  You can use any books or materials, but you canNOT use help from any person.  Here is Dr. Aitken's information about comps

APPLICATION FOR GRADUATION.  Go to the Park website, find and complete the online form (Application for Graduation), and pay fees for graduation.

August Completion or December Commencement Deadline: April 1

 May Commencement Deadline: November 1

COMMITTEE. You will present your project and defend your project, either by telephone conference or in person.

You may want to talk with your advisor about your project, do advance planning, and receive oral approval IN ADVANCE. You will want to have a clear idea of the nature of your project BEFORE enrolling in the final term so you can complete the project well before the end of the one 8-week term. 

Class Assessment:
There are many possible approaches to the Project.  You might create a booklet about communication skills.  You might prepare a media project.  You might create case studies for training you do at work.  Some students create an Action Research Project.

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The Action Research Project is typically an applied study, which is short on library research and long on actual survey, focus group, or other active data collection and analysis. Talk with your advisor in advance, and submit your proposal to the faculty. You can use a proposal prepared in another course (e.g., CA 517).

Project Organization

APA 1.06 Title Page

Use a descriptive scholarly title, which clearly explains the paper’s content—NOT an attention-getter. Give your name, Park University, date.

APA 1.07 Abstract (100 -150 word summary of the question, method, and results)

APA 1.08 I. Introduction

This is the background to the problem. 

A. Research question.

1.A brief history of interest in the area.

2.Specify unresolved issues, theoretical questions, and/or social concerns.

3.Rationale for the study.

B. Review of Literature. A review of literature is an examination of key peer-reviewed journal articles on the topic. In an action research project, this might be a brief overview of theory building in the field. Group information according to ideas, NOT according to research articles. This section is NOT an annotated bibliography. Please use subheadings to generally describe each idea.

1. Paragraphs about first idea from review of literature.

2. Paragraphs about second idea from review of literature.

3. Paragraphs about third idea from review of literature.

C. Problem Statement -- Drawing from the literature review of 20-50 sources, explain the ideas you plan to investigate. Include the following:

1.Identify variables (dependent and independent variables).

2.Delineate the research problem to explain the relationships expected among variables (research questions or hypotheses).

APA 1.09 Method

1.Description of Method

a.Describe why the research method (e.g., survey research) is used.

2. Instruments or measures

a.Operational definitions of dependent and independent variables

b.Instrument – rationale for the measure to be used (e.g., questionnaire, focus group, interview).

3.Participants and procedures

a.Selection of subjects (i.e., who and how to get them -- sampling procedure).

b.Explain how materials will be distributed.

c.Describe how data will be collected.

d.Describe how data will be analyzed.

APA 1.10 Results

APA 1.11 Discussion

APA 1.13 References (emphasize peer-reviewed articles in the field of communication and leadership). Each reference listing needs to be cited in your final proposal and each citation in your final proposal will be in the reference list.

APA 1.14 Appendix (e.g., text under study, measure or unpublished test and its validation, the printout of results from

HTML clipboard 100% of the project grade is based on the advisor's evaluation of the project the student submits by week 6 and revises according to committee requirements by Monday of week 8.

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Make sure you have completed everything you need--and have your committee's agreement with what you're doing--IN ADVANCE of the final term of enrollment. 

Being late will cost you money!  If you cannot complete your project by your last term, you will have to pay for enrolling for one hour each semester until you finish the project.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
If you conduct research on human subjects, you will have to receive go through IRB review prior to conducting any research.   See

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
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Schedule for two 8-week courses (total of 5 or 6 hours)

Tentative Schedule for one 8-week course (2-3 credit hours)

Assignments and Deadlines            

Week 1


If possible, complete this step prior to enrolling or during week 1.

  1. Discuss proposed project with your advisor in person or via phone.

  2. I do NOT recommend studying human subjects for a project.  If you plan to do plan to use human subjects, you will need to complete the certification and apply for Park University's IRB approval. Do the certification now.  You will need a detailed proposal approved by the whole committee before submitting to the IRB.  For more information, go to

  3. If you plan to study things or do a creative project, no IRB approval is needed.  Y

Week 2

If possible, complete this step prior to enrolling or during week 1.

  1. Obtain and read a relevant book or conduct library research for your project choice.  

  2. In most cases, you'll want to make sure you have a quality review of research literature on the topic. 

  3. Revise your proposal from CA 517 or another class that is the idea for your project work. You can synthesize papers and proposals you prepared on the topic for previous courses or come up with something new.

  4. Send your proposal to your advisor.

Week 3

Week 1.

  1. Put your committee together.  You need a committee of three faculty.  Make suggestions to your advisor, then contact the other two people to ask them to participate.  Don't take it personally if someone refuses because some faculty are just too busy and part-time faculty are not expected to participate.

Week 4

Week 1.

  1. Finish preparing your proposal so that it is updates and is a do-able, realistic plan for your project.  If your advisor approves, send your proposal to your committee.  Ask committee members to send any concerns, suggestions, or needed changes directly to you within the next week or two.  Otherwise, you'll assume the faculty member approves.  If you haven't heard from all, resend the proposal with another request for suggestions, explaining that you plan to proceed on X date.

Week 5

Week 1.

  1. If you haven't heard from all faculty, prepare a 2-5 minute PowerPoint with sound narration to orally summarize your project.  Send it to each committee member as an email attachment with a note saying you just wanted to update them on your progress.

Week 6

Week  2.

  1. Finish planning your project. Make any needed contacts, corrections, additional research.

  2. Conduct needed research and begin the actual project.

  3. If possible, obtain written or email approval from three faculty on your project proposal.

Week 7-8

Week 3-4.

  1. Continue working on your project. 

Between your first term of enrollment and last term of enrollment.

  1. Continue with your project.  Communicate regularly--at least once a month, preferably once a week--with your advisor.  Make sure your work is nearly complete before enrolling in the last term of the Project.

Wk 1, Term 2 Get finished!

Week 3-4.

  1. Meet by phone or in person with your advisor to make sure your work is nearly complete.  You need to complete the project in by week 6 of the term you plan to graduate.  If you don't complete the project in time for graduation, you will have to PAY TO ENROLL ANOTHER TERM.

Wk 2

Write 2 pages a day for 30 days and you'll have the essence done!

Week 3-4.  Remember, Write 2 pages a day for 14 days and you'll have the essence done!

  1. Work on project.

Wk 3 Conduct

Week 5

  1. Email an electronic file of your preliminary draft to your committee asking for suggestions as you proceed.  Then them your graduation date and ask them about availability for setting up a meeting in person or by phone to defend your project.

Wk 4 Draft

Week 5

  1. Hand or mail a hardcopy of your project in a 3-ring notebook to each committee member.

Wk 5 Time for faculty to read your project.

Week 5

  1. Give faculty time to read your project. Send a meeting reminder to each faculty member.

  2. Make any needed changes before your defense. 

  3. Prepare PowerPoint in defense. 

Wk 6 Defend

Week 6

  1. Meet with faculty and students to present your project. You may want to prepare a PowerPoint. If not completing this term, be sure to attend a project presentation by other students.  Bring a pen and the form to your defense.

  2. Scan your signed defense form and submit an electronic copy to (a) your advisor, (b) the Program Director (Dr. Cohn), the (c) Director of Graduate School, and (d) the Registrar.

Wk 7 Revise and Submit

Week 7

  1. Make any changes required by your committee and submit one final copy to your advisor and one to the department.

Wk 8

Week 8

 Congratulations!  Graduate at the end of the week.

Academic Honesty:
As a learning community, the University upholds the highest standards of academic integrity in all its academic activities, by faculty, staff, administrators and students. Academic integrity involves much more than respecting intellectual property rights. It lies at the heart of learning, creativity, and the core values of the University. Those who learn, teach, write, publish, present, or exhibit creative works are advised to familiarize themselves with the requirements of academic integrity and make every effort to avoid possible offenses against it, knowingly or unknowingly. Park University 2008-2009 Graduate Catalog Page 25
Be sure to go through the IRB PRIOR to conducting any research, if you will be doing research on human subjects.


Plagiarism involves the appropriation of another person's ideas, interpretation, words (even a few), data, statements, illustration or creative work and their presentation as one's own. An offense against plagiarism constitutes a serious academic misconduct.  Although offenses against academic integrity can manifest themselves in various ways, the most common forms of offenses are plagiarism and cheating. Plagiarism goes beyond the copying of an entire article. It may include, but is not limited to: copying a section of an article or a chapter from a book, reproduction of an art work, illustration, cartoon, photograph and the like and passing them off as one's own. Copying from the Internet is no less serious an offense than copying from a book or printed article, even when the material is not copyrighted.

Plagiarism also includes borrowing ideas and phrases from, or paraphrasing, someone else's work, published or unpublished, without acknowledging and documenting the source. Acknowledging and documenting the source of an idea or phrase, at the point where it is utilized, is necessary even when the idea or phrase is taken from a speech or conversation with another person.

Park University 2008-2009 Graduate Catalog Page 25

Make sure you cite the sources of all information.

Attendance Policy:

Professors are required to maintain attendance records and report absences. Excused absences can be granted by the instructor, for medical reasons, school sponsored activities, and employment-related demands, including temporary duty. Students are responsible for any missed work. Absences for two successive weeks, without approved excuse, will be reported to the Director of the individual graduate program, or to the Executive Director for the Graduate School, for appropriate action. Students with such a record of absences, without an approved excuse, may be administratively withdrawn from the class and notified that an "F" will be recorded, unless the student initiates official withdrawal from the class(es).Park University 2008-2009 Graduate Catalog Page 29

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:12/11/2008 7:19:05 PM