CA700 Graduate Project

for S2P 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


S2P 2009 MCB


Aitken, Joan Evelyn

Daytime Phone


Other Phone

Email me, and I will send you my home phone.


Web Page

Class Days

Course is conducted in the eCollege shell.

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.

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

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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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

PROJECT INSTEAD OF THESIS? The project option can work well for working students who have no plans to go on for a doctoral degree.

TOPIC. Select a practical topic you love, which you have been studying in the program so far. The topic must relate to organizational communication and leadership.

PROJECT REQUIRES SIGNIFICANT NEW WORK IN RESEARCH-BASED COMMUNICATION STUDIES. The project needs to contain significant new work, but may include synthesizing work for previous courses. Ideally, you reflect on your program so that you will actually use what you learned in a professional context. In other words, the project may be a pragmatic one, which you can use in your professional life.


BE PRACTICAL. Because you are coming into this project having completed the majority of courses in the program, you should have a strong background in communication and leadership research-based theories.

COMMITTEE. You will present your project and defend your project, perhaps with other enrolled students during a meeting set up by the department.

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:
Work in the eCollege course shell.  All assignments are due by Sunday night in the assigned week in the eCollege dropbox.

The revised project proposal is due Monday of week 8 of term one. 

The final project is due week 4 of your final term.

Assignments will not accepted by email because they may not arrive, can be lost, or may fail to arrive by the deadline.

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. 

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.

Complete up to this point for the project proposal.

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

Complete all for the project.

HTML clipboard 100% of the project grade is based on the advisor's evaluation of the project materials submitted in the eCollege dropbox.  The grade is based on the assignment 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.

Submit your work on time in the  dropbox. 

All assignments are due by Sunday night in the assigned week in the eCollege dropbox.

The revised project proposal is due Monday of week 8 of term one. 

The final project is due week 4 of your final term.

For information about late assignments, see

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 for details.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
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CA 700 Tentative Schedule for one 8-week course

Assignments and Deadlines

Submit all assignments by due dates in the eCollege dropbox         

One hour 8-week course


If you plan to enroll in one 3-hour course, you may want to complete these steps before your Fall or Spring Term Prior to Enrolling


Discuss proposed project with your advisor in person or via phone. Submit your proposal from CA 517 or most recent draft of your project work.

Week 2

Obtain and read the relevant book for your project choice or whatever research materials are needed.   In most cases, you'll want to make sure you have a quality review of research literature on the topic.  You can synthesize papers and proposals you prepared on the topic for previous courses.

Week 3 Prepare your proposal.  Take the proposal from CA 517 and modify it into to do-able project.
Week 4 Finish preparing your proposal so that it is updates and realistic for your project.
Week 5 Ask two additional faculty member to support your project and receive approval for project choice. 
Week 6 If you plan to use human subjects, you will need to complete the certification and apply for Park University's IRB approval.  If you plan to study things, this process is not needed.

Finish planning your project. Make any needed contact. Conduct needed research and begin actual project. Prepare a PowerPoint to orally defend your project.

Week 7 Defend your proposed project to your faculty committee or other department forum.
Week 8 Make sure you obtain written or email approval from three faculty on your project proposal.
Between your first term of enrollment and last term of enrollment. Continue with your project.  Communicate regularly--at least once a month--with your advisor.  Make sure you have submitted everything to committee members so you are confident they are in agreement with your work BEFORE enrolling in the final term.  Make sure your work is nearly complete before enrolling in the last term of the Project.

CA 700 Tentative Schedule for 3-hour 8-week course or final hours in 8 week course.

Assignments and Deadlines            

Wk1 Get started!

Meet by phone or in person with your advisor to make sure your work is nearly complete.  You need to complete the project in 30 days.


Work on project. Submit week's draft or progress weekly report via email or in dropbox. Remember, write 2 pages a day and you'll be pretty well finished in 30 days.

Wk3 Conduct

Work on project. Submit section of your draft or progress weekly report via email or in dropbox. Remember, write 2 pages a day.

Wk4 Update

Submit project draft to committee faculty.

Wk5 Draft

Make any needed changes before your defense.  Prepare PowerPoint in defense.

Wk6 or 7 Defend

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.

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

Wk7-8 Revise and Submit

Deadline. Absolute final deadline is week 8, Monday. Submit project via email, in dropbox. 

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:2/25/2009 6:37:50 AM