First of all, we have to say that no one can tell exactly what a capstone project is. College and university professors usually interpret this term the way they like.
In general, a capstone project in ecology is a complex piece of writing. Students are provided with plenty of time to accomplish it with dignity, and they have an opportunity to research the given or chosen topic slowly, piece by piece. Being as difficult as dissertation or thesis writing, the capstone project plays a part in a culmination of your academic career. You have to use this paper to demonstrate that you have successfully accumulated in-depth knowledge to get the diploma with honors.
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As a rule, your capstone project in ecology will include several smaller projects or different works. At the same time, this paper may also be accomplished as a professional portfolio.
If you’re working on a capstone project for a college ecology course, you may also need to present your paper in front of your professor and fellow students. Nonetheless, you can’t produce a good assignment without proper planning. It is important that you effectively use your time available. Use your knowledge and skills to guarantee incredible results.
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Why students have to write a capstone project in ecology?
First, writing the assignment of this complexity level helps you practice your writing skills together with professionalism in the chosen area. What is more, in the process of writing, students get a chance to improve their capabilities of solving problems and making important decisions quickly when it comes to their fields of study. All in all, if you’re still not sure if you can handle the capstone project on your own, you should try using our recommendations.
Common Steps to Produce a Breathtaking Capstone Project
A capstone project in ecology required scrupulous and meticulous preparation. You should devote some time and pay due attention to each step listed below.
Pick an Interesting Topic & Check the Latest Research Results
It doesn’t mean that you have to read every other article on the way. All you have to do is to review some parts and introductions of every article. Most of the works have the literature review part, where you can look for some other studies in your field of study.
If you’re looking for an inspiration to choose the best topic for a capstone project in ecology, we have some ideas right here:
- Capstone Project on Vegetative vs. Sexual Reproduction;
- Ecovillages as a Solution to Problems with Our Ecosystem;
- Should We Protect Endangered Species;
- Black Holes: The Causes & Effects;
- Ecological Role of Natural Green Effect;
- Is Ecology an Individual or Governmental Responsibility;
- Is It Possible to Reinforce the Ozone Layer?
Check the Instructions & Requirements for the Project
Thus, you will have an opportunity to review and synthesize the key instructions for the capstone project. Just focus and think about the project. What is the best way to go in order to complete the capstone project within the deadline? Work out a plan that will help you provide your paper for several revisions without any delays.
Do Some Research to Collect Information, Facts, Statistics
Give your preference to highly trusted sources only. Begin your search with college textbooks, books, and journal articles. Use internet websites as the last option. We’ve selected some of the internet resources dedicated to ecology and its issues:
- GREENPEACE (with the campaigns protective the environment);
- TREEHUGGER (with the latest green news);
- NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC (with cultural and natural beauty from all over the globe);
- Ecography (with proficient studies of population and community ecology).
Make sure to take notes as you review your sources and synthesize your findings. Consider your limitations and strengths, as well as find out how they are going to impact your findings.
Do the Formatting of the Capstone Project
Probably, this may be the most difficult part for most college and university students who are working on the ecology capstone project for the first time. The most websites or papers you check, the more format variability you’re going to see. In our guide, we will talk about the basic format for writing a capstone project in ecology. Depending on your professor’s instructions, you might be required to provide some additional parts as well. What is more, the paper format may also vary depending on the issue that you’ve addressed in your CP and the research paradigm. For instance, if you write a capstone project about such a complex issue like global warming and try to figure out if it caused by humans or is just a part of a natural earth cycle, your paper might have some extra sections for such a grandiose debate.
In general, the basic capstone project sections contain the introduction, the literature review, the methodology, the results, and the discussion or conclusion.
The introduction is an essential part of every capstone project. This is where you have to present your research problem, your approach to it, as well as share your ideas on the topic that you’ve chosen.
This part contains a short description of the past researches conducted by the ecology experts on your topic. For instance, if your capstone project topic is “Forest Capacity to Sustain Industrial Production”, you can check the previous researches like “Analysis of the Protection Status of the World’s Forests” by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, “Harmful Non-Indigenous Species in the United States” by the US Office of Technology Assessment or “End of the Road: The Adverse Ecological Impacts of Roads and Logging: A Compilation of Independently Reviewed Research” by Natural Resources Defense Council, etc. Compare the previous researches to your analysis and come up with your own research-based results.
In this part, you have to place a detailed description of your research. The method that you used to collect information, the sources of data, and all the other parts should be discussed in this section. In other words, the methodology part includes the entire information about the capstone project topic together with the techniques applied for the research.
In this part of your capstone project, you give a detailed description and synthesis of all data that you’ve collected during research. In other words, all the questions that you’ve asked at the beginning of your paper should be here provided with precise answers.
Beginning and finishing your capstone project in ecology correctly is important. Make sure your conclusion is both interestingly and logically framed and reasonable. All future recommendations, analysis and research limitations will make your conclusion hooking and inspiring.
As for the other sections of a capstone project, they may vary from college to college. Figures, acknowledgment, table of contents, abstract, references and appendices are the parts that you should be ready to deal with. Depending on your academic level, professor’s requirements, and college, you’re welcome to add more parts in order to create a complete paper. What is more, your capstone project can be presented in the form of a survey, case study or research. The type of the capstone project will also affect the format of your paper as well.
Evidence in an Ecology Capstone Project
Once you understand how professional ecologists write their works in the discipline, you can see how these writing practices are applied in the writing you will do for your college. When it comes to scientific writing in ecology, keep in mind that it refers to methodology, incorporates peer-reviews materials to justify the need for your research, or places the work in a broader context.
In the introductions of their works, expert ecologists may provide some other mainstream sources. However, they can’t replace peer-reviewed sources. As for the peer-reviewed literature, it is available in two standard forms: primary and secondary sources. Consider the evidence used in ecology capstone project writing in the following categories: primary sources, data, secondary sources, and mainstream sources.
The primary sources are available in the form of journal articles. Usually, they include analysis of original ideas and data that reflect the first record of the study that was ever published. Before the publication, quality primary literature has been checked million times by the scientific ecology community. Most of the primary sources materials are provided in a standard format, such as an abstract, an introduction, the methods, the results, and the discussion. Keep in mind that you will have to read the whole primary source, which means you can’t use only the abstract.
When it comes to the secondary sources, we are talking about the publications that encompass and synthesize data from the primary literature. In secondary sources, you may see that the authors have rearranged or changed information, trying to find potential links between a range of publications. Or, perhaps, they have done some “metadata” analyses of the data collected from other sources. The main aim of such analyses is to find patterns in data previously conducted by other ecologists. Some of the secondary sources may appear to be peer-reviewed. Nevertheless, these sources don’t include original ideas or data the way the primary sources do.
Mainstream sources are also known as the sources that are not peer-reviewed and include textbooks, newspapers, encyclopedias, and so on. These sources may include more general discussions of ecology issues or give only background information, without any new findings.
As a rule, all efforts to write about ecology rely more on the review summaries and other types of science translation to support a project.
On websites like the ones dedicated to the government or institutional issues, you can look for important data for ecologists; however, be careful in your relying upon these sources of information. In other words, don’t trust Wikipedia as if it’s the only source on earth.
Check Some Do’s & Don’ts
When you work on a capstone project in ecology, you have an opportunity to research any topic that you like. However, make sure you don’t make some mistakes that your professor is not going to forgive!
- Keep communicating with your professor on a regular basis.
- Pick the appropriate referencing styles like Turabian, APA, Chicago, etc.
- Make the beginning of the capstone project interesting and the conclusion really engaging.
- Make notes of all the changes that you plan to make on the capstone project.
- Don’t lose the perspective of the paper.
- Don’t skip important details or points.
- Don’t use clichés or worn-out expressions.
- Don’t keep the writing part until the last minute.
- Don’t overlook the correct use of punctuations, grammar, style, etc.
- Don’t change your scholarly writing tone to anything else.
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Who are the readers of the ecology capstone projects? In general, you have to keep in mind that most of ecology capstone projects’ readers aren’t English native speakers unless you provide your paper for the world’s ecology scientists. For that reason, you must use correct and simple English that doesn’t contain any jargon, hard-to-guess terms, colloquialisms, and so on. All in all, in case with the ecology discipline, you will have to maintain professional tone ad always write in the third person.
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