The main purpose of the astronomy course is of double nature: students study what others have researched and then they explore a certain topic by themselves. To make the process of exploring deeper and more meaningful, a supervisor assigns a capstone project. Eventually, every student is trying to figure out how to write a capstone project in astronomy. And how surprised they are, when it appears that this academic assignment is a cognitive activity type that has little in common with spontaneous diagnostics and cognition.
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How to Write a Capstone Project in Astronomy: Understand the Arch
What does it have to do with the arch? FYI, a capstone is the upper stone in the arch, which is very symbolic. This stone is the one to be placed into the arch during the building process, as well as the capstone project is the locking stone in academics: it’s student’s final chance to test him/herself, show knowledge and experience.
Understanding that, every student is trying to put all efforts into this work, showing the best of abilities and skills. The information provided in this article will help you achieve the set goals and get a degree.
How to Write a Capstone Project in Astronomy: One out of Five
What are THE FIVE? They are the types of capstone projects in astronomy that vary depending on the guidelines provided by your educational establishment. Check out to know which of the types was assigned to your project.
- Externally-oriented project. It’s the most widespread type of capstone project. While writing it, a student needs to develop the work in a way to present a solution. To find the solution, students typically work in an identical way: they define the stages of their work, gather reliable data, analyze it, take action and develop the outcome.
- Research projects. Upon finding a gap in the knowledge in astronomy, you address the area that has never been addressed before you, research the issue, find, collect and organize the information. Afterward, you analyze the data from primary and secondary sources.
- Case-study project. It mainly concentrates on a question or phenomena explanation company or organization, location or event. A common subtype is a multiple-case study that is a combination of tested-and-tried information used in various studies for formulating brand new research.
- Creative project. As the name suggests, you need to develop a creative product in astronomy. Most students choose to produce a short film supported by explanatory reports related to the project issue. The movie reveals both your knowledge and skills.
- Applied project. If your supervisor allowed you to decide on the problem within the astronomy field of study, you need to answer some real issues by synthesizing information and applying the already-learned content.
Though very similar, these types have differences as well. Since you don’t know them well, confusing the notions and essence is easy. And your non-compliance with the delicate balance can be seriously under threat. In most cases, students have the first type — externally-oriented project — assigned. However, any specifications as to the type of your project should better be discussed with a curator for you not to work in the wrong direction and waste your time.
How to Write a Capstone Project in Astronomy: Find Your Topic
It’s fine when your curator assigns you a capstone project topic in astronomy. If you feel that the topic is randomly chosen and neither you nor your professor finds it inspiring, negotiate the professor’s choice. Do it calmly.
But it’s better if you are free to choose a few options and suggest them to the curator. In a second way, go with the topic you are genuinely interested in. Another recommendation is to work on the clear formulation of the topic to make it easier to deal with the subject and its issues.
We are sharing the list of astronomy issues that you might be willing to explore in your writing. Most of the offered topics are continually discussed in scientific circles:
- The Big Band Theory as the Universe’s Genesis;
- World’s Space Observatories and Their Contribution to the Field of Astronomy;
- Top Most Successful NASA Space Programs;
- Asteroids: How Predictable Are Their Trajectories?
- Universe: Birth, Evolution, Singularity;
- Modern Space Flight Conditions and Approaching Innovations;
- Main Steps Towards Space Exploration;
- Outside the Solar System. Is There a Chance for Intelligent Life?
- The Earth’s Rotation Evidence;
- Rare Astronomical Phenomena and Their Observations;
- The Motion of Sunspots;
- To Theories of Earth Origin;
- How Does Solar Activity Influence the Earth?
- Star Sky and Its Attraction;
- Animals in Space.
Having studied the discipline for years, you know how fascinating astronomy-related facts are. Nevertheless, before you start working on developing your capstone project in astronomy, submit the proposal.
Proposal — The Key to How to Write a Capstone Project in Astronomy
It must be submitted to your supervisor. What is a project proposal? In other words, it is a short overview of the entire capstone project in astronomy. The top number of words should be equal to 1200-1500 words.
Though the proposal is pretty short, it should be a complete project with:
- Introduction to the project issue;
- Problem description;
- The number of methodologies that will be used;
- The overview of the literature;
- The list of references.
Typically, the format for the project proposal is Times New Roman, double-spaced, 12 font.
After the proposal is approved by your supervisor, you should get to work. Below, we will share the main structural requirements for capstone projects in astronomy. For specifications, contact your curator.
Structure Fit as the Must of How to Write a Capstone Project in Astronomy
Prior to starting discussing the structural adherence as the key to writing a decent academic work, we’d like to specify your main considerations:
- Number one is minding specific requirements to methodologies suggested by your supervisor;
- Number two in minding the due date;
- Number three is sticking to the chosen topic — with capstone projects you can’t change horses midstream;
- Number four is setting objectives and meeting them.
Let’s move on to the structure of your academic assignment. You are familiar with the typical structure of an essay or research work, aren’t you? The structural parts of a capstone project look a lot like those.
Start with the outline as the main part of your project. The way it is presented greatly depends on the type of capstone project you are working on. If it’s the initial senior type of paper is made up of the following parts: the title, abstract, contents, intro, issue description, literature overview, project description, lessons learned (conclusions), bibliography, appendices.
- The intro to the capstone project is also called an opening paragraph that covers the background data along with the rationale. This part should not be long. Generally, it is enough to write a paragraph of 3-4 sentences.
- The description of the issue is one of the most important parts that aims at highlighting the goals of your capstone project. The problem description is another paragraph or two that, as the name suggests, share the main issue or issues of the capstone paper.
- The literature review is another part that is intended to address the top ideas from reliable literature. Here you need to discuss what ideas, theories, and analyses were suggested by other scientists and researchers, which of them find support in numerous literature sources and which ones are questionable. The more examples you provide, the more well-researched your topic will be.
- The project description brings you back to what you have written in the problem description. In this part, it is essential to give specifications of the used methodology. Why did you choose these methods and not others? – It’s because of the help to carry out the study in a proper way.
- Dwell on the lessons that you have learned while researching and writing the capstone project. On the one hand, it is essential to talk about the work’s impact on you personally: Have your views changed? Did you learn many new aspects? Are you ready to keep working and developing this topic in the field of astronomy? On the other hand, you must tell readers/listeners about the impact of the capstone project on the scientific field on the whole: Does it pose any motifs for further study?
- Provide the list of references (bibliography) to the sources where you’ve taken the basic data for your scientific research. The list should be properly formatted. Usually, the chosen format is one of these three: Harvard, Chicago, APA. As for the number of references, it must be clarified with your supervisor prior to the writing stage. If this sort of information wasn’t provided by a curator, do not include under 12 and over 25 sources.
The difference between the initial senior type of paper and the final project paper is that the latter also contains an abstract that is used for summing up the whole capstone work and pinpoint to the core outcomes.
The issue that you may probably face while writing is the length of your capstone project in astronomy. This point is also clarified with a curator but it depends on the obtaining degree as well. According to standard rules, the length varies between 30 and 100 pages. In rare cases, it goes above.
Six Final Tips on How to Write a Capstone Project in Astronomy
There have been provided so many different tips, suggestions, recommendations, guides, and hints that it seems nothing else can be added. However, we have six adjectives that should describe your mood while you are working on a capstone project.
- Passionate. Upon finding the topic you are really interested in and the one that evokes excitement, you need to stay passionate about it till the very end of the capstone project development. Why is that so important? The thing is the writing process takes the whole term or even more. And there are frequent moments when you do not really enjoy the topic you are working on. Your being passionate and dedicated to the subject is the only thing that can help you deal with any problems.
- Prepared. Your research should be thorough to prepare you for any turns of your project in astronomy. Always write an outline — it will prepare you as well. Set the goals — they will make the goals consistent.t. Arrange the gathered data properly — it will make the process meaningful.
- Creative. Even though the project topic is a big thing, a little bit of creativity won’t hurt. Even if you are very knowledgeable about the topic, find new directions to put it on unexpected roads.
- Organized. Make a calendar with tasks and deadlines. Whether you need to write for weeks or months, each stage should be developed and finished in due course, so that you had time for revisions.
- Unique. In other words, make your capstone project stand out from the crowd even if the topic was assigned automatically without asking for your consent. A good astronomy student can write about anything — remember that.
- Communicative. During the project workflow, you will need to contact your mentor more than once. Don’t be afraid to communicate, ask for tips and recommendations: in their majority, curators are glad to support and help. You can meet to brainstorm some main ideas. Also, you can send your supervisor drafts for feedback and suggestions.
Writing a capstone project in astronomy means being in constant intellectual pursuit, dedicating your time and effort, researching, analyzing, contrasting, and verifying. With the tips above, the pursuit will be less challenging and more rewarding. Follow the tips and gain an academic degree and success.
- Protheroe, W.M. (1978). Introductory college astronomy: An audio-visual approach. Astronomy Quarterly, 2(5), pp.21–29.
- Schramm, C. and Chan, A.D.C. (2013). Capstone Project Evaluation – Towards a Student-Centred Approach. Proceedings of the Canadian Engineering Education Association.
- Zeilik, M. and Gregory, S.A. (1998). Introductory astronomy & astrophysics. Belmont Drive, Ca: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning, Fort Worth.