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Friday, July 30, 2010

Capstone / Research Paper Guide: Sustainable Business

New degree and certificate programs that focus on sustainability and sustainable business continue to gain traction in the economy, particularly as there continues to be a need for energy efficiency, cost-savings, and positive public relations.

Many schools require capstone projects and extensive research papers. For example, Anaheim University offers a graduate diploma in sustainable management, and has a choice of two capstone projects. Dominican University requires either a service-learning practicum, which can be either an internship or a capstone project. The University of Denver's master's degree in Environmental Policy and Management offers an emphasis in Energy and Sustainability.

Planning your capstone / research project:

Primary thesis: start with a clear statement, and then narrow it down. Make sure your thesis gives an indication of the possibilities contained in the project.

Introductory paragraph: Include your thesis statement, and be sure to provide details and a general overview of the scope of your research paper.

Engaging Opening: Start with a clear statement of why this matters, and show it with an illustrative scene or reference to a core or controversial paper.

Definition: What is sustainability today? Why does it matter? Definition section.

Your focus: Your sustainability focus. Describe your focus and goals in an in-depth way.

Background and contexts. Provide give sufficient background, details, and history of the particular issues you're exploring. Sources can include statistics, journal articles, government documents, news sources, reliable websites.

Literature review / history of the idea: who has written on your topic? what have they said? Sources: refereed journals, You can use blogs and opinions, but it is important to discuss their agendas and bias.

**Importance / Priorities / Issues that come to the surface
**Conflicts / controversies

Case Study Analysis?

Elements to Include:
**Sustainability Project Goals / Vision / Core Mission
**Project Overview
**Review of the Project Elements
**Sequence / Timing / Project planning

Conclusion and Recommendations: What makes your capstone or research project valuable is a combination of the following items: a) thorough investigation of your primary thesis; b) solid research in multiple databases and sources; c) reliable, credible sources; d) insightful analysis; e) creative, innovative conclusion and recommendations.

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