Interdisciplinary Studies Capstone Project
Write a report about an organization you have worked/are working, volunteering or interning for. This organization can be a public agency, a nonprofit, a private company or even a student club. In this report you need to identify a problem or issue your organization is facing and propose a solution. The scale of the problem can range from your store having experienced record loses last quarter to the need for better customer service or employee training. If there is no major issue you can think of, approach this report from the perspective of, “How can my company do better?” There is always room for improvement! Do not rely on your experience/intuition alone. Make fact based arguments that you can find support for in existing literature. Stating, “I think we should make changes to process x because my research has revealed that companies a, b and c who have undergone a similar transformation are currently outperforming us” is much more powerful than, “I think we should make changes to process x because I see it is problematic and there is room for improvement”. It does not matter if your position in the organization is “lower” than the level/perspective from which you are writing and indeed that can be good, because it will require you to be aspirational. Example: you may be mainly a barista at Starbucks, but could still write the report as if you were an Associate Manager. The report should be roughly 10 double-spaced pages long, with the caveat that as this is a “practical” rather than strictly “academic” report … it should be as long as it needs to be given the topic and the approach. This means a 7 page paper might be fine, if otherwise superlative; and it means a 15 page paper with a fair amount of graphics would be okay, too.
- Introduction: Your introduction needs to give the reader a clear idea of what you are going to talk about in your paper and how your paper will be organized. It must also be succinct. If your paper is 10 pages long your introduction should be one page or less.Citations: All key factual statements must be backed up by reliable sources. If you state, “Internships are crucial for gaining employment” you need to cite a source that shows this is really the case and this is not just you expressing your opinion.
- Limited references to personal experience: It is okay to draw from your personal experience while writing this report, but the whole paper cannot be about what you love about your job or why you are a business wiz. You need to contextualize your experience. For example, “Volunteering with United Way opened up many professional opportunities for me. I am not alone in this experience as x study has shown that students who volunteer as undergrads have greater career opportunities when they graduate.”
- Good writing and organization: Your report needs to consist of content written out in full sentences, not bullet points (although some bullet-lists are fine, if suitable to the material). You can use pictures and tables if they lend weight to the information you are presenting; however, wholesale substituting of images for written content would be a mistake. You are being judged on the quality of your writing and presentation and research incorporation, not the content per se (the best way of thinking about this: imagine you are writing for a “boss”; the boss likely lacks expertise in what you are writing about, but definitely wants to be reassured that you know what you are writing about… the first sign of lack of expertise, is sloppy prose and organization/presentation.