The Capstone Project is the culmination of a student's work in the Arab Crossroad Studies (ACS) major. It is a substantial work of written scholarship that enables students to explore and make a scholarly contribution to areas of particular personal interest. Students are expected to work on the Capstone project throughout the senior year. The final project is expected to be a polished and professional example of scholarly research and writing at its best.
Preparing your Capstone Proposal
As you begin thinking about submitting your Capstone proposal, it is imperative that you acquire and are able to present a good sense of the state of scholarship on the question you intend to pursue. Because of the many disciplines that ACS draws on, it is difficult to refer you to any one database to get a sense of the field you will be working in, and this is reflected in the wide variety of databases gathered by the library under Middle East Studies. Still, here is one source that may be especially helpful: Index Islamicus, which attempts to catalog all references relating to the Middle East and Muslim World.
Evaluating the Proposal
After ACS majors have submitted their Capstone proposals, the ACS faculty will read and discuss them. Regardless of what discipline you are working within, and what subject, period, or area you end up choosing to examine, what we are looking for in your proposal is a clear rationale for your Capstone. What is your question? Why is it important? How does it build on or critique previous work on this subject?; Your ability to clearly articulate answers to these questions will go a long way to preparing yourself for your Capstone work your senior year. Note: it would be disingenuous of us not to admit that your ability to work on a specific Capstone project will be influenced by the availability of ACS faculty. If you wish to work on a subject for which no suitable faculty member will be available, you will be asked to submit another proposal.
Working with an Adviser
Following the submission of your Capstone proposal your junior spring, the ACS faculty will make every effort to pair you with an appropriate faculty adviser. Once you have been assigned to a faculty adviser, she or he will work with you as a supervisor and consultant throughout the process of writing the project. While the student is expected to have a great deal of independence in the construction and execution of this project, the adviser should be seen as a resource who can provide information and feedback over the course of the senior year. Students should use the adviser for guidance in their research, not as a substitute for research, and should schedule regular meetings on a weekly or a bi-weekly basis with the adviser throughout the process.
The Final Draft
The final draft of the Capstone project should be presented as the professional endeavor that it is. It should be carefully proofread, and contain bibliographical material and consistent footnote citations. The Capstone project adviser will be asked for a written evaluation of the project, and it will also be sent to one or more additional faculty members for an outside evaluation. Students should take care, then, that the argument, evidence, and methodological strategies are presented clearly and in language comprehensible to any reader in the field.