Higher- Postsecondary and Continuing Education Capstone Project



Main Office

Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis
School of Education
253 Education Building
1000 Bascom Mall
MadisonWI  53706-1326

Tel: 608/262-3106
Fax: 608/265-3135

Email: elpa@education.wisc.edu
or by contact form
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A master can tell you what he expects of you. A teacher, though, awakens your own expectations. —Patricia Neal

Higher, Postsecondary, and Continuing Education Capstone Project

The HPCE master’s program is anchored in a culminating scholarly project in which each student is expected to demonstrate their growth and development as reflected in their accomplishments and scholarship proficiency in the following four domains:

  1. foundations
  2. administration, organization, and governance
  3. teaching and learning
  4. policy and research

Each project will be reviewed and judged by two HPCE faculty members (i.e., major professor and one additional faculty). The document should be approximately 50 pages written in paragraph format using APA writing style guidelines. You have at least two options to fulfill this requirement. First, you may do so within the parameters of a course. For this option, you would register for ELPA 777: HPCE Capstone Seminar. Second, you can work independently with your major professor. For this option, you would register for ELPA 999: Independent Reading. Capstone project options include:

  1. integrative research reviews
  2. program/project evaluation
  3. publishable manuscript

   Integrative Research Reviews

Integrative research reviews provide the opportunity to evaluate a body of research to identify gaps in current research, identify future research needs, bridge between related areas of work, identify central issues in an area, generate a research question(s), identify a theoretical or conceptual framework, and explore which research methods have been used successfully. At least five components are generally included:

  1. problem formulation
  2. data collection or literature search
  3. evaluation of data
  4. data analysis
  5. interpretation and presentation of results

The integrative review methodology must involve detailed and thoughtful work, the outcome of which can be a significant contribution to a particular body of knowledge and, consequently, to practice and research.

​    Program/Project Evaluation

Program/project evaluation is a formalized approach to studying the goals, processes, and impacts of projects, policies, and programs. Program/project evaluations can involve quantitative methods of social research, qualitative methods, or both. Program/project evaluation provides formative feedback that helps guide a program/project as it is being implemented. It also provides summative data that clearly demonstrates that the program/project is accomplishing its stated goals and objectives. The evaluation option requires a program or project is identified and agrees to participate, and that the evaluation process is designed and implemented.

   Publishable Manuscript

The publishable manuscript is a document that is based on an empirical inquiry using data and original analysis. The document should generally include sections dedicated to:

  1. statement of the problem
  2. rationale for the study
  3. research question(s)
  4. review of relevant literature
  5. framework
  6. method
  7. findings and discussion
  8. implications for research, policy, and practice

When the document is complete, every effort should be made to present results at a professional conference and/or submit to a professional journal.



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