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Assignment Questions

College Course Essay

Most project options will consist of three chapters. Chapter 1 is the introduction to your project and contains an untitled introduction, the background, purpose of the paper, the need for and significance of the project, and definitions of terms. Chapter 2 presents a review of the academic/educational literature and research on the topic under investigation. Chapter 3 will be an action research proposal. Note that APA style and format is expected no matter which capstone project you choose.

Since this is a graduate college course, graduate quality writing is expected within your written proposal. The mechanics of your writing will form part of the evaluation of your work. Documents must be sent in MSWord format.

MAT 640: Applications of Research


A.Identify the topic of your project.
What general topic related to your practice of teaching are you interested in investigating? For example, when you reflect on your teaching, is there a strategy or program you would like to try to see if students’ achievement levels increase? Or, is there a topic you would like to learn in depth, and then design a presentation for your colleagues?
It is important to choose a topic about which you feel passionate; however, one caution is in order. You must not begin your project with the intent to “prove” something. Like a good detective, you must gather information and look for evidence with an open mind. Accurate analysis of reliable data will allow you to speak authoritatively after you carry out your study. Wherever possible, it is important to provide differing and/or opposing perspectives on the issues that are at the heart of your topic.

A topic I feel passionate about and would like to pursue for MAT640 is…
the merits of differentiated instruction in science classes for grades 9-12.

In regard to the topic you identified, what is the current situation? What is the problem, need, or issue that you would like to address? The information you write in this section can be used in Chapter 1 of your project.

Begin your response here…Most teachers currently use the direct instruction approach and not all students are on the same level so achievement is not up to standards for all students.

What has led up to your choosing your particular project? Has something occurred in your classroom (or school, or district, or state, etc.) that has led to the need for your project?
The information you write in sections B and C can be summarized in one or two paragraphs and included in Chapter 1 of your project. (Chapter 1 is written after you have written chapter 2.)
Begin your response here…The use of direct instruction in science classes doesn’t allow adequate learning for all students.

D.Significance of the Project
Who will benefit from the results of your project if you were to carry it out? Why would it be important to carry out the project? What will happen if nothing is done?
For example, if your topic was about investigating whether use of a specific reading program raised students’ reading scores, the results of your project would be of significance to your own students because reading is so vital to learning. Such a project would also have significance for parents, educators, and researchers.
The information you write in this section can be used in Chapter 1 of your project.

Begin your response here…The students will benefit the most because they will all be learning in a way they can understand which will increase self-esteem and motivation to learn. Teachers will also benefit in that they will have a proven teaching strategy to implement in their science classes to promote whole class learning.

E.If you are doing an action research proposal or a grant proposal, what would you measure (or who would you interview or survey) to gather data? (if you were to carry out your project)? Remember that you do not carry out your proposal in MAT640. You go only as far as planning for gathering data and data analysis.
(For example, measures of whether an intervention is successful could come from such things as test scores, office referrals, attendance, et cetera. Such numerical data is called quantitative data. Or you could discover what you need to learn by interviewing people who have experienced what you are investigating. Such verbal or written data is called qualitative data.)

Begin your response here…An action research proposal which would measure test scores over a semester where differentiated instruction is used compared to previous semesters test scores.

F.Purpose of the project.
Identify one of the following seven options you will use for the application in chapter three, and then complete the purpose statement below. (Examples of completed purpose statements are in a document in the Resources section of our course website.)
Action Research Proposal – Develop the plan for (but not conduct) a research study using qualitative and/or quantitative research to design, a classroom based research study.

For my MAT 640 project, the application I have chosen is…an Action research proposal.

Your purpose statement must be a clear, precise statement that encapsulates what you intend to do in your study. The purpose statement provides a guide for everything you write in your study. Each time you repeat your purpose statement in your project, be sure it is a copy and paste of the statement approved by your instructor.

Complete the following statement: The purpose of this project is to….determine the relationship between measures of student achievements in science classes in grades 9-12 and implementation of differentiated instruction over a period of 1 semester.

While each student’s project is unique, the information in A through F (above) will be relevant to your writing of chapter one, and the purpose statement will guide the whole of your project.
While it is important for you to think through each of the items above and include the information in Chapter 1, you will begin the writing of your project by writing the literature review, Chapter 2. In Unit 3 of the course, you will come back to this Worksheet and use the information (together with some of what you found in the literature review) to write Chapter 1.

Chapter one is described more fully in Lecture 3. It is an introductory chapter that provides a general overview of your project. An outline for chapter one should be evident in the headings you use throughout the chapter. Review the example papers in the Resources section of the course website to see how headings and citations should appear in Chapter One.

Use the information below in conjunction with planning to write the Literature Review (Chapter 2, Unit 2), and preparing your application (Chapter 3, Unit 3).

II. Chapter Two: Begin the writing of your project with the Literature Review

A.Chapter Two sets the theoretical basis for your study.
Chapter 2 reports what others have written about the topic, and reports about the methodology and findings of studies that relate to your topic.
It is important to report opposing views and differing perspectives on the topic.
It is important to organize a very clear outline for Chapter Two, and make the outline visible to the reader through the use of headings.

B.For Unit 2 of our course you will write a draft of Chapter Two. It is important to being writing Chapter Two as soon in the course as possible. Chapter Two is by far, the most time-consuming chapter to write. By comparison, Chapters One and Three will take much less time to complete.

C.Begin chapter by (re)stating the purpose of your project and restating the purpose (copy and paste your purpose statement each time you use it), and identify what is to come in chapter two by listing the main points of the outline of the chapter. The format for your Chapter 2 will look like the following:


Introduction… in which you state the purpose of your project clearly and precisely and state what is to come in chapter two by listing the main points of the outline of the chapter. For example you might say, the purpose of this project is to… In chapter two a review of literature includes…(then list the main headings in the chapter. The headings will reflect what you have found to be important elements to report about the topic you have chosen. Remember that you cannot write exhaustively about your topic. Doing so would require a book. Your purpose statement should serve as a guide for what you address in your literature review).

First Main Heading

Report relevant information from your reading of peer reviewed sources. The headings you use should reflect the order in which you listed the main parts of your literature review in the introduction.

Second Main Heading (Add additional headings as needed)

Use of headings is expected in scholarly writing to guide readers through the logic of your presentation. While there is a specific APA format for headings, there is not “one best way” to organize or outline your literature review. Translate your outline into headings as a way to clearly show how your flow of thought is organized. “Carefully outline the hierarchy of the ideas you wish to present, and use headings to convey the sequence and levels of importance. Headings help the reader grasp the article’s organization and relative importance of the parts” (Publication Manual of the APA, 2002, p. 10).

An important part of scholarly writing is citing and referencing sources of information. The difference between an outstanding scholarly report and plagiarism can be as little as citing (or failure to cite) the source of information and ideas. If in doubt about whether to cite a source, cite the source.

The APA Manual and the NU Library Reference and Citation Guide are excellent resources for how to accurately cite and reference the articles and books you use. The sample projects in the resources section of our course also model APA format.

End chapter two with a brief summary of what you have written. No new information should be included in the summary.

III. Chapter Three Overview: Practical application

A.Chapter three presents the application of your project.
In an Action Research project, chapter three presents a plan for gathering and analyzing data.

Chapter three will reflect the unique purpose of your study. As with chapters one and two, headings should be used to reflect an outline and the flow of thought in your writing.

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