Capstone Paper Guidelines

The Capstone Paper (PACE 699: Directed Reading) is one of two options for satisfying the culminating experience requirement for the Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution (GCCR). There are two types of Capstone Papers.


Type A Capstone Paper

Students should register for a one-credit PACE 699: Directed Reading and write the paper supervised and assessed by the GCCR Faculty Advisor. The paper should reflect on the GCCR Student Learning Outcomes (listed below) and the ways that the student has attained these learning outcomes through the curriculum. The student should be sure to review the courses taken and key reading materials that were assigned.


GCCR Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Dynamics of different types of conflicts and the range of dispute resolution alternatives;
  2. Methods for assisting parties to analyze their conflict or problem and to choose an appropriate problem-solving process;
  3. Methods for working with parties to design culturally appropriate problem-solving processes that are attentive to the parties’ substantive, relational, and procedural interests;
  4. Methods for assisting parties to identify and articulate their interests, to hear and be heard, to clarify options, and to understand the implications of the choices they are making; and
  5. Methods for assisting parties to evaluate the degree to which the processes in which they have engaged were efficient, fair, effective, culturally appropriate, and set a good precedent.

Also, the paper should analyze at least one ethical issue that arises in conflict resolution. Students are also encouraged to offer constructive criticism of the curriculum in the GCCR. The suggested length of the paper is 4,000 words.


Type B Capstone Paper

Students should register for PACE 699: Directed Reading course; the number of credits will depend upon the length and scope of the proposed research paper. The paper is a traditional research paper on a topic related to conflict resolution that must be approved by the GCCR Faculty Advisor. The student may not write on a topic that they have already researched for another course unless they obtain prior permission from their GCCR Faculty Advisor and can demonstrate that the capstone paper will represent significant new research and writing. Although the GCCR Faculty Advisor normally supervises the paper, the student may seek permission to work under the supervision of the Graduate Chair or another instructor in the GCCR due to the area of expertise.

The suggested length of the paper is:

  • 4,000-5,000 words, including footnotes, for a one-credit PACE 699 course;
  • 6,000- 7,000 words, including footnotes, for a two-credit PACE 699 course;
  • 8,000-10,000 words, including footnotes, for a three-credit PACE 699 course.

Assessment and Suggested Schedule for Completion

The Capstone Paper will be graded on an A-F basis. Unless an extension is approved, the final version should be submitted no less than two weeks before the end of the semester in which the student hopes to graduate. This will allow time for amendments if requested by the supervisor.

In order to ensure steady progress on the Capstone Paper, it is useful to submit the following preliminary documents to the paper supervisor for review and comments:

  1. Week two of the semester: A one-paragraph description of the proposed paper topic (for the GCCR Faculty Advisor approval);
  2. Week five of the semester: A working bibliography (if you are writing a Type Two Capstone Paper). This is a list of sources that you have either read or plan to read as part of the research process. This will enable the GCCR Faculty Advisor to advise you on the quality of your sources and whether you need to widen the scope of research.
  3. Week eight of the semester: A detailed outline of the Capstone Paper (which will enable the GCCR Faculty Advisor to give you suggestions on the organization and coverage of the paper).
  4. Final month of the semester: You are encouraged to submit an initial draft of your paper to receive comments from your GCCR Faculty Advisor. The draft should be as good as you can make the paper so please proofread the paper before submitting it for comments.