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PLCY 809 - MAJOR RESEARCH PROJECT
This is the second course in the project component of the programs. It is only open to students registered in the MPP program.
PLCY 809 is devoted to the Capstone project and contains modules to help you apply the material from your other core courses to the original public policy research you will do for your Capstone. You will receive a separate grade for each of PLCY 808 and 809.
Format and Evaluation
PLCY 809 will meet weekly in the designated time slot or at a time set by your capstone supervisor. The class will meet as a whole in a few sessions, but for most weeks you will be meeting with your supervisor and colleagues who are in your capstone group. Meetings scheduled by your supervisor for your group are very important because you will learn a lot from each other and how your colleagues handle the challenges arising from research. You are required to attend all classes or meetings scheduled.
The grade for PLCY 809 will be for the final version of your Capstone project when approved by your examining committee and ready to submit to the Library.
We are all very keen to have everyone in the cohort complete on time. Some steps to success include:
- allocate a considerable block of time each week to work on your Capstone - if the time you set is too short, you'll have to retrace steps
- set and keep deadlines;
- do not spend too much time on one aspect of your capstone, especially the data section - the data is an input into the policy analysis, not the end product. You need to have time to think about your research findings and use them in your policy analysis.
- You also need time to ensure your writing expresses your ideas clearly and succinctly. Think of your Capstone as a 'white paper' report to a decision maker that clearly defines and frames the policy issue and focuses on your analysis of the potential solutions or paths forward. Your aim is to get the right balance between providing the appropriate information to support your analysis and going into too much detail.
- Your supervisor will help guide you in this process which means multiple drafts of each chapter, where you respond to the feedback from your supervisor. In some instances, an external stakeholder (eg.; government ministry if your capstone topic is one they have an interest in and have been helping with) will also want to read your draft. This is fine, so leave ample time for their feedback.
The absolute maximum word count accepted for the capstone (excluding references and appendices) is 22,000 words. Your capstone supervisor may set a lower limit. Word limits are a highly effective means of introducing discipline in your writing.