Tag Archives: resources


The University Writing Center at UCF provides tutoring support to help students with all aspects of their capstone projects from brainstorming and outlining to drafting and revising. Students can schedule appointments for one-on-one tutoring sessions to get feedback on their project proposals, literature reviews, methods sections, results sections, and discussions/conclusions. Tutors are trained to work with students at all stages of the writing process to help them clearly communicate their ideas and research. They are equipped to help with both the content and structure of papers as well as APA style formatting. Students are encouraged to visit the Writing Center multiple times as they develop their projects.

In addition to the Writing Center, UCF students have access to research consultations with librarians through the UCF Libraries. Librarians provide guidance on how to search for and evaluate academic resources for capstone literature reviews and how to formally cite sources in papers. They can advise students on accessing data sources or subject specialists if needed for their particular projects. Students are able to schedule individual meetings with librarians to get customized support in developing an effective research process and finding appropriate materials.

For students completing quantitative or experimental capstone projects, UCF’s Statistical Consulting Center provides free help on topics like choosing appropriate research methods and study designs, conducting data analyses in statistical software like SAS or SPSS, and accurately interpreting results. Consultants assist with everything from shaping draft methodology sections to troubleshooting issues that arise during data collection or analysis phases. Like with the Writing and Research Centers, scheduling appointments ensures students receive personalized attention tailored to their individual research questions and data.

The College of Graduate Studies at UCF oversees the university’s graduate programs and provides various resources to aid students as they undertake capstone work. They offer sample capstone project proposals and completed papers as models for formatting and content. Their website includes guides on the capstone process with timelines and approval procedures. For students completing theses, dissertations or other project types requiring committee approval, the College of Graduate Studies staff can answer questions about committee selection, proposal defense preparations and final submission of papers.

Within individual colleges and departments, many offer targeted support specific to the disciplines’ methods, topics and presentation formats. For instance, the College of Engineering and Computer Science runs prep workshops on creating effective posters, presentations and demonstrations for capstone projects. The Nicholson School of Communication holds proposal writing clinics where faculty provide structured feedback on developing focused research questions and study designs. Health professions programs routinely host capstone fairs where current students exhibit their projects and share advice for upcoming cohorts. Accessing college-level resources allows students to get guidance tailored to the expectations of their specific fields.

Many academic departments and research centers at UCF also sponsor undergraduate research programs, funding and conference presentation opportunities that can support capstone endeavors. For example, the Burnett Honors College provides funding for honors thesis research projects through its Honors in the Major program. Research and fellowship offices in individual colleges publicize internal and external grant programs that can help cover costs for equipment, supplies, participant compensation or conference travel to disseminate capstone findings. Additionally, involvement in faculty research labs and centers exposes undergraduates to ongoing projects and research mentorship that can inspire capstone topics or provide data sources.

UCF offers various campus-wide resources that, while not specific to capstones, can still aid students throughout their final projects. Health and wellness services like campus counseling and the Recreation and Wellness Center promote reducing stress – important for the self-care needed to sustain long-term capstone work. Technical support from places like Computer Services and Telecommunications helps with any IT issues that arise from data collection software, statistical programs or multimedia presentations. The extensive academic and professional support infrastructure at UCF works together to empower students to successfully complete their capstone requirements and gain valuable experiential learning.

UCF students are well-supported as they undertake capstone projects through personalized tutoring, research consultations, statistical help, general guidance from graduate and department offices, discipline-specific workshops, funding opportunities, involvement in research labs and campus wellness resources. By taking advantage multiple on-campus centers, faculty mentorship and fellowships, undergraduates are equipped with necessary tools and expertise to design, implement and communicate original research or projects before graduating.


Coding Languages and Frameworks:

HTML/CSS – These core web technologies are essential for building any type of web application. HTML defines the content and structure, while CSS controls the design and layout. Many sites are built with just these languages.

JavaScript – As the core scripting language of the web, JavaScript is necessary for adding dynamic and interactive elements to web pages and applications. It is supported across all major browsers. Advanced JavaScript frameworks can be used to build complex single-page apps.

Python – A versatile programming language used widely in industry. Python can be used to build both front-end web apps using frameworks like Django and Flask, as well as back-end APIs and microservices. Python is also well-suited for data analysis, machine learning, and scripting tasks.

Java – The most popular language for traditional back-end web application development. The Spring framework is commonly used for creating enterprise-level Java web apps. Java can also be used to build Android mobile apps.

Swift/Objective-C – Required for building native iOS mobile apps running on iPhone and iPad. Swift is the primary language nowadays, replacing Objective-C, but it’s good to be familiar with both.

Kotlin – The preferred language for Android application development alongside Java. Kotlin code works directly with Android SDK and is fully interoperable with Java.

React – A JavaScript library for building complex user interfaces and single-page apps. React makes it easier to create interactive UIs and is commonly paired with frameworks like Redux. Widely used by Facebook, Instagram, and other big companies.

Angular – Another popular JavaScript framework, developed by Google. Similar capabilities to React but with a more fully-featured framework approach.

Node.js – A JavaScript runtime built on Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine. Node.js lets you write backend apps in JavaScript and is commonly used for REST API development alongside frameworks like Express.

Flutter – Google’s open-source mobile app SDK for building high-quality native applications for iOS and Android from a single codebase with the Dart programming language.

Development Environments:

Visual Studio Code – A free, lightweight but powerful source code editor made by Microsoft for Windows, Linux and macOS. Highly customizable and extensible.

Android Studio – The official IDE for developing Android apps.Provides an integrated environment for building Android apps with tools for compiling, debugging, and performance optimization.

Xcode – The official IDE for developing iOS apps on Mac systems. All development and deployment of apps is handled within Xcode.

PyCharm – A Python IDE developed by JetBrains, optimized for writing, debugging, and profiling Python code. Great for Django and Flask web development.

IntelliJ IDEA – A Java IDE that can also be used for Android, Python, JavaScript, etc. Very powerful but heavier than alternatives.


MySQL – The world’s most popular open-source relational database. Wide support and easy to use with many web frameworks.

Postgres – Another powerful open-source relational database used heavily in industry. Considered more robust than MySQL for complex requirements.

MongoDB – The dominant document-oriented NoSQL database. Flexible for unstructured data and frequently used with Node, Python and mobile backends.

Firebase – Google’s mobile platform with a realtime database well suited for mobile app development. Handles authentication, hosting, push notifications and more.

Testing & Deployment:

Jest – JavaScript testing framework primarily used with React apps. Easy to setup and runs fast with straightforward API.

JUnit – De facto unit testing standard for Java apps. Integrates cleanly with frameworks like Spring Boot.

Postman – Useful GUI tool for sending HTTP requests to test and document RESTful APIs during development.

Travis CI/GitHub Actions – Popular continuous integration services that can automate building/testing code and deploying releases when changes are pushed to GitHub.

Heroku – Leading cloud application platform. Makes it simple to deploy and host web/mobile backends written in most languages including Java, Python, Node, Ruby etc. Provides automated deploys from GitHub.

AWS – Industry-leading cloud provider offering comprehensive PaaS and IaaS services to deploy production apps at scale. Services like EC2, S3, API Gateway, Lambda,etc. More complex but powerful capabilities over Heroku.

Android Play Store/iOS App Store – Final deployment destinations for distributing production mobile apps to end users. Requires setting up signed release builds with their respective app stores.

With the vast selection of languages, frameworks, environments and tools listed above, students have everything they need available for free or at low cost to design, develop, test and ship a professional quality capstone project for the web or mobile. Carefully selecting the right stack based on the project requirements and one’s skills/interests will ensure success in completing an impactful application.


Ensuring students have access to dedicated resources for their capstone projects requires planning and commitment of resources from the school administration and staff. Capstone projects are meant to be culminating academic experiences that allow students to apply their knowledge and skills to a substantial project of their own design. For these projects to be successful and for students to get the most out of them, schools need to provide certain supports.

First, schools must dedicate physical space on campus where students can work on their projects. This could be project workrooms, tech labs, studio spaces, or other dedicated areas where students have access to workspace, tables, chairs, electrical outlets, storage space, and any other facilities needed for their particular projects. Making reservations for these spaces well in advance will allow students to plan out their project timelines and work sessions. Schools may need to repurpose existing rooms or construct new ones to meet the physical space requirements for larger numbers of simultaneous capstone projects.

Dedicated technologies, tools, and equipment that support various disciplines also need to be made accessible to students for their projects. For example, science projects may require access to microscopes, lab equipment and software. Engineering projects could utilize 3D printers, software like CAD or programming tools. Arts projects may need studio equipment for various media like photography darkrooms, pottery wheels or musical instruments. Ensuring all technologies and equipment that could possibly support capstone work are available, in good working condition, and that students receive any necessary training to use them properly is important. Sufficient budgets will need to be allocated for new technologies, repairs and ongoing upgrades to keep equipment current.

Resources like subscriptions to academic journals, eBooks and research databases all need to be easily accessible to support students’ literature reviews and research components of their projects. Many schools may need to expand their digital collections and ensure students can access these resources both on campus and remotely. On-site research support from librarians is also invaluable to help students develop search strategies, evaluate sources and properly cite their work. Budgets should account for continual expansion of these academic research resources.

Consultation and advice from faculty advisers or subject matter experts are another important resource students need access to. Schools must ensure enough faculty/staff time and guidance is dedicated to advise each student through their capstone. This may involve one-on-one meetings, group consultations, interim progress checks and final project reviews. Faculty workloads and schedules need to allot sufficient time commitments for effective capstone advising and evaluation.

Budgets are required to support direct project expenses like software licenses, materials, travel and any other costs students may incur to complete their work. This could involve per-project stipends/grants provided to students or use of a general revolving capstone fund. Fundraising may expand available dollars for projects requiring higher budgets. Clear guidelines are needed regarding permissible expense claims and funding limits.

Partnering with local industry, nonprofit or government organizations can provide real-world experiential opportunities for students through capstone projects addressing needs within the community. Building relationships with potential external partners and maintaining an ongoing pipeline of suitable project ideas benefits both students and partners. Resources should support events to connect students with partners and facilitate agreement approvals, oversight and evaluations of partner-based projects.

Documentation and sharing of past student capstone work can provide examples and inspiration for current students as they design their own projects. Online capstone repositories, project displays and end-of-year showcases help connect students with each other’s work. Organizing and maintaining these ongoing resources requires staff support and dedicated storage/display facilities.

There needs to be robust intake, monitoring and support systems to ensure every student’s access to resources remains equitable throughout the capstone process. These systems track project proposals and resource reservations, address issues that may delay progress, and provide alternatives if scopes change. Case management helps remove barriers preventing students from taking full advantage of available supports. Collecting feedback also helps schools continually strengthen their dedicated capstone resources over time.

Carefully allocating physical spaces, technologies, research supports, faculty guidance, funding, partnerships, knowledge sharing and administrative oversight allows schools to greatly enhance the capstone experience for their students. With a proactive, holistic approach and commitment of institutional resources, schools can ensure every student has everything they need to successfully undertake and complete their culminating academic projects.


Primary research refers to original research conducted by the researcher themselves for a specific purpose or to answer a specific question. Some key aspects of conducting primary research include:

Developing research questions/hypotheses: The researcher must clearly define the research question or problem they are seeking to answer through primary research. Well-developed research questions help provide focus to the research. Broad or unclear questions make gathering useful primary data difficult.

Research methods: Once the research questions are defined, the researcher must select appropriate primary research methods to collect original data. Common primary research methods include surveys, interviews, observation studies, and experiments. The method used depends on the research topic, available resources, and desired outcome of the research. Methods must be selected carefully to ensure the data collected will help answer the research questions.

Sampling approach: If using surveys or interviews, the researcher must determine a sampling approach to select participants. Probabilistic sampling aims for randomness and generalization while non-probabilistic sampling targets availability and expedience. Sample size is also an important consideration, with larger samples providing more reliable insights typically.

Ethics: All primary research involving human subjects requires strict adherence to research ethics. Researchers must obtain informed consent, protect privacy and confidentiality, avoid deception, and ensure no harm comes to participants. Research ethics approval may be required depending on the methods used and participant populations sampled.

Data collection: Gathering original data is at the heart of primary research. surveys must be constructed carefully, interviews planned thoroughly, and observation/experiment protocols established to reliably collect useful data. Data collection tools like questionnaires need to be pre-tested to identify issues.

Data analysis: Once collected, primary data needs to be compiled, coded, and analyzed using statistical or qualitative analysis techniques as appropriate. Data analysis focuses on identifying trends, relationships, and insights that help answer the research questions. Reliable analysis is dependent on robust collection methods and appropriate sample sizes.

Reporting: The final step involves formally reporting findings and conclusions in a clear, well-structured format. Reporting demonstrates how the primary research addressed the original questions and adds value. Limitations must also be acknowledged to establish credibility. Reports aide dissemination of new knowledge gained.

Some additionaltips for effective primary research include piloting data collection tools, maintaining objectivity, leveraging available resources and expertise, using reliable analysis techniques, and recognizing limitations. Primary research strengthens a research project but requires careful planning and execution to generate meaningful insights.

Secondary research refers to using existing information to answer a research question rather than gathering original data. Some key aspects of effective secondary research include:

Defining research questions: Clearly defining the research questions is essential to focus the secondary research. Questions should be answerable using available secondary data sources. Broad questions may require primary data.

Identifying relevant sources: The researcher must systematically search for reliable secondary data sources likely to contain information addressing the research questions. Common sources include academic literature, industry reports, government statistics, market data, and more.

Evaluating sources: All secondary sources require critical evaluation on credibility, sources of funding, methodologies used, dates of publication and potential biases before being cited or used in analysis. More recent and rigorously collected data is preferable.

Collecting and compiling data: Relevant information and statistics must be gathered methodically from credible secondary sources. Data is ideally compiled consistently into themes or categories aligned to research questions for analysis.

Analyzing compiled data: Both quantitative and qualitative analytical techniques can be applied depending on the nature of compiled secondary data. Analysis centers on identifying trends, relationships, insights and conclusions relevant to research questions.

Limitations: Reliance on secondary sources introduces inherent limitations compared to primary data in terms of lack of control over collection methods, dates, contextual details. Limitations must be acknowledged in research outcomes.

Reporting: Findings, insights, limitations and conclusions from secondary research analysis are reported clearly and concisely. Reports cite all sources per academic standards and aim to add value.

Both primary and secondary research have important roles to play in conducting robust research. While primary research allows original data collection, secondary research leverages existing information to answer questions in a more timely and cost-effective manner when carefully executed. Combining both primary and secondary approaches can result in particularly rich, reliable research outcomes.


The U.S. Census Bureau is one of the most comprehensive government sources for data in the United States. It conducts surveys and collects information on a wide range of demographic and economic topics on an ongoing basis. Some key datasets available from the Census Bureau that are useful for student capstone projects include:

American Community Survey (ACS): An ongoing survey that provides vital information on a yearly basis about the U.S. population, housing, social, and economic characteristics. Data is available down to the block group level.

Population estimates: Provides annual estimates of the resident population for the nation, states, counties, cities, and towns.

Economic Census: Conducted every 5 years, it provides comprehensive, detailed, and authoritative data about the structure and functioning of the U.S. economy, including statistics on businesses, manufacturing, retail trade, wholesale trade, services, transportation, and other economic activities.

County Business Patterns: Annual series that provides subnational economic data by industry with employment levels and payroll information.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) maintains a wide range of useful datasets related to education in the United States. Examples include:

Private School Universe Survey (PSS): Provides the most comprehensive, current, and reliable data available on private schools in the U.S. Data includes enrollments, teachers, finances, and operational characteristics.

Common Core of Data (CCD): A program of the U.S. Department of Education that collects fiscal and non-fiscal data about all public schools, public school districts, and state education agencies in the U.S. Includes student enrollment, staffing, finance data and more.

Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS): Collects data on the characteristics of teachers and principals and general conditions in America’s elementary and secondary schools. Good source for research on education staffing issues.

Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS): Gathers data on children’s early school experiences beginning with kindergarten and progressing through elementary school. Useful for developmental research.

Two additional federal sources with extensive publicly available data include:

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) via NIH RePORTer – Searchable database of federally funded scientific research projects conducted at universities, medical schools, and other research institutions. Can find data and studies relevant to health/medicine focused projects.

The Department of Labor via data.gov and API access – Provides comprehensive labor force statistics including employment levels, wages, employment projections, consumer spending patterns, occupational employment statistics and more.Valuable for capstones related to labor market analysis.

Some other noteworthy data sources include:

Pew Research Center – Nonpartisan provider of polling data, demographic trends, and social issue analyses. Covers a wide range of topics including education, health, politics, internet usage and more.

Gallup Polls and surveys – Leader in daily tracking and large nationally representative surveys on all aspects of life. Good source for attitude and opinion polling data.

Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) – Extensive collections of time series economic data provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Covers GDP, income, employment, production, inflation and many other topics.

Data.gov – Central catalog of datasets from the U.S. federal government including geospatial, weather, environment and many other categories. Useful for exploring specific agency/government program level data.

In addition to the above government and private sources, academic libraries offer access to numerous databases from private data vendors that can supplement the publicly available sources. Examples worth exploring include:

ICPSR – Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Vast archive of social science datasets with strong collections in public health, criminal justice and political science.

IBISWorld – Industry market research reports with financial ratios, revenues, industry structures and trends for over 700 industries.

ProQuest – Extensive collections spanning dissertations, newspapers, company profiles and statistical datasets. Particularly strong holdings in the social sciences.

Mintel Reports – Market research reports analyzing thousands of consumer packaged goods categories along with demographic segmentation analysis.

EBSCOhost Collections – Aggregates statistics and market research from numerous third party vendors spanning topics like business, economics, psychology and more.

So Students have access to a wealth of high-quality, publicly available data sources from governments, non-profits and academic library databases that can empower strong empirical research and analysis for capstone projects across a wide range of disciplines. With diligent searching, consistent data collection practices like surveys can be located to assemble time series datasets ideal for studying trends. The above should provide a solid starting point for any student looking to utilize real-world data in their culminating undergraduate research projects.