Capstone: EE, ME, and EGM 391/392
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Capstone Report Format

    The formal capstone report should be prepared according to the format guidelines included later in this web page, and with the direction and approval of the Faculty Advisor. To ensure adequate coverage of the capstone topic, the report should ideally be 40-60 pages in length, excluding appendices.

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    Application Capstone Format: Report Preparation

  • The formal capstone report should be prepared with the direction and approval of the Capstone Advisor. To ensure adequate coverage of the capstone topic, the report should ideally be 40-60 pages in length, excluding appendices.

    Report Typing


    • Every page is assigned a number, but numbers are not printed on the title page or dedication. Items 1-7 in list are numbered with small (lower case) Roman numerals. Items 8-10 use Arabic numbers beginning with 1. Numbers should then continue straight through to end of report.


    • Type size for the report should be between 10pt and 12pt and should be consistent throughout the report-in text, figure captions, and table titles. Any unusual type style should be approved in advance by Engineering Management; script type may not be used. Equations, formulas and words within figures must also be typed.

      Spacing and Indents

    • The body of the text of the report is double spaced with about six single spaces per vertical inch. With 1 inch top and bottom margins; page lengths usually vary from 24 to 27 lines.
    • Quotations of four or more lines, table titles, figure captions, and section headings are single-spaced. Footnotes and entries in the Contents and Bibliography are also single-spaced, with double spaces between entries.
    • The first line of paragraphs or footnotes is indented uniformly in the report. The number of spaces for this indent depends on the style. A standard indent is eight spaces (1/2 in); a five space indent is also frequently used. Single-spaced quotations are indented in their entirety four spaces from the left margin (1/4 in).Headings
    • A student should choose a hierarchy of headings and subheadings for a report and use it consistently. The spacing above and below headings should be uniform throughout. Examples of headings are provided on the sample pages. The student may choose another style.


    • The guidelines in this text follow the American Psychological Association (APA) style manual.

    • Title Page

      The title page contains the report title; student's name; student's degrees, granting institutions, and anticipated date received.

    • Abstract

      The abstract is a one page summary (350 words maximum) that provides a succinct, descriptive account of the report. It should express the main idea and key points; it might also briefly suggest any implications or application of the research discussed in the paper.

    • Chapter1: Introduction

      This section describes why the capstone was undertaken, expected outcomes or accomplishments, and any information about the situation or environment that would clarify the project.

    • Chapter 2: Background

      In the background section the student discusses recent (within the last 5 years) theories, ideas, methods, publications, similar applications, etc., that pertain to and/or were utilized during the project. (Some capstones, such as business plans, may not require this section.)

    • Chapter 3: Methods

      The methods section describes the structure of the capstone and how research was conducted, including how information was selected and gathered. Note: A review of available literature is not sufficient as the sole research method employed.

    • Chapter 4: Analysis

      The analysis describes how information and data were analyzed, followed by a synthesis of what this work demonstrates and/or what has been learned. Analysis can include graphs, charts, and tables to illustrate how raw information has been translated into new understanding and knowledge.

    • Chapter 5: Conclusions

      • The conclusions section discusses what can be concluded from the work, including recommendations that can be made based on the work. Recommendations can include improvements, new directions, or specific actions to be taken. Along with the
      • Analysis section, this section represents a critical part of the report, and should describe and explain in detail the intellectual contributions made by the student with this capstone. A compendium or summary of existing work done by others does not typically contribute significant intellectual value to the field.

    • Bibliography

      The bibliography lists books, articles or other works consulted in preparing the report. It is included even if end notes or footnotes are used. The arrangement of the bibliography and the information in each entry are determined by the chosen style. Usually the entries in the bibliography are single-spaced with a double space between entries.

    • References

      References in a report may be cited by footnotes, author-year citations, or numbered bibliography

    • Footnotes

      • Footnotes are indicated by superscript numbers in the text.
      • Footnotes are indicated by superscript numbers in the text. They may be placed at the foot of each page or at the end of the report. Footnotes at the bottom of the page may be numbered either beginning with 1 on each page or consecutively throughout the report. When footnotes are used, the bibliography includes all references cited in the notes (and additional sources) and is arranged alphabetically. Footnotes may be typed in a smaller size than the text or in the same size; they are usually single-spaced with a double space between notes.

    • Author-year Citations

      References within the text may be cited by using the author's (or author's last name(s) and the year of publication (and a page number for direct quotations). These references refer to works cited in an alphabetically arranged bibliography.

    • Numbered Bibliography

      When a numbered bibliography is used, each entry in the bibliography is numbered consecutively. These numbers are inserted in the text to cite the references. The numbers in the text are enclosed in parentheses or brackets or printed as superscripts; they will not appear in consecutive order in the text.

    • Tables

      • Tables are placed immediately after their first mention in the text, either on a text page or on a separate sheet. They may be numbered consecutively within each section or throughout the report. Tables that will not fit within the required margins may be typed in smaller type or may be reduced; they also may be printed broadside with the top toward the left margin.
      • Students should refer to a style manual for formatting tables.

    • Titles and Footnotes

      Table titles and footnotes may appear above or below the table, but should be consistent throughout the document. Table footnotes have no relation to text footnotes.

    • Figures

      Figures are placed immediately after their first mention. They may appear on the text page or on a separate page. They should fit within the standard report margins for copying and binding.

    • Captions and Footnotes

      Figure captions may appear above or below the figure, but should be consistent throughout the document. Captions should fit within the standard margins and are not reduced if the figures are reduced; they may appear on the page preceding and facing the figure. Figures may be printed broadside, with the top toward the left margin; the caption then appears beneath the figure and is typed from bottom to top of the page within the standard margins. Footnotes to a figure are typed immediately below the figure, above the caption. On pages with broadsided (landscaped) figures, page numbers should appear in the same position on page as all other pages.

    • Photographs

      Photographs or acceptable photocopies, black and white or in color, may be used for figures in the report. Photographs of slides reproduced on photographic paper may also be used if they are the correct page size, contain a page number, and are on paper heavy enough to withstand use. Maps and plates may be included in a pocket bound into the final copy of the report if they are too large to fit in the required margins.

    • Acknowledgments and Glossary

      The acknowledgment mentions persons or groups that contributed to the report or provided funding. A glossary of terms may be included as a separate page in the introductory material (with a Roman numeral) or as an appendix (with Arabic numbers).

    • Appendices

      An optional section that can include raw data, disks and/or software programs, or other supporting information. Appendices should be numbered A-1, A-2;, B-1, etc.

  • Report Organization

    The final copy of the report submitted to the Engineering Management Program is organized in the following order. The starred items (*) are required in every report; lists of tables, figures or maps are required if they appear in the report; the other items are optional. Examples of formatting for these items are provided in the sample pages. Each division listed (1-10) and each section begins on a new page.

    1. Title Page
    2. Abstract
    3. Dedication
    4. Acknowledgments
    5. Contents
    6. List of Tables
    7. List of Figures or List of Maps Roman Numerals should be utilized to paginate in categories.

    Arabic Numbers should be utilized to paginate in categories.

    1. Text
    2. Bibliography, Selected Bibliography, References
    3. Appendix

    Project Review


    Students should update their Project Advisors regularly and plan to consult with them regularly to review progress prior to completion of the project. The Advisor and the student will agree on a review process that will help ensure satisfactory completion of the final written project report. The final draft of the Project Report must be reviewed and approved as ready to defend by the entire Project Committee prior to scheduling the Project Presentation.

    Project Topic

  • Prior to registering for the course, a project topic must be developed with and approved by the project advisor. After the topic is approved, the project advisor should be provided with a brief Project Proposal and a rough Outline of the project.
  • While students are given a great deal of latitude in the selection of project topics, it is expected that the topic represent an area appropriate to engineering management. Students are permitted to select topics related to their employer, considering that:

    • The project cannot be part of the student's normal work assignments and the student cannot receive pay for any work that is also to be used for course credit
    • The project report will be publicly available


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