Resume/LinkedIn Description

AP Seminar and AP Research are two innovative new courses that are at the heart of College Board’s Capstone diploma program.  To receive the Capstone diploma, students must receive a three or higher in both AP Seminar and AP Research, and receive a three or higher on four other AP exams. The Capstone program teaches the broad set of skills required to write publishable, academic research papers.  The following inventories the specific skills that I developed through Capstone.

·             Perform aligned research of peer-reviewed academic literature. 

·             Design research methods that align with past research.

·             Collect data relevant to an aligned research topic.

·             Curate quantitative and qualitative findings and analyze results.

·             Report key findings, conclusions and recommendations for future research.

·             Received a top score of “5 “in AP Seminar, a score attained by only 6% of all course participants.)  (Received a score of “4 “in AP Seminar, ranking in the top quarter of Capstone students worldwide.)


Get a recommendation statement (NOT A LETTER) from your Seminar teacher. 

Everyone in your GBF class endorse you for Research Skills.

The Final Sprint


* Final Submission of Paper:  Each student is responsible for submitting their final papers to the AP Digital Portfolio by the assigned due date and time.  You must submit it as a PDF, and under the tab “Submit Final”.

* Submission & Confirmation Emails:  Students must email Mr. Nelson when they make their final submission.  Mr. Nelson will perform a final TurnItIn and format review, and report his findings in a return email.  Make sure you have received this confirmation email by the time noted below.  

The students below must have their final papers submitted to the digital portfolio by Saturday April 28 Midnight.  These students should follow up with Mr. Nelson if they haven’t heard from him by Sunday noon.

Success, Dana, Angela, Xochitl, Nasredene, Ethan, Melissa, Aaminah, Alexis, Annie, Tim, Matt, Tanvi

The students below must have their final papers submitted to the digital portfolio by Sunday April 29 4:00PM.  They should follow up with Mr. Nelson if they haven’t heard from him by Sunday 8:00pm.


Data Analysis Ten Quick Tips

Tim’s Excellent Powerpoint Draft


On-deck for Friday - Aaminah, Xochi, Sasha, Angelica

On-deck for Monday - Lauren S, Lauren E, Fatimah O, Volunteer #1

Thursday (3/22/18) - Presentation slide deck submiited to Mr. Nelson by email. 

Friday (3/23/18) - 3rd Submission of Paper Posted To Digital Portfolio, See List Below.

Focus #1 No more “rough” draft, paper follows logically from introduction through conclusion, some wordsmithing may still be required.

Focus #2 - Under 20% on TurnItIn

Focus #3  Analysis of Findings leads to conclusion that describes implications and limitations of research.

First Week of April - ALL Students Be Prepared To Present (Dress Rehearsal to be filmed) Starting Monday April 2, 2018; Alexis and Tanvi will go first and then the random number generator will pick who gets to go next.

Presentation Schedule

Assigned times may change slightly (e.g. half hour). Students will present in the order shown. Please arrive fifteen minutes before your assigned time and date.  

Tuesday April 10, 2018 (3:30pm-5:30pm)

Melissa J, Aaminah B, Ethan T, Alexis B

Tuesday April 10, 2018 (5:30pm-7:30pm)

Madina S, Xochilt , Matt B, Timothy M

Thursday April 12, 2018 (3:30pm-5:30pm)

Saira S, Jessica S, Angelica L, Fatimah O

Thursday April 12, 2018 (5:30pm-7:30pm)

Sasha S, Lauren S, John W, Success U

Saturday April 14, 2018  (7:30am-9:30am)

Cambria M, , Lauren E, Madeline M, Nasredene E

Saturday April 14, 2018 (9:30am-11:30am)

Dana R, Daniel L,  Tanvi K, Tyler C

Digital Portfolio Review Instruction

AP Research Presentations

Presentation Dates will likely be:

April 10 3:30pm - 7:30pm (Tuesday)

April 12 3:30pm - 7:30pm (Thursday)

April 14 7:30am - 11:30am(Saturday)

Please start arranging your schedules to match one of these days, please plan for a first and second choice.  You will be asked to commit in the second week of March.

AP Research Paper

Here are five “perfect" papers from 2017 as judged by College Board:

Youth Impulsivity Levels: Disordered Gambling & Substance Absue  By Diane Bui, 17'

A Study of Aesthetics and Hedonics in Photography   By Bria Rosenberg, 17’

Tear Analysis on Contact Lenses Using A Cell-Phone Based Flourometric Assay Reader By Katie Barajas, 17'

Consequences of Texting Behaviors on Teen Romantic Relationships By Goldy Faramarzyan, 17

Paper By Valeria Robles, 17’ Coming Soon.

Here are three other “5" papers from 2017 as judged by College Board:

Effect of Dog Interactions on High School Students Mood & Anxiety - By Anam, 17'

Hope’s Word Use in the Poetry of Anne Saxrton & Sylvia Plath - By Hope Su, 17’

Korean Ethnic Identity & Assimiliation Levels of High School Students in an Ethinically Diverse Calfironia School - By Esther Lee, 17'

Make these reports your first stop in looking for examining the cohesiveness of your final paper (eg transitions between sections, continuity in “Instruments” discussion, “ indings" presentation, and "Analysis of Findings”).  All of them employed: basic univariate and bivariate data analyses, and basic inferential statistics and analysis.

Full Draft of Paper Due Friday March 2, 2018

1st Choice: Submit digitally please.  Note that CB considers you fully committed for payment once you submit a draft.

Alternative Option: Bring hard copy to class on Friday.

Introduction Board Notes
Methods Section Outline

Findings Section Generic Outline

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DUE WEDNESDAY   February 7, 2018

I’m posting this assignment draft for now, expect a couple more details to help guide you later this weekend.  Nothing substantial will be added in terms of breadth.


Thanks to Annie for sharing her draft.

AP Research Sample Papers: 

Autoimune Disease

Time for Dinner

Prompt Questions For Assessing Papers Above

Prompts for Assessing Sample Papers

Targets of the Academic Paper Assessment

Anam’s Paper - Effect of Dog Interactions on High School Students Mood & Anxiety

Hope’s Paper - Word Use in the Poetry of Anne Saxton & Sylvia Plath

Katie’s Paper - Tear Analysis of Contact Lenses Using A Cell-Phone Based Fluorometric Assay Reader

Esther’s Paper- Korean Ethnic Identity & Assimilation Levels of High School Students in an Ethnically Diverse Californian High School

Diane’s Paper - Youth Impulsivity Levels: Disordered Gambling & Substance Abuse

A Study of Aesthetics and Hedonics in Photography   By Bria Rosenberg, 17’ (See Methods Section)

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Success’ Paragraph Points

NEXT STEP: Statistical Analysis of Data/Analysis of Findings

Data to Paper Graphic Display Overview

Initially, think of your data analyses as falling into one of three categories:

#1 Descriptive Statistics where you provide information on the responses for each question considered as a whole.  Here you will use numeric statistics (e.g. mean, standard deviation, outliers) and graphic displays (e.g. histograms, bar charts) to communicate how your population responded.  Your desciptions should go beyond simply noting the means but should include a thorough examination of   "what you found”.  Think about how you will characterize your data in the report.  Consider comparing “ segments” of your population where you look at outlier responses more closely or compare the upper quartile to the lower quartile etc. portions of your population All students will be required to incorporate some histograms in your final paper.

EXCEL SKILLS REQUIRED: Create histogram chart and calculate “Desciptive Statististics" using Statistical Toolpak.  Students will also need to calculate first quartile (Q1, 25th percentile), third quartile (Q3, 75th percentile), interquartile range (IQR), and margin of error (MOE, “ Confidence" 95%).   

#2 Comparative Statistics with foundational source measures of central tendency, outliers and percentile rank.     

2a) Where idenitcal questions were asked in your study and statistics for these questions were available in the foundational source, the means can be used to compare the “typical” responses for these two populations.  Differences between your study’s mean and the foundational source’s mean are statistically significant if the difference is at least 2X the Margin of Error (MOE).  These pairs of findings can be labeled as “statistically significant”.   Where differences are less than 2X, a further statistical test will be applied known as a test of significance.  This family of procedures will be taught to ALL students in the first two weeks of the spring semester. 

2b) Where idenitcal questions were not asked in your study and/or statistics for these questions were not available in the foundational source, you will need to limit your analyses to broader non-numeric comparisons.  Think of drawing a numeric breakpoint to compare the % of respondents above/below a threshold you determine (eg “27% of the foundational source reported strong and very strong agreement with XXXX while my study found 45% reported a strong or very strong agreement”).

EXCEL SKILLS REQUIRED:  Use appropriate T-test formula to calculate the p-value for each question's comparison of a foundational source and your study responses.  These conditional probabilities will allow you to  infer” which differences are statistically significant and which are likely attributable to chance.  The p-value calculates the probability that the difference is attributable to mere chance associated with random selection.

 #3 Correlational Statistics where you examine “relationships” between the responses for each of the quantitive response questions.  Remember correlation does not establish causation. Think of correlation as providing you an objective method for grouping your questions for examination.  Establishing which questions tended to solicit similarly high responses (positive correlation) or contrary responses (negative correlation).  Interpreting correlations in academic literature can be trocky and involve statistics above your abilities.  Mr. Nelson can help determine specific guidelines for you interpretations but you can begin with the following interpretive chart.

Correlation: Must be between -1.0 and +1.0.

Strong Positive Correlation  .80 to 1.00

Moderate Positive Correlation .60 to .80

Slight Positive Correlation .30 to .60

Virtually No Correlation -.30 to .30

Slight Negative Correlation -.30 to -.60

Moderate Negative Correlation -.80 to -.60

Strong Negative Correlation  -1.00 to -.80

EXCEL SKILLS REQUIRED:  Use the “Correlation” toolpak to find the correlations for all pairs of quantitative variable questions.

CONFIDENCE INTERVALS: Algebra 2 Hand-out That Explain Calculation & Interpretation of Confidence Intervals

Financial Incentives & Student Achievement

Ivan’s Monday Class Example

Bria’s Monday Class Example

Statistical Findings Worksheet

Literature Review Draft Due December 1, 2017

Literature Review Final Submission Due December 8, 2017


Good Morning Capstone Student Colleagues:

The cancellation of school Thursday and Friday poses a challenge for wrapping up the semester efficiently but it shouldn't hurt our effectiveness.  As the fall semester is now nearly complete, you're all battle tested in overcoming unforeseen challenges so this loss of two days will be NBD.  

I'm emailing instructions for the next several days that accounts for the cancellation of school Thursday and Friday.  Little has changed except I'll adjust the assessment of the data processing (particularly where students don't have Excel at home).  Please review the following instructions carefully.  Some details are different and further explication is provided on how we will finish the semester including material requirements for the assigned day of the final.


#1 FINAL SUBMISSION OF LITERATURE REVIEW STILL DUE  Noon, Friday December 8, 2017:  Your Literature Review is still due Friday morning.  I am attending the CA DECA Board of Directors Meeting on Friday, so you were always going to email me your PDF submissions during the period. Given the circumstances, I have extended the due time on Friday to NOON (12:00pm).  As I’ve previously explained, I need them submitted Friday to permit me sufficient assessment time.  Good luck with making your final revisions. I look forward to reading your submissions as you all have quite interesting topics.


#2 CONTINUE PROCESSING YOUR DATA IF YOU HAVE EXCEL AT HOME THIS LONG WEEKEND: If you have Excel at home, finish processing data. Processing data includes: a) running the Descriptive Statistics toolpak for all quantitative data; b) using the Histogram toolpak to create simple histogram/bar chart for all quantitative data; and c) use the CountIf formula to get counts/%s for all categorical variables.  Any Excel version since 2013 should be compatible with both of these toolpaks.  Completing these processing functions leaves you ready to assess your findings over the winter break.


#3 NO EXCEL AT HOME: If you don't have Excel at home, we'll do our best to catch you up on Monday and on the day of the final.  The priority Monday will be to make sure everyone has the requisite Excel skills to finish processing the data over the winter break (nothing new here, just review).  I will spend the beginning of Monday reviewing the Descriptive Statistics and Histogram toolpaks.  I'll then present a systematic process for reviewing your statistical findings and comparing them to comparable (sometimes identical) variables in your foundational research.  Using a process rather than "bouncing around", will greatly increase your assessing efficiency and will allow you to more readily find themes in your statistically significant findings.  These comparisons are an important part of your research alignment.  I would highly recommend finding a fellow student, family friend, neighbor etc. who can get you access to Excel 2013 or more recent over the winter break. My assessment of your data processing will consider these limitations.


#4 PREP Update Delayed To Scheduled Final Day - Monday was originally scheduled for updating our PREPs but losing the rest of this week changes things.  On the day of the final, all students will bring a printed copy of their final Literature Review for input into their PREP. In addition, students will be shown how to scale their "FINAL 100" to fit on a single page on Monday, and will be required to bring a print-out of this page to the final. Lastly, students will be asked to run a "Wordle" (or equivalent word cloud display) using their final Literature Review and bring a copy of this word cloud display to the final.  A color copy is preferred here as it will serve as a cover for your PREP notebooks.  Link to WORDLE.


That's all I can think of.  Please contact me with any thoughts or questions.  I pray you and your families all stay safe, and are far away from today's fires.  Mr. Nelson

MORE Literature Review Samples From 2016-7

See Mr. Nelson for more samples that match your research.

Anam’s Paper - Effect of Dog Interactions on High School Students Mood & Anxiety

Hope’s Paper - Word Use in the Poetry of Anne Saxton & Sylvia Plath

Esther’s Paper- Korean Ethnic Identity & Assimilation Levels of High School Students in an Ethnically Diverse Californian High School

Inquiry Proposal Form (IPF) Project Guidelines

Student Sample IPF - Thank You Melissa

Sampling Survey Example: Attitudes Towards the LGBT Community Survey - Thanks to Melissa 

Likert Scale Discussion

Sampling Survey Vocabulary - Mr. Nelson’s List

Foundational Source Inquiry Proposal Form Exercise


FIRST BIG DUE DATE - This assessment will be the major influence on your six-week progress grade. 


All Twenty Sources Due Friday September 15, 2017 

If you are absent on Friday’s due date, you must submit your work via email by 7:30am Friday morning.  If you are short of twenty sources, think quality over quantity but know both are considered in this assessment of your preliminary research.  You will have an opportunity to earn back most points, but there will be a penalty for no submission.  This guideline is established to avoid students missing Friday to avaoid the deadline. 


AP Research Advice From Our Capstone Class of 2017

AP Research Seniors Give Advice To Seminar Juniors

Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Purpose of Guide

USC Research Guide - Set of articles that guide first-time students through the research process.

What Librarians Use To Create Research Pathfinders,  Much Thanks To LE Spears  August 2017

Academic Research Databases 




Experimental Design Materials

Against All Odds Video - Begin At 4:00 Mark

Khan Academy Video - Finance Guy Introduces Experimental Design

Khan Academy Video  - Matched Pairs Experimental Design

What is An Experiment? - Stat Trek

Advanced Experimental Design Topics - Excellent Resource For Intermediate & Advanced Design Topics

Experimental Design Terms - Yale

Experimental Design Terminology Hand-out - Penn St.

Institutional Review Board

Decision Tree: Do I need an IRB?

Sample High School IRB

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Course Introduction Materials

2016 AP Research Student Workbook 

2016 AP Research Course & Exam Description

Moving From Preliminary Research To Literature Review

Research Notecard Template (Google Doc)

Mr. Nelson’s Opening Comments

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Bibliography & Literature Review Materials

Writing A Literature Review (Thank you University of the Fraser Valley)

Academic Writing Template

Annotated Bibliography Video

Purdue OWL Annotated Bibliographies

Academic Literature Review Presentation Checklist

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Library of Congress Subject Headings (LOCSH) 

LCSH - Link To Alphabetical PDF Files 

LCSH - On-line Public Access Catalog (OPAC)

 Using the LOCSH Headings To Begin The QUEST!!

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OWL Purdue On-Line Writing Lab:  

MLA Formatting & Style Guide

(Good source for proper MLA citation.)


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Paraphrasing Lesson Materials 

Learn Paraphrase Writing - Basic presentation of six strategies commonly employed in paraphrasing text.  Courtesy of eslwriting.org 

That’s Plagiarism?: Teaching Paraphrase Skills to Pre-university Students -  Strategies for paraphrasing. Courtesy busyteacher.org 

How to Avoid Plagiarism: Paraphrasing and Summarizing Short interactive lesson that provides feedback on students’ assessment of whether a paraphrase is acceptable or would be plagiarism.  May have issues on school’s servers.  Courtesy busyteacher.org 

Stop, Thief! Avoiding Plagiarism by Paraphrasing Video connects plagiarism and the need to learn how to paraphrase.  Emphasizes two steps of paraphrasing - summarizing the main idea of a source, and using a 1/3 to 2/3 rule.  Courtesy Emily Nimsakont

Powerpoint: Being An Effective Communicator 

Powerpoint TED Talk Video 

FIVE RECOMMENDATIONS (Must be present in your five slides due week of October 23-27).  Students should use dark backgrounds as recommneded in the TED Talk.

#1 - One Message Per Slide

#2 - Avoid sentences

#3 - Use Size To Draw Attention of Audience* 

#4 Control Focus Using Contrast** 

#5 - Never more than six objects

(*Moving objects and red, yellow and orange also draw attention of audience.)

(**Use Built in Contrast Feature of Powerpoint)

Powerpoint Advice: Funny Video On What Not To Do

Having Fun With Quizlets 

Official Capstone Vocabulary 

Logical Fallacies

Rhetorical/Language Devices

Deep Reading Strategies

Adler's Four Reading Strategies  (As presented by artofmanliness.com)

Adler On Why So Long To Read A Book

Adler On How To Speak And Listen

Adler On Picking A Book Above Your Head

Contact An “Expert” or Foundational Source Author!!

Sasha did it successfully, and it really made her life easier.

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Statistics Materials

Nice Visual for Empirical Rule

(Fall 2016 Assignments, Data Descriptions & Text Resources: Wordle, Methods Section, Inference Forms, Inference Outline)

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Inference Instruction - Excel Spreadsheet

Test of Significance Mean Form

Test of Significance Proportion Form

Confidence Interval Mean Form

Confidence Interval Proportion Form

Chi Square Form


Deborah’s Data

Ruby’s Data

Ruby’s Foundational Sources

Changing Attitudes About Being A Bystander To Violence

Methods (Methods, Procedures, Measures Pages 167-170)

Tables (Pages 174; 176-178) 

Challenge and Opportunity in Evaluating a Diffusion-Based Active Bystanding Prevention Program: Green Dot in High Schools 

(Data Collection Strategy (Page 1187-1188)

eHow: How to Use the Likert Scale in Statistical Analysis

How To Use Data, Artificial Scales (e.g. Likert)

Jamie’s Survey

Diane’s Survey

Methods Outline Assignment

Processing & Organizing Your Data In Excel Worksheets

Chi Square Tests Example Excel

Solid Khan Video On Chi Suqare Test May Help Some

Survey Outline Example

Example: Final Results

Word Format Outline of Methods Section



Draft Academnic Paper Due March 17 - This draft must be 5,000 words, and must include all of these elements fully composed - Introduction, Academic Literature Review, Methods Section, Findings, and Conclusion.  It is not your “first” or "second draft, but rather a draft near the final submission. It must be suitable for meaningful peer editing - clunky writing for a paragraph or two is OK, but nothing more than that.  

Final Paper Due March 31 - Produce Final Versions In Word (Mr. Wolf and Mr. Nelson highly recommend)

Sample Histogram For Findings Section Better than verbally describing data distributions.

Updated Notes From My Weekend Reading

Mr. Wolf’s Checklists By Report Section

Introduction Checklist

Methods Checklist

Findings, Analysis, Results Checklist

Conclusion Checklist

Presentations Begin First Week of April

Using First Person In An Academic Essay - When Is It OK?    - One-page overview on when it’s OK to use I, my.

AP Capstone Exit Survey



Presentation Tips

Six Great Videos On Teaching Critical Thinking



AP Capstone Digital Portfolio Account Set-up



 Student Account Set-up Instructions


SAMPLE Individual Research Reports (IWA)

Performance Task Two

SAMPLE Individual Research Reports (IRR)

IRR #1 Health problems & Classroom Technologies (4,6)

IRR #2 Nuclear Energy (4)

IRR #4 Politics & Overpopulation Highlighted (4,6)

IRR#5 Ecoterrorism (6) 

IRR #6 Economic Implications of Media Bias (4,6)

IRR #7 Mishandling of Sexual Assault Cases (4,6)

SAMPLE Written Team Research Reports (WTR)

WTR#1 Legalizing Theft In America (6)

WTR #2 Genetic Engineering (4)

WTR #4 Sir Veilance (6)

WTR #5 Genetically Modified Food (4)

WTR #7 Ticking Time Bomb Ocean Acidification (6,4)

WTR#8 College Admissions Highlighted (4,

© Andrew Nelson 2012