Culminating Course

Culminating Process

The culminating process is a four-year journey in which the students’ progress from novice to expert through researching topics of their interest. At the freshmen level the emphasis lies primarily with process: teaching the students the basics of research, thesis development, and presentation. In each of the following years students’ skills improve, and the emphasis moves from process to product and presentation. Products are not limited to research papers, but all must include a written research component. By their senior year students become independent researchers and focus on the development of college-level research products. During this final year, students are supported by an expert-advisor in the field as they work on their projects. At year’s end, students present their findings to their expert-advisor, the CGS staff, and the community through the CGS Senior Symposium.

Overall Goals

  • Opportunities for students to pursue an area of interest in depth
  • Writing a viable research proposal
  • Developing effective research questions
  • Problem solving skills
  • Research skills
  • Documentation skills
  • Presentation skills
  • Time-management skills\Identification and creation of an appropriate product
  • Writing a research report
  • Self-evaluation as independent learners
  • Exposure to professionals in their field of study

Grade Level Goals

9th Grade – Novice Level

The goal of the novice level is to introduce freshmen to the culminating project and the basics of research, helping them develop a proposal for a research project they will conduct during their sophomore year.

  • Introduction to project goals and expectations
  • The meaning and writing of a contract/proposal
  • Development of an effective research question
  • Basic presentation skills (e.g. public speaking, visual aids, PowerPoint, etc.)
  • Methods of research and appropriate documentation, including proper use and evaluation of the following:
    – primary and secondary sources
    – the Internet
    – pictures and other non-print media
    – sources used in presentations
  • Production of a proposal for their sophomore research project.

11th Grade – Journeyman Level

The goal of the Journeyman Level is for juniors to reflect on the lessons learned during their first two years and to move to a higher level of academic research. Students will move through all stages of the process. They may build on their previous research or develop an entirely new area of interest.

  • Review of project requirements and methodology
  • More intensive work in writing research questions and proposals
  • Movement towards independence as a researcher
  • Broadening of research and documentation
    – Introduction of other formats – APA or Chicago
    – Production of an annotated bibliography
    – Expansion of topics and issues
  • Higher expectations for presentation skills

10th Grade – Apprentice Level

The goal of the Apprentice Level is for sophomores to put the skills learned during their freshman year into practice by researching their topic and creating a beginning-level research project.

  • Refining expectations and goals
  • Creating a quality research product
  • Improving research and documentation
    – Constructing and conducting surveys
    – Preparing and conducting interviews
  • Interpreting statistics
  • Improving product quality and presentation skills
  • Writing an abstract.

12th Grade – Master Level

At the Master Level seniors will apply the lessons learned throughout their past culminating experience. They will perform scholarly research, creating a college-level academic project worthy of presentation to an expert in their field. The topic may be a new field of interest or an outgrowth of work in previous years. Students must find an expert in the field to act as an advisor. In addition to fulfilling the expectations of previous years, students will:

  • Be independent investigators
  • Work with professional mentor in the field of study
  • Present to a professional/expert audience and the community
  • Conduct extensive and professional research and documentation – in appropriate format
  • Give particular emphasis to quality of product and presentation