What are your chances of acceptance?

Calculate for all schools, your chance of acceptance.

Duke University

Your chancing factors


ap capstone research papers

Ultimate Guide to the AP Research Course and Assessment

ap capstone research papers

Is your profile on track for college admissions?

Our free guidance platform determines your real college chances using your current profile and provides personalized recommendations for how to improve it.

The Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum is administered by the College Board and serves as a standardized set of year-long high school classes that are roughly equivalent to one semester of college-level coursework. Although most students enroll in an actual course to prepare for their AP exams, many others will self-study for the exams without enrolling in the actual AP class.

AP classes are generally stand-alone subjects that easily translate to traditional college courses. Typically, they culminate in a standardized exam on which students are graded using a 5-point scale, which colleges and universities will use to determine credit or advanced standing. Starting in fall of 2014, though, this traditional AP course and exam format has begun to adapt in efforts by the College Board to reflect less stringent rote curriculum and a heavier emphasis on critical thinking skills.

The AP Capstone program is at the center of these changes, and its culmination course is AP Research. If you are interested in learning more about the AP Research Course and Assessment, and how they can prepare you for college-level work, read on for CollegeVine’s Ultimate Guide to the AP Research Course and Assessment.

About the Course and Assessment

The AP Research course is the second of two classes required for the AP Capstone™ Diploma . In order to enroll in this course you need to have completed the AP Seminar course during a previous year. Through that course, you will have learned to collect and analyze information with accuracy and precision, developed arguments based on facts, and effectively communicated your conclusions. During the AP Research course, you apply these skills on a larger platform. In the AP Research course, you can expect to learn and apply research methods and practices to address a real-world topic of your choosing, with the end result being the production and defense of a scholarly academic paper. Students who receive a score of 3 or higher on both the AP Seminar and AP Research courses earn an AP Seminar and Research Certificate™. Students who receive a score of 3 or higher on both courses and on four additional AP exams of their choosing receive the AP Capstone Diploma™.    

The AP Research course will guide you through the design, planning, and implementation of a year-long, research-based investigation to address a research question of interest to you. While working with an expert advisor, chosen by you with the help of your teacher, you will explore an academic topic, problem, or issue of your choosing and cultivate the skills and discipline necessary to conduct independent research and produce and defend a scholarly academic paper. Through explicit instruction in research methodology, ethical research practices, and documentation processes, you will develop a portfolio of scholarly work to frame your research paper and subsequent presentation of it.

Although the core content and skills remain standardized for every AP Research course, the implementation of this instruction may vary. Some AP Research courses may have a specific disciplinary focus wherein the course content is rooted in a specific subject, such as AP Research STEM Inquiries or AP Research Performing and Visual Arts. Similarly, other AP Research courses are offered in conjunction with a separate and specific AP class, such as AP Research and AP Biology wherein students are concurrently enrolled in both AP courses and content is presented in a cross-curricular approach. Alternatively, AP Research may be presented in the form of an internship wherein students who are already working with a discipline-specific expert adviser conduct independent studies and research of the student’s choosing while taking the AP Research class. Finally, some AP Research courses are delivered independently as a research methods class. In this style of class, students develop inquiry methods for the purpose of determining which method best fits their chosen topic of inquiry/research question, and each student then uses a selected method to complete his or her investigation.    

Only schools that currently offer the AP Capstone Diploma may offer the AP Research course. Because it is a part of a larger comprehensive, skills-based program, students may not self-study for the AP Research course or final paper. At this time, home-schooled students, home-school organizations, and online providers are not eligible to participate in AP Capstone.

Your performance in the AP Research course is assessed through two performance tasks. The first is the Academic Paper, which accounts for 75% of your total AP score. In this paper, you will present the findings of your yearlong research in 4,000-5,000 words. Although the official submission deadline for this task is April 30, the College Board strongly recommends that this portion of your assessment be completed by April 15 in order to allow enough time for the second of your performance tasks.

The second performance task is your Presentation and Oral Defense, which accounts for the remaining 25% of your total AP score. Using your research topic, your will prepare a 15-20 minute presentation in an appropriate format with appropriate accompanying media. Your defense will include fielding three to four questions from a panel consisting of your AP Research teacher and two additional panel members chosen at the discretion of your teacher.    

In 2016, fewer than 3,000 students submitted an AP Research project, but enrollment is projected to grow rapidly, since 12,000 students took the AP Seminar assessment in 2016 and most will presumably go on to submit an AP Research project in 2017. Scores from the 2016 AP Research projects reveal a high pass rate (score of three or higher) but a difficult rate of mastery. While 67.1% of students taking the assessments scored a three or higher, only 11.6% received the highest score of a five, while nearly 40% received a three. Only 2% of students submitting research projects received the lowest score of one.    

A full course description that can help to guide your planning and understanding of the knowledge required for the AP Research course and assessments can be found in the College Board course description .

Read on for tips for successfully completing the AP Research course.

How Should I Prepare for the AP Research Course?

As you undertake the AP Research course and performance tasks, you will be expected to conduct research, write a scholarly paper, and defend your work in a formal presentation.   Having already completed the AP Seminar course, these skills should be familiar to you. You should use your scores on the AP Seminar performance task to help guide your preparations for the AP Research performance tasks.

Carefully review your scores from AP Seminar. Make sure you understand where points were lost and why. It may be helpful to schedule a meeting with your AP Seminar teacher to review your work. Alternatively, your AP Research teacher may be willing to go over your AP Seminar projects with you. You might also ask a classmate to review your projects together to get a better idea of where points were earned and where points were lost. Use this review as a jumping point for your AP Research studies. You should go into the course with a good idea of where your strengths lie, and where you need to focus on improving.

A sample timeline for the AP Research course is available on page 36 of the course description . One detail worth noting is that the recommended timeline actually begins not in September with the start of the new school year, but instead begins in May with the completion of the AP Seminar course during the previous school year. It is then that you should begin to consider research topics, problems, or ideas. By September of the following school year, it is recommended that you have already finalized a research question and proposal, completed an annotated bibliography, and prepared to begin a preliminary inquiry proposal for peer review.    

What Content Will I Be Held Accountable For During the AP Research Course?

To be successful in the AP Research class, you will begin with learning to investigate relevant topics, compose insightful problem statements, and develop compelling research questions, with consideration of scope, to extend your thinking.   Your teacher will expect you to demonstrate perseverance through setting goals, managing time, and working independently on a long-term project. Specifically, you will prepare for your research project by:

  • Identifying, applying, and implementing appropriate methods for research and data collection
  • Accessing information using effective strategies
  • Evaluating the relevance and credibility of information from sources and data
  • Reading a bibliography for the purpose of understanding that it is a source for other research and for determining context, credibility, and scope
  • Attributing knowledge and ideas accurately and ethically, using an appropriate citation style
  • Evaluating strengths and weaknesses of others’ inquiries and studies

As in the AP Research course, you will continue to investigate real-world issues from multiple perspectives, gathering and analyzing information from various sources in order to develop credible and valid evidence- based arguments. You will accomplish this through instruction in the AP Research Big Ideas, also called the QUEST Framework. These include:

  • Question and Explore: Questioning begins with an initial exploration of complex topics or issues. Perspectives and questions emerge that spark one’s curiosity, leading to an investigation that challenges and expands the boundaries of one’s current knowledge.
  • Understand and Analyze Arguments: Understanding various perspectives requires contextualizing arguments and evaluating the authors’ claims and lines of reasoning.
  • Evaluate Multiple Perspectives: Evaluating an issue involves considering and evaluating multiple perspectives, both individually and in comparison to one another.
  • Synthesize Ideas: Synthesizing others’ ideas with one’s own may lead to new understandings and is the foundation of a well-reasoned argument that conveys one’s perspective.
  • Team, Transform, and Transmit: Teaming allows one to combine personal strengths and talents with those of others to reach a common goal. Transformation and growth occur upon thoughtful reflection. Transmitting requires the adaptation of one’s message based on audience and context.

In addition, you will use four distinct reasoning processes as you approach your research. The reasoning processes are situating, choosing, defending , and connecting . When you situate ideas, you are aware of their context in your own perspective and the perspective of others, ensuring that biases do not lead to false assumptions. When you make choices about ideas and themes, you recognize that these choices will have both intended and unintentional consequences. As you defend your choices, you explain and justify them using a logical line of reasoning. Finally, when you connect ideas you see intersections within and/or across concepts, disciplines, and cultures.

For a glossary of research terms that you should become familiar with, see page 62 of the course description .

How Will I Know If I’m Doing Well in the AP Research Course?

Because your entire score for the AP Research course is determined by your research paper and presentation, which come at the very end of the course, it can be difficult to gauge your success until that point. Do yourself a favor and do not wait until your final scores come back to determine how successful you have been in the course.

As you undertake the AP Research course, there will be many opportunities for formative assessments throughout the semester. These assessments are used to give both you and your teacher an idea of the direction of instruction needed for you to master the skills required in the AP Research course. You should use these assessments to your advantage and capitalize on the feedback you receive through each. A list of possible activities used for these assessments can be found on page 41 of the course description .

Another way that you and your teacher will track your progress is through your Process and Reflection Portfolio (PREP). The PREP serves to document your development as you investigate your research questions, thereby providing evidence that you have demonstrated a sustained effort during the entire inquiry process. You will review your PREP periodically with your teacher, who will use it as a formative assessment to evaluate your progress.

Throughout the course, you will be assigned prompts and questions to respond to in your PREP. You will use this portfolio to document your research or artistic processes, communication with your expert adviser, and reflections on your thought processes. You should also write freely, journaling about your strengths and weaknesses with regard to implementing such processes and developing your arguments or aesthetic rationales. 

Your final PREP should include:

  • Table of contents
  • Completed and approved proposal form
  • Specific pieces of work selected by the student to represent what he or she considers to be the best showcase for his or her work. (Examples might include: in-class (teacher-directed) free-writing about the inquiry process, resource list, annotated bibliography of any source important to the student’s work, photographs, charts, spreadsheets, and/or links to videos or other relevant visual research/project artifacts, draft versions of selected sections of the academic paper, or notes in preparation for presentation and oral defense.)
  • Documentation of permission(s) received from primary sources, if required — for example, permission(s) from an IRB or other agreements with individuals, institutions, or organizations that provide primary and private data such as interviews, surveys, or investigations
  • Documentation or log of the student’s interaction with expert adviser(s) and the role the expert adviser(s) played in the student’s learning and inquiry process (e.g., What areas of expertise did the expert adviser have that the student needed to draw from? Did the student get the help he or she needed — and if not, what did he or she do to ensure that the research process was successful? Which avenues of exploration did the expert adviser help the student to discover?)
  • Questions asked to and feedback received from peer and adult reviewers both in the initial stages and at key points along the way
  • Reflection on whether or not the feedback was accepted or rejected and why
  • Attestation signed by the student which states, “I hereby affirm that the work contained in this Process and Reflection Portfolio is my own and that I have read and understand the AP Capstone TM Policy on Plagiarism and Falsification or Fabrication of Information”

It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to maintain strong communications with your teacher as you progress through the AP Research course. Not only is your teacher your best resource for learning new skills and knowledge, but also it is your teacher who will be responsible for grading your final performance tasks and as such, you should always have a strong understanding of how your work is being assessed and the ways in which you can improve it. Remember, your teacher wants you to succeed just as much as you do; work together as a team to optimize your chances.

How Should I Choose a Research Topic?

You will begin to consider research topics before the school year even starts. If your AP Research class is offered in conjunction with another course, such as those rooted in a specific subject or linked to another concurrent AP course, you will have some idea of the direction in which your research should head. Regardless of whether you know the precise subject matter of your topic, you should begin by asking yourself what you want to know, learn, or understand. The AP Research class provides a unique opportunity for you to guide your own learning in a direction that is genuinely interesting to you. You will find your work more engaging, exciting, and worthwhile if you choose a topic that you want to learn more about.

As you begin to consider research topics, you should:

  • Develop a list of topics and high-level questions that spark your interest to engage in an individual research project
  • Identify potential expert advisers to guide you in the planning and development of your research project (For tips on how to find a mentor, read CollegeVine’s “ How to Choose a Winning Science Fair Project Idea ”)
  • Identify potential opportunities (if you are interested) to perform primary research with an expert adviser during the summer, via internships or summer research projects for high school students offered in the community and local higher education institutions
  • Discuss research project planning skills and ideas with students who are currently taking or have already taken the AP Research course

You might also find inspiration from reading about past AP Research topics. One list of potential research questions can be found here and another can be found here . Keep in mind that these lists make great starting points and do a good job of getting you thinking about important subjects, but your research topic should ultimately be something that you develop independently as the result of careful introspection, discussions with your teacher and peers, and your own preliminary research.

Finally, keep in mind that if you pursue a research project that involves human subjects, your proposal will need to be reviewed and approved by an institutional review board (IRB) before experimentation begins. Talk with your teacher to decide if this is the right path for you before you get too involved in a project that may not be feasible.

Once you have decided on a research topic, complete an Inquiry Proposal Form. This will be distributed by your teacher and can also be found on page 55 of the course description .

How Do I Conduct My Research?

By the time you begin your AP Research course, you will have already learned many of the basics about research methods during your AP Seminar course. You should be comfortable collecting and analyzing information with accuracy and precision, developing arguments based on facts, and effectively communicating your point of view. These will be essential skills as you move forward in your AP Research project.

As you undertake your work, remember the skills you’ve already learned about research:

  • Use strategies to aid your comprehension as you tackle difficult texts.
  • Identify the author’s main idea and the methods that he or she uses to support it.
  • Think about biases and whether other perspectives are acknowledged.
  • Assess the strength of research, products, and arguments.
  • Look for patterns and trends as you strive to make connections between multiple arguments.
  • Think about what other issues, questions, or topics could be explored further.

You should be certain to keep track of all sources used in your research and cite them appropriately. The College Board has a strict policy against plagiarism. You can read more about its specifics on page 60 of the course description .

How Do I Write My Paper?

Before you begin writing your final paper, make sure to thoroughly read the Task Overview handout which will be distributed by your teacher. If you would like to see it beforehand, it can be found on page 56 of the course description . You should also review the outline of required paper sections on page 49 of the course description .

Your paper must contain the following sections:

› Introduction

› Method, Process, or Approach

› Results, Product, or Findings

› Discussion, Analysis, and/or Evaluation

› Conclusion and Future Directions

› Bibliography

Before you begin writing, organize your ideas and findings into an outline using the sections listed above. Be sure to consider how you can connect and analyze the evidence in order to develop an argument and support a conclusion. Also think about if there are any alternate conclusions that could be supported by your evidence and how you can acknowledge and account for your own biases and assumptions. 

Begin your paper by introducing and contextualizing your research question or problem. Make sure to include your initial assumptions and/or hypothesis. Next, include a literature review of previous work in the field and various perspectives on your topic. Use the literature review to highlight the gap in the current field of knowledge to be addressed by your research project. Then, explain and justify your methodology, present your findings, evidence, or data, and interpret the significance of these findings. Discuss implications for further research or limitations of your existing project. Finally, reflect on the project, how it could impact its field, and any possible next steps. Your paper should conclude with a comprehensive bibliography including all of the sources used in your process.

Make sure to proofread and edit your paper yourself, have it proofread and edited by a friend, and then proofread and edit it again before you complete your final draft.

How Do I Prepare For My Oral Defense?

Once your paper is finished, you may be tempted to sit back and rest on your laurels. Although you’ve no doubt expended a tremendous about of energy in producing a final product you can be proud of, don’t forget that the work is not over yet. Your oral defense accounts for 25% of your total score so it should be taken seriously.

Your oral defense is a 15-20 minute presentation that uses appropriate media to present your findings to an oral defense panel. You may choose any appropriate format for your presentation, as long as the presentation reflects the depth of your research. If your academic paper was accompanied by an additional piece of scholarly work (e.g., performance, exhibit, product), you should arrange with your teacher for him or her, along with the panelists, to view the scholarly work prior to your presentation.

As you plan your presentation, consider how you can best appeal to your audience. Consider different mediums for your presentation, and how those mediums might affect your credibility as a presenter. You want to be engaging to your audience while still being taken seriously.

Following your presentation, you will field three or four questions from your panelists. These will include one question pertaining to your research or inquiry process, one question focused on your depth of understanding, and one question about your reflection throughout the inquiry process as evidenced in your PREP. The fourth question and any follow-up questions are at the discretion of the panel. A list of sample oral defense questions begins on page 52 of the course description . For a complete outline of the oral defense, see page 49 of the course description . 

How Will My Work Be Assessed?

Because this assessment is only available to students enrolled in the AP Capstone program, your teacher will register you for the assessment when you enroll in the course. You should confirm with your teacher that you are registered for the assessment no later than March 1. 

You will submit your final paper and complete your oral presentation no later than April 30, at which point your teacher will submit your work and scores through an AP Digital Portfolio. Your presentation will be scored by your teacher alone. Your paper will be scored by your teacher and validated by the College Board.

You may find the scoring rubric from the 2016 performance tasks available here . You may find a collection authentic student research papers and scoring explanations available here .

Preparing for any AP assessment can be a stressful process. Having a specific plan of attack and a firm grasp of how your work is assessed will help you to feel prepared and score well. Use CollegeVine’s Ultimate Guide to the AP Research Course and Assessment to help shape your understanding of the course and how to complete your performance tasks effectively. When submission day arrives, you should feel better prepared and informed about the work you have produced.

For more about information about APs, check out these CollegeVine posts:

• Can AP Tests Actually Save You Thousands of Dollars?

• Should I Take AP/IB/Honors Classes?

• How to Choose Which AP Courses and Exams to Take

• What If My School Doesn’t Offer AP or IB Courses?

• Are All APs Created Equal in Admissions?

Want access to expert college guidance — for free? When you create your free CollegeVine account, you will find out your real admissions chances, build a best-fit school list, learn how to improve your profile, and get your questions answered by experts and peers—all for free. Sign up for your CollegeVine account today to get a boost on your college journey.

Related CollegeVine Blog Posts

ap capstone research papers


Find what you need to study

Academic Paper: Methodology

8 min read • march 13, 2023

Dylan Black

Dylan Black


Now that we've finished our introduction and lit review and you are officially an expert™️ in your topic of inquiry, we can finally get started on planning out what exactly it is you're planning on doing! While this may seem like a simple task, many AP Research students consider the Methodology section of the paper to be the most laborious and at times the most difficult part of the paper.

Furthermore, your method is completely unique to your paper. This is because, for completely different topics, the methods used within those disciplines will differ entirely. In some of the harder sciences (ie. chemistry, physics, biology) you are more likely to use a formal experiment whereas, in the humanities, qualitative methods like interviews and content analyses are much more common.

However, in figuring out the best research method for your research, not only will you have to think "what is the best way of solving this problem/answering this question?" but you will ALSO have to remember to look back at your sources from your literature review and see how those sources designed their methods. This will come in handy a bit later when we discuss justifying your methodology .

Image from GIPHY

Types of Research Methods

In Research, you will be presented with so so so many different types of research methods ranging from observatory studies to content analyses to experiments . In this guide, because of the sheer magnitude of how many methodologies there are, we'll be talking about two major subsets of research and describe a few methods that you may want to look into. Again, do what is best for your project and what applies most to your discipline.

Quantitative Methods

According to the University of South Carolina, " Quantitative methods emphasize objective measurements and the statistical, mathematical, or numerical analysis of data" ( USC ). In essence, quantitative methods are methods that rely more on numbers and less on "soft" evidence, so to speak. This means substantiating claims, not just through the method results, but by performing analysis on data to prove formally, usually through the use of statistical tools, your assertions.

Descriptions of quantitative methods usually involve three main parts:

The study population and sampling

Which people, places, things are you studying and what is the sample size?

The data collected/the tools for data collection

What specifically are you collecting and how will you be collecting it?

Data analysis

How did you take the raw data (the pure numbers) and analyze it in such a way that it proves your hypothesis?

Discipline wise, quantitative methods lend themselves to the sciences and social sciences, with experiments as the typical quantitative method. However, another popular quantitative method involves surveys , specifically surveys with fixed results like multiple choice questions, not open-ended responses, though you can have a combination, this just means your method is more mixed .

Qualitative Methods

While quantitative methods fixate mostly on numbers , qualitative methods fixate on non-numerical, and less "hard", data. According to USC, qualitative methods differentiate from quantitative methods in that they "are not experimentally examined or measured [if measured at all] in terms of quantity, amount, intensity, or frequency". This means that a qualitative study will not focus as heavily on numbers and will rather focus on more abstract, but still concrete, analysis of things like content.

Note that just because a study is qualitative does not mean that its results are A) easier to write or B) are less rigorous. The results from a qualitative study, while less statistically concrete, are still required to be incredibly backed, supported, and thought out. Many people consider non-numerical studies to be less rigorous because "numbers never lie" so to speak, but in fact, quantitative studies can have many issues with credibility, some that can't be applied to qualitative studies.

Qualitative methods typically revolve around some form of content. Whether this content involves collected responses, from things like interviews and/or surveys , or a formal content analysis where a researcher uses coding , a way of breaking down content, to do an in-depth analysis. (disconnected from programming 🖥️)

Qualitative research lends itself to the humanities and social sciences, such as in literature, film analysis, historical research, and other very document and content-heavy fields. Furthermore, if you are collecting any sort of "wordy" responses, such as long responses in a survey and interview responses, your method is more than likely going to incorporate some form of qualitative analysis .

Ethics of Experimentation and the IRB

Many AP Research students perform studies that involve human subjects. This means that you must abide by the rules of ethical experimentation . Note that, even if you aren't doing an experiment, if you have human subjects, ethics will 100% play a role in your methodological design. In this section, we'll go over some of the key points of ethics and describe what an IRB (Institutional Review Board) is.

The first, and most obvious, ethical principle to abide by is " do no harm ". Basically, don't design an experiment that could cause direct harm, both physical and/or psychological, to your participants. While accidents do happen, and are often not fully under the researcher's control, making explicit note not to deliberately cause harm is important.

Voluntary Participation Being Open and Honest

Furthermore, your participants must voluntarily participate in your study. This doesn't just mean having your participants visually and verbally agree, you must get written permission for participants to take part in a study. When you receive written permission from a participant, however, they still retain the right to stop participating at any time during your experiment or study.

Therefore, if you are observing a human subject and they express a desire to leave or to stop whatever you are performing, you are obligated to let them leave. It's important to note at this point that written permission carries over to minors . However, because signatures by a minor are not legally binding, you also need permission from a parental figure to conduct your research.

There have been studies in the past where voluntary participation has not been taken into account, and this has led to ethically disastrous studies. For example, in the Stanford prison experiment , psychology professor Philip Zimbardo conducted a study involving participants labeled as guards and prisoners. In this experiment, the guards were given almost absolute power over prisoners, leading to many prisoners being physically harmed. However, despite ethical principles involving voluntary participation, the experiment was continued, even after participants expressed their desire to withdraw.

It's also important to be open and honest with your participants. This means making sure that your participants are aware of what it is you are studying, the results you expect, and other details about the experiment that otherwise they would not know. However, you may also deceive your participants if their knowledge of the experiment would skew your results.

For example, let's suppose you were doing an experiment on anger and frustration in board games, and your experiment involved an unsolvable puzzle. It is necessary that your participants do not know the details of what you are studying and how you are studying it, otherwise, their reactions will not be accurate.


Finally, the confidentiality of your participants is an ethical point to make. Despite collecting information from individuals, you may not reveal whose responses are whose and display identifying information in your results section. Identifying information includes names, email addresses, physical addresses, and anything else that can be used to tie a response to an individual person.

IRB Approval

When you perform a study based on human participants, it is necessary that your methodology is approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB). An IRB is a panel, of usually five people, who read a request for a methodology and give it one of three "ratings" (they will not use these terms specifically, but they will align to them):

A green light- you are A-OK to get started on your research

A yellow-light- you need to make a few adjustments

A red-light- you either need to start from scratch or make major changes to your experiment for it to be ethical.

Making an IRB proposal typically involves a written application and, sometimes, a short presentation, though this will depend on how your school handles IRBs.

Writing a Method Section

Be explicit and specific.

When writing your method section, being explicit in what you will be doing is, quite honestly, the most important part. The main goal of your method section is to get across exactly what you will be doing to answer your research question. Therefore, you must be incredibly specific when writing because your reader should be able to understand precisely how you performed your research.

Another important role of the method section is to make your research replicable . This means that if a researcher were to read your paper and wanted to re-create your study for whatever reason, they know exactly what steps you took and why you took them.

Justify Your Method With Research

Another important note for your method section is that everything you plan to do must be justified in some way shape or form by already existing research. This means using the little-r research you employed in your literature review to explain:

Why your proposed method aligns with methods used by previous researchers

Why it will accurately solve your problem or answer your question

This point is often glossed over by Research students because to them, their method is obvious and will work, but to readers, this simply is not true. Because of this, it is key to the effectiveness of your method section that you justify and logically support your method.

Closing Thoughts

Congratulations! You now know everything you need to know about designing a methodology and writing a methods section in your research paper. Once you write this section, you're officially over the hump and are over halfway done with your paper! It's also at this point that you transition formally from little-r research to big-R research, which is super super exciting! Good luck, and now that you have a method...


Key Terms to Review ( 13 )

Content analyses

Data Analysis

Data Collection

Ethical experimentation



Qualitative Analysis

Study population


Stay Connected

© 2024 Fiveable Inc. All rights reserved.

AP® and SAT® are trademarks registered by the College Board, which is not affiliated with, and does not endorse this website.


AP Capstone Project: APA Format & Paper Organization

  • APA Format & Paper Organization
  • Quantitative Research
  • How to Avoid Scientific Misconduct

Your Capstone Paper

Your capstone paper will fall into one of the following categories:

L iterature review :   A literature review is a critical summary of what the scientific literature says about your specific topic or question. This kind of paper demonstrates your familiarity with work in the field. If you chose to research a certain topic or concept in depth, you will most likely write a literature review.

Experimental Report:   If you conducted original research for your capstone or collected data based on observations , your paper will be an experimental report. You will still need to include a summary of the past and current research about your topic, but unlike a literature review, you will also include some analysis as well as your own data gathered from an experiment or observations. 

Everyone's capstone paper should contain the following elements: a title page, abstract, introduction, body, conclusion, and reference list.   Click on the link below to open and make a copy of the capstone paper template. If you have any questions, please come see Ms. Forfa (earlier is always better!)

Capstone Paper Editable Template

Other Helpful Resources:

  • Help with In-Text Citations in APA Format
  • APA Sample Paper This is useful, especially if you need help formatting your reference list!
  • Citing & Referencing in APA Format
  • << Previous: Welcome
  • Next: Quantitative Research >>
  • Last Updated: Apr 11, 2018 12:03 PM
  • URL: https://shhs-southhadleyschools.libguides.com/apcapstone


Andrew Nelson of Granada Hills Charter High School Presents

Site Navigation [Skip]

  • Introductions To & Overviews Of Big Data (Return Big Data Home)
  • Big Data Business & Finance (Return Big Data Home)
  • Big Data & Science (Return Big Data Home)
  • Big Data & Future Analytical Tools (Return Big Data Home)
  • Big Data, English & Art (Return Big Data Home)
  • Big Data & Social Sciences (Return Big Data Home)
  • Big Data & Education (Return Big Data Home)
  • Big Data, Physical Education & Medicine (Return Big Data Home)
  • Big Data Videos


  • PROJECT TWO Part B: Graphic Display
  • Drawing A Normal Distribution Curve.xlsx
  • PROJECT #8 Stock Price Rubric


Sample Peer Reviewed Paper - Good Generic Model

Sample Peer Reviewed Paper - Another Good Generic Model

LINKS  To AP Research Materials, Assignments, Deadlines

Prerequisite Skills

Statistics Page

Bibliography & Literature Review Materials

Inquiry Proposal Form & PREP

Analysis of Data/Findings

Capstone Academic Research Paper

Presentation & Oral Defense

AP Research Workbook   (List of Methods Page 98)  

Library of Congress Subject Headings (LOCSH) On-line Catalog

LOCSH Alphabetical PDF Lists

Vanessa’s Data


HALL OF FAME PAPERS - #5 score places you among the best of the best

Here are the six “5" papers from 2019 as judged by College Board:

Perception of Women in Leadership

By Rachel Feldman 19’ 

Self-Affirmation as a Stress Buffer in High School Student’s Cognitive Ability 

By Denice Higareda, 19'

General Perceived Self-Efficacy and the Struggles of Test Anxiety 

By  Gabby Holquin, 19'

The Effects of School Resource Officers on Feelngs of School Connectedness and Safety 

By Stephanie Mier, 19'

Determining the Factors that Influence One’s Opinions on Globalization Within Youth 

By Zareh Shahinian, 19'

Adolescent Exposure to Sad Music 

By Jessica Wong, 19'

Here are the eight “5" papers from 2018 as judged by College Board:

Personality and Tempo: Exploring the Relationship Between   Music and Cognition           

By Matthew Bacon, 18'

Gender Differences in Attitudes Towards   STEM Among High School Students                     

  By Alexis Bui, 18'

Human Evaluation of Machine Translation   

By Tanvi Kharkar, 18'

Parasocial Relationships: A Study Concerning Adolescents Media Engagement

& Interaction   By Cambria Meadows, 18'

The Acting White Accusation: an examination of academic achievement, perceived educational benefits, and peer influence among high school students    By Success Ufondo, 18’

Relationship Between Factors of Behavior &  Length of Stay in Dogs Housed in A No Kill Animal Shelter      

By John Wargowski, 18’

Placebo Sleep and Student Cognition: Examining the Power of Perception            

By Ethan Trunfio, 18’

What are High School Students Attitudes and Opinions Towards Physician Assisted Suicide?  

By Madina Safdari, 18'

Here are five “perfect" scores 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’

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

Paper By Valeria Robles, 17’ Coming Soon.

Here are three other “5" scores 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'

Daring Sample Paper Employing A Delphi Research Method

A Study on Societal Attitudes Towards Terraforming Mars     By Nick Turcios, 17’   (BEWARE!!)

Course Introduction Materials

2018-9 AP Research Student Workbook  

2018-9 AP Research Course Two-Page Description

2018-9 AP Research Course & Exam Description Effective 2017

Moving From Preliminary Research To Literature Review

Research Notecard Template (Google Doc)

Mr. Nelson’s Opening Comments

AP Research Advice Highlights Capstone Class of 2017

AP Research Senior Advice To Juniors Excel All Responses

College Board Plagiarism Policy

Falsification & Fabrication  

Digital Portfolio Account Set-up



  Student Account Set-up Instructions


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.

FALL FINAL MATERIAL REQUIREMENTS  - Students must bring the following items to class on Wednesday, the day of final.  Deductions will be made for missing items.  Thank you.


College Board on Falsification

Sample Oral Defense Presentation Slides

Denise’s Draft Slides

Vanessa’s Draft Slides



Saturday April 13  7:30-11:00AM

7:30am - 9:00am  Denice H, Gabby H, Daniel V

9:00am - 10:30am  Zareh S,  Stephanie M, Evana D

Thursday April 11, 2019 3:30-6:00PM

3:30pm - 5:00pm  Dakota E, Aaron C, Victoria D

4:30pm - 6:00pm Angel N, Melia L

Wednesday April 10, 2019 3:30-6:00PM  

3:30pm - 5:00pm  Stacy B, Jessica W., Vanessa F

  4:30pm - 6:00pm  Camille J, David Y


MONDAY Presenters - Dakota, Stephanie

TUESDAY Presenters - Jessica, Rachel

Victoria Thursday Lunch

WEDNESDAY Presenters - David, Evans, Denice

THURSDAY Presenters - Stacy, Gabby, Camille

Zee, Victoria - Thursday Lunch

FRIDAY Presenters - Melia, Daniel, Aaron

Angel - Friday Lunch

AP Research Sample Papers: 

Autoimune Disease

Time for Dinner

Prompt Questions For Assessing Papers Above

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)

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

Student Sample IPF - Thank You Melissa

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

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  




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

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



Mr. Wolf’s Checklists By Report Section

Mr. Wolf   Introduction Checklist

Mr. Wolf   Methods Checklist

Mr. Wolf   Findings, Analysis, Results Checklist

Mr. Wolf   Conclusion Checklist

Innovative Statistics Project Ideas for Insightful Analysis


Table of contents

  • 1.1 AP Statistics Topics for Project
  • 1.2 Statistics Project Topics for High School Students
  • 1.3 Statistical Survey Topics
  • 1.4 Statistical Experiment Ideas
  • 1.5 Easy Stats Project Ideas
  • 1.6 Business Ideas for Statistics Project
  • 1.7 Socio-Economic Easy Statistics Project Ideas
  • 1.8 Experiment Ideas for Statistics and Analysis
  • 2 Conclusion: Navigating the World of Data Through Statistics

Diving into the world of data, statistics presents a unique blend of challenges and opportunities to uncover patterns, test hypotheses, and make informed decisions. It is a fascinating field that offers many opportunities for exploration and discovery. This article is designed to inspire students, educators, and statistics enthusiasts with various project ideas. We will cover:

  • Challenging concepts suitable for advanced placement courses.
  • Accessible ideas that are engaging and educational for younger students.
  • Ideas for conducting surveys and analyzing the results.
  • Topics that explore the application of statistics in business and socio-economic areas.

Each category of topics for the statistics project provides unique insights into the world of statistics, offering opportunities for learning and application. Let’s dive into these ideas and explore the exciting world of statistical analysis.

Top Statistics Project Ideas for High School

Statistics is not only about numbers and data; it’s a unique lens for interpreting the world. Ideal for students, educators, or anyone with a curiosity about statistical analysis, these project ideas offer an interactive, hands-on approach to learning. These projects range from fundamental concepts suitable for beginners to more intricate studies for advanced learners. They are designed to ignite interest in statistics by demonstrating its real-world applications, making it accessible and enjoyable for people of all skill levels.

Need help with statistics project? Get your paper written by a professional writer Get Help Reviews.io 4.9/5

AP Statistics Topics for Project

  • Analyzing Variance in Climate Data Over Decades.
  • The Correlation Between Economic Indicators and Standard of Living.
  • Statistical Analysis of Voter Behavior Patterns.
  • Probability Models in Sports: Predicting Outcomes.
  • The Effectiveness of Different Teaching Methods: A Statistical Study.
  • Analysis of Demographic Data in Public Health.
  • Time Series Analysis of Stock Market Trends.
  • Investigating the Impact of Social Media on Academic Performance.
  • Survival Analysis in Clinical Trial Data.
  • Regression Analysis on Housing Prices and Market Factors.

Statistics Project Topics for High School Students

  • The Mathematics of Personal Finance: Budgeting and Spending Habits.
  • Analysis of Class Performance: Test Scores and Study Habits.
  • A Statistical Comparison of Local Public Transportation Options.
  • Survey on Dietary Habits and Physical Health Among Teenagers.
  • Analyzing the Popularity of Various Music Genres in School.
  • The Impact of Sleep on Academic Performance: A Statistical Approach.
  • Statistical Study on the Use of Technology in Education.
  • Comparing Athletic Performance Across Different Sports.
  • Trends in Social Media Usage Among High School Students.
  • The Effect of Part-Time Jobs on Student Academic Achievement.

Statistical Survey Topics

  • Public Opinion on Environmental Conservation Efforts.
  • Consumer Preferences in the Fast Food Industry.
  • Attitudes Towards Online Learning vs. Traditional Classroom Learning.
  • Survey on Workplace Satisfaction and Productivity.
  • Public Health: Attitudes Towards Vaccination.
  • Trends in Mobile Phone Usage and Preferences.
  • Community Response to Local Government Policies.
  • Consumer Behavior in Online vs. Offline Shopping.
  • Perceptions of Public Safety and Law Enforcement.
  • Social Media Influence on Political Opinions.

Statistical Experiment Ideas

  • The Effect of Light on Plant Growth.
  • Memory Retention: Visual vs. Auditory Information.
  • Caffeine Consumption and Cognitive Performance.
  • The Impact of Exercise on Stress Levels.
  • Testing the Efficacy of Natural vs. Chemical Fertilizers.
  • The Influence of Color on Mood and Perception.
  • Sleep Patterns: Analyzing Factors Affecting Sleep Quality.
  • The Effectiveness of Different Types of Water Filters.
  • Analyzing the Impact of Room Temperature on Concentration.
  • Testing the Strength of Different Brands of Batteries.

Easy Stats Project Ideas

  • Average Daily Screen Time Among Students.
  • Analyzing the Most Common Birth Months.
  • Favorite School Subjects Among Peers.
  • Average Time Spent on Homework Weekly.
  • Frequency of Public Transport Usage.
  • Comparison of Pet Ownership in the Community.
  • Favorite Types of Movies or TV Shows.
  • Daily Water Consumption Habits.
  • Common Breakfast Choices and Their Nutritional Value.
  • Steps Count: A Week-Long Study.

Business Ideas for Statistics Project

  • Analyzing Customer Satisfaction in Retail Stores.
  • Market Analysis of a New Product Launch.
  • Employee Performance Metrics and Organizational Success.
  • Sales Data Analysis for E-commerce Websites.
  • Impact of Advertising on Consumer Buying Behavior.
  • Analysis of Supply Chain Efficiency.
  • Customer Loyalty and Retention Strategies.
  • Trend Analysis in Social Media Marketing.
  • Financial Risk Assessment in Investment Decisions.
  • Market Segmentation and Targeting Strategies.

Socio-Economic Easy Statistics Project Ideas

  • Income Inequality and Its Impact on Education.
  • The Correlation Between Unemployment Rates and Crime Levels.
  • Analyzing the Effects of Minimum Wage Changes.
  • The Relationship Between Public Health Expenditure and Population Health.
  • Demographic Analysis of Housing Affordability.
  • The Impact of Immigration on Local Economies.
  • Analysis of Gender Pay Gap in Different Industries.
  • Statistical Study of Homelessness Causes and Solutions.
  • Education Levels and Their Impact on Job Opportunities.
  • Analyzing Trends in Government Social Spending.

Experiment Ideas for Statistics and Analysis

  • Multivariate Analysis of Global Climate Change Data.
  • Time-Series Analysis in Predicting Economic Recessions.
  • Logistic Regression in Medical Outcome Prediction.
  • Machine Learning Applications in Statistical Modeling.
  • Network Analysis in Social Media Data.
  • Bayesian Analysis of Scientific Research Data.
  • The Use of Factor Analysis in Psychology Studies.
  • Spatial Data Analysis in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
  • Predictive Analysis in Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
  • Cluster Analysis in Market Research.

Conclusion: Navigating the World of Data Through Statistics

In this exploration of good statistics project ideas, we’ve ventured through various topics, from the straightforward to the complex, from personal finance to global climate change. These ideas are gateways to understanding the world of data and statistics, and platforms for cultivating critical thinking and analytical skills. Whether you’re a high school student, a college student, or a professional, engaging in these projects can deepen your appreciation of how statistics shapes our understanding of the world around us. These projects encourage exploration, inquiry, and a deeper engagement with the world of numbers, trends, and patterns – the essence of statistics.

Readers also enjoyed

Likes, Shares, and Beyond: Exploring the Impact of Social Media in Essays


Just fill out the form, press the button, and have no worries!

We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you board with our cookie policy.

ap capstone research papers


  1. Sample Capstone Paper Apa Format

    ap capstone research papers

  2. sample capstone paper apa format

    ap capstone research papers

  3. AP Computer Science Capstone Rubric

    ap capstone research papers

  4. AP Capstone Research Certificate

    ap capstone research papers

  5. Capstone Project Proposal Format: Guide to Write Good Capstone

    ap capstone research papers

  6. 😝 Capstone paper format. Learn How to Write a Capstone Project Step By

    ap capstone research papers


  1. The Last Fox

  2. AP Capstone Research Projects Seminar Special Feature

  3. AP Capstone Diploma를 받는 방법은? #미국 #미국대학 #미국대학입시 #미국유학 #미국입시컨설팅

  4. capstone research 1

  5. AP Research Capstone 2

  6. Capstone Research


  1. AP Research Performance Task Sample and Scoring ...

    2016: Through-Course and End-of-Course Assessments. Download sample Academic Papers along with scoring guidelines and scoring distributions. If you are using assistive technology and need help accessing these PDFs in another format, contact Services for Students with Disabilities at 212-713-8333 or by email at [email protected].

  2. AP Research

    AP Research is an interdisciplinary course that encourages students to demonstrate critical thinking and academic research skills on a topic of the student's choosing. ... This is the deadline for you to submit your AP Research Academic Paper performance task as final in the AP Digital Portfolio. ... Participate in the AP Capstone Diploma ...

  3. PDF AP Research Academic Paper

    AP ® RESEARCH 2018 SCORING COMMENTARY . Academic Paper . Overview . This performance task was intended to assess students' ability to conduct scholarly and responsible research and articulate an evidence-based argument that clearly stated research question. More specifically, this performance task was intended to assess students' ability to:

  4. PDF AP Research Performance Task Rubric: Academic Paper

    The paper identifies the topic, purpose, and focus of the inquiry and explains why further investigation of the topic is needed. 4 . The paper articulates the significance of the topic of inquiry by connecting it to the larger discipline, field, and/or scholarly community. It defines its scope by specifying the parameters, limits, or

  5. PDF AP Capstone

    AP CapstoneTM is a new program from the College Board that helps students develop the independent research, collaborative teamwork, and communication skills valued by colleges. The program is built on the foundation of two new AP® courses — AP Seminar and AP Research — and is designed to complement and enhance the in-depth, discipline ...

  6. Ultimate Guide to the AP Research Course and Assessment

    Only schools that currently offer the AP Capstone Diploma may offer the AP Research course. Because it is a part of a larger comprehensive, skills-based program, students may not self-study for the AP Research course or final paper. At this time, home-schooled students, home-school organizations, and online providers are not eligible to ...

  7. Academic Paper: Methodology

    Cram for AP Research - The Academic Paper with Fiveable Study Guides. Includes key concepts, notes, vocab, and practice quizzes. ... Many AP Research students perform studies that involve human subjects. This means that you must abide by the rules of ethical experimentation. Note that, even if you aren't doing an experiment, if you have human ...

  8. PDF AP Research Academic Paper

    AP RESEARCH 2017 SCORING GUIDELINES Performance Task Rubric: Academic Paper NOTE: To receive the highest performance level presumes that the student also achieved the preceding performance levels in that row. ADDITIONAL SCORES: In addition to the scores represented on the rubric, readers can also assign scores of 0 (zero). - A score of . 0 . is assigned to a single row of the rubric when the ...

  9. AP Capstone Project: APA Format & Paper Organization

    Your Capstone Paper. Your capstone paper will fall into one of the following categories: Literature review: A literature review is a critical summary of what the scientific literature says about your specific topic or question. This kind of paper demonstrates your familiarity with work in the field. If you chose to research a certain topic or ...

  10. What Is The AP Capstone Program? Everything You Should Know

    The AP Capstone Program helps students prepare for college while still in high school. College is a rigorous experience that requires excellent research, time management, collaboration ...

  11. AP Capstone

    AP Capstone, officially known as the Advanced Placement Capstone Diploma Program, is a 2-year program developed by the College Board that consists of two courses: the AP Seminar and AP Research. Students who successfully complete the program and obtain scores of 3 or higher on at least four other AP exams receive either an AP Capstone Diploma or an AP Seminar and Research Certificate.

  12. PDF AP Research Academic Paper

    AP ® Research Academic Paper 2020 Scoring Guidelines. The Response… Score of 1 . Report on Existing Knowledge . Score of 2 . ... AP Capstone Research 2020 5,000 Words : Research Sample B Page 2 of 28: Abstract : Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) has become one of the most common mental disorders in the

  13. Ap Capstone

    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.

  14. PDF Research, Academic Rigor, Distinction

    The College Board's AP CapstoneTM is an innovative and ... scholarly research paper AP Capstone was developed in response to feedback from the College Board's Higher Education membership. The two AP Capstone courses, with their associated performance tasks, assessments, and application of research methodology, complement ...

  15. Statistics Project Topics: From Data to Discovery

    1.2 Statistics Project Topics for High School Students. 1.3 Statistical Survey Topics. 1.4 Statistical Experiment Ideas. 1.5 Easy Stats Project Ideas. 1.6 Business Ideas for Statistics Project. 1.7 Socio-Economic Easy Statistics Project Ideas. 1.8 Experiment Ideas for Statistics and Analysis. 2 Conclusion: Navigating the World of Data Through ...

  16. PDF AP Research Academic Paper

    February in 2019, the NASDAQ Stock Market recorded an average of 12 million shares. traded daily (NasdaqTrader 2019). Based on a survey conducted in 2016, it is estimated that. 52% of Americans have money invested in the stock market (Jones and Saad 2016, 1).