ENVR E-599: Independent Research Capstone


  • Professor: Richard Wetzler
  • Term: Fall/Spring
  • Days: Fall: W
  • Days: Spring: M
  • Time: Fall: 5:50-7:50PM
  • Time: Spring: 11:00AM-1:00PM
  • School: Harvard Extension School
  • Course ID: 14598; 24009

This course offers students direction and support to complete an individual research capstone project. It provides each participant with a guided immersion in the processes of heuristic question formulation, objective research design, and implementation. Included are hypothesis testing, data collection and analysis, writing, revision, and final dissemination. Individual meetings with the instructor occur throughout the semester, beginning with review of the preliminary research proposal and completion of a needs assessment survey. Subsequent meetings serve to ensure research progress is on track and making full use of available experts, references, and other resources. Lectures and discussions explore challenges and opportunities in boundary delineation, project scoping, assessment of potential impact (and, where appropriate, procedural reviews such as the university's policy on use of human subjects), inclusion of stakeholders and sampling design; logical consistency, lateral thinking, and use and analysis of case studies; benchmarking and bet-hedging; effective writing, graphic presentation, and referencing; and public presentation and network establishment. Using a workshop format, participants regularly present components of their work-in-progress for review and constructive input. At the semester's close, the professional community is invited to attend participants' presentations of their final research projects. This is accomplished via a class poster exhibition and/or through a web-based video archive of project presentations.

Note: This course meets on nine Wednesdays from 6-9 pm (six times on campus in the Northwest Science Building, room B-105; and three times via web conference). This course has a required on-campus meeting on Saturday, October 5 from 1-4 pm, and includes an on-campus symposium on December 7, 1-7 pm. See syllabus for specific meeting dates. Optional sections to be arranged.

Prerequisite: Students must be candidates in the Master of Liberal Arts, sustainabilityprogram pursuing the independent research capstone track who are in good academic standing, in their final course, and have successfully completed ENVR S-598 in the 2019 summer term. Students who do not meet these requirements are dropped from the course.