• Preparation
    • Data Review Project Overview.
    • Project Topic Selection.
    • Submit your project topic, problem description, problem statement, and references in a Microsoft Word document, 1–2 pages in length.
    • Format your citations and references using APA style.
    • Write a clear, one-sentence problem statement for a proposed project.
      • State the issue in the form of a problem and add a citation.
    • Identify the key performance indicators and outcome measures for a proposed project.
      • Locate authoritative sources on performance measurement.
    • Summarize a current and relevant authoritative literature.
      • Be concise and substantive. Provide sufficient information in the summary to adequately cover the selected topic.
      • Visit the Capella University Library to confirm what sources constitute authoritative literature. The Library Research and Information Literacy Skills page, linked in the Resources of this unit contain useful information on this topic.
    • Articulate the value of a proposed project to an organization and to one’s professional health care leadership competency development goals.
      • Review the selected organization’s website to determine its vision, mission, culture, strategic focus, and how they provide value to the patients.
      • Ensure that you understand what is meant by the term value proposition.
      • Consider a strategic, systems perspective when contemplating value to the organization.
      • Be sure you have evidence to support your conclusions.
    • Combine clear, coherent, and original writing, in APA style, with relevant and credible evidence from the scholarly and professional literature.
      • Apply correct APA formatting to your source citations.
      • Consider how or why a particular piece of evidence supports your main points, claims, or conclusions.
      • Make sure your supporting evidence is clear and explicit.

To prepare for this assessment, read the following documents, linked in the Resources of this unit.

The information provided in these two documents will help you in choosing a project of reasonable scope that is central to your career development goals and would be of value to your targeted health care organization. In addition, they provide guidance, recommendations, and examples that are crucial to successfully completing this assessment. You are encouraged to download both the documents and keep them on hand as ready references.


Select your data review project topic, and provide a topic description that includes the problem statement and list of supporting references.

Document Format and Length

Topic Selection

Note: The requirements outlined below correspond to the grading criteria in the scoring guide. Be sure that your topic selection process addresses each point, at a minimum. You may also want to read the Project Topic Selection Scoring Guide to better understand how each criterion will be assessed.

Project Topic Selection

The goal of your data review project is to explore a real-world, relevant health care issue by examining existing data. You will be asked to examine data that already exists. It is, therefore, in your best interest to make sure that performance indicators already exist that relate directly to your topic and are measurable.

Selecting Your Topic

Selecting the topic for your data review project is a two-step process of identifying the topic and surveying the relevant literature. Follow these recommendations to help narrow the topic and ensure a logical flow and reasonable scope.

Step 1: Topic Identification

• Identify a topic that is central to your career development goals. o For example, perhaps you are interested in risk management, practice management, supply chain and material management, strategic planning, finance, or non-profit IDS (integrated delivery system) leadership. Ideally, the capstone experience will bring you closer to a prospective employer or your next career advancement goal.

• Identify a health care organization for whom a data review related to your selected topic would align with the vision, mission, and values of the organization and could add value to their efforts. There may be an element of your project that could contribute to the field at an industry level.

• Draft a self-motivating purpose statement connecting the topic with a real-world application that you believe in and want to support. o I am studying [topic] so that I can [application].

o Example: I am studying childhood obesity in low-income populations so that I can help my organization make a difference for children and families attempting to address this issue.

Step 2: Survey the Literature

Create a Tentative Bibliography

Always try to find more articles than you plan to use. Your purpose statement drives your search for resources to create your tentative bibliography.

• Locate at least 8–10 academic studies that have already addressed the issue.

• Reduce your list to six sources with the intention of reading them more carefully. You need to deepen your understanding of how experts in the field are currently addressing the issue.

Note: If you are using benchmarks, the population, organizations, or topics must be similar in scope and nature for a valid comparison. For example, avoid benchmarking aspects of a rural 20-patient average daily census non-profit hospice against a national, for-profit hospice with a 17,000-patient average daily census.

• Keep track of your bibliography.

Identify Common Themes

• Examine the similarities and differences among the authors.

• Build a list of key words and phrases that most of the authors use to describe the issue, conclusions, and their suggested next steps. These words and phrases help you to identify the themes that guide your search for understanding both the topic and the data you will review.

Determine if Your Topic is Measurable

• What kind of data have you chosen that authors have already examined? Likewise, what kind of data seems to be missing?

• Can you use the data to draw a visual diagram, graph, and pie chart, or any other representation of the summarized data that you are examining? If you can label an X and Y axis, then you probably have a measurable topic.

Problem Description

Your purpose statement from the first part of this assessment is a statement of the personal motivation behind your mission to review the data. Whereas the capstone problem description articulates the issue as an existing problem that is currently under investigation by experts in the field. It includes a description of the data you plan to review and demonstrates relevancy and value to yourself and others.

Use the four sentence structure to create your capstone problem statement:

1. I am examining [the issue or problem], because [identify the relevant and authoritative reference that validates your issue as a problem].

2. I will examine [the type of data] and will assess the data by measuring [identify the performance indicators and outcome measures].

3. This project will add value to [type of organization or name] by [how it aligns with an organizational need].

4. This project aligns with my professional interests and career goals by [how it adds value or has relevance for you personally].

Add your list of six current, relevant, and authoritative sources that directly relate to your problem description, prior to submission.

Example Topic Description

Lack of patient safety can negatively affect patients, clinicians, and other stakeholders who interface with the clinical laboratory (Smith, 2014). I would like to examine the percentage of compliance with safety standards for specimen intake, specimen processing, result reporting, and storage or handling of chemical agents, as outlined by [authoritative body X assessment tool for compliance].

This project will add value to [organization name] by identifying areas for compliance and quality improvements, enhancement of patient safety efforts, and potential cost containment. This project aligns with my future career goals by providing me with the opportunity to lead in exploring a real-world health care problem in the laboratory setting.

Common Errors to Avoid

• The topic is conceptual and too broad to be measured.

• The performance indicators do not directly relate to the problem being examined.

• The performance indicators to be examined are not clearly identified.

• The performance indicators under examination are not accompanied by outcome measures.

• No organization is specified to provide a boundary around the data examination. In other words, failure to balance the data examination, such as time frame, geographic area, or a specific organization, department name, specific business units, et cetera.

• Prohibited human subjects research is proposed.

• Crafting a value proposition statement for the organization by stating that the proposed or ideal outcome for the data review will occur, or has already occurred before the data has been examined.

• Not crafting a value proposition statement for your career goals.

• Proposing the implementation of an initiative, rather than the review of data for an initiative that has already occurred.

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