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Doctoral Capstone Writing: Overview


The capstone project is a vehicle for a student to conduct significant and rigorous research that will add meaningful content to existing knowledge and foster growth in the field. These pages contain links to useful information that will help you when writing your capstone study.

In addition to the resources on the program-specific pages, there are also webinars available through the Writing Center on preparing for the form and style review, using the doctoral capstone template, and writing each of the main areas in doctoral capstone studies: the introduction, literature review, methodology, results, and conclusion. Check out the archive to view recordings of past sessions.

If you have writing or APA questions about the proposal or final doctoral study, contact

Doctoral Capstone Resources

Feeling stumped about how to describe the purpose of your research, your approach, or your methods?  The Center for Research Quality has tutorials on all of these topics (and more!).  Click the links below to investigate.

The Writing Center also has webinars on a variety of capstone-related topics and has also compiled the list below for books on writing theses and dissertations.

The Doctoral Capstone Resources website pulls together all of the capstone support services provided by the university in one convenient place. This site provides resources for your doctoral capstone project—whether it is a dissertation, doctoral study, or project study. Students will find:

  • Program-specific requirements, checklists, and forms.
  • Resources to help them hone their research, writing, and critical thinking skills.
  • Guidelines for writing a proposal, developing a methodology, and more.

Finally, remember that your chair and other faculty members are your best resources for specific, content-related questions.

Related Multimedia and Other Resources

Books on Writing Dissertations and Theses

Courtesy of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

Balian, E. S. (1994). The graduate research guidebook. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Bolker, J. (1998). Writing your dissertation in fifteen minutes a day: A guide to starting, revising, and finishing your doctoral thesis. New York, NY: H. Holt.

Booth, W. C., Colomb, G. C., & Williams, J. M. (1995). The craft of research. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Brause, R. S. (2000). Writing your doctoral dissertation: Invisible rules for success. New York, NY: Falmer Press.

Cone, J. D., & Foster. S.L. (1993). Dissertations and theses from start to finish: Psychology and related fields. Chicago, IL: American Psychological Association.

Cryer, P. (2000). The research student's guide to success. Buckingham, United Kingdom: Open University Press.

Davis, G. B., & Parker, C. A. (1997). Writing the doctoral dissertation: A systematic approach. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's.

Dunleavy, P. (2003). Authoring a PhD thesis: How to plan, draft, write and finish a doctoral dissertation. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Glatthorn, A. A. (1998). Writing the winning dissertation: A step-by-step guide. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Higgins, R. (1996). Approaches to research: A handbook for those writing a dissertation. Bristol, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Holtom, D., & Fisher, E. (1999). Enjoy writing your science thesis or dissertation! A step-by-step guide to planning and writing dissertations and theses for undergraduate and graduate science students. London, United Kingdom: Imperial College Press.

Jain, R. D. (2002). Get it done! A coach's guide to dissertation success. Columbia, MD: Moonswept Press.

Krathwohl, D. R. (1988). How to prepare a research proposal: Guidelines for funding and dissertations in the social and behavioral sciences. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

Leedy, P. D., & Ormrod, J. E. (2000). Practical research: Planning and design. New York, NY: Prentice Hall.

Locke, L. F., Spirduso, W. W., & Silverman, S. J. (1999). Proposals that work: A guide for planning dissertations and grant proposals. Newbury Park, NJ: Sage Publications.

Madsen, D. (1992). Successful dissertations and theses: A guide to graduate student research from proposal to completion. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Mauch, J. E., & Birch, J. W. (1998). Guide to the successful thesis and dissertation: A handbook for students and faculty. New York, NY: M. Dekker.

Miller, J. I., & Taylor, B. J. (1987). The thesis writer's handbook: A complete one-source guide for writers of research papers. West Linn, OR: Alcove Publishing.

Murray, R. (2002). How to write a thesis. Berkshire, United Kingdom: Open University Press.

Newman, I., Benz, C. R., Weis, D., & McNeil. K. (1997). Theses and dissertations. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Ogden, E. H. (1997). Completing your doctoral dissertation or master's thesis in two semesters or less. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

Rudestam, K. E., & Newton, R. R. (2000). Surviving your dissertation: A comprehensive guide to content and process. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Secrist, J., Wright, D. J., & Fitzpatrick, J. (1998). Secrets for a successful dissertation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Sternberg, D. J. (1981). How to complete and survive a doctoral dissertation. New York, NY: St. Martin's Griffin.

Teitelbaum, H. (1998). How to write a thesis. New York, NY: Arco Publishers.

Thomas, R. M., & Brubaker, D. L. (2001). Avoiding thesis and dissertation pitfalls: 61 cases of problems and solutions. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey.

Thomas, R. M., & Brubaker, D. L. (2000). Theses and dissertations: A guide to planning, research, and writing. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey.

Van Wagenen, R. K. (1990). Writing a thesis: Substance and style. New York, NY: Prentice Hall.

Walters, D. L. (1999). The readable thesis: Clear and effective writing. Gilsum, NH: Avocus Publishers.

Webster, W. G. (1998). Developing and writing your thesis, dissertation or project: A book of sound advice about conceptualizing, organizing, developing and finalizing your terminal graduate research. San Ramon, CA: Academic Scholarwrite.

Zerubavel, E. (1999). The clockwork muse: A practical guide to writing theses, dissertations and books. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.