You’ve likely heard many references to the final ‘capstone project,’ the dissertation or doctoral study that will be the culmination of your work as a doctoral student.
When you reach the capstone phase of your program, I hope you pause and celebrate – take the time to congratulate yourself on becoming “All but Dissertation. Then, refocus and begin the important work of creating a plan for completing your capstone.
Are you worried about the challenge of the dissertation or capstone process? If so, then you are not alone. When I started, I was unaware of all the considerations and requirements needed for a successful journey.
Two suggestions will come up again and again: write first, and write every day. Today, I’d like to think through how that advice might apply to Walden students, many of whom are caring for family members and working in their fields while completing their studies.
Even if you wouldn’t consider yourself a perfectionist, generally speaking (have you seen the state of my laundry piles?), perfectionist thoughts and tendencies have a bad habit of showing up when we sit down to write.
Would you like to produce better writing in less time? The key is to start writing before you feel like you are ready or certain of what to say.
Like many others, you may like to know how it feels to have completed the doctoral degree, what experiences I can share, how long it took, etc. I will try to address many of these questions and also give you some tips for your success.
Your literature review gives readers an understanding of the scholarly research on your topic.
In your literature review you will:
We want to help you maintain the vision of the big picture. It’s easy to lose sight of this when you’re doing your research, following various threads of interest, sometimes getting bogged down in the details. The literature review is not a comprehensive history of your topic, but a way to provide context to your reader about research that has preceded your study.
Be aware that the literature review is an iterative process. As you read and write initial drafts, you will find new threads and complementary themes, at which point you will return to search, find out about these new themes, and incorporate them into your review.
The purpose of this guide is to help you through the literature review process. Take some time to look over the resources in order to become familiar with them. The tabs on the left side of this page have additional information.
Library guide to Capstone Literature Reviews
Part of becoming an independent academic writer means knowing the skills you need to develop in your writing process as well as the resources available to help you develop them. The time you spend working with faculty to develop your preproposal document(s) is also a perfect opportunity to reflect on your writing skills and what further work you need to do to prepare yourself to write the proposal and final study.
Working on the proposal means that students have a solid topic approved by their committee and can move on to developing the details of their study. This kit focuses on writing the introduction, reviewing the literature, and proposing research design and method for the study. All Walden proposals, whether from professional doctorate degrees or PhD degrees, cover three main areas: introduction to the study, literature review, and discussion of the research design and method.
Working on the final study means that the committee has approved a doctoral student’s proposal, Walden IRB has approved the application to conduct the study, and the student has collected data. At this stage, students are ready to begin writing the final chapters/sections of the capstone. All Walden capstones, whether from professional programs or PhD programs, cover five main areas: introduction, literature review (or the background and context, for students doing a DNP project), research method/design, analysis/findings, and conclusions/applications/implications for social change. Every student should check his or her program checklist or rubric for specific content guidance, as different programs vary in the required number of chapters or sections in the final capstone document.
This kit will help students more specifically with how to describe the results, format tables and figures to display findings, discuss social change, and reflect on the research process and conclusions.
These resources are for doctoral students who have completed their final doctoral capstone documents and are preparing them for final approval prior to graduation.
This kit focuses on what doctoral students need as they prepare for the form and style (F&S) review. It includes information on what the editors check for at the F&S stage, common errors and how to revise them, the checklists and how to use them, and resources for double-checking references and citations.