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Intro to Form and Style Review: Document Expectations


For the form and style review, the submitted document must be a clean and complete draft of the capstone study with all revisions from committee and URR incorporated. The document must be free of track changes, comment balloons, and other feedback from previous readers. You should have incorporated all revision suggestions from earlier approval stages, including comments from the committee chair, URR, and IRB. Finally, the document should include all components of the study such as the abstract, other preliminary material, all chapters/sections, reference list, and appendices (as needed).

Document Formatting & APA Style

The submitted capstone study must follow Walden and APA specifications for formatting and style. Useful resources include the Walden PhD, DBA, EdD, DNP, and DIT templates; F&S checklists; and the Dissertation Guidebook or EdD Doctoral Study Guidebook. You should refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition for formatting and style, keeping in mind that a few Walden capstone specifications supersede APA guidelines such as no running headers and different margin widths.

Focus of the Review

We review capstone studies for logic, flow, precision, clarity, and compliance with APA style. We conduct a line-by-line edit of Chapter 1 (dissertation) or Section 1 (doctoral or project study) of a capstone draft and several pages of the remaining chapters or sections as well as the reference list and appendices, then noting any errors or patterns of error. Our comments address areas such as

  • clarity and economy of expression;
  • scholarly and objective language;
  • cohesion and alignment of elements throughout the study; and
  • formatting of margins, page numbers, headings, tables, figures, citations, and reference list entries.

We use a writing assessment rubric to guide our feedback for (a) cohesion and flow, (b) APA, and (c) voice and grammar.

What to Expect

All manuscripts will require some revision after the F&S review, and you can expect us to use both track changes and comment balloons to model and explain revisions. Our advice will

  • indicate patterns of errors for revision,
  • ask critical questions to help students clarify prose, and
  • suggest changes for students and their committees to consider before the capstone study becomes a permanent written record of the students' academic achievement.

Our feedback falls into three categories: required changes, highly recommended revisions, and suggested revisions.

The Top 10 Problems page lists the common form and style issues that delay students at the F&S review along with tips for fixing the problems. For questions, contact