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Intro to Form and Style Review: Document Expectations


For the form and style (F&S) review, the submitted document must be a clean and complete draft of the capstone study with all revisions from the 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 including 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 DBA, DHA, DIT, DNP, DPA, DrPH, DSW, EdD, PhD, and PsyD templates; F&S checklists; and the Dissertation Guidebook or Doctoral Study Guidebook. You should refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th Edition for formatting and style, keeping in mind that a few Walden capstone specifications supersede APA guidelines, such as Level 0 headings and different margin widths.

Focus of the Review

Walden F&S editors 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
  • 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 clarify prose
  • suggest changes for writers 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 F&S issues that delay students at the F&S review along with tips for fixing the problems. For questions, contact

Capstone Margin and Pagination Requirements

The “front matter” of the document has different pagination and margin formatting. The front matter consists of the title pages, dedication, acknowledgements, Table of Contents (TOC), List of Tables, and List of Figures. There should be no page numbers on the first few pages. Roman numeral pagination of the remaining pages of the front matter begin at the TOC. The pagination is different in the TOC, using roman numerals, to ensure that the first page of Chapter/Section 1 begins at page 1. In addition, the top and bottom margins are different to accommodate the different locations of the page numbers (at the bottom, center of the page for front matter; top right corner for the body of the document).

The order and pagination of the preliminary pages are as follows:

  1. Abstract title page (no page number)
  2. Abstract (no page number)
  3. Title page (no page number)
  4. Dedication (optional; no page number; use double-spacing and normal paragraphing)
  5. Acknowledgments (optional; no page number; use double-spacing and normal paragraphing)
  6. TOC (page i)
  7. List of Tables (paginated consecutively after the TOC)
  8. List of Figures (paginated consecutively after the List of Tables)  

Starting with the first page of the TOC, set the page numbers in lowercase roman numerals, centered in the footer, 1 in. from bottom of the page.

Page 1 is the first page of Chapter/Section 1 (not the first page of the TOC). Page numbers appear in the upper right on all pages of the chapters, references, and appendices.

Margins for preliminary pages

Title pages, abstract, dedication, acknowledgements, and TOC, including lists of tables and figures

  • Top = 1 inch
  • Bottom = 1.3 inch
  • Left = 1.5 inch
  • Right = 1 inch

Make sure the page number is 1 in. from the bottom of the page: Set the footer at 1 in.

Margins for main body of text

Page 1 to end of references and appendices

  • Top = 1.3 inch
  • Bottom = 1 inch
  • Left = 1.5 inch
  • Right = 1 inch

Make sure the page number is 1 in. from the top of the page: Set the header at 1 in.

Capstone Spacing Requirements

APA 7 requires one space between sentences. This is a change from APA 6, where either one or two spaces was allowed between sentences as long as there was consistency throughout the document.

A few spacing reminders:

  • In APA Style, one space is the requirement after a colon.
  • In APA Style, once space is the requirement between elements of the reference.