These resources are for doctoral students who are interested in adapting some or all of their doctoral capstone research or project for publication after graduation.
Receiving a doctorate means achieving the highest form of scholarship in the field. After this accomplishment, many new graduates look for ways to disseminate their research beyond publishing their capstone manuscript in the ProQuest database. Some Walden doctoral capstone documents already include material specifically intended for publication beyond Walden, such as white papers or other scholarly products inspired by the study findings. Other documents do not have sections or chapters immediately ready to publish out of the context of the full study, but they still have the potential to turn into great articles.
The question for a doctoral capstone document is how to reshape what is already written into a different, publishable form, which means condensing a document the length of a book into something the length of an article. Much depends on the unique standards and guidelines for each journal, so scholars need to consider where they want to publish and who their new intended audience will be. The purpose of this postgraduation kit is to provide strategies for students to condense the capstone into something that could be submitted for journal publication.
Talking to faculty, networking with colleagues, and attending and presenting at conferences in the field are also great ways to find publishing opportunities. Walden University publishes several journals, and students should consider sharing their work with the wider academic community well past graduation. Completing the doctoral capstone is how scholars demonstrate their worthiness to conduct doctoral-level scholarship, and publishing that scholarship is one of the main ways new doctoral graduates can move the academic conversation forward and contribute to positive social change in their communities.
As another option, students may choose to represent their work in a white paper or executive summary. Their purpose for doing so can be to share findings with the organization where they conducted their research, share conclusions or recommendations in a professional setting, begin creating a conference presentation proposal, or create a more concise exemplar of their work. There is no standard definition of a white paper or executive summary, nor is there a set of guidelines or requirements across fields of study. The information that the student wishes to share may vary greatly based on the discipline and venue for information sharing. Students producing this type of summary as part of their doctoral capstone work, for example, should confirm with their chairperson what the expectations are in their field.
Generally, this type of summary is a short and comprehensive report. Because the capstone is lengthy and requires discussion of material that is not always relevant to all audiences (i.e., the decision to use the qualitative method over the quantitative, justification for the sample size, or detailed analysis process), white papers and executive summaries should be focused on conveying enough information to provide the necessary context for the results.
We recommend students consider presenting the following:
As we mentioned, Form and Style Editors also recommend that students work closely with their chair, as the chair should be able to provide more detailed advice and recommendations on what to cover, depending on the specific field and target audience of the white paper or executive summary.
For more information and some suggested steps to approaching writing these types of shorter, summary documents, visit our Form and Style SMRTguides page on Writing an Executive Summary (ES) or White Paper (WP).