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Walden Capstone Writing Collaborative: Editor FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Prepared by the Walden Form and Style Editors from questions sent to their account


Q: What is considered a long quotation and a short quotation in APA style, and is there a difference in how they are presented in a doctoral capstone document?

A: A short quotation contains fewer than 40 words and should appear within the paragraph text in quotation marks, per APA 8.26. A quotation with 40 or more words should be set off as a block quote with a ½ inch indent and no quotation marks, per APA 8.27. Place the final punctuation before the citation in a block quote. A page number or paragraph number should be included in the citation when quoting, per APA 8.25/8.28.


Q: How do you remove comment balloons in a document?

A: Click in the balloon comment, right click, and select Delete Comment. To remove all comments, click in a comment and go to the Review tab. Click the arrow below Delete and select Delete All Comments in Document.


Q: What is appropriate material for an appendix of a final dissertation?

A: Permissions, participant recruitment materials, data not included in chapter or section text, and other materials required by the program or chair. Make sure to remove or redact information that would compromise the confidentiality of participants or the study site. Do not include the Walden consent form in an appendix of the final study.

See the FAQ on maintaining anonymity and confidentiality for more information on appendix materials such as these.


Q: Are appendix items in the final study different than what are included in the proposal?

A: Follow the program requirements and your chair’s guidance to learn what is appropriate to include in the proposal appendices. Because the proposal is not published, issues of confidentiality or anonymity are not a factor in the forms or items you choose to include for committee review at the proposal stage.


Q: Does Walden provide any free data analysis programs that students can use for their qualitative research to help sort, organize, and search for information in text such as transcriptions?

A: No. NVivo, Dedoose, and other programs require paid subscriptions.


Q: Are there recommendations for page lengths for the Introductions sections in the Proposal such as Background or Conceptual Framework?

A: The Background is typically between two and four pages, and the Framework is one to two pages, on average. Additional material should be included in the Literature Review chapter or section, so you do not need to include all relevant literature in the Introduction sections (typically 15 to 20 pages total). Refer to the checklist for your program and type of study, and be sure to cover all the content included for each section. These checklists are found on the Office of Research and Doctoral Services Doctoral Capstone and Project Resources page.


Q: Do I use first person or third person when I am writing Chapters 4 and 5 of the dissertation (or the postproposal sections of a doctoral study or project)?

A: Use third person except when referring to yourself, then use first person but avoid overusing it. Consider the occasional use of passive voice or find other agents to function as subjects (e.g., participants) to avoid overuse of first person. Be careful to distinguish between your study and other studies when interpreting findings in Chapter 5 or the final section (e.g., use the current study or my study rather than this study, which could be ambiguous).


Q: I have two appendices in my capstone research project: Appendix A and B. Are the different headings in each appendix supposed to show up on the Table of Contents (TOC) or just the titles of Appendix A and Appendix B? Are tables or figures in an appendix listed in the List of Tables and List of Figures?

A: Only the appendix title should appear in the TOC (APA Level 0). Appendix tables or figures should be included in the list of tables or list of figures. Include the appendix letter in the appendix table or figure (e.g., Table A1, Figure B2). Appendix tables or figures should appear after chapter tables or figures in the list of tables or list of figures.


Q: Where can I get help with writing references for different types of sources?

A: Refer to the APA 7th edition manual, Chapter 10, or check our web page on APA references.


Q: If there is only one table in a proposal or final study, should it be Table or Table 1?

A: Table 1, per APA 7.10.


Q: What is the appropriate spelling for the 21st century?

A: That spelling is fine for the noun form; spell it out at the beginning of a sentence (i.e., Twenty-first-century). Include a hyphen for the adjective before a noun (e.g., 21st-century publications), per APA 6.12. If you prefer a superscript (21st century), be consistent throughout the manuscript, per APA 6.35. Either approach is acceptable.


Q: Are citations included in the abstract of the doctoral capstone?

A: No.


Q: Are there are any resources for writing Chapter 5 of the dissertation?

A: Resources for the final chapter or section are in the Final Study Kit and also in the webinar titled Introduce, Conclude, and Write the Abstract of Your Study, found on the Webinars page for Doctoral Capstone Students.


Q: What is the correct way to use ellipses?

A: Include an ellipsis to indicate omitted material within a quotation but not at the beginning or end of the quotation unless the source material includes the ellipsis, per APA 8.31. If necessary, add a period to the ellipsis to indicate a sentence break.


Q: What guidance can you provide on choosing a title for the dissertation?

A: Include key words from the research topic (e.g., variables, phenomena under investigation) so researchers can find the study when searching titles. Make sure the title reflects the purpose of the study.


Q: I need some guidance as to what templates and guides to use for the PhD dissertation proposal. I just had my prospectus approved and am starting to work on my proposal and want to use the right templates and guides.

A: Use the dissertation template found by clicking on the PhD Dissertation button on the Programs page. The appropriate content checklists are located on the Office of Research and Doctoral Services Doctoral Capstone and Project Resources page in the PhD Documents area.


Q: In APA style, how do you write out a range or span of years (e.g., from 2012 to 2016. Do I write this information as 2012 - 2016, 2012 - 16; 2012-2016 or 2012-16).

A: Include the full year in the range (e.g., 2012–2016). Per APA 6.6, use an en-dash between numerals in a page range or date range. Use words rather than en-dashes in the running text (e.g., from 2012 to 2016), and use an en-dash in parenthetical material or in tables or figures.


Q: How much white space can be on a page if a table or figure takes an entire page? How much text should be on the page?

A: Do not include paragraph text if the table or figure occupies 75% or more of the page. Insert a page break after the table or figure.


Q: Do key terms need to be set in italics?

A: Italicize a key term when it is defined or described as a term, per APA 6.22. Search terms in the literature review are considered key terms and should be italicized. Use quotation marks for other words referred to as words (e.g., participants answered “yes” or “no”), per APA 6.7.