Walden University emphasizes social change in Walden graduate student capstone projects. As part of Walden’s mission, students’ research has an effect not only on research and practice but also on the positive social change implications that extend beyond the specific sample and participants in the study.
Walden capstones include discussion of positive social change implications in three general areas of the study:
See program checklists and guidebooks (program specific checklists, found at the Office of Research and Doctoral Services [ORDS]'s Office of Student Research Administration) as well as ORDS’s Research and Planning Resources for specific expectations for presentation of discussion:
Developing a social change implications framing. Remember, these are potential social change implications, so using language like may, might, could is appropriate and preferred.
Though the bulk of the abstract is a summary or description of the research or project, the last two or three sentences (roughly) should mention who will benefit from these results (or information/conclusion) and how.
Example: …The consensus among participants was that supportive leadership is a significant factor in improving employee performance, maintaining constructive manager-employee relationships, and increasing job satisfaction. The social change implications may include job sustainability, job creation, and community economic enhancement. When job satisfaction allows individuals and organizations the opportunity to thrive, local unemployment, spending, and use of community resources may also increase, stimulating local economies.
In this beginning portion of the study, students should describe “potential implications for positive social change that are consistent with and bounded by the scope of the study” (ORDS, n.d.). This means that students should begin describing the potential outcomes of the research that may benefit society as early as in the beginning stages of capstone development.
Example: The results of this study could also contribute to social change as reducing turnover in this industry (through increased support and job satisfaction) may directly and indirectly affect the lives of citizens in this local community. Successful implementation of strategies and support may improve the work environment for employees by potentially increasing morale (Parvadavardini et al., 2016; Schaap, 2012), as well as helping the company to thrive, thus providing the opportunity for the company to contribute to the local economy. Revenue from thriving businesses may benefit the overall community and job market.
ORDS (n.d.) directs students to “describe the potential impact for positive social change at the appropriate level (individual, family, organizational, and societal/policy)… and to ensure implications for social change do not exceed the study boundaries.” This means that writers need to again touch on who this information will help and how, as well as ensuring that writers keep this within the delimitations (scope) of the initial study—being careful to align with the generalizability or transferability discussed in earlier sections.
Example: Positive social change may be accomplished through leaders applying strategies to improve support and job satisfaction. Support may increase positive social change by applying proven strategies to succeed in developing and maintaining positive employee morale and improving the performance of all individuals involved. Employees who are efficient and content generate company revenue, and increased revenue enables increased charitable spending. With organizational success, local economies and communities have the potential to thrive. More local spending and use of community resources means potentially stimulating the local economy, with the additional possibility of job creation.