[your official name]
BAS, [university], 20XX
Capstone Submitted in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree of
Bachelors of Applied Science (BAS)
[last month of term you graduate] 20XX
Abstract text is double-spaced with no paragraph breaks. Describe the overall research problem being addressed in the first couple of sentences and indicate its important (e.g., who would care if the problem were solved). You can include a general introduction of the issue in the first sentence, but move to a clear statement of the research problem being addressed. Identify the purpose and theoretical foundations, if appropriate, summarize the key research question(s), and briefly describe the overall research design, methods, and data analysis procedures. Identify the key results, one or two conclusions, and recommendations that capture the heart of the research. Do not include references or citations in the abstract. Unless at the start of a sentence, use numerals in the abstract, not written-out numbers.
[your official name]
BAS, [university], 20XX
Capstone Submitted in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree of
Bachelors of Applied Science
[last month term you graduate] 20XX
[This is an optional page for a dedication. It does not have a page number. If you include a dedication, use regular paragraph formatting as shown here (not centered, italicized, or otherwise formatted). This page is already correctly formatted, so you can simply replace the sample text with your own. If you do not include a dedication page, delete the heading and any text on this page. The Dedication heading does not appear in the table of contents.
The Dedication page is a wonderful opportunity for you to pay special tribute to those individuals or organizations that provided you with encouragement, special assistance, or inspiration throughout your academic career.]
[As with the Dedication page, the Acknowledgments page is optional. It is a nice place to thank the faculty, friends, and family members who have helped you reach this point in your academic career Some people make note of their spiritual beliefs and thank their Higher Power for helping to make their dreams possible.
Generally an acknowledgment page is no more than one page in length, and consists of a brief description of how you were shown support by the people you acknowledge. Although it is not mandatory, it is good practice to thank anyone who gave you permission to use any copyrighted materials.
It is not necessary to include every single person or entity that helped you complete your dissertation. Usually, just the major players are acknowledged. Those who contributed in a minor way can be acknowledged in a general statement. For example, one could write: “I am forever grateful to all those at whatever organization and to everyone else I did not mention, but contributed in some fashion to the successful completion of this dissertation.”
This page is already correctly formatted, so you can simply replace this text with your own. If you include an Acknowledgments page, there is no page number, and the heading does not appear in the Table of Contents. If you do not include Acknowledgments, delete the heading and text, being careful to not delete the section break below this text.]
Table of Contents
List of Tables iv
List of Figures v
Chapter 1: Introduction to the Study 1
Background of the Study 1
Problem Statement 1
Purpose of the Study 2
Research Question(s) and Hypotheses 2
Theoretical Foundation 3
Conceptual Framework 3
Nature of the Study 4
Summary and Transition 6
Chapter 2: Literature Review 7
Literature Search Strategy 7
Theoretical Foundation 7
Conceptual Framework 8
Literature Review 8
Summary and Conclusions 8
Chapter 3: Research Method 10
Research Design and Rationale 10
Sampling and Sampling Procedures 10
Procedures for Recruitment, Participation, and Data Collection (Primary Data) 11
Pilot Study 11
Archival Data 12
Instrumentation and Operationalization of Constructs 12
Intervention Studies or Those Involving Manipulation of an Independent Variable 13
Data Analysis Plan 14
Treats to Validity 14
External Validity 14
Internal Validity 15
Construct Validity 15
Ethical Procedures 15
Chapter 4: Results 17
Pilot Study 17
Data Collection 17
Treatment and/or Intervention Fidelity 17
Study Results 18
Chapter 5: Discussion, Conclusions, and Recommendations 20
Interpretation of Findings 20
Limitations of the Study 20
Appendix A: Title of Appendix 23
List of Tables
Table 1. A Sample Table Showing Correct Formatting 19
When you update the list of tables, the table number and title will come in without a period between them; you will need to manually add that period after all table numbers, as shown for Table 1. In addition, the title will retain the italics from the narrative when the List of Tables is updated. Once your list is finalized, select the entire list and change it all to plain type.
List of Figures
Figure 1. Figure caption goes here xx
The List of Figures is not set up to automatically update. If you have figures in your document, type them in manually here, following the example above.
Chapter 1: Introduction to the Study
[Describe the topic of the study, why the study needs to be conducted, and the potential positive social change implications of the study. Preview the major sections of the chapter. Notes: This introduction to the chapter should be less than a page in length.
Each of the following sections contains a suggested page length; however, the length of each section should be determined by sufficiency and completeness.]
Background of the Study
[Briefly, summarize research literature related to the scope of the study topic. Describe a gap in knowledge in the discipline that the study will address. End the section on why the study is needed. Note: This section should be between two and four pages in length.]
[State the research problem. Summarize evidence of consensus that the problem is current, relevant, and significant to the discipline. Frame the problem in a way that builds upon or counters previous research findings focusing primarily on research conducted in the last 5 years. Address a meaningful gap in the current research literature. Notes: The problem statement should meet the Walden litmus test, that is, it must be justified, grounded in the literature, original, and amenable to scientific study. See the Walden Center for Research Quality for more information on the Litmus Test. In addition to the four elements in the Litmus Test, the Ph.D in Management adds a fifth element: connects with positive social change. Walden University envisions a distinctively different 21st-century learning community where knowledge is judged worthy to the degree it can be applied by its graduates to the immediate solutions of critical societal challenges, thereby advancing the greater global good. Show how your dissertation will connect with positive social change.
One approach is to include both the general problem statement, which presents a broad concept of the problem, and the specific problem statement, which presents the focus of the study. Use key words such as “the specific problem is …” and think of a problem as a gap between the current state of a situation and the desired state of a situation. This section should be concisely written and in about a half a page in length.]
Purpose of the Study
[Provide a concise statement that serves as the connection between the problem being addressed and the focus of the study. The purpose contains: (a) an indication that this is a quantitative study, (b) the study intent (such as describe, compare, correlate explore, and develop), and (c) the independent, dependent, and covariate variables. Notes: see Creswell’s Research Design, Chapter 6, for scripts on writing purpose statements. This section should be concisely written and about a half a page in length.]
Research Question(s) and Hypotheses
[State the research question(s). State the null and alternative hypotheses that identify the independent and dependent variables being studied, the association being tested, and how the variables are being measured. Note: This section should be between one and three pages in length.]
[Studies must include either a theoretical foundation or a conceptual framework section; studies may include both or just one. If there is only a Theoretical Foundation section, then delete the Conceptual Framework section heading/content and vice versa.
Identify the theory or theories and provide the origin or source. State concisely the major theoretical propositions and / or major hypotheses with a reference to a more detailed explanation in Chapter 2. Explain how the theory relates to the study approach and research questions. Notes: Typically, qualitative studies have a conceptual framework while quantitative studies have a theoretical foundation. This section should be between one and three pages in length.]
[This applies to some epidemiological studies (as well as to some other quantitative studies), thus not always required. Identify and define the conceptual framework (a description of the research that supports the need for the study) as derived from the literature with more detailed analysis in Chapter 2. State the logical connections among key elements of the framework with a reference to a more thorough explanation in Chapter 2. State how the framework relates to the study approach and key research questions, as well as to instrument development and data analysis where appropriate. Note: A framework is a container for ideas, information, and such. A theory is a body of knowledge that is explanatory and predictive. For example, Porter’s value chain is a framework, while Ricardo’s comparative advantage is a theory. Note: This section should be between one and three pages in length.]
Nature of the Study
[Provide a concise rationale for selection of the design and / or tradition. Briefly, describe the key study variables (independent, dependent, and covariates). Briefly, summarize the methodology (from whom and how data are collected and how data will be analyzed). Note: This section should be between one and three pages in length.]
[Provide concise definitions of the independent variable, dependent variable(s), and any covariates, with more detailed analysis of coding and so on described in Chapter 3. Define terms used in the study that have multiple meanings (e.g., socioeconomic status, educator, health service professional). Do not include common terms or terms that can easily be looked up in a dictionary. Include citations that identify support in the professional literature for the definition or operational definition. Notes: Definitions should be indented, italicized, terminated with a colon with the definition itself in normal font, sourced, and alphabetized. This section should be between one and three pages in length.]
[Clarify aspects of the study that are believed but cannot be demonstrated to be true. Only include assumptions critical to the meaningfulness of the study. Describe the reasons why the assumption(s) was (were) necessary in the context of the study. Note: This section should be around a page in length.]
Scope and Delimitations
[Describe specific aspects of the research problem that are addressed in the study and why the specific focus was chosen (issue of internal validity). Define the boundaries of the study by identifying populations included and excluded and theories and/or conceptual frameworks most related to the area of study that were not investigated (this is an issue of external validity). Address potential generalizability. Note: This section should be around a page in length.]
[Describe limitations of the study related to design and / or methodological weaknesses (including issues related to limitations of internal and external validity, construct validity, and confounding variables. Describe any biases that could influence study outcomes and how they are addressed. Describe reasonable measures to address limitations. Note: This section should be around a page.]
Significance of the Study
[The Significance of the Study is described in terms of (a) advancing theory, (b) advances in practice, and (c) positive social change (e.g., improvement of human or social conditions by promoting the worth, dignity, and development of individuals, communities, organizations, institutions, cultures, or societies). Be certain to address and include the phrase positive social change in this section. Note: This section, including the three subsections, should be between three to five pages in length.]
Significance to Theory
[Identify potential contributions of the study that advance knowledge in the discipline. This is an elaboration of what the problem addresses.]
Significance to Practice
[Identify potential contributions of the study that advance practice and/or policy as applicable.]
Significance to Social Change
Describe potential implications for positive social change that are consistent with and bounded by the scope of the study.]
Summary and Transition
[Summarize main points of the chapter. Provide a transition to Chapter 2. Note: This section should be around a page in length.]
Chapter 2: Literature Review
[Restate the problem and the purpose. Provide a concise synopsis of the current literature that establishes the relevance of the problem. Preview major sections of the chapter. Note: This introduction to the chapter should be less than a page in length.]
Literature Search Strategy
[List accessed library databases and search engines used. List key search terms and combinations of search terms (with more detailed search terms located in an appendix if appropriate). Describe scope of the literature review in terms of years searched as well as types of literature and sources searched, including seminal literature as well as current peer-reviewed literature as well. In cases where there is little current research, and few (if any) dissertations and / or conference proceedings describe how this was handled. Note: This section should be between one and three pages in length. Italicize the search terms.]
[Name the theory or theories. Provide origin or source of the theory. Describe major theoretical propositions and/or major hypotheses, including delineation of any assumptions appropriate to the application of the theory. Provide a literature and research based analysis of how the theory has been applied previously in ways similar to the current study. Provide the rationale for the choice of this theory. Describe how and why the selected theory relates to the present study and how the research questions relate to, challenge, or build upon existing theory. Note: This section should be between three and six pages in length.]
[Identify and define the concept/phenomenon. Synthesize primary writings by key theorists, philosophers, and / or seminal researchers related to the concept or phenomenon. Provide key statements and definitions inherent in the framework. Describe how the concept or phenomenon has been applied and articulated in previous research and how the current study benefits from this framework. Notes: The conceptual framework may be provided, but it is not required. Present it if there is value; delete it if not. This section should be between two and six pages in length if provided.]
[Provide an exhaustive review of the current literature that includes the following information. Describe studies related to the constructs of interest and chosen methodology and methods that are consistent with the scope of the study. Describe ways researchers in the discipline have approached the problem and the strengths and weakness inherent in their approaches. Justify from the literature the rationale for selection of the variables or concepts. Review and synthesize studies related to the key independent, dependent, and covariate variables to produce a description of what is known about the variables, what is controversial (i.e., mixed findings by researchers), and what remains to be studied. Review and synthesize studies related to the research questions. Note: This section should be between 20 and 40 pages in length.]
Summary and Conclusions
[Concisely summarize major themes in the literature. Summarize what is known as well as what is not known in the discipline related to the topic of study. Describe how the present study fills at least one of the gaps in the literature and will extend knowledge in the discipline. Provide transitional material to connect the gap in the literature to the methods described in Chapter 3. Note: This section should be around a page in length.]
Chapter 3: Research Method
[Restate the study purpose as described in Chapter 1. Preview the major sections of the chapter. Note: This introduction to the chapter should be less than a page in length.]
Research Design and Rationale
[Concisely state the study variables (independent, dependent, covariate, mediating), and/or moderating variables as appropriate. Identify the research design and its connection to the research questions. Explain any time and resource constraints consistent with the design choice. Describe how the design choice is consistent with research designs needed to advance knowledge in the discipline. If conducting an intervention study, defend the choice of intervention. Note: This section should be between one and three pages in length.]
[Needs to be described in sufficient depth so that other researchers can replicate the study.]
[Define the target population. State target population size (if known) or approximate/estimated size. Note: This section should be less than a page in length.]
Sampling and Sampling Procedures
[Identify and justify the type of sampling strategy. Explain specific procedures for how the sample will be drawn. Describe the sampling frame (inclusion and exclusion criteria). Use a power analysis to determine sample size and include (a) justification for the effect size, alpha level, and power level chosen; and (b) cite the source for calculating or the tool used to calculate the sample size. Note: This section may be about a page in length.]
Procedures for Recruitment, Participation, and Data Collection (Primary Data)
[Thoroughly describe recruiting procedures and particular demographic information that will be collected. Describe how participants will be provided informed consent. Describe how data will be collected. Explain how participants exit the study (for example, debriefing procedures, etc.). Describe any follow-up procedures (such as requirements to return for follow-up interviews, treatments, etc.). Note: This section may be about a page or more in length.]
[Delete this section if there will not be a pilot study. Describe the relationship of the pilot study to the main study (for example, what is the purpose of the pilot study?). Include the IRB approval number (completed dissertation). Notes: This section may not be appropriate for all studies, but if provided should be between one and three pages in length. Many of the techniques used in the primary study and the pilot study may be the same.]
[If conducting an intervention, provide the following information. Otherwise, do not include this section. Describe clearly and thoroughly the nature of the treatment, intervention, or experimental manipulation, how it will be designed and administered, and by whom and to whom it will be administered. Note: This may be a page or two in length.]
[Include this section if archival data will be used in the study; otherwise, delete. Include all procedures for recruitment, participation, and data collection associated with the main study. Describe the procedure for gaining access to the data set. Describe necessary permissions to gain access to the data (with permission letters located in an appendix. If historical or legal documents are used as sources of data, demonstrate the reputability of the sources and justify why they represent the best sources of data. Note: This section may be between one and three pages in length.]
Instrumentation and Operationalization of Constructs
[For published instruments, provide:
• Name of developer(s) and year of publication
• Appropriateness to the current study
• Permission from developer to use the instrument (permission letter should be included in an appendix).
• Published reliability and validity values relevant to their use in the study.
• Where and / or with what populations the instrument was previously used and how validity / reliability values were established in the study sample.
For all researcher instruments provide:
• Basis for development (literature sources or other bases for development such as a pilot study).
• Plan to provide evidence for reliability (for example, internal consistency and test / retest).
• Plan to provide evidence for validity (for example, predictive and construct validity).
• Establish sufficiency of instrumentation to answer research questions.
Note: This section may be between two and four pages in length.]
Intervention Studies or Those Involving Manipulation of an Independent Variable
[If there are no materials / programs required for the study, then delete this subsection on material / programs, but provide a discussion on the operationalization of variables. Otherwise, provide the following information regarding materials / programs:
• Identify materials / programs applied as treatment or manipulation
• Provide information on the developer of the materials and / or programs
• If published, state where, how, and with what populations the instrument was previously used.
• If researcher-developed materials, state the basis for development and how the materials were developed.
• Provide evidence that another agency will sponsor intervention studies (such as clinical interventions).
Note: this section may be a page or more in length.]
[Operationalization. For each variable describe:
• Its operational definition.
• How each variable is measured or manipulated.
• How the variable / scale score is calculated, what the scores represent, and an example item.
Note: This section may be a page or more in length.]
Data Analysis Plan
[Identify software used for analyses. Provide an explanation of data cleaning and screening procedures as appropriate to the study. Restate the research questions and hypotheses here as written in Chapter 1.
Describe in detail the analysis plan including the elements below.
• Statistical tests that will be used to test the hypothesis (es)
• Procedures used to account for multiple statistical tests, as appropriate
• Rationale for inclusion of potential covariates and / or confounding variables
• How results will be interpreted (e.g., key parameter estimates, confidence intervals and / or probability values, odds ratios).
Note: This section may be between three and six pages in length.]
Treats to Validity
[Describe threats to external validity (e.g., testing reactivity, interaction effects of selection and experimental variables, specificity of variables, reactive effects of experimental arrangements, and multiple-treatment interference, as appropriate to the study) and how they will be and / or were addressed. Note: This section may be between one and two pages in length.]
[Describe threats to internal validity (for example, history, maturation, statistical regression, experimental mortality, and selection-maturation interaction as appropriate to the study) and how they will be and / or were addressed. Note: This section may be around a page in length.]
[Describe any threats to construct or statistical conclusion validity. Note: This section may be around a page in length.]
[Agreements to gain access to participants or data (include actual documents in the IRB application). Describe the treatment of human participants including the following (include actual documents in the Institutional Review Board (IRB) application):
• Institutional permissions, including IRB approvals that are needed (proposal) or were obtained (for the completed dissertation, include relevant IRB approval numbers in the final dissertation).
• Ethical concerns related to recruitment materials and processes and a plan to address them.
• Ethical concerns related to data collection/intervention activities (these could include participants refusing participation or early withdrawal from the study and response to any predicable adverse events) and a plan to address them.
Describe treatment of data (including archival data), including issues of:
• Whether data are anonymous or confidential and any concerns related to each.
• Protection for confidential data (data storage procedures, data dissemination, who will have access to the data, and when the data will be destroyed.
Other ethical issues as applicable (these issues could include doing a study within one’s own work environment; conflict of interest or power differentials, and justification for use of incentives). Note: This section should be between one and three pages in length.]
[Summary of design and methodology of the method of inquiry. Provide a transition statement to Chapter 4. Note: This section should about a page in length.]
Chapter 4: Results
[Review briefly the purpose, research questions, and hypotheses. Preview the organization of Chapter 4. Note: This introduction to the chapter should be about a page in length.]
[Concisely report the results of the pilot study, if applicable. Otherwise, this section should not be included in the dissertation. Report any impact of the pilot study on the main study (for example, changes in instrumentation and / or data analysis strategies, etc.). Note: This section should be about a page in length.]
[Describe the timeframe for data collection as well as actual recruitment and response rates. Present any discrepancies in data collection from the plan presented in Chapter 3. Report baseline descriptive and demographic characteristics of the sample. Describe how representative the sample is of the population of interest or how proportional it is to the larger population if nonprobability sampling is used (external validity). Provide results of basic univariate analyses that justify inclusion of covariates in the model, if applicable. Note: This section should be between two and three pages in length.]
Treatment and/or Intervention Fidelity
[This section may not be required in all dissertations and if not required, do not include it. Describe whether the treatment was administered as planned and any challenges that prevented planned implementation as described in Chapter 3. Describe any adverse events (those with serious consequences) related to the intervention. Note: This section may be between one and three pages in length.]
[Report descriptive statistics that appropriately characterize the sample. Evaluate statistical assumptions as appropriate to the study. Report statistical analysis findings, organized by research questions and/or hypotheses, including:
• Exact statistics and associated probability values.
• Confidence intervals around the statistics, as appropriate
• Effect sizes, as appropriate.
Report results of post-hoc analyses of statistical tests, if applicable. Report any additional statistical tests of hypotheses that emerged from the analysis of main hypotheses, as appropriate for the study.
Include tables and figures to illustrate results, as appropriate, and per the current edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Note: This section should be between five and 12 pages in length.]
A sample APA-compliant table is included on the next page (see Table 1). Instructions for creating tables and adding table numbers and titles are included in the accompanying Instructions document available on the Templates page of the Doctoral Capstone Form and Style site.
A Sample Table Showing Correct Formatting
Column B Column C Column D
Note. From “Attitudes Toward Dissertation Editors,” by W. Student, 2008, Journal of Academic Optimism, 98, p. 11. Reprinted with permission.
[Summarize answers to research questions. Provide transitional material from the findings and introduce the reader to the prescriptive material in Chapter 5. Note: This section should be about a page in length.]
Chapter 5: Discussion, Conclusions, and Recommendations
[Concisely reiterate the purpose and nature of the study and why it was conducted. Concisely summarize key findings. Note: This introduction to the chapter should be less than a page in length.]
Interpretation of Findings
[Describe in what ways findings confirm, disconfirm, or extend knowledge in the discipline by comparing them with what has been found in the peer-reviewed literature described in Chapter 2. Analyze and interpret the findings in the context of the theoretical and / or conceptual framework as appropriate. Ensure interpretations do not exceed the data, findings, and scope. Note: This section should be between three and seven pages in length.]
Limitations of the Study
[Describe the limitations to generalizability and/or trustworthiness, validity, and reliability that arose from execution of the study. These should be used to revise what was written in Chapter 1 for the proposal. Note: This section should be about a page in length.]
[Describe recommendations for further research that are grounded in the strengths and limitations of the current study as well as the literature reviewed in Chapter 2.
Ensure recommendations do not exceed study boundaries. Note: This section should be between two and four pages in length.]
[Positive social change: (a) describe the potential impact for positive social change at the appropriate level (individual, family, organizational, and societal / policy); and (b) ensure implications for social change do not exceed the study boundaries. Describe methodological, theoretical, and/or empirical implications, as appropriate. Describe recommendations for practice, as appropriate. Note: This section should be between two and four pages in length.]
[Provide a strong “take home” message that captures the key essence of the study. Note: This section should be less than a page in length.]
[Examples of references follow. Replace with your own references, which should come from four possible sources: peer reviewed journals, some books, some dissertations, and some academic, government, or professional organizational websites.
Suggest up to 100 to 150 references with 80% to 85% being peer-reviewed journal articles published within 3 to 5 years of the expected graduation date. References should be primarily electronic journal articles with perhaps a few seminal articles, professional books, dissertations, or academic/government/professional websites.]
Demers, C. (2007). Organizational change theories: A synthesis. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Fink, A. (2005). Conducting research literature reviews: From the Internet to paper (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Freeman, I., & Hasnaoui, A. (2011). The meaning of corporate social responsibility: The vision of four nations. Journal of Business Ethics, 100(3), 419–443. doi:10.1007/s10551-010-0688-6
Appendix A: Title of Appendix
[Insert appendix content here. Appendices are ordered with letters rather than numbers. If there is but one appendix, label it Appendix, followed by the title, with no letter designation. Each appendix is referred to in the narrative chapters in the order it appears at the end of the manuscript.
The appendices must adhere to the same margin specifications as the body of the dissertation. Photocopied or previously printed material may have to be shifted on the page or reduced in size to fit within the area bounded by the margins.
If the only thing in an appendix is a table, the table title serves as the title of the appendix; no label is needed for the table itself. If you have text in addition to a table or tables in an appendix, label the table with the letter of the appendix (e.g., Table A1, Table A2, Table B1, and so on). These tables would be listed in the List of Tables at the end of the Table of Contents.
If you include in an appendix any prepublished materials that are not in the public domain, you must also include permission to do so.]
Notes on Style and Quality (Review and delete all text in purple)
The following information applies to your manuscript as a whole and is considered quality indicators regarding writing style and composition.
Writing Style and Composition
The dissertation is written in scholarly language (i.e., accurate, balanced, objective, tentative).
The writing is clear, precise, and avoids redundancy. Statements are specific and topical sentences are established for paragraphs. The flow of words is smooth and comprehensible. Bridges are established between ideas.
Organization and Form
The proposal/dissertation is logically and comprehensively organized, using subheadings where appropriate, has a professional, scholarly appearance, is written with correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling, includes citations for the following: direct quotations, paraphrasing, facts, and references to research studies. All in-text citations are found in the reference list.
The MEAL plan, or Main idea, Evidence, Argument / Analysis, and Lead-out of this paragraph and / Link to the next paragraph, is a good suggestion for writing paragraphs in academic papers. See the Walden University Writing Center for additional information on the MEAL plan.
Congratulations! This is the end of your dissertation! Remember to delete the purple text from your document! (Template updated March 2017.)