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Writing Center Toolbox

Doctoral Capstone

APA Grace Period for Doctoral Capstone Writers

Update: Starting January 1, 2021, all manuscripts must be in APA 7. Be sure to have your students use the APA 7 template for your program and follow the Form and Style APA 7 Checklist in all their doctoral capstone documents.

Original post: When Walden adopted APA 7 in the summer 2020 terms, many students were actively engaged in their doctoral capstone processes. See this update on our APA 7 Transition page for information about the grace period during which capstone writers may continue to use APA 6.

With this grace period policy in place for doctoral capstone writers, doctoral committees may be in the position of reviewing work in both APA 6 and APA 7 throughout 2020. To ensure clear communication across stakeholders, the APA edition in use for a capstone document should be indicated within Taskstream, using the following process: For the remainder of 2020, when uploading capstone manuscripts at any stage in Taskstream, Committee Chairs, Second Members, and URRs should indicate which style guide a student used in the General Comments section by writing “APA 6” or “APA 7.”

Coursework to Capstone: Writing Center Support for Doctoral Students

The video above is a brief overview of Writing Center resources for doctoral students, from coursework through dissertation/doctoral capstone.

Six Steps to Mentoring a Form-and-Style-Ready Doctoral Capstone

Right away

  1. Ask your mentees to select and bookmark your program’s page from the list on the Programs page of the Doctoral Capstone Form and Style site, and point them to the resources you find most useful.
  2. Once on this page, require your mentees to (a) download the capstone template* to use as the base document for their study and (b) watch the accompanying template demonstration video.

During proposal writing

  1. Keep form and style concerns on your mentees’ radar, although they should not be the primary focus of your feedback. To do so,
    1. Point your mentees to the Form and Style Review checklist on our Form and Style Review Checklist page.
    2. Offer your mentees incremental feedback on APAscholarly voice, and grammar issues. For mentees who need developmental writing assistance, make more detailed editorial comments on at least a few pages. View our But I’m Not a Writing Instructor! webinar for some advice on how to do so efficiently.
    3. Point them to the Walden Capstone Writing Community to connect with peers and with dissertation editors, who offer advice on preparing for the form and style review.
  2. Keep an eye on synthesis, especially in the literature review. This is better addressed sooner than later.
  3. Encourage your mentees to proofread and revise effectively, taking advantage of Grammarly and their Microsoft Word grammar and spell-checking tools. Counsel mentees who consistently exhibit doctoral-level writing deficiencies during their proposal drafts to take a CAEX writing course, enroll in a proposal writing workshop, or hire an editor. You can also refer them for chapter edits with our dissertation editors.

Nearing submission to URR

  1. Review the Top 10 Reasons for Delays page to ensure quality in areas where editors most often observe problems at the form and style review.

*Note that templates will be updated as requirements or links change. To avoid circulating outdated materials, please share the link to the page where the document is housed rather than sharing the document itself.

Other Resources for Committees and URRs

Form and Style Q&A: This document contains faculty questions about capstones that emerged during some 2013 committee training sessions, answered by our dissertation editing team.

Strategies for Developmental Writing Instruction at the Capstone Level (Writing Center): Junto presentation by Dr. Sarah Prince on creating effective feedback using tools from online tutoring expert Beth Hewett.

Methodology Advising for Faculty (via CRQ): Experts in the Center for Research Quality are available to answer methodology-related questions for research faculty.

Visits to Faculty Meetings: Do your colleagues meet regularly via Skype or other conferencing technology? Members of the Writing Center are available to join you for a Q&A or to discuss writing topics relevant to your group. Contact Amber Cook to arrange a visit.

See our faculty webinar archive for related topics, such as APA and writing feedback practices, and our capstone series listed below. Faculty might also want to view the series of student-facing webinars available for capstone writers.