General Capstone Paper Guidelines
The Capstone Paper, whether it is based upon the Practicum or written on another topic, should follow the APA format, be between 20-25 pages, (double-spaced exclusive of tables and references), address the public health competencies, and follow the outline below. Grammar, quality of writing, illustrations, and overall presentation are considered when evaluating the paper. Student submissions are retained in the global Turnitin repository.
All of the following information should be included:
Abstract: Summary of key points
The abstract should briefly describe: 1) the background and focus of the paper; 2) the methods utilized; 3) a summary of the results; 4) conclusions. The abstract should be limited to no more than
½ page in length.
Introduction: Background including significance of public health issue
This section relates to the background of the paper, including a statement of the problem, the origins of the problem (including reference to social, political, and/or corporate determinants of health) and the specific aims of the paper. The introduction should summarize the subsequent sections of the paper, establishing the necessity of the paper, summarizing previous work done on the topic, and the significance of the paper’s findings on future public health practice.
Thesis Statement: Statement of question to be addressed
The thesis statement should integrate an understanding of the health status of the population; determinants of health and illness; factors contributing to health promotion; influencers of the use of health services and/or policy; and apply that understanding to the issue of interest. Variables relevant to public health are selected and defined. The thesis statement should be readily identifiable, clear, concise, and coherent.
Content: Supports Thesis Statement
Evidence: Summary of past findings related to the topic
A comprehensive review of the scientific evidence related to the chosen
public health topic should be presented. This section should contain scientific evidence from a
variety of text and electronic sources including limitations of the research findings; relevant and appropriate information sources; and interpreted scientific information. Even if it is innovative, the paper should be presented so that it is related to an existing body of knowledge or work on the subject with review of the literature.
Materials and Methods: (as appropriate)
A clear description of the methods or methodological model and theory (where applicable) that another public health professional might be able to use to replicate the findings must be presented. Any previously published procedures should be referenced in the bibliography.
Results: (as appropriate)
Collected data and analysis should be presented. Alternatively, the relevant methodological model (and theory where applicable) should be utilized to present and describe the finding of the assessment, or the plan for the service program, education campaign, or program evaluation.
Discussion/Future Directions/Policy Recommendation
Conclusions drawn from the data and analysis are to be provided. The discussion should reflect the project findings, including unexpected results, and relate these to existing knowledge on the topic. Any difficulties or limitations encountered or recommendations for further study should also be included. If the student has completed an assessment, education or program plan, or evaluation project they should highlight and summarize the significant issues. Limitations of the research or project should be addressed in this section. A brief presentation of next steps/future directions is appropriate and encouraged. The Core Competencies of Public Health Professionals should be addressed.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Conclusions should be based on evidence and relevance to the core competencies of Public Health Practice. The relevance of findings to public health practice and any limitations of the study/project should be discussed. Recommendations for program improvement, policy changes, and future study should be made as appropriate.
References and Bibliography
Every reference cited in the text must appear in the bibliography. Pertinent journal articles and reference texts should be cited. A minimum of 15 scholarly resources are required.
Appendix 1 Competencies
In this appendix write a paragraph on each selected competency describing how it fits into the larger project as a whole and how each competency was attained. These paragraphs must demonstrate how you feel competent in the specific area described.
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