Capstone Framework 


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The Capstone Project provides the opportunity for the Ed.D. candidate to demonstrate skills learned throughout the practitioner’s doctoral program through an applied project grounded in his or her professional work setting.  Ultimately, the final product is authentic, practical, and transactive in nature.


The following chart illustrates some differences between Dissertation and the Capstone Project. 






Review of Literature

Designed Study

5 Chapter Dissertation

Defense to Professors

Capstone Project

Annotated Bibliography

Replicated or Modified Study

Report, PowerPoint, or How-To Guide

Presentation to Colleagues


Some key skills that must be demonstrated in The Capstone Project

•     Clear articulation of problem, issue, or topic

•     Thorough examination of the topic or issue

•     Comprehensive collection and evaluation of research, considering validity and reliability

•     Synthesis of research, considering best practice

•     Collection and analysis of data

•     Attention given to social justice, equity, and advocacy

•     Drawing conclusion

•     Evidence, collaboration, and consultation


All Capstones have

•     Executive summary (1-2 pages)

•     Introduction that situates or contextualizes the issue or topic

•     Appropriate visuals, graphics, and other text features

•     Demonstrated use of technology

•     Oral presentation with visuals


Rhetorical Purpose


Possible Transactive Form

Possible Topics


(Considers alternatives to a problem and proposes its solution.)

•  weighs options against criteria

•  carefully considers reasonable options

•  focuses of comparing and contrasting

•  examines alternatives

•  policy options

•  brief technical report

•  Kentucky’s assessment system

•  retaining quality teachers

•  9th grade transition

•  access/equity in Advanced Placement


(Explains a concept.)

•  provides characteristics/attributes

•  possibly classifies nuances

•  uses examples as illustrations

•  makes the abstract concrete

•  journal article

•  website

•  video

•  highly reliable organization

•  the 21st century counselor

Causal Analysis

(Explains a relationship.)

•  immediate and remote causes

•  examines cause and effect relations

•  considers correlations

•  technical report

•  program audit

•  impact of leadership

•  Senate Bill 1

•  specific teacher methodology (PD and collaboration)

•  impact of facilities

Process Analysis

(Explains and analyzes a process.)

•  provides rationale for each part of the process

•  considers best practice

•  details and examples

•  especially aware of audience

•  action plan

•  how-to manual

•  vignettes

•  create a positive learning culture

•  improve (some aspect) of student learning

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 This work is a product of the University of Louisville doctorial student.
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Last updated: 05/19/08.