Capstone Paper Format, Structure, Outline & Sample


This is a very brief synopsis of the entire paper, stating what the issue is and some idea of the approach or analysis used. You may also wish to state what the paper intends to show. The abstract will be a single paragraph.

 Title of the Paper


This is the start of the paper.  The first paragraph should briefly introduce the problem or issues, without too much detail.  Briefly state what this paper intends to show. All except the title and abstract should be double-spaced, as shown in this format sample. Margins are 1” on all sides. Add a page header as shown. First page number should be 1 (since title and abstract pages do not display the header and do not count toward your page count). Use fonts and font sizes exactly as shown in this document.

Paragraph two should outline the structure of the paper, in a fashion similar to this.  This paper is organized as follows. Section 2 presents a description of the problem or issue, Section 3 discusses…, and Section <n> presents conclusions. This part of the paper should be only one or two paragraphs long.  Generally, two paragraphs is sufficient for the introduction.

2.  BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANCE  (or whatever is appropriate for your topic)

Major section numbers should then commence, using the heading formats shown below.  Any figures or charts should be small in size, and may not be counted in the page count.  They should be labeled “Figure a.b” where a represents the section number, and b represents the sequential numbering of figures within that section. In general, papers for this course should not have figures or charts.

2.1 Section subheading

You must have a minimum of five (5) separate current references, from different sources (i.e., do not use five web pages from the same web site). References must be done in APA style, and should start on a new page.  They should be dated within the past 5 years. Each reference is double-spaced and formatted as shown at the end of this format document. References should appear in the References section in the order in which they are used in the body of the paper [1], not alphabetically.  Inline citations should use reference document numbers instead of author names [2].  An easy way to get the References format correct is to use Refworks or to use the Citation Machine website. You can also use Microsoft Word’s reference generator. Build your references as you write the paper, so that you will not have to go back and determine the source of the material in your paper.

Web-based references are permissible, but should be solid articles, not blogs, forum posts, or multimedia links (unless absolutely central to your topic). Do not use Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers, or other non-academic encyclopedias or answer sites.  Dictionaries do not count as one of your five references. If the web article is from a newspaper or journal site, treat the article as if it is a print reference.  If you have problems determining how to cite a source, contact the instructor for assistance.

For the purposes of this assignment, page count should consider only the body of the paper.  Do not count the Title page, Abstract page, or Reference page(s) when determining if you have met the page count requirements. Minimum page count for this assignment is 5 full body pages double-spaced.

A research paper should never use first person (I, me, my) or second person (you, yours).  Only third person should be used. It should not have a chatty tone as might be found in a magazine column, but should be a formal, educational tone.  Do not use questions or contractions. Do not use bulleted or numbered lists. Your goal is to inform the reader about the ethical issue, give him/her an in-depth understanding, and then present conclusions. The paper should have minimal “what is” or “how to”, because this paper’s audience is technologically savvy, and the paper’s goal is to do an ethical and global analysis of your issue.

Make frequent backups of the paper as you work on it.  You may choose to leave the formatting details until the very end, but plan at least an hour or two to get the formatting correct. Remember to use the Undo button when Word does not understand what you intended for it to do.

Anti-plagiarism software will be used to check your paper, and all references will be also be checked for accuracy.  Simply changing a few words in each sentence and adding a citation is not acceptable – it is plagiarism.  You are expected to read and understand the material, and be able to express it in your own words.  When you do so, you will still use a citation to give credit to the original author of the material. Plagiarism will result in heavy penalties. For more detailed information on what constitutes plagiarism, please take 15 minutes to read these articles and avoid a failing grade on your paper:

  1. What is plagiarism?


  1. Types of plagiarism:


  1. Plagiarism FAQs:

  1. Plagiarism Quiz


  1. What is citation?


2.2 Section subheading

Paragraph(s) discussing the section subheading topic.


Remember that the purpose of your paper is to present a global analysis of your topic and an ethical analysis of all sides of the issue. Present your global analysis by contrasting how your topic effects / is handled in at least two different countries or regions; you must mention at least two different countries (or regions) by name and give concrete examples! For your ethical analysis, give a one or two sentence description of the ethical theory approach(es) that will be used. Then show how using this ethical theory approach can lead to a conclusion that the issue is ethical or unethical. The ethical analysis may be a separate section, or it may be woven into the analysis as the various aspects of the issue are presented. If the paper does not use an ethical theory and include a global analysis of the issue, the paper will not earn a good grade.


(substitute the appropriate section number for N and remove this note)

Paragraphs() which summarizes the paper. The paper does not have to take a position on whether the issue it presented is ethical or not.  This section may simply recap what has been presented in the paper.




Use APA Format! Refer to them using IEEE numbering as shown here. You must have at least five references! REMOVE THIS HIGHLIGHTED TEXT BEFORE SUBMITTING

  • Cheng, P., Kilis, D., & Knight, F. (1997). Knowledge assessment using fuzzy conceptual representation. Proceedings of the 1997 ACM symposium on Applied Computing, 3-9. (sample to show formatting only)
  • <next reference in order of use in the body>…

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