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School of Professional Studies | Research Resources

SPS and BGS Research Resources

On this page you will find many forms of resources to assist you in completing an academic research project using reliable methods to develop valid data and to determine evidence based conclusions.


SPS & BGS  Institutional Review Board (IRB) Documents

Below are the IRB application and other documents you will need to prepare to submit your IRB application in your Senior Seminar, Capstone, or Thesis courses.  These documents are used in both SPS and BGS.  Be sure to read them all prior to completing your application to ensure a timely response from the SPS IRB committee.  Please note that there are two applications; One for studies with human participants, and one for exempt studies, which do not have human participants.  Please submit the correct application in its entirety.  The School of Professional Studies and the School of Business and Graduate Studies do not endorse research, which involves children, those who are not of majority, or those with limited understanding of informed consent. *These are the only authorized SPS and BGS documents for the SPS-BGS IRB process. Updated September 10, 2014.


SPS-BGS IRB-instructions

BGS Informed Consent Form – 9.10.2014

SPS-BGS IRB-Application with Human Participants

SPS-BGS IRB Exempt Application

To contact the SPS-BGS IRB committee with questions or concerns call (202) 884-9620, or email, or with SPS-BGS IRB in the subject line.

Training in the Responsibilities for Human Rights and Ethics for Researchers

To best understand the researcher and the institution’s responsibility the SPS and BGS IRB committees recommend that all researchers undergo the free IRB training (HHS OHPR compliant) offered by the National Institute of Health (NIH).  This training requires the creation of a secure login and is free of charge.  This training is offered online and also in a PDF format (requires in Internet connection for some sections).  This training is also offered in Spanish.

Trinity Washington University encourages students to be exploratory and expansive in considering subjects for research.  Students should look beyond the boundaries of Trinity and its campus to find suitable research topics and subjects in the spirit of serving the wider community and the mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.    Students are expected to include no Trinity persons, nor Trinity as a subject, in their research.

MSA in Organizational Management Capstone Guides and Rubrics

Initially in the ADMN 699 Capstone Project course students develop a research proposal, which shows their mastery of the research topic, the relevance and significance of the research project, mastery of the relevant literature, the research design, and data analysis.  Ideally students complete as much of this document as possible in advance of the course using their INT 601 experience and by meeting with their capstone instructor or advisor.  In general the research proposal is required prior to applying to the IRB for research approval.

The proposal includes the title page, the abstract, the table of contents, lists of tables and figures, the introduction chapter, the literature review chapter, the research methods chapter, reference list, and appendices.  Be certain to use the correct version: qualitative or quantitative.

In the INT 601 Introduction to Research Design and Methods course a special combined rubric is used to enable students to develop both qualitative and quantitative sections and chapters of the proposal.  The resulting document might be easily edited to meet the capstone proposal rubric.

After students receive approval from their instructor concerning the research proposal and receiving permission from the IRB committee to conduct the research project they will begin to collect data and to modify the paper into the final format.  MSA students often choose to write a five chapter research paper since they may edit and modify the proposal for the first 3 chapters.  Then students complete the results or findings chapter and the discussion chapter.

However, MSA students might write in the journal article format, especially if they find themselves interested in the possibility of publishing, which is a notable item to place on a resume or CV.  The journal article format consists of a stripped down version of the proposal with good attention paid to the research methods, data analysis, and conclusions.  If you are interested in the journal article approach contact your instructor for a set of how to articles published by the Academy of Management Journal (AMJ), the leader in management and leadership scholarship.  The AMJ has interest groups and publications, which cover the concentrations offered in the MSA degree program.  Ask your Capstone instructor for assistance with the journal article format.

Both the qualitative and quantitative research paper formats are presented below, however be attentive to selecting the correct format.  Be sure to ask your instructor for assistance with a mixed-methods or journal article format.

Recommended Texts for Research Methods and Research Writing

Measurments and Assessments for Research

The Academy of Management has a published searchable WIKI sorted by topic of measurement instruments (surveys, questionnaires, tests, & interventions).  Take the time to look ans see what other scholars have been investigating in your topic of interest. These are especially helpful for students in management and leadership topics, such as all of the the MSA concentrations, the MBA, MA in Communication student interested in organizational communication, and the BS in Business Administration.  Some of these resources are free and some have a fee.  All require reference and citation in your paper if you use them.  Some may require copyright notification in your paper also

MSA Capstone Papers – Previous Semesters

The research papers presented below are good resources for understanding how others have solved the issues of the capstone paper.  Remember they might not be perfect, and that your instructor might expect more or different of you in writing your paper.  These papers are included without regard to the student writer’s grade on the paper or final grade in the course.  Please refer to your capstone instructor for questions regarding content, formatting, and research and data analysis strategy.

Fall 2013 ADMN 699-3 Capstone Project Papers


Research Rescue Lab

Documents, power points, and other materials provided by the SPS faculty in the Research Rescue lab sessions.

Dr. Wood’s Capstone Quick Start Guide

Be prepared to begin writing your Capstone or Thesis from the first day of the course by preparing in advance.  It is recommended that students who have completed the INT 601 Introduction to research course begin the Capstone Quick Start.  Of course, you may begin as soon as you would like.  Yes, even in your first semester!

Overview of the Research Paper

This power point provides an overview of the expectations of the SPS graduate program capstone paper in the MSA and MA Communication degree programs. It is an excellent resource for any research paper.

Determining a Great Research Topic

Use this worksheet to assist in narrowing your topic, developing your overall research question, determining the problem to be addressed and its significance.

Writing the Literature Review

The following power point, Making the Literature Review Sing, briefly discusses argument and syllogism, introducing the argument and using meta-citations, then gives an overview of the literature review.

Developing a Solid Literature Review

Use Stephen Toulmin’s argument structure to analyze research articles and more importantly to develop the argument (logic) in your research paper.  Pierce and Newstrom explain how to get the most out of an advanced scientific journal article or research paper.  Steinberg’s examples show how a Literature Review might be introduced and shows several forms of citing summarized works. Reece provides a Literature Review on Critical Thinking that offers examples of summarizing works.  Dworak Araujo’s Dissertation provides examples of clear, concise language in a research paper format.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism is so common in our society today, we often do not recognize when we are plagiarizing in an academic paper.  It is particularly offensive int eh academic community when most research is produce for goodwill and goes unpaid.  Additionally plagiarizing can dis-empower our own voice, making us subject to the thoughts and opinions of others.  Use the APA tutorial and the VAIL tutor to add to your knowledge and skill in writing clearly and in citing to make your sources explicit.  The power point, Avoiding Plagiarism the Easy Way, makes citation and referencing more accessible and understandable.

Linking Theory to Data Collection for Reliable Results

This document outlines the direct connection between the theoretical framework or the theoretical construct. Follow the suggestions in this document and you will always have data related to your research questions, hypotheses, variables, and factors.

Formatting the Research Proposal and Paper

See the Academic Writing Resources for documents related to using MS Word (PC or MAC) to establish your heading style settings, which will automatically format your paper and then insert a Table of Contents.  This can save hours in editing for format.

A Moment of Serenity

Click on an image to view this as a slide show, then get back to earning that A.

Other Research Resources

Coming soon… tell us what you would like to see for resources, email Dr. Kelley Wood at

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Contact the School of Professional Studies at 202-884-9620 or by fax at 202-884-9632.
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