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School of Professional Studies | Writing Style and Formatting Resources

Using Proper Writing Style & Formatting

The School of Professional Studies recommends the SPS Publishing Style (based on the APA Publication Manual (6th ed.)) for most courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels with the exception of MLA Style in undergraduate humanities courses and use of the AP Style in specific communication courses (undergraduate or graduate). Your instructors will direct you to the appropriate style to use for your courses.

The use of a style manual does not exclude the need to use good grammar and proper English in your writing, see the APA manual’s chapters one through four. SPS recommends that you use the appropriate writing guide for your papers also. These guides might include: Strunk & White, Turabian, Chicago, New York, Hacker, etcetera. Again your instructor or the Writing Center will make recommendations.

SPS Publishing Style

The Trinity School of Professional Studies research paper format, style, and referencing are based on the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Publication Manual (6th ed.).  Differences between the SPS publishing Style and the APA style are designed to simplify the document formatting process and to produce a published document that students and faculty will be proud of.  If you would like to learn how to set MS Word up to automatically format your paper using the design headings (which also populate the table of contents) please look for and attend the SPS sponsored seminar each Fall and Spring semester.  Or use the document in the last section of this page, which contains step-by-step directions and screen shots.

Learn about APA style

To Learn about APA Style and how to use it follow the links below for tutorials.

Common APA Style Writing and Formating Issues

There are some common issues students have (and instructors correct too often) in providing a clean SPS and APA style paper.  Many of these are oulined in the document below.  If you still have questions please contact your instructor,  or or the Writing Center.

Do you feel like your academic writing is dull and uninspiring?  Then review the verb choices offered in the document below to enliven your writing.  This small effort can make a world of difference.

SPS Graduate Rubrics

All SPS Graduate level papers will use the SPS General Graduate Rubric as a guide for all written assignments, with the exception of Research Papers and Capstone Papers, which will use the SPS Capstone rubric.

MSA Capstone 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.  In general the research proposal is required prior to applying t the IRB for research aapproval.  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.

After students receive approval from their instructor concerning the research proposal and receiving permision 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 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 possiblility of publishing, which is a great item to place on a resume or CV.  The journal article format contsists of a stripped down version ofthe 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.  Both formats are presented below, however be attentive to whether your paper is qualitative or quantiative in nature.

Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarization

The following resources are helpful to students and instructors in determining how to avoid plagiarism by introducing them to the art of paraphrasing and summarization, the use and placement of citations, and the formating of references.

Find Writing Assistance

Critical Thinking

Sample Thesis or Capstone Papers from the APA

Using MS Word to Auto Format Your Papers

  • Using MS Word to Auto Format in SPS Publishing Style
    • This document was developed by SPS to assist you in formatting your research papers, Thesis papers, and Capstone papers in either SPS publishing style or APA publishing style.  The documetn contains narratives and bulleted instructions with screen captures to instruct you in the step by step formatting of your papers
  • APA formatting Microsoft Word 2007
    • This video from IACLibrary2000 quickly explains how to set MS Word 2007 to auto format your paper in APA formating style.  You can easliy adapt these directions to the SPS Publishing style or even MLA style
  • How to Work with Styles in a Word 2007 Document For Dummies
    • This video from the For Dummies series quickly explains how to use the style headings in MS Word 2007 to auto format your papers.
    • *You can easily edit each heading style to match SP Publishing, APA style, or MLA style by highlighting the text, formating it as you wish it to appear.  Then right click onthe style button for your heading level.  Choose Update (heading level title) to Match Selection.  Now all headings at that level will update to your correct heading style.
  • How to Create a Table of Contents in Word 2007 For Dummies
    • This video from the For Dummies series quickly explains how to use the style headings in MS Word 2007 to establish a Table of Contents in your paper. you can easily adapt this to meet the criteria of the SPS Publishing style, APA style, or MLA style.
  • How to create a List of Tables and A List of Figures in MS Word 2007
    • This video from the Institute of International Management explains how to add a list of Tables and a List of Figures in a MS Word document, which will be appropriate for your papers in SPS Publishing style, APA style, or MLA style.

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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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