1. Abstract. Provide a concise (120 word or less) abstract summarizing the paper. Content should include purpose, methods, results (review/analysis of literature and implications for practice), and conclusions.

2. Introduction. The body of the paper begins with presentation of the specific phenomenon/topic under investigation. This section should address why exploration of this topic is important and the potential implications of such exploration. What is the problem? What question are you posing? A purpose statement and rationale should be delineated.
3. Methods. Identify approach to literature review (keywords, databases). How many and what categories of papers did you locate? What is strength of evidence (level, consistency, currency)?
4. Review of literature. Provide an integrative review of pertinent empirical and theoretical literature. What are the key points to be made? How would you summarize the findings? What conclusions can be drawn? Assess gaps or limitations in current knowledge.
5. Implications for Practice. Formulate specific nursing implications as a result of completion of this exploration. Discuss implications within the context of the literature and the nursing area of study. How might this exploration influence clinical reasoning or patient/nurse management skills? What is the relevance to primary care? What is the relevance to nursing management? To your future practice?
6. Conclusions. Evaluate achievement of the purpose of the paper. Did the literature review answer your question and address the problem? Discuss the contribution of this paper to the advancement of nursing knowledge or practice.
7. References. (This section does not count towards the paper page length). At least 20 references are required. Only the following peer-reviewed references are allowed: 1) primary research reports; 2) evidence-based practice guidelines and algorithms; 3) systematic reviews and meta-analyses; and 4) professional websites with supportive references. One or two general review articles to introduce the problem from peer-reviewed journals are acceptable. Your literature is to be synthesized and integrated through-out the paper. The literature review is NOT to be a series of paragraphs, each summarizing one publication. The literature is to be used to support the points you are making. The following are NOT acceptable references: Wikipedia, websites without identified authors, websites with “.com,” textbooks or encyclopedias (online or offline), patient education brochures or website that were meant for consumer information. Government sites are acceptable only if material is targeting professionals, are authored, and include references. Reports MUST be from last 5 yr. If critical for your paper, you may go back 10 yr & note significance of this work. No more than two sources can be more than 5 yr old.
Project Plan Guideline: This is a 2 page summary of the paper. See example below this.


-what are you proposing to investigate?

-identify problem

-pose question

– outline purpose

-why is this topic important/what is rationale? (e.g., need for change in practice, emerging health concern, major issue with morbidity or mortality)

-how project could potentially contribute to nursing knowledge and practice (brief)

Review/Analysis of Literature

-what approach did you take to review literature?

-how many papers did you locate? What categories (EBP guideline, primary research, etc.)?

-what is their quality? How strong is the evidence? Are the reports current and valid?

-what are gap/limitations in knowledge?

-what are the main points to be made?

-how would you summarize the literature? What conclusions does it allow you to draw?

Implications for Practice
-what are the implications?

-what relevance do the stated problem and the EBP review have to primary care?

-how will this information influence your future practice?

Conclusions -did literature answer your question? Address the problem?

-how will it advance nursing knowledge or practice?
Project Plan for Capstone (EXAMPLE) (2 pages after the whole paper is completed)

Problem: Subclinical hypothyroidism is mild thyroid failure and usually progresses to overt hypothyroidism. It is a fairly common clinical problem with a prevalence rate of 4.3 to 9.5% in the U.S. population of according the NHANES III and Colorado study. Subclinical hyperthyroidism can be mild (TSH of 4.5-9 mIU/L) or severe (TSH> 10mIU/L). Screening and management for the disease is controversial as clinical recommendations differ between professional organizations and expert opinions.

Question: What reference points should be used to treat subclinical hypothyroidism and what management strategies should be used to prevent cardiovascular and neuropsychiatric sequellae?

Purpose: (Rationale): Several cardiovascular risk factors have been identified in some patients with subclinical hypothyroidism and include hypercholesterolemia, atherosclerosis, hyperlipidemia, and cognitive symptoms such as depression and memory loss. Subclinical hypothyroidism often progresses to overt hypothyroidism. The progression from subclinical to overt hypothyroidism is subtle and untreated hypothyroidism can lead to irreversible cardiovascular and neuropsychiatric symptoms.

Review/Analysis of Literature

After defining subclinical hypothyroidism an area of interest, pertinent articles were identified by searching CINAHL, OVID NURSING, MEDLINE, National Guideline Clearing House, the Cochrane Database, and the National Health Services Database (UK). Key search terms were hypothyroidism, thyroid deficiency, thyroid insufficiency, underactive thyroid, subclinical hypothyroidism, euthyroid, thyroid peroxidase antibodies, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Other key words used were screening, diagnostics, therapy, treatment, management, consequences, sequelae, hyperlipidemia, hypercholesteremia, cardiovascular, and cognitive. Research articles produced from 2009 to January 2014 were reviewed. Two older research studies from 2007 and 2008 were also reviewed. Twenty-six articles were identified as pertinent to the project and assessed for strength of evidence. Eight of the articles are Level I, four are level II nine are level IV, and five are level V.