2020–2021 Walden University Student Handbook (September 2020) 
    Dec 03, 2021  
2020–2021 Walden University Student Handbook (September 2020) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Guidance for Walden Students on the Use of External Consultants for Capstone Projects

Return to: Capstone Research: Dissertation or Doctoral Study  

Although the doctoral capstone project can seem daunting at the outset, the academic programs at Walden are designed to prepare students to complete their own projects. The need for added support is understandable, but completed capstones must represent the students’ work and learning, and demonstrate their skills as a holder of doctoral degrees. Students who choose to utilize support beyond services offered by the university need to be mindful of the pitfalls and potential problems that can arise.

In today’s marketplace, there are some unscrupulous writers, scholars, and statisticians that cross boundaries and interfere with the originality of student work. The information below is provided to give clarity on this subject in relation to student and faculty expectations and support all students in selecting support options.


In working with editors, students should use these resources only for editing and clarifying, not for the synthesis of ideas or the generation of new concepts. Having someone else write parts of the document is a form of plagiarism, and it puts the entire project at risk.

Statisticians and Other Research Consultants

Research consultants’ services should be used for tutoring of statistical concepts and reviewing data analysis strategies; these are not services for designing the research, conducting the analyses, or interpreting the results. To have a successful oral presentation of the capstone, students need to be able to explain and defend every aspect of their work and to demonstrate an understanding of all concepts, synthesis, and analysis.

Caution and Support for Students

Unfortunately, a growing number of doctoral students hire editorial and statistical services from individuals and/or companies who make claims to deliver a product but fail to do so. In some cases, services performed by others may put students in a position that can jeopardize their status at the university. Walden University will not be able to support or accommodate students who become victims of misleading or unscrupulous consultants. Students should apply the guidance provided here when considering an outside consultant. Prior to seeking external resources, students should first consult the menu of support options available at no cost from the Center for Student Success and the Center for Research Quality.

Faculty Recommendations

Faculty members may suggest the use of an advisor or consultant when students display consistent editorial difficulties on document drafts, but they should not require students to use an external consultant and cannot require the use of a specific consultant.