NTOA Command College

The Capstone Research Project is the last assignment in each of the three modules of the NTOA Command College.

It’s called a Capstone because it represents a crowning achievement as a capstone does in architecture. For some educational programs, a capstone may require a project and subsequent presentation; for others, it may include an assessment exam to test interdisciplinary skills (like math, writing, critical thinking, etc.).

Your capstone will be a final research paper exploring a topic from a list of topics provided in each module.  You may also select a topic of law enforcement special operations leadership.

Ultimately, your capstone project represents new work and ideas, and gives you the opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge and skills you have gained during your NTOA Command College experience.

Finally, you need to be advised that NTOA Command College intends to publish select Capstone Research Projects annually or in a revised article in the Tactical Edge for distribution to members.  Consequently, it is necessary for you to produce a research project of publishable quality.


Familiarize Yourself with APA – Download Power Point

  • The publication manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) is the style manual of choice for the NTOA Command College.

Choose Your Topic & Submit Your Proposal

  • Select your Capstone Research Project topic from a list of topics provided in each module, or a topic of law enforcement special operations leadership.
  • It is our recommendation that you make this decision by the end of the 5th course in the Tactical and Operational Leadership modules, and the end of the 2nd course in the Strategic Leadership module.
  • Complete the “Proposal Submission Form” provided in each module to submit your proposal for approval.

Find Information

  • Review various scholarly and trade published literature on your topic and create your annotated bibliography.
  • For general or background information, check out useful URLs, general information online, on on-line law enforcement publications such as NTOA’s “The Tactical Edge.”
  • Use search engines such as “Google” or other search tools such as “ERIC” as a starting point.
  • Pay attention to domain name extensions, e.g., .edu (educational institution), .gov (government), or .org (non-profit organization). These sites represent institutions and tend to be more reliable, but be watchful of possible political bias in some government sites. Be selective of .com (commercial) sites. Many .com sites are excellent; however, a large number of them contain advertisements for products and nothing else. Learning how to evaluate websites critically and to search effectively on the Internet can help you eliminate irrelevant sites and waste less of your time.  Stay away from the Wikipedia.  It provides user driven content with typically limited credible resources.
  • Go to your local library to review books and other related resources such as:
    • Law enforcement and tactical operations books
    • Encyclopedias and dictionaries
    • Government publications, guides, & reports
    • Trade magazines & newspapers
  • Check out public and university libraries, businesses, government agencies, as well as contact knowledgeable people in your community.
  • Review the NTOA’s recommended reading list.

Make a Tentative Outline

  • The purpose of an outline is to help you think through your topic carefully and organize it logically before you start writing.
  • A good outline is the most important step in writing a good paper. Check your outline to make sure that the points covered flow logically from one to the other. Include in your outline Title Page, Abstract, Introduction, Body, Conclusion, and References. Review sample provided in the resources section of this page.

Organize Your Notes

  • Organize all the information you have gathered according to your outline.
  • Critically analyze your research data.
  • Using the best available sources, check for accuracy and verify that the information is factual, up-to-date, and correct.
  • Opposing views will enhance the quality of your project and help shape your readers’ understanding and opinion.
  • Do not include any information that is not relevant to your topic, and do not include information that you do not understand. Make sure the information that you have noted is carefully recorded and in your own words.
  • Document all ideas borrowed or quotes used very accurately.  As you organize your notes, note detailed bibliographical information for each cited paragraph and have it ready to transfer to your references section of your Capstone.  This will ensure that your Capstone Research Project is not plagiarized.

Submitting Your Capstone Research Project

  • Your Capstone should be typewritten using the APA specifications.
  • Proofread final draft carefully for spelling, punctuation, missing or duplicated words.
  • The length of your research paper should be between 10 and 20 pages.  Keeping in mind that your Title, Abstract, Introduction, Conclusion and References will each be at least one page, for a total of 5 pages.  At the minimum threshold of 10 pages, that only leaves you 5 pages for your Body of research. Limiting yourself to only 5 pages may present challenges in effectively communicating your premise.

  • Make the effort to ensure that your final paper is clean and presentable consistent with APA specifications.

  • Before up-loading your Capstone to the NTOA Academy, ask yourself: “Is this the VERY BEST that I can do?”
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