Writing a Scholarly Paper Module. Are you anxious about completing writing assignments? You are not alone. Many college nursing students feel insecure about their writing abilities. This lesson will assist you as you write academic papers for your courses.
Note: This section is modified from the SSPRNBSN of this same name.
What Is Scholarly Writing?
Scholarly writing is an important skill for nurses both in school and in nursing research and for many aspects of nursing practice. Professional written communication uses a different style than the writing used when documenting care or care planning. Strong professional writing skills are needed in nursing school and will set you apart in many nursing positions, so it makes sense to take time to develop these skills. Scholarly writing should be clear, concise, relevant, and trustworthy. Here are some of the key components of scholarly writing.
Content is organized in a logical manner. Papers should have a clear structure with an introduction, body, and conclusion. In general, a professional paper begins with an introduction that clearly presents the topic of the paper. The body will differ based on the requirements of your assignment. The conclusion should summarize the ideas presented in the paper, as well as provide a concluding statement; this could be different if your assignment guidelines and rubric require something else.
Grammar, spelling, and punctuation are correct. Microsoft® Word has features that will automatically check the spelling and grammar in your documents. Spelling errors are marked with red lines under the word. Potential mistakes in grammar are indicated with blue lines. These checks are not always accurate but will help to identify many grammar and spelling errors. Review every red or blue indicator line, and fix any errors. Be sure to proofread your paper by reading it aloud before submission. This will help you to find problems such as incomplete sentences, run-on sentences, or missing words. Consider submitting your paper to Chamberlain’s free writing tutor or Grammarly, a free paper review resource found on the Internet.
Language is scholarly and appropriate for the audience. Language and terminology should be clear, easily understood, and appropriate for the intended reader. Your tone should be formal and professional. Avoid abbreviations, contractions, clichés, or slang. Clichés or slang are words that are used in an informal setting or in casual conversation. They can mean different things to different people and can be easily misunderstood or insulting to the reader.
Base scholarly writing on evidence. Most assignments are based on what you learn from scholarly references. The majority of the paper should be based on information from these sources, and personal opinions should be avoided unless required by the rubric.
The assignment guidelines will often state that information from scholarly sources is needed for your paper. Many students wonder what scholarly sources are and where they can be found. Scholarly sources come from peer-reviewed publications such as scholarly professional nursing journal articles retrieved from CINAHL in the Chamberlain Online Library, government reports (.gov), respected organizations (.org), or sources written by a professional or scholar in the field. Peer review means that a publisher or a professional agency had scholars in the field review the work to ensure that it meets professional standards. Peer-reviewed work contains references for the sources used, and the credentials of the scholar are included. When searching in the library, you can limit your search by checking the peer-reviewed box to display only peer-reviewed articles. Always follow the guidelines and rubric for your assignment regarding the sources that are appropriate for each assignment.
Wikipedia, wikis, .com websites, and blogs are not considered scholarly and should not be used. This is because information from these sites may not undergo rigorous review. Whenever possible, sources should be no more than 5 years old unless they are historical references or approved by your instructor.
The most common scholarly sources for nursing papers are healthcare journal articles. They are found in the Chamberlain library in various databases such as the two below.
- Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL)—highly recommended!
- Proquest Nursing & Allied Health Source
Please visit the Library for help with accessing journal articles in Chamberlain’s library.
Writing a scholarly paper involves careful planning and research. It is important to set aside adequate time to create a paper that you will be proud of. There are a number of important steps that will help you craft a well-written paper. These steps include
- reviewing the assignment guidelines carefully;
- researching your topic in the Chamberlain library to gather the needed information;
- developing an outline;
- writing a draft; and
- reviewing and revising your draft into the final product.
Please refer to the Course Resources page to download a detailed guide to help you create a great paper.
Test Your Knowledge
Take the following quiz to see how much you have learned about scholarly writing.
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