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How to Write a Nursing Issue Paper

Writing a nursing research paper follows the same structure, source requirements, formatting, and style as any other research paper. A nursing research paper typically uses evidence from scholarly nursing journal articles, nursing books, or other academic resources, mainly published within the last five years. It is a scientific work that demonstrates a nursing student’s academic writing and research skills. Therefore, careful choice of language, structure, and data is important to earn the best grade.

Our research paper guide covered some valuable tips for writing a research paper. This guide is essentially similar, but focuses specifically on writing a nursing research paper.

Research is a skill that helps nurses expand their knowledge, explore concepts, and improve their nursing practice. There are many reasons why nurses research: to build information literacy, practice evidence-based care, and teach information literacy. Additionally, nursing research influences current and future professional nursing practices.

In this sense, you will likely write a research paper as part of your nursing studies, whether a Bachelor’s, Associate’s, Master’s, or Doctoral degree. Therefore, it is important that you know how to start and complete a high-quality nursing research paper that earns you an excellent grade and increases your knowledge.

Here are more detailed explanations under each subheading:

What is a nursing research paper?


A nursing research paper is a formal academic document that presents an in-depth investigation and critical analysis of a specific topic or issue related to the nursing profession. It is a scholarly work that aims to contribute to the existing body of knowledge in the field of nursing and inform evidence-based practice.

A nursing research paper typically involves:

  • Identifying a relevant and significant nursing-related problem or question that needs to be explored further.
  • Conducting an extensive literature review to understand what is already known about the topic and identify gaps in knowledge or areas that require further research.
  • Developing a clear research question or hypothesis to guide the study.
  • Selecting an appropriate research methodology (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, mixed-methods) and designing a rigorous study to collect and analyze data related to the research question.
  • Presenting and interpreting the research findings in relation to the existing literature and nursing practice.
  • Drawing conclusions and making recommendations for future research, policy changes, or improvements in nursing practice based on the study’s findings.

The purpose of a nursing research paper is to advance the understanding of a particular nursing issue, challenge existing practices or theories, or explore potential solutions to improve patient care, nursing education, or the overall healthcare system.

Format and structure of a research paper


A well-structured nursing research paper typically includes the following sections:

Title page:

This page displays the title of the paper, the author’s name, institutional affiliation, course information (if applicable), and the date of submission.

Abstract:

A concise summary (usually 150-250 words) that outlines the research problem, objectives, methods, key findings, and conclusions. The abstract should provide a clear overview of the entire paper.

Introduction:

This section provides background information on the topic, establishes the significance and context of the research problem, states the research question or hypothesis, and outlines the objectives and potential implications of the study.

Literature review:

A comprehensive and critical evaluation of existing scholarly works (e.g., journal articles, books, reports) related to the research topic. The literature review should identify gaps in knowledge, conflicting findings, or areas that require further investigation, and provide a theoretical or conceptual framework for the study.

Methodology:

This section describes the research design (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, mixed-methods), data collection methods (e.g., surveys, interviews, observations), sampling techniques, data analysis procedures, and any ethical considerations or limitations of the study. It should provide enough detail for the study to be replicated by others.

Results:

This section presents the findings of the research in a clear and organized manner, often accompanied by tables, figures, or other visual representations of the data. The results should be objectively reported without interpretation or analysis.

Discussion:

In this section, the researcher interprets and analyzes the results in relation to the existing literature, theoretical framework, and research objectives. The discussion should address how the findings support or contradict previous research, acknowledge limitations of the study, and explore the implications for nursing practice, education, or policy.

Conclusion:

A concise summary of the main findings, conclusions drawn from the study, and recommendations for future research or practical applications in the field of nursing.

References:

A complete list of all sources cited in the paper, formatted according to the required citation style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago).

Appendices (if applicable):

Additional materials such as data collection instruments (e.g., survey questionnaires), raw data, or supplementary information that supports the research but is too lengthy or detailed to include in the main body of the paper.

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    Tips for Writing a Nursing School Research Paper

    1. Choose a topic that is relevant, interesting, and aligns with your academic or professional goals. Consider current issues, emerging trends, or areas where there is a need for further research in nursing.
    2. Conduct a thorough and systematic literature review to ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of the existing research on your topic. Use reputable academic databases (e.g., PubMed, CINAHL, Google Scholar) and search for peer-reviewed journal articles, books, and other credible sources.
    3. Develop a clear and focused research question or hypothesis that will guide your study. Your research question should be specific, answerable, and relevant to the field of nursing.
    4. Select an appropriate research methodology that aligns with your research question and objectives. Quantitative methods (e.g., surveys, experiments) are suitable for collecting and analyzing numerical data, while qualitative methods (e.g., interviews, observations) are better suited for exploring experiences, perceptions, or behaviors.
    5. Ensure that your research design and data collection methods are rigorous, ethical, and adhere to established protocols or guidelines in the nursing field.
    6. Analyze your data objectively and thoroughly, using appropriate statistical or analytical techniques. Consider alternative explanations or factors that may influence your findings.
    7. Organize your paper logically and coherently, with clear transitions between sections and appropriate use of headings and subheadings.
    8. Use precise, academic language and avoid colloquialisms, slang, or overly informal language. Define technical terms or abbreviations when first introduced.
    9. Cite all sources accurately and consistently, following the prescribed citation style (e.g., APA, MLA). This includes in-text citations and the reference list.
    10. Proofread your paper carefully for spelling, grammar, and formatting errors. Consider having someone else review your paper for clarity and coherence.
    11. Follow all formatting guidelines provided by your institution or instructor, including requirements for font, line spacing, margins, and page numbering.
    12. Consider seeking feedback from peers, writing centers, or your professor during the writing process to improve the quality of your paper.

    Checklist: Writing a nursing research paper


    Before submitting your nursing research paper, use this checklist to ensure you have addressed all essential elements:

    • The title accurately reflects the content of the paper and captures the main focus or research question.
    • The abstract provides a concise and comprehensive summary of the paper’s key components (background, objectives, methods, findings, conclusions).
    • The introduction clearly establishes the context, significance, and purpose of the research, and states the research question or hypothesis.
    • The literature review is comprehensive, critically evaluates relevant sources, identifies gaps or areas for further research, and provides a theoretical or conceptual framework for the study.
    • The methodology section thoroughly describes the research design, data collection methods, sampling techniques, data analysis procedures, and any ethical considerations or limitations of the study.
    • The results section presents the findings in a clear, organized, and objective manner, supported by appropriate visual aids (tables, figures, charts) when necessary.
    • The discussion section interprets and analyzes the results in relation to the existing literature, theoretical framework, and research objectives, addressing how the findings support or contradict previous research, and exploring the implications for nursing practice, education, or policy.
    • The conclusion summarizes the main findings, conclusions drawn from the study, and provides recommendations or suggestions for future research or practical applications in the field of nursing.
    • All sources are properly cited in the required citation style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago), both in-text and in the reference list.
    • The paper is well-organized, with smooth transitions between sections and appropriate use of headings and subheadings.
    • The language is clear, concise, and free of grammatical or spelling errors, using precise academic terminology and avoiding colloquialisms or informal language.
    • The paper adheres to the specified formatting guidelines (e.g., font, margins, line spacing, page numbering).
    • Appendices (if applicable) are included and properly formatted, containing supplementary materials such as data collection instruments, raw data, or additional information that supports the research.

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