Full Guide On How To Write Nursing Research Paper


Writing an excellent research paper is one way to bag yourself a good grade in the final exam. However, writing does not come naturally for most people, and neither does the ability to pen down factual evidence in a coherent way. If you are in such a position, this article is for you as I will be taking you through the ins and outs of writing a good research paper.

Table of contents

  1. What is a nursing research paper?
  2. Why are nurses required to write a research paper?
  3. Tips for writing a good nursing research paper
  4. Proper structure for a nursing research paper
  1. Title page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Literature review
  5. Research methodology
  6. Results and discussions
  7. Conclusion and recommendations
  8. References

What is a nursing research paper?

A nursing paper is an academic writing piece that forms part of the syllabus for people studying Nursing or any similar course. Usually, the student either chooses the research topic or it’s given by the professor. Regardless, it will fall in one of the following essay-style categories;

  • Expository- Your research paper should be an in depth discussion of any relevant nursing related idea with valuable facts to back it up.
  • Analytical- Here, you should present an already researched nursing related study and explain how the writer came to their conclusion. You should then follow up with real reasons why you agree or disagree with their findings.
  • Argumentative- Topic is a debatable issue where you should present arguments that defend and contradict. Then you should choose one side which resonates with your opinion and convince the reader it’s the right one.

Why are nurses required to write a nursing research paper?

Professors assign research papers for a lot of reasons such as (but not limited to);

  • Analyze the student’s ability to research on a topic and come up with valid findings
  • See whether the students can argue out their opinions in a coherent and professional way
  • Since research papers are long and take time to write, they help in mastering time management
  • Help polish the student’s organizational skills as research papers are very structure-specific
  • So the professor can analyze the student’s ability to cite sources correctly

Tips for writing a good research paper

  1. Ensure you follow the rubric

A rubric is basically a set of rules that you should follow when writing your research paper. Usually, it will contain information such as the deadline, required word count, preferred research sources, scope of the topic, and so forth.

If you miss even one part of the rubric, the professor will automatically assume that you cannot follow simple instructions. Not only will the said mistake cost you marks, but it will also make the professor mark your paper with a biased opinion.

  1. Only go for a topic you are conversant with

In the event that your professor has allowed you to choose a topic of your liking, please try and go for a topic that you are knowledgeable and interested in. This way, you will be able to offer sufficient in-depth facts about it.

Remember that the quality and relevance of the topic you choose heavily contributes to your final grade. If your topic is too narrow, then it will be challenging to expound on it without adding irrelevant content. On the other hand, if it is too general, then it will be hard to exhaust it given the limited word count.

Also, ensure your topic does not exceed 150 characters or twelve words.

  1. Take time to plan out your thesis

Your thesis is basically the whole point of your article and what you are going to be addressing. It is, therefore, vital for your thesis to have a clear purpose; otherwise, it is going to be very easy for you to steer off-topic.

  1. Organization is key

Your article should be organized in such a way that it is enjoyable for the reader, and all your ideas flow. Each paragraph should present its own point explained with factual evidence. Some professors include their preferred structure in the rubric, and it is essential that you organize your whole article in a way that adheres to it.

  1. Proofread and edit before submitting

Though this tip sounds obvious, many people skip it as they assume their grammatical skills are at par with acceptable standards. After finishing your research paper, take some time off and edit your work to get rid of any grammatical errors, weird sentence structures and irrelevant material.

  1. Notes are important

When researching for content for your paper, consider taking short notes in an organized manner so that you have a clear flow of ideas while you write. This technique is excellent for ensuring you do not forget anything and also reduces the chances of you resorting to irrelevant content.

Additionally, note down the sources of each point to make it easier for referencing and cross-checking a point if you need your memory refreshed.

Proper structure for a nursing research paper

Here is a rough idea of how a nursing research paper should be structured; it is essential to note that each of the highlighted segments should start on a new page.

  1. Title page

The title page is also known as the cover page as it is the first page of your research paper. Make sure that it is written in the correct format (say APA or MLA), as an excellent first impression is necessary. A good title page should contain; the research title, your name, university code, University name, professor’s name and date of submission.

  1. Abstract

An abstract should be a short and concise summary of your research paper. You can give it as one collaborative piece or give a short summary of each segment. Try and make sure that this segment clearly highlights the scope, purpose, results and conclusion of your research paper.

Note that your abstract does not contribute to the final word count unless the professor states explicitly so. If in doubt, ask for clarification to avoid deduction of marks.

  1. Introduction

Your introduction, which is 10% of your word count, should expound on your thesis- why you chose this particular topic and what will it resolve. In this segment, you should take your reader through everything you did through the research process in a detailed but exciting manner.

Please do not include any citations or quotations as it gives the impression that you have not really grasped the thesis of the research topic. Instead, you are just copy-pasting someone else’s idea.

  1. Literature review

A literature review segment is a place where your professor can analyze the depth of your research and comprehension skills. Here, you should cite and explain other scholars’ literature that is directly related to your topic of choice.

You can either note how they covered the topic and why you agree with their findings or, write the faults in their research and what you think they should have done instead. Whichever the case, make sure to back it up with irrefutable evidence, as it can either make or break your whole research paper.

  1. Research methodology

As the name suggests, your research methodology is a breakdown of the methods you use for research purposes. This section should include;

  • Human participants and how you took ethical precautions
  • Sampling techniques such as qualitative or quantitative techniques
  • Exploratory questions
  • Research procedures
  • Methodology

There are three types of sources of information; primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary sources include court records, peer journals, surveys, etc. Secondary sources are those that are were written from primary sources such as magazine articles, books excerpts, etc. Finally, tertiary sources are a mix of both primary and secondary sources; they include indexes, databases, etc. Your research methodology segment should clearly outline what type the sources used are.

  1. Results and discussions

This section contains all the results you landed on from your research and a summarized explanation of how they came to be. Make sure that your summary is detailed enough for your reader to understand your line of thought. Additionally, feel free to present your results in graph or table form to give the professor more perspective.

  1. Conclusion and recommendations

The conclusion should be a summary of the whole research paper. Make it detailed enough that one can deduce what the paper was about by reading this part only but avoid directly paraphrasing what you have covered in the body of the paper.

Another thing, do not introduce new ideas in the conclusion as this will mean you did not adequately cover what you needed to cover in the article. Instead, you can give recommendations for other topics related to yours that, if explored, will improve the nursing community.

  1. References

References can be written in so many formats; hence it is imperative to confirm with your professor which format they prefer. Generally, a proper reference should contain; the writer’s name, date of publication, publisher, academic title, and page number. If the name is not available, you are free to refer to the said writer’s name.