Purpose of this project

This paper will provide a forum for the students to demonstrate the use of critical thinking skills in the discussion of issues related the profession of nursing. A forum paper presents new thoughts in response to published materials and sparks debate. It is factually based on data published in the literature. This paper will demonstrate the student’s ability to communicate the findings of the research process to a group of their professional colleagues. The intent of this assignment is for the student to demonstrate the ability to synthesize readings and write clearly using the APA style. You may select any topic relevant to this course. The topic is to be submitted to the faculty for approval. A potential reference list in APA format, summary table and thesis statement are required as preliminary assignments to help you develop your final paper. Please note – settings within Canvas enable Turnitin.com to scan your final paper submitted under the assignment tab. Papers with a similarity score greater than 25% will not be accepted.

Academic writing is not opinion-based or blog-like in nature. It begins with a thesis and should guide the readers towards an evidence based solution. The goal is to produce an informed argument based on a variety of viewpoints. Throughout this process you must sort out what you know to be factual from that which you think or feel about the topic

Project Objectives

By completing this project, the registered nursing student will be able to:

  • Discuss the issue and its importance to nursing.
  • Examine factors that influence thinking about the issue.
  • Consider a variety of viewpoints and identify assumptions that may underlie them.
  • Describe the influence of race, gender, and class.
  • Examine the impact of legal, spiritual, ethical, and cultural factors.
  • Articulate various perspectives, citing the advantages and disadvantage of each.
  • Develop each perspective, until the issue is well described from many vantage points.
  • Establish and articulate your own opinion after reviewing information from a variety of sources.
  • Make judgments, without emotional bias.
  • Demonstrate well-rounded critical thinking, incorporating previous knowledge.
  • Write clearly, logically, and thoughtfully.

Your paper should be written clearly and succinctly. This means that you should use the minimum number of words necessary to thoroughly explain your topic and incorporate the objectives above. On average, former students have been able to accomplish this in 6 pages, not including title page and references. There is no firm minimum or maximum number of pages. I am more interested in what you have to say and how well you say it.


  • Select a general, non-clinical topic related in some way to this course in the nursing field that interests you. By non-clinical, I mean do not select a specific drug, disease, diagnosis, or treatment.
  • The topic should be an issue, something that has multiple perspectives that can be presented in the paper.
  • In the paper you must make a connection between your thesis statement and literature evidence to support a solution.

Search the Nursing Literature in the university library. Begin by gathering 8-10 articles from nursing journals that are current within the last 5 years and that are appropriate to the topic. Do not go back more than 7 years.  DO NOT rely on GOOGLE to provide scholarly support for your paper. A blog is not an acceptable resource.

Nurses gather and assess data/evidence to identify and define problems and propose solutions based on research. Think about the various area of nursing that are impacted by the problem as well as the implications for the role they play in the proposed solution.

The Process

Explore your topic choice

  • Write your topic choice in the form of a question. Are you interested in finding the answer to the question that you wrote? An interesting, well-written question will help you limit selection of articles and keep you enthused on the topic.
  • With your question in hand, search CINAHL or other sources of professional NURSING journals for articles pertaining to your topic.
  • Read at least 3 articles on your topic. Do you still like the topic? Do you still like the wording of your question? Is this the topic you want to immerse yourself in? If no, select another topic and start over.

 Confirm your question:

  • After you have read a few articles, you may want to refine your topic question. The clearer your question is, the easier this project will be for you!
  • Continue gathering peer-reviewed articles, you will probably need to review 8-10 to have a general sense of the topic and its issues.
  • Begin a list of common themes that you are finding in the articles. Put the list on paper, not just in your head!

Clarify your understanding of the topic

  • Look at the reference list attached to the articles that you read for general information. Do you see other articles you should retrieve for review? Are the other articles current? No older than 5 years?
  • Pull articles that you need and read them. Have you now explored all the common themes of your topic? Can you thoroughly answer your question? If yes, you have enough articles. If no, back to CINAHL or other sources for additional searching. Once you have enough articles to answer the question, quit collecting them and move forward.
  • Read all the articles that you have. Really understand them, as it makes the writing process so much easier.
  • Articulate your topic and its common themes to someone else. Can you speak to this topic?
  • Define all key terms and concepts related to your topic. Don’t just do this in your head, put it in writing.
  • Formulate your thesis statement
  • Create a summary table. Distinguish clearly the central issues related to your topic, and the peripheral issues. Can you verbally speak to these with someone else? Have you written these down?
  • If you hate this topic, then start over. If you like this topic, move forward.

 The Writing Begins

  • Secure an area that you can use exclusively for writing. You want to be able to leave your articles out, so that you can sit down for an hour, without reorganizing each time. You will not believe how much time this saves!
  • Post your writing time-line in a visible place, and make every effort to stick to it!
  • Some students find it helpful to develop an outline to organize ideas and topic flow.
  • Use the topic outline you developed to format APA level Headings and Subheadings and write a draft of the body of your paper. Use the TEMPLATE to format your paper.
  • Support statements you make with appropriate references. If the thoughts are someone else’s, then give them credit via a citation. Use direct quotes if the information is profound, otherwise paraphrase. Paraphrasing is not merely changing a word here and there; it is taking several sentences or sources and putting the information into your own words. Use current APA edition.

 Did you fully develop the issue?

  • Once you have the draft, the real work begins!
  • Have you included all perspectives and assumptions related to your topic?
  • Are the perspectives contained in your paper all inclusive? Not just the ones you personally support. If you didn’t cover them all, fill the gaps. If you did, move forward.
  • You need to make a point to describe how race, gender, and class influence this particular issue. If you did this, great, move forward. Look for places within your paper that you can add this.
  • You are expected to examine the legal, spiritual, ethical, and cultural factors that impact your topic. Did you speak to each of these within your draft? If yes, move forward. If no, fill the gaps.
  • You should be getting the idea by now!
  • Carefully examine your topic, utilizing the ethical principles of: autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, justice, and veracity discussed in your textbook. Have you spoken to these in your draft? If yes, great! If no, fill the gaps.
  • At this point, you should have an extremely good 2nd draft
  • Now that you developed the topic, and examined all the various perspectives, you should use the evidence to form an opinion on the topic.
  • Look back at your introduction. What were you trying to do in this paper? Can you provide a reasonable answer to your question, citing reasons why you believe this is the answer?
  • Support your opinion with relevant data, evidence, experience, and any other information that deem appropriate.
  • Stay away from “I” messages throughout the paper; research writing is generally done in 3rd person.  Avoid any personalization in a scholarly term paper.

 Implications for nursing

  • Now that you have answered your topic question, and formed an opinion, what does it mean to nursing?
  • How will this impact practice, administration, education, research and/or the profession as a whole?
  • What evidence base solutions can help address the problem and how does each area of nursing contribute to the solution?
  • Describe the implications that you see, and your rationale. Again, stay away from “I” messages; research writing is done in 3rd person.
  • Address the positives and the negatives. Are the consequences acceptable? To whom? Who or what would be affected if this happened?

 Closing Paragraph

  • Once you are happy with the paper, write your conclusion.
  • Re-read you introduction and construct a brief highlight of your paper.
  • Do not introduce any new material in the conclusion. You are basically “telling us what you have already told us.”
  • It helps to lead off this paragraph with. “In summary, “.
  • Once you have written the conclusion, double check to see that you have not included new information. If yes, back fill the body of the paper to include this, if it is relevant. The conclusion is not the place to give the reader brand new information, but rather synthesize what you have already told them.
  • Re-read the whole paper. Does it flow? Have you answered your question? Have you drawn an evidenced based conclusion? If yes, move forward. If no, keep working on it.
  • You now have a 3rd draft (almost there….)

 Reference List

  • The reference list should include a minimum of 5 current peer-reviewed articles from nursing or other scientific journals, which are appropriate to the topic.
  • Everything that is cited in the body of the paper should be found on the reference page and there should be nothing on the reference page that is NOT found cited in the body of the paper (with exceptions as noted in current APA manual).
  • The best rule of thumb is to OVER cite your references rather than to UNDER cite your references.
  • A good technique to ensure that all ideas presented in the paper have been properly credited is to go back through the paper asking yourself, “did I know that before I began to research the topic for this paper.”
  • Any idea that did not TOTALLY come from your brain needs to be credited to the one or many sources in which you read it.
  • Current 7th edition APA style is required. Use your APA guide carefully-that is WHY you bought it. This resource is used in every nursing course throughout the UCF curriculum.
  • This list should be alphabetized by the author’s last name. Do not re-order the authors names within the citation.
  • Re-read your entire paper. Does it have a good flow? Correct the problems.
  • You now have your 4th draft (the body of the paper will probably be 5-6 pages). If you find that the body is much longer, you need to identify essential content and trim the rest. Your goal is to cover all aspects of the assignment clearly and succinctly. Number of pages is not as important as what you say in those pages.

 Final Edit

  • After letting your paper “rest” a few days, read it again. Do you like the way it flows? Does it make sense? Edit, revise, refine.
  • Let someone else read and critique your paper.  This can be very telling. If your reader is having difficulty following, then I probably will too. Edit, revise, refine.
  • Check your entire paper for current edition APA formatting, and appropriate citing of references.
  • If the paper is the best that you can possibly do, then it is ready for submission!
  • You should now have your final copy.

Grading of Project

  • Both structure and content will be evaluated.
  • The paper will be graded based on compliance with APA format and ability to present material through the written word. Students are directed to review the Scholarly APA Paper rubric for specific grading criteria.
  • Introduce the problem (define and frame the scope) and discuss the dilemma it presents for nursing. State the thesis. The thesis statement should be a single sentence that conveys the main argument specific to what will be covered in the paper. The statement should answer the questions “how” and “why” and should be based on patterns of evidence presented in your paper.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking in describing how culture, socioeconomic status, spirituality, law, ethics relate to the topic/issue and professional nursing practice.
  • Discuss the use of research findings reflected in current evidence-based nursing practice.
  • Explore professional nursing roles (nurse administrators, nurse educators, nurse researchers, and direct patient care) and responsibilities (to address the problem).
  • Summarize the concepts and recommendations presented in the paper. Present conclusions supported by data, evidence, and information discussed throughout the paper. Do not add new information.

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