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Answered By: Kristie Keuntjes
Last Updated: Mar 21, 2017     Views: 144

Both the BSN and MSN programs expect students to write in a scholarly manner.  Scholarly writing is writing in academics - it is more formal and scientific than other forms of writing.  There are four main areas of focus in scholarly writing:

  • Argument
  • Evidence
  • Paragraphs
  • Voice


The argument of your paper is your perspective on a topic.  It should be demonstrated throughout your writing and should be evidence-based.  Your argument can be demonstrated through your thesis statement and the evidence (research) you incorporate throughout your paper.


All of the ideas in your paper should be evidence-based.  This means that research has been performed using scholarly and peer-reviewed sources found in Rasmussen's library.  As you incorporate evidence into your scholarly writing, be sure to credit your sources using APA citation style.

Before you begin your search, it's important to understand:

When you are ready to begin your searching, you should use the databases available in the online library.  The library pays for access to primary, scholarly sources that are not freely available on the web (through Google).  The online library has several databases that are useful for finding nursing-related articles:

It is important to search several databases as each database can give you access to different resources.  There is some overlap in what you'll find in each database, but to ensure you have completed an exhaustive search, you must search several databases.

Utilizing the limiters available in each database makes your searching much more efficient and effective. Two of the most useful ways to limit your search results is by Publication Date and limiting to articles published in Scholarly/Peer Reviewed Journals. Check out our Answer to watch a video for more information: How can I narrow or limit my search results in a database?

Many databases assign subjects to articles to tell the reader what the article is about.  Using the subjects that are assigned to an article can help your narrow or broaden your search and get articles that are more relevant to your topic. Check out our Answer to watch a video for more information: How can I refine my database search results using subjects?

The search process requires a lot of trial and error. Make sure you explore more than the first couple results on a search results page.

You can find more information on the Nursing Research tab of the Nursing Guide.


The paragraphs of your paper should be well-organized and executed.  Every paper should have the following paragraphs:

  • Introduction
    • This paragraph introduces the reader to what your paper is all about
    • Your thesis statement should make an appearance in your introduction
  • Body of the Paper
    • These paragraphs are the meat and potatoes of your work
    • Your evidence and analysis should be presented in these paragraphs
  • Conclusion
    • This paragraph recaps your main point
    • It signals to the reader that the argument is complete


When you hear the word voice in reference to scholarly writing, it refers to the word choice and tone of your paper.  Your scholarly paper should have the following qualities:

  • Formal word choice and tone
  • Clear and logical arguments
  • Objective phrasing
  • Simple and direct sentence structure
  • Language appropriate within your discipline
  • Written using the active voice

Writing Resources

Here are the writing resources you have access to through Rasmussen College:

  • APA Guide
    • The APA guide will walk you through everything you need to know about APA formatting
  • Writing Lab
    • Students have the ability to upload papers to the writing lab for feedback within 48 hours
  • Grammarly
    • Grammarly is a software that checks for grammar, mechanics, spelling, word usage, and even plagiarism.
  • Writing Guide
    • The Writing Guide is a comprehensive guide to help students with all types of writing from discussion posts to research papers

Here are some additional resources we found to be quite helpful with scholarly writing:


Walden University. (2016). Scholarly writing: Overview. Retrieved from


Walden University. (2016). Scholarly voice.  Retreived from