How to Write a Nursing Research Paper


Writing a nursing research paper follows the same structure, source requirements, formatting, and style, like other college research papers. A nursing research paper is usually based on evidence from scholarly nursing journal articles, nursing books, or other scholarly resources that have been published in the last five years. At, we have developed a professional guide to help you grasp the process of how to write a nursing research paper that assures you of an A + grade.

Before you peter out yet, follow the guide below to understand the different hacks you can use when writing a nursing research paper. Writing a nursing paper is a skill that will help you advance your knowledge, explore concepts, and improve your nursing practice skills. This guide is essentially a cheat sheet that you may be familiar with, except that we are now focusing on writing a nursing research paper.

What is a nursing research paper?

A nursing research paper is a thesis-driven academic paper written on a specific nursing topic, either chosen by the student or assigned by the instructor. Nursing students write nursing research papers to present evidence to support particular nursing research paper topics.

A nursing research paper can be written by a nurse engaged in clinical practice, nursing education, evaluation, or nursing methodology. The procedure involves conducting systematic research to investigate given facts, applying nursing theories, and drawing conclusions.

To write a quality nursing research paper, it is recommended to use a word count of 1500 words minimum.

Format and structure of a nursing research paper

Follow the following steps to understand what a nursing research paper should look like.

Title Page

  • Since you will be working on scientific papers, most nursing research papers are formatted in APA or Harvard.
  • The title page is an essential part of your paper because it lets your professor know what the rest of the essay entails. You may lose marks if you do not complete the task correctly.
  • The title page for your nursing research paper, also known as the cover page, should include the title of your research paper, your names, course code and name, university names, professor names, and the date of submission. Visit our website to view different research paper title page examples and get ideas for how to present this vital section of your paper.


  • Your abstract should be a synopsis of the nursing paper. It is just as important as the title page in that it provides the reader with a quick overview of your research paper.
  • Abstracts are approximately 200-250 words long and should be concise and focused. If your nursing research paper is divided into sections, you can provide a summary of each section for more straightforward navigation.
  • In your abstract, avoid using acronyms and citations.
  • When writing an abstract, adhere to the APA or Harvard guidelines.
  • It is not included in the word count unless otherwise specified in the Rubric.
  • It should include the purpose statement, paper contents, results, conclusions, and recommendations.


·         The introduction is the first section of any nursing research paper you draft, which acts as a nursing research paper outline for your paper.

·         It should account for 10% of the total word count.

·         Include an excellent research paper topic hook.

·         Have background knowledge on the subject.

·         Present the nursing issue that your research paper is addressing

·         Inform the readers of your research paper’s primary goal or thesis

·         Carefully outline the scope of your paper as well as its purpose. Present the PICOT question at this point if you are writing a PICO research paper.

Literature Review

  • It is also an essential section in which you peruse different nursing scholars’ literature that addresses the thesis statement or your topic.
  • Your literature review should critically examine other articles and journals discussing a nursing theory, theoretical frameworks, scientific theories, concepts, and words.
  • This is where you look at how other people have approached the subject. You should write well-developed paragraphs, cite ideas, and approach this section critically. For example, if you are writing a research paper on obesity management, you can incorporate the Theory of Planned Behavior into your management strategy. If this is the case, you should look into the TPB and how it can be used to develop obesity interventions in another study.
  • This section should demonstrate vital research, organization, and writing abilities.

Research Methodology

  • You must document the methods you used to collect the data. For example, you could conduct qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods research.
  • Ethnography, historical research, phenomenology, symbiotic interactionism, and grounded theory are examples you might encounter in a nursing research paper.
  • Quantitative nursing research can be descriptive, quasi-experimental, or correlational. As the name implies, this one will require you to crunch statistics and numbers.
  • Secondary sources, such as literature reviews, systematic reviews, or meta-analyses, should be cited in this section. If this is the case, you must have an exclusion and inclusion criterion.
  • Include all analyses and explain how they helped test hypotheses if it is a statistical paper. Explain how you used R or SPSS to analyze data, including the variables of interest.
  • You should also describe the sampling methods you used.

Results and Discussion

  • You must document the data collection methods you used. You could conduct research using qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods to complete your online nursing research papers.
  • Qualitative research in nursing includes ethnography, historical research, phenomenology, symbiotic interactionism, and grounded theory.
  • Quantitative nursing research can take the form of descriptive, quasi-experimental, or correlational studies. As the name suggests, this one will require you to crunch statistics and numbers.
  • In this section, secondary sources such as literature reviews, systematic reviews, or meta-analyses should be cited. If this is the case, an exclusion and inclusion criterion is required.
  • If it is a statistical paper, include all analyses and explain how they helped test hypotheses. Explain how you analyzed data using R or SPSS, including the variables of interest.

·         You should also describe your sampling methods.

Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Summarize the research problem, methodology, and findings.
  • State the thesis again, not as it was in the introduction.
  • It should be 10% of the total word count.
  • Discuss the findings concerning the literature review.
  • Investigate future suggestions for researchers


  • Arrange your references alphabetically from A-Z.
  • The reference list is in APA or Harvard format, depending on the prompt or Rubric.
  • Double-check that each reference in the list is scholarly and was used in your paper.
  • Include links as needed.

Tips for Writing a Nursing Research Paper

Here are some helpful hints and tricks for writing a nursing research paper. Our nursing research paper guide will help you understand the steps you need to take to ace your essay. Our top writers follow the framework when writing nearly every nursing research paper.

1.      Examine the research paper prompt and the Rubric

This may seem obvious, but it is critical to understand the basis on which you will write the paper from the perspective of an external marker, your professor, or your instructor/teacher before you begin writing your nursing paper.

Skipping this step, which happens frequently, is equivalent to attempting to climb a mountain without the proper equipment. As a result, you will miss important points or make minor omissions that lower your grade.

You will benefit from reviewing the instructions by:

  • Understand your nursing paper topics in discussion. Even if it is a case study research paper, you will know what aspects of the case study to write about.
  • You will also learn how to structure your paper and be able to write a nursing research paper outline.
  • Recognize and read other materials related to completing the paper that is related to the instructions
  • Assist you in limiting the scope of the paper because you know the required word count or pages
  • Determine whether you must use the provided sources or if you can conduct your research.
  • Determine the ages of the scholarly sources permitted.

If you discover that you do not understand the instructions, seek clarification before choosing a topic or making significant progress.

2.      Choose a nursing research topic that you are comfortable with

Most nursing students overlook the importance of selecting a topic that interests them or is satisfied with. As a result, they struggle to develop a topic they chose purely for its sake.

If you have the option, choose nursing research paper topics that interests you. You can work on nursing topics such as fall prevention or aging population management if you are interested in geriatrics. Patient safety, nurse education, nurse privileges, nursing State laws and regulations, ethics, mental health treatment, healthcare informatics, and changes in healthcare are all potential topics.

As this is an advanced paper with a long-form structure, it is essential to ensure that your nursing topic is supported using relevant data or has been discussed in scholarly journals.

3.      Plan your nursing research paper

Nursing topics for research papers can take the form of analytical, argumentative, or expository essays. They are always written in the American Psychological Association (APA) format. To fully ace a nursing assignment, you must demonstrate excellent knowledge mastery, research abilities, persuasive skills, and organizational abilities. You can only do so with careful planning.

Take some time after receiving the assignment via canvas, email, or whatever platform your institution uses to become acquainted with the research paper instructions. After choosing your discussion topic and considering your word count, devote time planning the paper. In most cases, this is where you draft your paper’s structure to determine the major sections and how to approach the issue.

4.      Conduct extensive research and begin drafting your paper

Do not wait until the last minute to write a nursing research paper with the research paper plan; you will only increase your chances of failing. Begin your research process early if you want to write a successful research paper on any topic.

Search scholarly nursing databases for reliable sources and write your information as needed. You will have already developed or will develop your thesis statement as you conduct your research. You can then choose which scholarly sources to use. Do not be afraid to use Wikipedia or Google to find information.

These sources help you gain knowledge and better understand different nursing concepts; however, you are not permitted to cite some of them in your writing. The various journals and articles give you the chance to understand your nursing paper topics, find keywords to use in your research, and comprehend large amounts of information. The sources you use in your paper should be relevant, credible, and reliable.

  1. Conduct your research using relevant scholarly sources

For recency, relevance, and accuracy, nursing research papers should be based on peer-reviewed journals published within the last five years. You should complete your nursing research paper critically rather than descriptive style to showcase your competency.

You can consult credible research sources like:

  • Cochrane Library
  • CINAHL Plus with Full Text
  • EBSCOhost
  • HAPI: Health and Psychological Instruments
  • Medline either via Ovid or PubMed
  • BMC nursing
  • Google Scholar
  • PsychINFO
  • Sage Research Methods
  • Scopus
  • Web of Science

6.      Organize your nursing research information

After selecting potential sources, organize them in a folder and use citation management software to manage them. Next, organize your research paper’s bibliography using the information from step 1. The bibliography should adhere to the general paper specifications. You can also use your web browser to bookmark your resources. Even better, the citation management tools or digital bibliography assist you in linking the resources you selected.

After you’ve organized your research, it’s time to start working on your paper early enough to allow you time to read, comprehend, critique, and present ideas. It is recommended to begin by writing a nursing research paper outline, which you may have developed while researching.

While writing your paper, the outline should serve as a road map. It will help you present major points and sections and organize the flow of your essay. Make a plan to finish your paper using the Pomodoro technique, in which you finish sections, rest, and then resume working on other sections.

7.      Tools for citation management

Use citation management software to keep track of your citations

  • RefWorks
  • EndNote
  • Zotero
  • Legacy RefWorks

These tools can assist you in organizing your database of research-related citations. You can also get the citation style correct because they have different citation styles such as AMA, APA, ASA, or Harvard formats.

You can generate bibliographies and paste them into your research paper when you’re finished. This can help you avoid plagiarized content, which frequently occurs when you write first and then cite later. You can easily misplace a citation with the latter when citing your work as you write aids in the flow of ideas and the critical approach and presentation of facts in your paper.

8.      Use a well-written nursing thesis statement

Now that you’ve completed the research, determined the scope, chosen a topic, and organize your findings, you can develop a preliminary central idea. Your paper must have a thesis or main idea, even if you are not arguing for or against anything.

We have always emphasized the importance of a strong thesis statement. It’s no different when it comes to writing a nursing research paper. Allow your thesis statement to define the purpose of your essay. It might as well be final. Ensure that your research is thesis-driven rather than source-driven.

9.      Develop an outline for your nursing research paper

Create a nursing research paper outline following the given instructions to complete your assignment, just as you did with the bibliography. You may be asked to submit the outline first as part of the assignment. If this is the case, outline the professor’s example, guidelines, or requirements.

If you are not required to submit an outline, you should plan your paper carefully. It aids in the development of your research paper. Here, it would help to structure your essay while also critically considering the paper’s scope. Begin by grouping your paper into sections as described earlier in this guide.

10.  Begin the drafting process

Finally, you must write your nursing research paper. Following your nursing research paper outline, you can start from the top and work your way down, or you can pick sections randomly. When you start early, you have a high possibility of submitting a flawless nursing paper. Nonetheless, it will assist you in writing a clear, strong, and interesting nursing research paper.

Avoid being a perfectionist when writing; keep it simple. Later on, you will be able to perfect your nursing research paper. Don’t worry about perfect grammar, punctuation, or titles at this point. However, scrape through your research before drafting, but avoid writing directly from your research. Instead, read the sources, internalize them, and summarize or quote them in your own words.

Include citations to the quotes, paraphrased sections, or ideas from other authors as you write the paper. Working with your ideas helps to avoid plagiarism, as does citing. The latter provides you with a scholarly tone.

Always give credit to other people’s thoughts and words. Use quotation marks and provide the source when quoting word for word. However, it would be best to refrain from using too many quotations in your paper. When you paraphrase, give credit to the source by using in-text citations. It is unnecessary to state the basis of a common fact.

  1. Finish proofreading, editing, and submitting your nursing paper on time

Now that you have completed writing your paper, you should pat yourself on the back. It is not a five-finger exercise, but you are not yet out of the woods. You must ensure that your nursing research paper meets the stringent requirements. Before submitting your paper, you must always edit it.

Begin the editing process by checking the structure, organization, length, and wording. Then, dive into examining the thesis statement and how you developed it in the paper. Is it necessary to change it? If so, revise your thesis in your introduction and let your conclusion reflect this. Use our nursing research paper checklist to ensure that everything is in order.

You can also hire a professional nursing research paper editor to review your instructions, requirements, and paper. If any areas need to be changed, the editor will go over them and make the necessary changes. They are also capable of proofreading the entire paper. When you receive feedback from your professor and need someone to help you integrate the changes, we have language and nursing experts available to assist you.

Checklist for Writing a Nursing Research Paper

An A+ nursing research paper demonstrates your understanding of different research paper topics in nursing, advanced organization, and proper formatting. At the same time, it must adhere to the style guidelines. Once you’ve done writing a nursing research paper, use the following checklist to determine whether it should be submitted or revised further:

  1. I followed the guidelines outlined in the assignment prompt and Rubric.
  2. The title page of the paper is correct.
  3. The introduction engages the reader by presenting the topic, background information, and other pertinent information.
  4. The thesis and problem statements are focused, clear, and concise in the introduction.
  5. The introduction provides an overview of the nursing research issue or problem the research paper addresses.
  6. The paper follows a logical flow from beginning to end.
  7. The paper is divided into paragraphs and sections.
  8. Each title is formatted following the formatting style requirements.
  9. Each paragraph has a precise topic and conclusion sentence, and a focused central idea.
  10. Each paragraph expands on the thesis statement and is pertinent to the nursing issue.
  11. Transitions in the paper clarify the connections between paragraphs, sentences, and sections.
  12. The theoretical and conceptual constructs are outlined in the literature review section.
  13. Data and information from peer-reviewed scholarly nursing journals published within the last five years are used in the literature review.
  14. The methodology section describes the sample, sampling, data collection and analysis methods, and rationale.
  15. The discussion connects the findings to the literature review and is written critically.
  16. The recommendations are notable.
  17. The conclusion is brief and addresses the research question or demonstrates how the thesis is supported.
  18. There are no new points or ideas introduced in the conclusion.
  19. There is an alphabetical reference list in the paper, and each is cited in the text.
  20. There are no grammar, syntax, or punctuation errors in the paper.
  21. The paper incorporates feedback from my professor/teacher.
  22. The paper adheres to the formatting guidelines.

If your research paper meets all of the criteria in this checklist, you are free to proceed with the process by submitting the paper in the proper format.

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