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INTRODUCTION

“Writing is a skill, not a gift.”

–Paul J. Silvia

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN IN THIS CHAPTER

  • The type of article that you write will depend on the data you have and the key messages that you want to convey to readers.

  • Using a standard template to organize your content makes it easier for readers to follow your article.

  • Each type of article has a different template.

You gathered all your data from your research project. You implemented a novel idea to improve patient care. Or maybe you reviewed several articles on a single topic. What now? You need to disseminate this wealth of knowledge by writing an article for publication.

As you look to contribute to the body of nursing literature by publishing your research or sharing relevant clinical experiences, the articles that you write should be presented in a coherent and logical manner with evidence to support your conclusions. Organizing your content in a predictable manner allows the reader to follow your line of reasoning and makes understanding your message easier. Different types of articles lend themselves to different types of organization.

Although there is some flexibility in writing, following a structured format—or rather, a template—will help you include all the necessary components, thereby minimizing the chance of omitting an essential part of the article. Some authors believe that using templates can stifle a writer’s creativity, but Graff and Birkenstein (2014, p. 11) state that “templates do not dictate the content of what you say, which can be as original as you want it, but only suggest a way of formatting how you say it.”

When the content of an article flows in an organized way, your reader can easily follow your train of thought and better understand your message. This chapter explains types of articles and describes the typical format that each one should follow.

BASIC FORMAT OF THE ARTICLE

Your article should have a title, a beginning, a middle, and an end. When you follow this format, you enable the reader to understand and follow the logic of the information presented in your article. Writing an organized piece also keeps the reader engaged and more apt to read the entire article. Depending on where you’ll be submitting your article for publication, you might also need to include an abstract.

Title

The style of your title might vary depending on whether you’re writing an article for a nursing magazine or submitting to a scholarly journal. Either way, your title tells the reader about the information presented in the article by simply summarizing the main idea.

For less formal publications, you can be clever and create a title that draws readers’ attention. For a scholarly work, such as a research report, your title should summarize ...

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