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Academic Writing, APA Formatting, Information Literacy, & Other Suggestions for Student Success

Academic Writing
Part of our ability to communicate clearly involves the use of appropriate grammar and
correct spelling. Do not use colloquial words or phrases. It is essential that you develop the
ability to critique your own writing style and determine the effectiveness of your writing so
that you can be successful in any nursing role. One resource for writing style the first
chapters of your APA book.
It is important to learn about academic writing in order to be successful in this course and
in the program. These skills will also assist you with written communication in the work
setting and in life in general. In doing research about how to best help you with this, I
found a website from Australia that has an Academic Writing Tutorial. Here is the website:
http://www.csu.edu.au/division/studserv/my-studies/learning/tutorial . This is a great
resource to help you develop more sophisticated skills in academic writing.
Assignment Guidelines
Read the Assignment Guidelines carefully so that you fully understand ALL the components
and expectations of an assignment. If you dont understand a component; ask the
instructor, not another student, who may have a similar misunderstanding. If you feel the
Assignment Guidelines are not clear, ask for the instructor to clarify them.
APA Format
The 6th edition of APA guidelines will be used to evaluate your paper and all assignments
in the program. The APA book you are required to purchase is the obvious first choice for
finding needed information about APA formatting. There are also some websites that can
help you if you find the text cumbersome. When editing your paper for referencing style
here are some additional tips, some additional tips are provided after the websites. Here
are some websites that are also very user friendly.
Purdue Online Writing Lab:
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
APA Online:
http://flash1r.apa.org/apastyle/basics/index.htm
General writing/APA must do for any assignment
There are must do aspects of any writing assignment that need to be considered prior to
submitting an assignment, except Discussion postings where formatting is more difficult to
maintain.
1. Be consistent: make sure you have cited the same type of source (such as a journal
article) consistently in the reference list. Make sure it is correct and use that format
consistently. It is better to be consistent and wrong than to be inconsistent.
2. Websites: there are no hyperlinks in URLs, the title is in italics, if there is no author
use the title in italics. To remove, click in the hyperlink, right click your mouse in the
link and a menu will pop up, choose remove hyperlink.

Academic Writing, APA Formatting, Information Literacy, & Other Suggestions for Student Success

3. Retrieval data is as such: Retrieved from http://www.americancancersociety.org


No date is needed for the retrieval data.
4. For books: the state of the publishing city is needed but only the two letter
abbreviation;
5. Connecting words: & is used between authors in the reference list and in
parentheses, and is used only in running text.
6. All papers including reference lists are double spaced.
7. You must have a title, not Assignment 1, but what topic you chose for your paper,
such as Clinical Support Systems.
8. Page numbers are required in the upper right corner of every page.
9. Title Page: It must have a Running head: HEALTH LITERACY (written like this) with
the abbreviated title in caps that is flush left margin but NOT in the header. On all
subsequent pages have the shortened title in caps IN the header (upper left margin),
page number (upper right flush also in header).
10. A doi is not a URL. A doi is a combination of letters and mostly numbers identifying
the article. The URL is the web link where you found the article if online source.
When including the doi, it is not capitalized.
11. The ISBN number is not needed in a reference list.
12. Use headings if you are writing a paper more than one page. If you use only one level
of heading in a paper, it is centered on the page and all words are upper and lower
case. All headings are in bold except the References heading.
13. Pay attention to the sections of the Rubric as that is how your work will be
evaluated. See specifically what you have to do to achieve full points in an area and
often it is prudent to use the rubric categories as your headings.
14. Indent all paragraphs.
15. Do not put extra spaces between sections, just double space.
16. Make sure you are using hanging indent for your reference list and not just
indenting using the tab key. To use hanging indent at the start of the reference list,
(or after you have written the first citation without indents) right click your mouse
at the beginning of the line (or highlight the citation, then right click, from the menu
that pops up pick paragraph. In the middle of the window it says Special and usually
none is picked). Use the pull down menu and pick hanging. Then your whole
reference list will have the first line flush left margin and the other lines indented
automatically.
17. Use one inch margins for all papers.
18. In Discussion Postings put a line space between paragraphs as long postings get
very difficult to follow if there are no paragraph breaks. If you cut and pasted from a
word document and that formatting didnt follow into the post just go in manually
and add a space between paragraphs. You can indent paragraphs in Discussion
postings by using the editor so if you do that you dont need to put in the extra
space.

Academic Writing, APA Formatting, Information Literacy, & Other Suggestions for Student Success

Information Literacy
The National Forum on Information Literacy defines information literacy as ...the ability
to know when there is a need for information, to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and
effectively use that information for the issue or problem at hand (2012, para 1).
As you research for assignments you are identifying the need for a specific type of
information and then demonstrating to your instructor how you acquired it. If information
literacy is required for an assignment, you are required to submit a list of at least five
search terms used to identify resources for the assignment from a computerized database
search. It isnt enough to put your search terms into Google and use that information only.
Google Scholar however, is a reputable web based database. Another source of information
can come from the Cochrane Library that can be found through the Chico State Library
page or CINAHL (nursing database).
In addition, a 1-2 paragraph narrative summary of search strategies used is required; such
as how you limited or expanded the search, use of Boolean operators, and search results
from combinations of different search terms or databases. This summary means that you
must have an additional page after the reference list that is about your search strategy to
obtain literature and should be titled Information Literacy. Here is a website (called TIP)
from our library with a tutorial about searching the literature:
http://www.csuchico.edu/lins/tutorials.html . There are two other tutorials on the same
page you might find useful as you learn how to develop a successful search strategy in your
search for information.
Organization
How you organize your paper impacts your grade and the perspective your instructor has
about what you have written. Your grade, therefore, will be affected if the organization of
the paper is poor or if it does not flow smoothly. Be sure to read the rubric for the
assignment before you start writing so that you are clear how these sections will be graded.
Remember all nurses but especially managers must communicate effectively both orally
and in writing. Be sure to use headings and possibly subheadings when you write an
academic paper. It is very difficult to stay organized when writing without headings to
guide the instructor through the paper. It is often useful to use the headings of the rubric so
the instructor is clear that you have addressed every topic that is expected in the
assignment.
Colorado State University has an excellent short tutorial on organizing documents; here is
the website: http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/guide.cfm?guideid=29
Written by:
Jennifer Lillibridge, RN, CNE, PhD
Professor - School of Nursing, CSUC