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Nursing - Using Library Resources for Information and Research: Scholarly Publishing & Articles

Online guide to research for FAU College of Nursing Students

Scholarly Publishing & Articles

QuillScholarly publishing involves the creation and distribution of information and other resources that focus on research and academic endeavors.  Types of resources may include books created by a scholarly press, dissertations, and journals with a focus on a particular subject area. 

Why is scholarly information important?  Scholarly publishing allows new findings and knowledge to be communicated to academic communities and also the public.

What is different about scholarly publishing from newspapers and other types of mainstream publishing?  One of the main differences is that scholarly sources show how they created their knowledge and cite where they found supporting documents.  Books and magazines created for the general public usually do not do this. 

A second difference is that scholarly sources are created for academic or research-oriented audiences.  They may have limited appeal to the general public, and are often written with language that uses professional healthcare jargon than what is used in newspapers and magazines.  

The third difference is that scholarly publishing often incorporates the peer review process, or when a work is scrutinized by a panel of experts within a field before it is published.  This assures that anything published had gone through a process involving review and a checks and balances to be sure its information is accurate and valid.  Peer review is considered the gold standard in scholarly publishing.

A scholarly article, also known as an original article, is one of the main ways new knowledge and discoveries are communicated within an academic discipline.  It is a full-length document on original research.  A scholarly article generally consists of the background of a research topic, its study design and methodology, the results of the study, and then its conclusion.  The scholarly articles or publications used to inform the research are listed at the end of the article as its references or works cited.

Another main objective of a scholarly article is to give readers enough information about a study to reproduce it. Repeating a study may confirm its initial findings or reveal its possible shortcomings.  When a study is repeated with consistent results, it possesses validity or is highly likely to have a truthful result.  The new findings through research then can be added to its discipline's body of knowledge.  When a repeated study has different results than its initial study, it may signify that a gap still remains in that area of knowledge or that subsequent studies may be needed.

Information communicated through scholarly publications can inform patient care and other aspects of nursing practice.   Rapid and profuse changes in healthcare constantly challenge standards of care and what is currently known in nursing.  Since knowledge in the health sciences is always changing, nurses should keep informed by reading journal articles and other types of scholarly publications.  Studies have shown, however, that nurses often do not apply research findings to what they do, which means that outdated practices may be continue being used. Nurses need to apply the findings from quality research to support beneficial and appropriate interventions.  Staying abreast of the nursing body of knowledge is an expected role for nurses, especially if they pursue graduate studies or higher roles within their organizations.     

In addition, scholarly publications help the nursing body of knowledge emerge and grow.  Nursing research is an accepted means of progressing knowledge in nursing, while nursing publications disseminate research findings.   In essence, reading scholarly nursing publications help nurses participate in its ongoing professional dialogue.  It also encourages inquiry and additional research that contributes to the nursing body of knowledge and in turn, impacts patient care.

The Peer Review Process

State University Libraries Information Literacy Subcommittee (2010). The peer review process [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/embed//qSi89SY5xtQ

General Structure of Scholarly Articles

For the convenience of readers, scholarly articles written within many fields have evolved to follow an IMRaD format (or something close to it).

Publications that are used to inform the study are provided in the references or works cited at the end of the article.

I

Introduction

Background, rationale, and purpose of article.

M

Methods

Study design, measurement instruments, and rationale of their use.

R

Results

Describes the outcomes of the study without repeating the methodology.

a

Analysis

Some publications analyze the results of a method used.

D

Discussion

Presents the principles, relationships, and generalizations shown by the study;
Explains how results support (or refute) previous research;
Considers theoretical implications of the results;
Provides conclusions of the study.

Example of a Scholarly Article (Nursing)

The following article by Horibe, et. al (2018) is an example of a nursing research article that follows an IMRaD format.

Notice the article's headings and the references cited at the end of the article.

Research Article with IMRAD Structure

Horibe, M., Hane, Y., Abe, A., Matsui, T., Kato, Y., Ueda, N., Sasaoka, S., Motooka, Y., Hatahira, H., Hasegawa, S., Kinosada, Y., Hara, H., & Nakamura, M. (2018).  Contraceptives as possible risk factors for postpartum depression: A retrospective study of the Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System, 2004-2015.  Nursing Open, 5(2): 131-138.  DOI: 10.1002/nop2.121

Image permission:  CC BY 4.0