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Professional Writing

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Title: Professional Writing


1
Professional Writing
  • Strategies for
  • Nursing Students

Created by Pam Selby, Editor, UF College of
Nursing (Rev. 12/18/08)
2
What is Professional Writing?
  • Memo
  • To Nursing Students
  • From Pam Selby
  • Date August 8, 2008
  • Re What Is A Memo?
  • A memo is a brief document that members within an
    organization use to exchange information. When
    writing a memo, consider the following
  • needs of your colleagues,
  • bullets to summarize main points,
  • order of information/priorities, and
  • clear deadlines/timelines, meeting
  • locations, responses needed, etc.
  • Writing good memos can help you practice
    summarizing and prioritizing information. In a
    situation in which your intended reader may be
    flooded daily with memos, spice it up with color
    or clip art to get the readers attention.

Literature Cited American Psychiatric Association
(2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of
mental disorders (4th ed., text revision).
Washington, DC Author.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 4 LIST OF TABLES. 6
LIST OF FIGURES 7 ABSTRACT 8
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 9 2 MATERIALS
AND METHODS 13 Subjects. 15 Age
Range. 19 Inclusion
Criteria 21 Method used to correlate
age range and inclusion criteria 23 Overview of
the correlation between age range and inclusion
criteria. 24 Overall Methodology.. 25
3
The Writing Process
  • Pre-write Brainstorm, cluster ideas, narrow
    focus, form thesis/explore purpose, target
    audience who will benefit from your information,
    draft outline.
  • Write Rough sections, multiple drafts, (allow
    gel time between drafts).
  • Revise Review with mission of altering and
    improving the entire text, section by section, to
    meet competencies of professional writing (Slide
    26). It helps to have another person read it to
    spot inconsistencies, confusing terminology,
    acronyms not spelled out initially, vague or
    unclear areas.
  • Edit Review for audience/style appropriateness,
    main title, format, headings/subheadings, flow,
    and grammar.
  • Proofread Examine final manuscript to spot
    errors. Use a spellchecker and grammar checker.
    It helps to have another person also proofread
    it!

4
Prewriting Strategy 1 Get Rid of Writers
Block!
  • Start earlier.
  • Use food for brain fuel.
  • Rest.
  • Breathe, stretch, breathe.
  • Make the commitment (QUIET private place you
    habitually
  • use for writing activities and be sure to turn
    off phone)!
  • Use brainstorming and prewriting strategies.
  • Tell a friend your main idea/purpose (in 3 or 4
    sentences.)
  • Start in the middle.
  • Write a rough draft (write fast) of any section
    or paragraph.

See Writers Block at http//owl.english.purdue.e
du/handouts/general/gl_block.html and
http//www.writing-world.com/basics/block2.shtml
5

Prewriting Strategy 2 Choosing and Narrowing A
Focus
  • Pick something you are interested in, not
    something just because there may be lots of
    information on it.
  • Use an inquiry process to narrow your search
  • What's your initial position on the topic?
  • What assumptions do you have about the topic?
  • What aspect of the topic might you be interested
    in discovering?
  • Why is topic relevant/interesting/important to
    nursing?
  • For whom is the topic most important and why?
    (audience)
  • What information will you present that benefits
    your targeted audience?

6
Strategy 3 Using a Focus Wheel to Narrow Topic
1.
4.
2.
3.
7
Examples of Theses or Research Foci
  • Examples of thesis statements
  • "One step nurses can take to close this
    communication gap and assume a leadership
    position in health care is to promote
    English-Spanish bilingualism."
  • Barcelona de Mendoza, V. (2002). A World View at
    Home The Need for Bilingualism in the United
    States Electronic version. Journal of
    Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing, 31,
    129.
  • "The paradigms for the nursing profession are
    receding, shifting and evolving without
    commitment from the nurses who are at the
    bedside."
  • Van Sell, S.L. (2002, April - June). Nursing
    Receding and Evolving Paradigms. ICUs and
    Nursing Web Journal. Retrieved July 26, 2002,
    from http//www.nursing.gr/selleditorial.pdf
  • "If our profession is to survive, we must foster
    the academic life as a viable career option for
    nurses and work to better align the goals of
    expert clinical care with expert teaching and
    knowledge generation."
  • Lowe, N.K. (2002). How shall they learn without a
    teacher Electronic version. Journal of
    Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing, 31,
    391.

8
Strategy 4 Targeting An Audience
  • You will have at least two audiences (or intended
    readers) for a paper
  • the person/group you
  • want to inform/benefit
  • your instructor/reviewer(s).

9
Audience (contd)
Consider the relationship between you, your
research focus, and your audience. Are your
THESIS and PURPOSE in accord with the needs of
your AUDIENCE? Why/how is your paper relevant,
innovative, or important to clinical nursing or
nursing research?
10
Audience (contd)
  • It is every writers job to be
  • clear, consistent, and honest with readers.
  • Clarity define/describe/explain any areas that
    would otherwise be confusing, ambiguous, vague,
    or abrupt.
  • Consistency ensure there are no illogical,
    incoherent, or incompatible elements in your
    proposal.
  • Honesty make it easy for readers to find
    reference information acknowledge possible
    limitations (e.g., small sample size) and present
    detailed plans to overcome limitations should it
    be necessary.

11
Prewriting Strategy 5 The Outline
  • Living Document
  • Reflects and preserves the written evolution of
    your writing process and content.
  • Organizing Tool
  • Cohesivenessshows whether each section
    includes the appropriate information.
  • Guidehelps you stay on track with content by
    exposing gaps or problems with organization,
    development, and flow.

12
Sample Outline Outlines help you stay on track
with content by exposing gaps or problems with
organization, development, and flow.
  • Introduction (no heading, unless instructor
    specifies½-1 page, double-spaced, and Includes
    your thesis statement or research focus/argument)
  • Brief background of problem (stats)
  • Purpose of research (how it will help resolve
    problem or contribute to knowledge base)
  • Significance of research
  • Does it fill a needed gap in knowledge base?
  • Is the research timely or compelling (need it
    NOW)?
  • Is it innovative in some way (new methodology?
    problem rarely studied? Applying old principle to
    new concept or using unique conceptual framework
    as a model through which to view the problem?)

13
Sample Outline (contd)
  • Literature Review (heading Level 1)
  • Brief paragraph introducing sections to come
  • Section 1 (brief history of the problem)
  • Population(s) most affected (WHO)
  • Concentration areas (WHERE)
  • Definitions of special terms/acronyms (WHAT)
  • Section 2 (to date, what has been done about it)
  • Studies devoted to the problem and findings
  • Synthesis of information most relevant to your
    topic

14
Professional Writing Competencies
  • Organization
  • Development
  • Flow

15
Problems with Organization
  • inconsistencies in terminology, facts,
  • chronology, etc.
  • sections or paragraphs with irrelevant, misplaced
    or ambiguous material.
  • no clear relevance of ideas to each other and to
    the papers research focus/thesis and purpose.

16
Problems with Development
  • lack of rationales
  • lack of definitions
  • lack of examples
  • lack of specific details
  • poor integration of purpose/goals throughout
  • lack of variety of rhetorical strategies
  • faulty methodology
  • poor use of professional sources

17
Writing Strategy 6 Specific Detail Exercise
  • Who? Where?
  • What? When?
  • How? Why?

Example 1. Exercise can improve physical
performance. Revision Evidence supports aerobic
and strength-training exercise programs to
improve instrumental activities of daily living
in older adults (Powers, Depp, Longe, 2001
Smythe, 2003 Thompson Burgess, 2006 Williams
et al., 2000).
18
Problems with Flow
  • hard to read
  • lack of adequate transitions between and within
    sections to provide readers with visual cues for
    understanding relationships of ideas to each
    other
  • faulty punctuation
  • abrupt endings
  • wordiness/repetition
  • unclear language

19

Competencies for Professional Writing
Thesis and Purpose  Organization Development Voice
and Readability Mechanics and Grammar Critical
Thinking
20
Thesis and Purpose
  • Thesis or research focus is clearly stated.
  • Purpose is clear.
  • Argument or goals are achieved overall.  

21
Organization
  • Sections are well delineated with descriptive
    headings and subheadings.
  • Paragraphs have topic sentences, and all material
    within is relevant to topic sentence.
  • Transitions are used to move reader along
    logically to the next section or next point.
  • Relationships among ideas are made clear through
    use of adverbial or transitional cues that let
    reader know how ideas are connected.
  • All sections demonstrate relevance to
    thesis/focus.
  • Organization is coherent throughout and look is
    professional.

22
Development
  • Each point of thesis is clearly and adequately
    developed with a variety of rhetorical
    strategies facts, definitions, statistics,
    examples, relevant descriptive details,
    comparison/contrast, classification, analysis,
    analogy, synthesis.
  • There is appropriate use of sources (relevant,
    recent, high quality), and vocabulary, quotes,
    and other supportive material that demonstrates
    evidence of professional writing.

23
Voice and Readability
  • Targeted audience can
  • understand and follow ideas.
  • Writers voice and tone indicate
  • consideration for and
  • appropriate appeal to audience.

24
Mechanics and Grammar
  • Writer uses correct punctuation, usage, and
    grammar.
  • Sophistication is demonstrated by variety in
    sentence structure/length, a marked lack of
    repetition, and titles, headings, and subheadings
    that accurately portray section contents.
  • Exposition is devoid of personal intrusion (e.g.,
    first person I, second person you) and
    maintains professional tone throughout.

25
Critical Thinking
  • Writer demonstrates strong evidence of critical
    analysis, synthesis across multiple sources,
    meaningful reflection, and appropriate ethical
    standards.

26
Criteria for Professional Writing
Thesis/Purpose Thesis or research focus is
clearly stated, purpose is clear or obvious, and
argument or goals are achieved overall.
  Organization Sections are well delineated with
descriptive headings, paragraphs have topic
sentences, and all material within is relevant to
topic sentence transitions are used to move
reader along logically to the next section or
next point relationships among ideas are made
clear through use of adverbial or transitional
cues that let reader know how ideas are
connected all sections demonstrate relevance to
thesis/focus and look is professional.
Development Each point of thesis is clearly and
adequately developed with a variety of rhetorical
strategies facts, definitions, statistics,
examples, relevant descriptive details,
comparison/contrast, classification, analysis,
analogy, synthesis etc. There is appropriate use
of sources (relevant, recent, high quality), and
vocabulary, quotes, and other supportive material
demonstrates evidence of professional writing.
Voice and Readability Targeted audience can
understand and follow ideas, and writers voice
and tone indicate consideration for and
appropriate appeal to the targeted audience.
Mechanics and Grammar Writer uses correct
punctuation, usage, and grammar. Sophistication
is demonstrated by variety in sentence
structure/length, a marked lack of repetition,
and titles, headings, and subheadings that
accurately portray section contents. Unless
requested, exposition is devoid of personal
intrusion (e.g., first person I, second person
you) and maintains professional tone
throughout. Critical Thinking Writer
demonstrates strong evidence of critical
analysis, synthesis across multiple sources,
meaningful reflection, and appropriate ethical
standards.
27
Strategy 7 Avoiding Writing in 2nd and 3rd Person
  • Increasing one's 3rd person workload is taxing
    on both your 2nd person physical and mental
    health. Unless someone 3rd person is in a
    physically-intensive profession, your 2nd
    person body is wasting away while you 2nd
    person are working.
  • Additionally, your 2nd person diet also suffers
    as you 2nd person spend more time at work. No
    longer do you 2nd person have the time to
    prepare healthy meals at home or even worse, we
    3rd person may not have time to eat at all.
  • Excerpt from student paper,
    2007

Revised The combination of sedentary jobs and
increased workloads tax both physical and mental
health among employees. Except for those working
in physically-intensive professions, human bodies
waste away with inactivity. Nutrition also
suffers while more time is spent at work, since
people do not have time to prepare healthy meals
or worse, may not have time to eat at all.
Note This student writer introduced the aspect
of mental health but did not write anything
about it.
28
Strategy 8 Organization Development
Original Literature Review There are only a few
studies that have examined the effects of
exercise in persons with schizophrenia. Most
studies used small sample sizes and lacked
randomization. Only one offered exercise for a
minimum of 16 weeks that is required to show
significant progress in previously sedentary
adults (Smith et al., 2000). A common problem was
difficulty motivating participants to adhere.
Dropout rates were high in four out of the six
studies. All studies examining psychiatric
outcomes found significant reductions in
depression and anxiety. Vreeland, et al. found
statistically significant mean weight loss and
body mass index (BMI) reductions in an exercise
group compared to the control group, but Ball
noted no significant weight or BMI changes
between exercisers and non-exercisers after 10
weeks (Vreeland et al., 2006 Ball et al., 2004).
All but one study found exercise associated
with significant physical or psychological
improvements. Excerpt from
student paper, 2004
Revised Effects of Exercise in Persons with
Schizophrenia A Literature Review (added
title) A scant number of studies have examined
the effects of exercise in persons with
schizophrenia three focusing on psychiatric
outcomes and two on physical (Bell, 2007 Jones
Yi, 1990 Smith et al., 1979 Smith, 2000a
Vreeland, 2006). All studies examining
psychiatric outcomes found significant reductions
in depression and anxiety. Vreeland, et al.
(2006) found statistically significant mean
weight loss and body mass index (BMI) reductions
in an exercise group compared to non-exercising
matched controls. Bell and colleagues (2007),
however, noted no significant weight or BMI
changes between exercisers and non-exercisers
after 10 weeks. Most studies in this modest
body of literature used small sample sizes and
lacked randomization. Only one offered exercise
for the minimum 16 weeks required to demonstrate
significant gains in previously sedentary adults
(Smith, 2000a). Despite this, exercise was
associated with significant increases in physical
or psychological health in all but one study
(Jones Yi, 1990). A common problem was
difficulty motivating participants to adhere.
Dropout rates
29
Strategy 9 Titles and Headings for Unity
  • Using the title as a unifying strategy
  • One trick professional writers use to unify a
    work is extracting a title from an essential
    piece in the papers final summary/conclusion or
    a main section. Look for a phrase in these areas
    that really captures the papers main idea or
    argument (thesis) and turn it into a title.
  • (If submitting a paper for publication, be sure
    to check the journals Author Guidelines in terms
    of title, abstract, and article length.)
  • Using headings to provide visual cues for
    readers
  • Write the content of the section first. Then
    extract the essential argument/message/topic from
    it and use it as a heading.
  • (Remember, drafting is a recursive
    processcrafting your headings like this can help
    you go back and re-do your outline to see how
    well the pieces are coming together.)

30
Strategy 10 Writing an Abstract
  • Components of An Abstract
  • In a paragraph of approximately 100 to 200 words,
    an abstract may convey some or all of the
    following
  • description of a main problem/issue, prevalence,
  • and population(s) most affected (topic).
  • focused statement of authors opinion or aims
  • regarding problem/issue (purpose).
  • description of what has been done to resolve
  • problem/issue and/or what new information was
  • learned (findings).
  • relevance of findings to targeted audience and to
  • nursing research/practice as a whole
    (conclusions).
  • Implications for further research or call for
    action
  • (recommendations).

31
Retrieved (and revised) on December 18, 2008,
from http//owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/65
6/01/
  • An effective abstract
  • uses one or more well-developed paragraphs,
    which are unified,
  • coherent, concise, and able to stand
    alone.
  • uses an introduction-body-conclusion structure
    in which
  • the parts of the report are discussed in
    order purpose, findings,
  • conclusions, recommendations.
  • follows strictly the chronology of the report.
  • provides logical connections between material
    included.
  • adds no new information but simply summarizes
    the
  • report.
  • is intelligible to a wide audience.

32
Theories, Models, and Hypotheses
  • How do you write about theories, models, and
    hypotheses? For some great examples, check out
    the following web sites
  • http//owl.english.purdue.edu/workshops/hypertext/
    reportW/bodytheories.html
  • http//bemyers.ifas.ufl.edu/Courses/AEE5301/Lesson
    20Plan20Library/Heather20Carr/Scientific20Meth
    od20Flowchart.doc
  • For a review of the Scientific Method, see
    http//bemyers.ifas.ufl.edu/Courses/AEE5301/Lesson
    20Plan20Library/Heather20Carr/Scientific20Meth
    od20PP.ppt

33
Strategy 11 Literature Review (as part of a
study or project) Retrieved August 25, 2007,
from http//www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/pdf/10.
1111/j.1466-2435.2004.00231.x See Also Fink, A.
conducting research literature reviews from the
Internet to paper. Access at http//uf.catalog.fc
la.edu/uf.jsp?NttconductingaliteraturereviewI
0N20SDL2T33C7FJR69FH65UXXV8L65SDDXQ3AIGR6V47E
7E9X99AVC2NtkKeywordVDNty1top
  • Are relevant previous studies described?
  • Are references current (or seminal studies
    included)?
  • Is the literature review organized to demonstrate
    the progressive development of ideas through
    previous research?
  • Is a theoretical knowledge base developed for the
    problem and purpose?
  • Does the literature review provide rationale and
    direction for the study?
  • Is a clear, concise summary presented of the
    current empirical knowledge (data produced by
    experiment or observation) in the area of the
    study?
  • Is a clear concise summary presented of the
    current theoretical knowledge in the area of
    study?

34
Literature Review (as a type of paper) Retrieved
(and adapted) August 27, 2007, from
http//www.library.usyd.edu.au/libraries/nursing/l
iterature.html
  • Before you start
  • Have you broken down your research question into
    specific subject keywords?
  • What category are you searching (Nursing gt Public
    Health gt Breastfeeding)?
  • What aspect of the subject do you want to cover
    (Skin-to-skin contact for breastfeeding
    difficulties postbirth)?
  • Searching the sources
  • Have you found and searched the most relevant
    databases? CINAHL?  Evidence-based and Cochrane?
  • Have you looked for books and book chapters about
    your research question? Have you checked Google
    Scholar?
  • Analyzing your results
  • Has your search been wide enough to find all the
    relevant material? Have you limited your search
    to exclude all the irrelevant items? Have you
    identified the key references among the material
    you have found? Have you included articles that
    support your perspective? Have you included
    articles contrary to your perspective? Have you
    worked out the strengths and weaknesses of each
    item in your literature review?

35
Links to Literature Review Information
  • http//education.ufl.edu/Courses/eme5054/Foundatio
    ns/Articles/LitReview.pdf
  • http//www.utoronto.ca/writing/litrev.html
  • http//library.edgewood.edu/help/literature-review
    s.pdf
  • http//www.lynchburg.edu/x3560.xml
  • http//www.flinders.edu.au/SLC/Brochures/lit_revie
    w.pdf (U of Michigan)
  • http//www.departments.dsu.edu/library/litreviews.
    htm
  • http//www.library.usyd.edu.au/libraries/nursing/l
    iterature.html

36
Links to Writing a Case Study (and samples)
  • http//www.va.gov/oaa/teaching_tools/aca/Case_Facu
    lty_Guide2.doc
  • http//www.nursingsociety.org/education/online_how
    to.pdf
  • http//her.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/16/
    2/227
  • http//medicus.marshall.edu/mainmenu.htm
  • http//www.reproline.jhu.edu/english/5tools/5case/
    cocs.htm
  • http//www.springerlink.com/content/dn0yqmgx6q9fap
    vg/fulltext.pdf
  • Case Studies In Nursing Ethics By Sara T. Fry,
    Robert M. Veatch http//books.google.com/books?hl
    enlridBotJKlc24MkCoifndpgPR9dq22Fry22
    22CaseStudiesinNursingEthics22otslxn6_Ab
    VTYsigGIKE9lU5h5CZ7AEPiZsoz-b1k5wPPA7,M1
  • For a free subscription to our publication
    Nursing Healthcare Directories on The Nurse
    Friendly Clinical Nursing Case Studies, please
    send a blank e-mail to clinicalnursingcases-subsc
    ribe_at_topica.com

37
Links to Writing a Logical Argument
  • The following sites provide everything from info
    on writing experimental reports, lit reviews and
    APA style to detailed instructions about how to
    write an argument and support your proofs or
    hypotheses logically
  • http//owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/13
    /
  • http//hedc.otago.ac.nz/hedc/sld/Study-Guides-and-
    Resources/Essay-Writing.html
  • http//hedc.otago.ac.nz/hedc/sld/Study-Guides-and-
    Resources/Essay-Writing/rightParagraphs/00/documen
    t/Essay20Writing.doc
  • http//www.smccd.net/accounts/skytlc/wrl/wradnurs
    e.htm
  • http//www.nursing.unimelb.edu.au/current_students
    /notices/00writing_for_publication.pdf
  • http//chhs.gmu.edu/writing/expos.html
  • http//umanitoba.ca/faculties/nursing/media/Why-do
    -I-need-a-second-third-etc-draft.pdf (includes
    logical fallacies)
  • http//ppn.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/1/3/17
    2 (sample of published logical argument)
  • http//www-distance.syr.edu/apa5th.html

38
  • Please contact me
  • with any
  • questions or concerns
  • at
  • pcselby_at_ufl.edu
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