How to Write a Scholarly Paper

woman writing paper in library

By Sharon A. Aronovitch, PhD, RN, CWOCN

Before you begin to write your next scholarly paper, you may want to think about the four different types of writing one can do:

  • Expository (informing the reader about a specific topic)
  • Descriptive (describing a subject or person using sensory details)
  • Persuasive (convincing the reader of your point of view)
  • Narrative (telling a story)

woman writing paper in libraryScholarly writing assignments are usually expository works in which you are sharing information with the reader.

The first step in writing a paper is to read your assignment instructions to determine what you need to accomplish. You should also look at the scoring rubric to learn the expectations you need to meet to receive an exemplary grade. Once you understand the expectations of your writing assignment you will need to research the topic.

A good place to start your research is in the Excelsior College Library. Information available on the library’s “Starting Your Research” page is an invaluable resource that can help keep you on track. You can also make use of Excelsior’s library research guides, because you never know when information from another discipline may support your topic.

It’s acceptable to use search engines, such as Google Scholar, RefSeek, and JURN, when writing a research paper. However, you need to remember that Wikipedia is not considered a scholarly source of information. As you find supporting evidence for your paper, rather than copying research material word for word, you should begin to paraphrase what you have learned.

Writing a scholarly paper is a fairly easy process when you start with an outline for your topic. Remember the rubric for your written assignment? The rubric is actually your outline for the paper. Once you have developed your rubric-based outline, all that’s left for you to do is fill in the required information underneath each heading.

Dr. Kehm’s article Elements of a Well Written Paper points out several important components of a scholarly paper. These include the introduction, thesis, and conclusion. The body of the paper will be based on the outline you developed from either the assignment instructions or the scoring rubric.

Happy writing!