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Undergraduate Nursing Resources


Refining your Topic

Choosing a topic:

1. Choose any topic in the universe  (or as assigned by your professor)

 e.g. Patient Safety

2. Be a little more specific about your topic

e.g. Medication errors

3. Be a lot more specific about your topic,

e.g.  Medication errors and nursing role in preveiontion

4. Repeat these steps a few more times to give yourself a few examples of topics to choose from.

Narrowing your topic:

1. Make one or two words more specific,

e.g. Medication errors  IV drugs dosage errors and bedside nurses role in prevention

2. Turn your topic into a complete sentence that actually makes a statement

e.g. Bedside nurses have a critical role in preventing intravenious drug dosage errors.

3. Make the sentence a precise and arguable as possible

e.g. By following existing care standards and practices in the preparation and diministration of IV medicines,  bedside nurses have a critical role in improving patient safety and preventing medication errors in the pediatric hospital setting. (CINAHL Search)

Adapted from: Choosing and Narrowing a Topic to Write About (for Research Papers)

Some additional ways to broaden or narrow your topic (MIT Libraries: Selecting a Research Topic)

Different options for Fie & de Quevedo Article

Sometimes there is not one clear way to cite a resource.   For example, look at this article that faculty provided to students one year. The version found in PubMed as two challenges:  a) it is an in press (pre-publication version) of the article, and b) it is difficult to be sure what is a surname and what is a middle name for the second author.  You can do some more research, but at a point, you will just have to make a decision and move forward.  Look for clues and use your reasoning skills to determine the best style to use.  For example the Authors Manuscript version of this article available form PubMed.  These options all seem defensible:  

1)You could look up the full version of the published article (we have access) and cite just like any other published journal article.  If you were writing your paper for publication, this is the option you would want to use, i.e. for publication you want to use the official, published, version of the article. 


2)      Treat it like an “in press” article, because the copy the professors gave you was probably the authors pre-publication version, this is example 8 on page 318 of the APA manual (7th edition):


Lobelo, F., & de Quevedo, I. G. (in press). The evidence in support of physicians and health care providers as physical activity role models. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.


3)      Treat it like any other journal article, but omit any information that is missing from the copy they have: 


Lobelo, F., & de Quevedo, I. G. (2014). The evidence in support of physicians and health care providers as physical activity role models. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. 


4)      Treat it like an author manuscript:


Lobelo, F., & Garcia de Quevedo, I. (2016). The evidence in support of physicians and health care providers as physical activity role models. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. Author manuscript.


‚ÄčRegarding the second author's surname, I did a little more research, looking for the authors webpage or Curriculum Vitae to see how they cited their own name.  I also looked in article that cited this author in their references to see what they did.  APA recommends that if you cannot find a definitive answer, go with the option that is more commonly in use.  In this case it could be Garcia de Quevedo or just de Quevedo, in my research it appeared that de Quevedo, I.G. was the correct option.


There are three basic ways to incorporate textual evidence in your paper; these are outlined below.  Additionally, as papers that you write for the Nursing program will be done in American Psychological Association (APA) Style, I have indicated some APA style practices you should be aware of after each term.

Some terms to be aware of:

Paraphrasing - express the meaning of the original source in your own writing using your own words.  A paraphrase may be a slight condensing of a segment of the original source

APA style tip: This is the most common method for incorporating evidence into your papers.  Remember you still need to give credit to the original source when your paraphrase. 

example: You may including page numbers in the citation for a paraphrase, but it is not required (APA, 2009).

Quotation - a passage taken word for word from the original source.

APA style tip: Use quotations sparingly for times when you want to recall another words exactly, or preserve a particularly eloquent turn of phrase. 

example: "If the quotation comprises fewer than 40 words, incorporate it into text and enclose the quotation with double quotation marks" (APA, 2009, p.170).

Summary - express the main points of the original source in your own words.  A summary is usually much briefer than the original.

APA style tip:  Summaries are very helpful when creating an annotated bibliography or capturing several articles for your literature review (the portion of a paper that specifically looks at past research on your topic).

You can see examples of a summary, paraphrase, and quotation on the Purdue Owl Website

Additional Information:

American Psychological Association. (2009). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Washington, DC: Author.

The OWL at Purdue. (2016).  APA style. Retrieved from