Discussion: Scholarly Writing and Plagiarism

Discussion: Scholarly Writing and Plagiarism

As a nurse embarking on an advanced degree, you are developing the characteristics of a scholar-practitioner, which includes strong communication skills. Writing in a scholarly manner involves supporting your thoughts with evidence from the literature and appropriately using APA formatting.

One of the challenges of scholarly writing is paraphrasing the thoughts of others in your work. Paraphrasing, and correctly citing the original author for his or her ideas, allows you to take the ideas of others, summarize them, and incorporate them into your own writing. Discussion: Scholarly Writing and Plagiarism


When summarizing the ideas of others, it is important to avoid plagiarizing (copying the words and ideas of others as though they were your own). In addition to expanding your knowledge of APA, this week’s Learning Resources help you to distinguish between paraphrasing and plagiarizing.

To prepare:

Think about the sometimes subtle difference between plagiarizing and paraphrasing.

Read the following paragraphs, which were written by Patricia O’Conner:

A good writer is one you can read without breaking a sweat. If you want a workout, you don’t lift a book—you lift weights. Yet we’re brainwashed to believe that the more brilliant the writer, the tougher the going. Discussion: Scholarly Writing and Plagiarism

The truth is that the reader is always right. Chances are, if something you’re reading doesn’t make sense, it’s not your fault—it’s the writer’s. And if something you write doesn’t get your point across, it’s probably not the reader’s fault—it’s yours. Too many readers are intimidated and humbled by what they can’t understand, and in some cases that’s precisely the effect the writer is after. But confusion is not complexity; it’s just confusion. A venerable tradition, dating back to the ancient Greek orators, teaches that if you don’t know what you’re talking about, just ratchet up the level of difficulty and no one will ever know. Discussion: Scholarly Writing and Plagiarism

Don’t confuse simplicity, though, with simplemindedness. A good writer can express an extremely complicated idea clearly and make the job look effortless. But such simplicity is a difficult thing to achieve because to be clear in your writing you have to be clear in your thinking. This is why the simplest and clearest writing has the greatest power to delight, surprise, inform, and move the reader. You can’t have this kind of shared understanding if writer and reader are in an adversary relationship. (pp. 195–196) Discussion: Scholarly Writing and Plagiarism

Source: O’Conner, P. (2003). Woe is I: The grammarphobe’s guide to better English in plain English. New York: Riverhead Books.

Paraphrase this passage from O’Conner using no more than 75–100 words. Remember that paraphrasing means summarizing the essence of the original text. It does not mean creating a thesaurus-based revision of the author’s original words or copying the piece, or any part of it, word for word. For this activity, do not use any direct quotes. Discussion: Scholarly Writing and Plagiarism

Review the other tools, resources, and services available to you through the Walden Writing Center that support your growth as a scholarly writer.

Consider which of these resources you find to be most useful.

Review learning resources on APA formatting rules and information within the Walden Writing Center on APA

Post a description of your experience of using Grammarly and SafeAssign and share at least one insight you gained about paraphrasing and avoiding plagiarism as a matter of academic integrity.  

Recommend at least one other online resource that supports scholarly writing, and explain your rationale. Lastly, share two APA formatting rules with the class and a specific page number in the APA manual where this rule can be located

Support your Discussion assignment with specific resources used in its preparation using APA formatting. You are asked to provide a reference for all resources, including those in the Learning Resources for this course. Discussion: Scholarly Writing and Plagiarism


APA Basics Checklist: Citations, Reference List, and Style

By the Walden University Writing Center

Writing Center staff created this APA checklist to help students remember the basics of APA citations,

reference lists, and style. It is not meant to be comprehensive, but students should use it as a reminder

of the various APA rules that academic papers follow. If students are not sure what a particular item in

the checklist refers to or entails, they should follow the link for more information. Additionally, the

Writing Center can always help with APA questions at writingsupport@waldenu.edu. Discussion: Scholarly Writing and Plagiarism


Citations are included in each sentence a source is used

Sources used and cited in the paper are included in the reference list

The abbreviation “et al.” is punctuated appropriately

Parenthetical citations:

Author(s) and publication year are always included

Page or paragraph number is included for all quoted material, using the appropriate

abbreviation: (p. xx) or (para. xx)

Citation is included within the ending punctuation for the sentence

In-text citations

Author(s) is included within the sentence

Publication year is included in parentheses immediately after the author(s)’ name

Publication rule is followed: publication years are included the first time a source is used

in a paragraph; all subsequent uses of that same source does not include the publication

year (Note: Rule starts over with a new paragraph) Discussion: Scholarly Writing and Plagiarism

Reference List

Title of the list is centered but not bolded

Sources listed in the reference list are used at least once in the paper

Reference entries:

Each entry has an automatically formatted hanging indent

Each entry has the basic information (as available): author(s), publication year,

title, and retrieval information

Each entry has been compared against the common reference entries and

reference entries FAQs on the Writing Center website, checking for: Discussion: Scholarly Writing and Plagiarism

Punctuation: periods and commas

Formatting: italics is used only when needed

Parentheses and brackets: used only when needed

Appropriate electronic information is included

APA Style

Past tense is used whenever literature or sources are talked about (i.e., Smith discussed)

Serial commas are used for all lists of three or more items (i.e., lions, tigers, and bears)

Hyphens are: Discussion: Scholarly Writing and Plagiarism

Used to join words that work together to modify another word (i.e., evidenced-based practice)

Used to join “self” compounds (i.e., self-esteem)

Not used with prefixes such as non, semi, pre, post, anti, multi, and inter

Block quotes (of 40 or more words) are formatted as such

Headings follow proper APA style (i.e., level 1 headings are centered and bolded)


10 and above are expressed using numerals

Nine and below are expressed using words

Expressing specific numbers and time use numerals

Expressing approximate time use words

Complex lists of items follow seriation rules (using letters within the list)

Bulleted and numbered lists are used for specific reasons

The third person editorial we is avoided (including us, our, and you)

Capitalization rules are followed (i.e., names of models and theories are not capitalized)

Formatting: Discussion: Scholarly Writing and Plagiarism

Template is used

Running head is inserted properly

Title page follows the template

Double spacing is used throughout the paper (including the reference list)

Two spaces (and consistently only two spaces) is used between sentences

Discussion: Scholarly Writing and Plagiarism