Researching and Writing Scholarly Journals (APA) - Keiser University
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Graduate Papers Template

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Writing a Literature Review

Consider this advice about a literature review and check your review to ensure it satisfies these requirements. A literature review contains critical evaluations of published material. Your job in your literature review is to organize, integrate, and evaluate previously published material on your topic and discuss the progress that these authors and researchers have made toward clarifying the problem. According to APA, your literature review should (1) define and clarify the problem, (2) summarize previous investigations to inform the reader of the state of research, (3) identify relations, contradictions, gaps, and inconsistencies in the literature, and (4) suggest the next step or steps in solving the problem. Please consult your APA Manual or contact us if you need further assistance.

Avoiding Plagiarism

What is plagiarism? Plagiarism is the use of the words and/or ideas of others without giving credit to the original author. Faculty use programs such as SafeAssign to detect plagiarism. The consequences for plagiarism vary among educational institutions. The procedures and consequences at Keiser are explained in your student handbook.

Plagiarism can be intentional, unintentional, and/or self (see pages 15-16 in the APA Publication Manual, 6th Edition). Do you need a citation if you summarize an author’s words in your own words? Yes. Although the words are yours, the original idea is not. Because the idea belongs to someone else, you must cite the author(s) that the idea is attributable to. Because you did not use the exact words, quotation marks are not needed; however, the author-year format remains the same. A page number is not needed. This is how you cite information that you paraphrase.

Paraphrasing is more than changing a few words. Paraphrasing is the reading of a passage, internalizing the meaning, and rewording the concept in a way that retains the original intent and meaning of the author. When you add a citation for material that you are paraphrasing, the source document must also be listed in your References section.

How can you avoid plagiarism? Here are a few simple tips:
1. Cite in your paper and list sources in your References section.
2. Use an application like SafeAssign to help reduce instances of similar text matches.
3. Place the sentence in question in a search engine such as Google. You will see a list of all the sources that contain the same words. If the sentence appears in a source with the exact same words you entered, then you must cite the source, change the sentence, or decide not to use that sentence in your paper.
4. Proofread to ensure you use punctuation (quotation marks, periods, commas) correctly. For example, if you forget to type one set of quotation marks, then the sentence will show as being plagiarized.
5. Incorporate corrections concerning APA documentation from previous assignments into your future assignments.

Research and Scholarly Writing

As a graduate student, you will be required to read, discuss, and create scholarly writing. No one expects you to begin your graduate studies with these skills. However, the expectation is that throughout your graduate courses, you will gain the skills through practice to help you understand and produce this unique type of writing.

This section focuses on aspects of scholarly writing, including identifying what it is, developing specific writing skills, and understanding why scholarly writing is an important competency for graduate students and professionals. Whether you are a poor writer or a confident writer, you can always learn new tips, techniques, rules, and skills to improve the quality of your writing. If you are willing to put in some hard work, your writing can become something that you are proud of and that clearly demonstrates your scholarship and advanced thinking.

What is Scholarly Writing?
Scholarly writing based on research has specific criteria that differentiate it from other types of writing. Some of these criteria include:

Language. Scholarly writing is usually formal, college-level language, with specialized vocabulary. The tone of the writing is achieved through eliminating such conventions as contractions, casual language, colloquialisms, jargon, over-used words, and the passive voice. Scholarly writing should be concise and precise. Scholarly writing should motivate readers to want to learn more about a topic and to persuade others to adopt a perspective or idea. The language should be precise and free from bias.

Audience. Scholarly writing is aimed at professors, college students, researchers, and others interested in research.

Format. Scholarly writing uses a specific format that includes rules for structuring the information and the use of citations, references, footnotes, and appendices. Generally there are few illustrations but the articles and reports may include tables, charts, and graphs.

Editing. Scholarly writing has been through a peer-review process. That means that professionals and experts in the topic have reviewed the material for accuracy, information, ideas, and relationship to frameworks and theories in a particular field.

Authors. Scholarly writing is written by experts and scholars within an academic field. These scholars can be researchers, professors, and students.

Purpose. Scholarly writing is designed to describe, explain, critique, analyze, synthesize, create, and explore ideas and theories within an academic discipline. Types of scholarly writing include original research, literature reviews, meta-analyses, case studies, reports, essays, critiques, and monographs.

For information on how to improve your own scholarly writing, review Chapter Three in the APA Manual about writing clearly and concisely.

How to Find Scholarly Articles
Unless you have personal subscriptions to professional journals, your search for scholarly articles begins in the university library. The best resource for finding scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles is the EBSCO host databases. Once you select a database related to your particular field of study, you can enter search terms to find articles on specific topics. To ensure you have scholarly articles, make sure you check the scholarly, peer-reviewed box. Check the full-text box if you would like to see the entire article rather than just the abstract.

Do not use Google or any other search engine to find scholarly articles. While there is excellent, research-based information on various websites, especially those sponsored by the government or professional and research organizations, most websites do not have the peer review of experts to qualify the material for scholarly information and writing.

If you need assistance finding specific information related to your assignments and research, please contact librarian Mr. Nicholas Blaga at The Keiser University online library’s address is

Anatomy of a Scholarly Article
All scholarly articles have similar formats and they include these parts:

Title: Article Title and Journal Title
Author(s): Names and affiliations, usually with educational institutions
Abstract: A concise overview of the article
Introduction: A description of the problem or topic of the research highlighting its importance and place in the field
Review of literature: Descriptions, summaries, and evaluations of pertinent literature related to the topic
Methodology: Details about how the study was conducted and could be replicated
Results: A description of the data collected in the study
Discussion: The authors’ analysis of what the results mean and how they can be interpreted
Conclusion/Recommendations: Final summation of the research including recommendations for next steps or application of the research findings
References: Sources cited in the article

Integrating Research into Your Writing
Once you identify suitable articles related to your coursework, the next step is integrating your research results and the scholarly articles you read into your own writing. The best way to accomplish this is to:

1. Read the scholarly material very carefully. Think about what it means and how the information and ideas relate to the topic of your assignment. If you do not understand something, read it again until you have a very clear idea about what the information says and what it means. You cannot skip this step and expect to have good integration of research in your own writing.

2. Take excellent notes or create bibliographic annotations. Include information, statistics, and quotations related to your topic. Differentiate between direct quotations and ideas you have paraphrased in your own words. Include correct citation and reference information in your notes. Even if the words are now yours, ideas from others must be cited.

3. Organize your notes into categories related to your topic.

4. Create an outline of your assignment. Include an introduction, middle section, and conclusion. In the middle section, identify the main topics you will write about under separate headings.

5. Write at least one main idea for each of the sections and headings of your outline.

6. Match your notes and annotations to the sections and headings. Again, include citations for material that is not your original idea or words.

7. Review the writing process before beginning the assignment. As you organize your work, weave into your writing the research and scholarly ideas you have included in your notes and annotations.

8. As you read your written work, notice if the words flow or if the writing is awkward and difficult to understand. Often, if you read your work aloud, your ear will pick up writing errors or confusing wording that your eyes will skip over. Make sure your writing integrates the information and ideas from your reading to support the points you are making in your assignment.

MOST IMPORTANT FORGOTTEN RESOURCE: The scholarly articles you have read for your assignments!

The scholarly papers you read are excellent models for how to integrate research and how to communicate professionally. Note how the authors of these peer-reviewed, scholarly articles integrate ideas from other sources. Review the verbs, nouns, and use of specialized vocabulary in them. Look at these articles as both information resources for your own writing as well as good examples of how you want your writing to look.

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Supplementary Resources for ESL Students

All non-native English speakers should have a learner’s dictionary.  These dictionaries present English word definitions using a very basic vocabulary so that non-native speakers will find it easier to understand the explanation of each word and its appropriate usage.  The following are the most used and respected:

Oxford Learner’s Dictionary of Academic English:

Oxford Learner’s Dictionary:

Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary:

Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary:

The following link to an article about dictionary usage is also very useful.

Article “Top tips every EFL student should know when using an English learner’s dictionary

The following is a very interesting resource available for Apple iPads and iPhones.  It operates like a visual thesaurus.  Like any thesaurus it should be used only with a dictionary to confirm a found word has the correct denotation and connotations:

Wordflex description:

Official site:

The following is a useful resource for ESL help, particularly with grammar:

Dave’s ESL Café:

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