How Do You Start a Nursing Research Paper?

A 11-Step-by-Step Guide on How to Start a Nursing Research Paper

Starting a nursing research paper is a daunting task. However, you can create a strong foundation for your academic work with the correct approach. If you wonder how to start a nursing research paper, here are 11 tips to discover in your writing. This guide breaks down the process into easy-to-follow steps to help you navigate the numerous phases of writing a nursing research paper.

How Do You Start Your Nursing Research Paper?

Starting your nursing research paper requires careful planning and a well-structured approach. A nursing research paper is a document you write to present the findings of a research study you have conducted as a nurse. Its purpose is to contribute new knowledge to the nursing field and enhance nursing practice.

Below are eleven steps to guide you when starting a nursing research paper.

  • Choose a relevant topic
  • Conduct a literature review
  • Define your research question or hypothesis
  • Craft an engaging introduction
  • Provide a rationale
  • Outline the research methodology
  • State your thesis statement
  • Organize the paper
  • Include background information
  • Cite sources properly
  • Edit and revise

So lets us dive into the above-listed steps to guide you on how to start a nursing research paper.

11 Must-Know Steps on How to Begin a Nursing Research Paper

Beginning a nursing research paper entails numerous critical steps to set the foundation for a successful and well-organized paper. Below is an 11-step guide on how to start a nursing research paper.

Step 1: Select a Relevant Topic

Selecting a topic is a critical step, as it determines the direction of your nursing research paper. Choose a nursing topic of interest to you and relevant to your field of study. Ensure the topic contains enough available literature and research to support your nursing research paper.

While selecting a relevant topic for your research, there are several factors you need to consider.

Select a Topic that Interests You

Firstly, select a topic that interests you, as it makes the research process more relevant when you care about your topic. Consider what topics you study passionately throughout your studies to know what interests you. Think of the most exciting topics in your course that you will explore.

Besides your interest, it is also a good idea to think that the topic you have chosen interests students in your class. Having an interest in the topic you are studying is essential, but ensure the topic is objective, directional, and searchable.

Narrow Down Your Topic

After being comfortable with a topic and feeling that you want to develop your research paper, you need to understand how to narrow down your research topic and make it workable. Formulate a focused, directional, clear, and specific in-nature research problem. This requires much brainstorming and looking at the research topic from all prospects.

The best way to narrow down a research paper topic is to think about the limitations of your research project and decide how you can narrow down your topic. These limitations bound you to work organized and keep you on track during each step of the research paper writing.

Avoid Over-Exhausted Topics

Avoid getting compelled by popular topics that have been over-exhausted. Popular topics contain much information you can quote in your research paper. In addition, popular topics do not captivate the attention of the readers. Selecting popular topics, you write duplicate content even if you did not intend to.

A Topic that is Challenging

Most people enjoy writing on challenging topics, which are also demanding. Selecting a challenging topic can be daunting because it requires more of your resources. Choose a topic that presents a good challenge and weigh available literature on the topic so that you do not face problems later. Select a challenging topic if appropriate, as time requirements bind you.

Step 2: Conduct a Literature Review

A literature review cites and explains nursing and medical works linked to your topic. It also serves as a channel for new concepts and ideas in your research paper. It indicates that you are well versed in other literary connected to your topic.

A literature review collects evidence on a given topic and gives context to your research project. A good literature review helps you better understand your chosen research topic and develop your unique perspective on an issue.

A literature review consists of the following components:

  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Body
  • Discussion and conclusion
  • Reference list


All literature reviews entail an introduction, setting some context by providing information about the field of study. It also provides the relevance of the chosen topic within the field and the focus of the literature review.


Most literature reviews have a section describing the criteria used to select the sources or how the information has been presented. It makes it easier for the reader to comprehend your approach.


The structure of your body paragraphs depends on the organizational model you chose to follow in your literature review. A chronological model has different paragraphs for different periods, while a thematic model entails subtopics based on different themes.

Discussion and Conclusion

A literature review contains a discussion and conclusion part. This part summarizes the main contributions of significant studies and discusses the questions the review has raised about the topic and field. In this section, you mention the gaps in research that the review has sparked and the possible suggestions for future research.

Reference List

This list is essential for a literature review as your article is based entirely on primary sources. The reference list should be detailed, and page numbers and section details should be provided wherever necessary.

Step 3: Define Your Research Question or Hypothesis

Clearly state the research question or hypothesis to be addressed by your research paper.  The statement is concise and focused, guiding the rest of your research.

Defining your research question or hypothesis is the foundation of your research. It helps you to focus your research, gather relevant data, and interpret your findings.

Step 4: Craft an Engaging Introduction

Start your nursing research paper with a captivating introduction paragraph. The introduction paragraph introduces the topic, provides background information, and showcases the importance of your research.

Clearly state your research question and the purpose of the study in the introduction part. The introduction of a research paper is essential it encourages the reader to continue to the main parts of the research paper.

A well-written introduction gives you the chance to make an excellent first impression. The reader will feel disoriented and confused when the introduction is disorganized and filled with errors.

The introduction paragraph of your nursing research paper entails the following responsibilities.

  • Grab the attention of your reader
  • Introduce the topic
  • State the theses
  • Explain the relevance of the study
  • Outline the main points of the research

Step 5: Provide a Rationale

A rationale briefly explains why you are conducting your research study. A rationale is written in a clear, concise, and persuasive manner. It answers the following questions:

  • What is the research question or hypothesis?
  • Why is the research question essential?
  • What is the current state of knowledge on the topic?
  • What gaps in the literature exist?
  • How will your research study fill these gaps?
  • What are the potential benefits of your research study?

It is written in the introduction section of your research paper, well-organized, and easy to follow. A rationale is a persuasive statement convincing readers that your research study is worthwhile.

Explain why your research is essential and how it contributes to nursing. In addition, discuss the potential implications and applications of your findings.

Step 6: Outline the Research Methodology

Demarcating your research methodology describes the research methodology you will use. The research methodology can be a quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-methods approach.

You use a quantitative approach when following the specific paradigm. It seeks to quantify data and generalize results from a sample of a target population. The quantitative approach follows structured data collection methods and processes with data output as numbers. Quantitative research also observes objective analysis using statistical means.

The qualitative research framework is geared toward creating a complete and detailed description of your observation as a researcher. It offers contextualization and interpretation of the data gathered.

In addition, explain how you will gather and analyze data to answer your research question.

Step 7: State Your Thesis Statement

Ensure your thesis statement clearly and concisely summarizes your research’s main argument or findings. The thesis statement typically appears at the end of the introduction paragraph. There are several forms that a thesis statement can take, depending on the author’s objectives. The most common types of thesis statements include:

  • Expository thesis statement
  • Analytical thesis statement
  • Argumentative thesis statement

An expository thesis statement explains an issue or a topic to the reader. Moreover, this form of thesis statement lists critical aspects of the topic to be discussed in the essay or research paper.

An analytical thesis statement is used for essays, research papers, and other pieces of writing that seek to analyze, interpret, and assess a topic’s various aspects. It maps out critical points of the analysis and includes the resulting conclusions.

Argumentative thesis statements indicate a topic and the author’s position. In addition, they indicate why the author has chosen to take the said stand. You use an argumentative thesis statement to persuade readers.

Step 8: Organize the Paper

Organizing your nursing research paper is vital for writing a clear, concise, and persuasive paper. Below are tips on how to organize your nursing research paper:

To organize your paper, start by Creating an Outline. Develop a detailed outline outlining your research paper’s main sections and subheadings. This helps you maintain a logical flow, ensuring your research paper is well-structured.

In addition, use clear and concise language. Write a research paper that is easy to comprehend and follow. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that are not understandable by your audience.  Use headings and subheadings to break your paper. This makes your paper easier to read and comprehend.

Furthermore, use visuals to illustrate your points. These include graphs, charts, tables, or images. Visuals make your paper more captivating and easier to understand.

Step 9: Include Background Information

Hanging on your topic, there may be a need to include relevant background information. This information includes the historical context, policy implications, or theoretical framework.

Including background information in your nursing research paper depends on the chosen topic, so it is irrelevant to all topics.

Step 10: Cite Sources Properly

As you begin writing your nursing research paper, ensure you cite all the sources you reference in your paper accurately. Additionally, follow the citation style required by your professor, institution, or journal you are submitting to.

Some of the common citation styles include A.P.A, M.L.A, and Chicago.

Step 11: Edit and Revise

After you finish the first draft of your research paper, edit and revise it. This is done to ensure clarity and coherence and check grammar errors.

Adhering to the above-discussed twelve steps, you lay a strong foundation for your nursing research paper. Furthermore, you will ensure it effectively addresses your research question or hypothesis.

What Are the 5 Phases of Nursing Research?

When conducting nursing research, you systematically investigate and improve your healthcare practices, patient outcomes, and nursing interventions. However, do you understand the five phases of nursing research? If not, do not worry. I got you. Below is a list of the five phases of nursing research.

  • Conceptualization
  • Design and Planning
  • Data Collection
  • Data Analysis
  • Dissemination

The 5 Phases of Nursing Research

Conceptual Phase

In the conceptual phase, you must first formulate and delaminate the problem. You identify a problem that you require to investigate. However, define and delimit the problem clearly so that the researcher can focus on a specific area of inquiry.

In addition, you review the literature to see what has already been studied on the issue. This helps you ensure you do not duplicate previous research and identify gaps in the knowledge base.

After you review the literature, you identify a theoretical framework to guide the research. It provides a conceptual map for comprehending the problem and generating hypotheses.

Designing and Planning Phase

In the designing and planning phase, you select the research design suitable for the investigated problem. There are many different research designs available. These designs include experimental, quasi-experimental, and descriptive designs.

If you involve data collection, you must develop instruments to collect data. This instrument includes questionnaires, surveys, interviews, and observation tools.

In addition, after developing instruments, you will pilot-test them to ensure they are reliable and valid. Finally, you will establish ethical guidelines for the research. It includes ensuring that you protect the rights of the participants.

Empirical Phase

The empirical phase involves the collection of data. You collect the data using the instrument you developed in the designing and planning phase. Furthermore, you will manage the data, which involves entering the data into a computer database.

A data collection plan needs to be developed specifying the following:

  • What data will be collected;
  • How the data will be collected is either in person or over the phone;
  • Who will collect the data?
  • How data collectors will be trained; and
  • The data collection procedure (what order forms are filled out and the interview questions).

Analytical Phase

The analytical stage involves analyzing the collected data. You analyze the data using statistical techniques. The analysis helps you to answer the research question and test the hypotheses.

For quantitative analysis, you assess instruments for reliability and validity. Also, evaluate assumptions of statistical tests before completing inferential statistics. Researchers seek statistical consultation with experts to facilitate data analysis procedures.

Dissemination Phase

The dissemination phase involves communicating the findings. You communicate the findings of the research to the broader community. It involves publishing the findings in a journal. In addition, it can involve presenting the findings at a conference.

The five phases of nursing research are not always linear. You can move back and forth between phases as required. Furthermore, the five phases provide a general framework for conducting nursing research.


Starting a nursing research paper is daunting, but with the right approach, it is manageable. A well-structured and captivating introduction is critical to hook readers and generate interest.

The above-discussed 12-step guide provides a clear path to sail the complexities of writing a nursing research paper. This is from selecting a relevant topic to editing and revising the final draft. By following these steps, you will no longer struggle with how to start a nursing research paper.

In addition, comprehending the five phases of nursing research ensures a systematic and rigorous approach to investigating and improving healthcare practices and outcomes. Embracing these guidelines empowers you to excel and contribute meaningfully to nursing.

Are you wondering how to start your nursing research paper? Don’t worry anymore. You can place your order here to help you go through it.

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