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. 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.
- 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.
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.
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)
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.
- Turn your paraphrase into Grammarly and SafeAssign.
- Review your reports.
- 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
By Day 3
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.
American Psychological Association. (2010).
Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
- Chapter 4, “The Mechanics of Style”
- Chapter 6, “Crediting Sources”
- Chapter 7, “Reference Examples”
Walden University requires all students to use the 6th edition of APA formatting. These three chapters present an overview of how to properly use APA formatting and provide numerous examples as a guide.
- Chapter 1, “Writing for the Behavioral and Social Sciences”
- Section 1.10, “Plagiarism and Self-Plagiarism”
- Chapter 3, “Writing Clearly and Concisely”
- Chapter 6, “Crediting Sources” (Quoting and Paraphrasing)
- Section 6.01, “Plagiarism”
- Section 6.02, “Self-Plagiarism”
These sections of the publication manual cover the principles of expository writing, properly crediting sources, and present strategies for avoiding the pitfalls of plagiarism.
Document: APA Basics Checklist: Citations, Reference List, and Style (PDF)
This document provides helpful information and links to APA resources available through the Writing Center.
Document: Citing a Discussion Posting in APA Style (Word document)
The information in this document focuses on how to cite a Discussion posting or response in APA style.
Document: Citing a Laureate Video in APA Style (PDF)
The information in this document focuses on how to cite a course media program in your text as well as create an entry for a reference list in APA style.
Document: Common APA Style and Formatting Challenges (PDF)
Document: Introduction to Scholarly Writing: Plagiarism and Academic Integrity (Word document)
This document supplements the information on plagiarism and academic integrity presented in the related video program.
Purdue University. (2012). The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL): APA style. Retrieved from
The OWL at Purdue is a quick reference guide to properly using APA formatting. This is a valuable and comprehensive resource.
Walden University. (2012d). Walden University: APA style. Retrieved from
Walden University offers a wide range of APA resources from a video tutorial to citation guidelines and includes information on other APA style issues.
Plagiarism, even when unintentional, constitutes academic dishonesty and can jeopardize your professional reputation. Review the information and resources presented by the Walden Writing Center for avoiding plagiarism.
Walden University. (n.d.). Grammerly. Retrieved from
Grammarly is a valuable tool all Walden University are encouraged to use. You will this resource as you prepare for this week’s Discussion.
Please review the Academic Integrity area located on the
Course Information page, particularly the SafeAssign Student Tutorial.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2012a).
Effective online communication: Scholarly writing in online discussion [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 5 minutes.
This media program provides you with valuable tips for writing scholarly Discussion posts in response to instructor-generated questions and in response to your classmates.
Laureate Education (Producer). (2012b). Introduction to scholarly writing: Plagiarism and academic integrity [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 5 minutes.
Scholarly writing requires ethical practice in every phase and form of the process—from the drafting of a course paper to completion of a capstone project. Academic integrity is foundational to all teaching and learning at Walden University. As a Walden student, you are required to follow the guidelines of academic integrity as set forth in the Walden Catalog. This media program will help you to do so.