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NRS 302 - Nursing Research

Library instruction for Spring B 2022.

About APA Style

APA Style encompasses more than just citations. It should act as a guide for your writing, as well. Writing research proposals (especially posters) requires you to choose your words carefully (as you only have so much space on a poster), and to convey your ideas as clearly as possible. In this guide we will review the basics of writing style, avoiding biased language, and citing references. Visit the links below for more in-depth guides:

Language & Writing Style


  • Use active voice over passive voice.
  • For more information, see Purdue OWL's guide (link below).


  • Convey your ideas and findings directly, but also incorporate a compelling tone that reflects the your involvement in the topic.
  • Envisioning your audience can help. Who is being written for? What will they find interesting or persuasive?
  • Tone can be personal to the individual author. The more you write, the better you will be able to cultivate your tone, and adjust it for different audiences.


  • Wordiness and complex sentences can confuse readers.
  • Be specific with descriptions and explanations. Choose words with intention.
  • Avoid colloquial expressions and unfamiliar jargon.
  • Active voice will also make sentence structure clear and concise.


  • The primary rule of conciseness to to only say what needs to be said. Condense information when possible.
  • Pare out unnecessary or redundant words (e.g. say "unanimous" instead of "completely unanimous," or "20 participants" instead of "a total of 20 participants."

The Challenge

  • Making information clear and making information concise is a balancing act.
  • Don't sacrifice important information for concise sentence structure.
  • Don't sacrifice conciseness for every piece of information you've gathered.
  • Review published articles and reports to get an idea of how other authors have achieved this balance.

More Information

  • Chapter 4 (pp. 111-127) - Publication Manual of the APA (7th ed.)

Avoiding Bias

What is Bias?

  • Bias is conscious or unconscious prejudice.
  • One can be biased for or against something.
  • Biased language can be used unintentionally.
  • It is necessary to be conscious of language used in regards to different populations of people as an academic writer.


  • Avoid labeling people and use their preferred identifiers when possible.
  • Common language conventions may contain inherent bias (i.e. when a particular group is implied to be the standard or norm).
  • Broadly categorizing groups conveys bias. For example, instead of referring to a group of homosexual men as "gays," use the adjectival form (gay men).
  • Another method is to "put the person first." This is the preferred method for describing people with disabilities. For example, instead of referring to someone as "a schizophrenic" or a "schizophrenic person," refer to them as "a person with schizophrenia."

Descriptors that Reflect Participation

  • To avoid unintentional bias, describe the people in the study in the terms of their participation. "Participant" or "subject" are common terms.

More Information

  • Chapter 5 (pp. 131-149) - Publication Manual of the APA (7th ed.)

References & Citations

Review the resources below for instructions on citing sources in APA 7, both in-text and in the reference list. Refer to the APA Publication Manual (7th ed.) for complete information.

In-Text Citations

Reference Lists


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