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NUR501 : Theoretical Foundations of Nursing: Theory Paper

Locating Primary Sources

Primary sources are original pieces of writing, or records of historical events. When you search for primary sources for your theory paper, you're looking for works written BY the theorist, and not ABOUT him or her.

Examples of primary sources include:

  • Books and scholarly journal articles written by the theorist;
  • Diaries, journals, speeches, interviews, letters, correspondence;
  • Memoirs and autobiographies.

Is It Scholarly?

A requirement of your paper is that you must use scholarly sources. But how do you know if what you've found is scholarly? Watch this helpful video (courtesy of the Peabody Library at Johns Hopkins University):

Evaluating Web Sites

Websites do not qualify for use in your paper, because they are not considered scholarly. However, if you find a good website on your theory or theorist, it may list references to scholarly sources that you can use.

For example, if you look at this webpage on Transcultural Nursing Theory, you'll notice this reference all the way at the bottom of the page:

Leininger M. Culture care diversity and universality: A theory of nursing. New York: National League for Nursing Press; 1991.

Search for this book, a primary source, in the library catalog, and you'll find the call number and availability of the book (if the library owns a copy).

This is how you can use the Web as a way to find primary and/or scholarly sources.

Click here for a list of suggested websites on nursing theory.

Writing Help

The librarians can help you find information sources for your paper. But what if you need help with actually writing it?

1.  Contact the Writing Center at NDMU:

Dr. William Davis
Gibbons Hall, Room 504
Phone: 410-532-5113

Walk-ins are welcome, but it is always best to call ahead and make sure that a tutor is available.

Appointments are strongly encouraged.

2.  See the APA and Writing Help page to view a tutorial on drafting a paper in APA format.

3.  Consult  the book below for tips and techniques, or ask a librarian for other book recommendations.