Scholarly Writing

Parts of All Papers: Introductions, purpose/thesis, and conclusion


Introductions have three jobs:

  • Introduce the focus and purpose of your writing (ie., the main idea and thesis if applicable).
  • Provide a brief overview of what you will discuss.
  • Catch the attention of readers.

A good introduction will achieve all three goals without giving away the entire contents of the paper!

Purpose/thesis statements

There are generally three types of essays in post-secondary:

  • Analytical This type of paper breaks down an issue or idea, examines the components of the issue/idea, and describes the breakdown to the audience. An example may be a scholarly paper describing a nursing theory.
  • Expository This type of paper explains something to the audience. An example of this type of paper would include a reflective paper.
  • Argumentative This type of paper makes a claim and justifies this claim using evidence, with the goal of convincing the audience the argument is true.

The first papers you will write in the BScN program are largely expository in nature. As a result, the type of thesis statement used is different than what may be comfortable in other types of writing. Expository and analytical papers benefit from using a purpose statement, as these are clearer to the audience.

To write a purpose statement, you will need to state your purpose up front. This can be as simple as “The purpose of this paper is to explore hierarchies in nursing.” and you can add more depth and detail about how you will achieve this purpose. It is important to avoid anthropomorphizing a purpose statement, as a paper is an inanimate object.

Wrong: This paper will describe… (anthropomorphized)

Correct: Within this paper, the theory of nursing will be described… (not anthropomorphized).

When making more argumentative papers, a thesis statement is used. A thesis statement identifies the claim you are going to make and justify in the paper. For instance, “In this paper, I argue that implied curriculum in hospital nursing should be made explicit so that nurses can better understand organizational expectations.”


Studies have shown that the human brain is more likely to remember items at the beginning and end of lists, presentations, and other texts. Recollection of the last thing a person reads or hears is called the recency effect– they’re remembering the most recent information they’ve encountered. This is why your conclusion is so important. It’s your final chance to make an impression on your readers.

Conclusions have two jobs:

  • Leave readers with something to think about.
  • Clarify why your topic matters to them and the larger community. Some people refer to a conclusion as the so what? section of a text, because it helps readers understand the significance of your subject

You’re trying to end your piece, so don’t start making new claims or sharing new research. A conclusion should not introduce any new ideas.


Foundations for Success in Nursing: Manual Copyright © 2021 by Sarah Malo and Maggie Convey. All Rights Reserved.

Share This Book