Writing-up and writing-as: rediscovering nursing scholarship

Nurse Educ Today. 2009 Nov;29(8):816-20. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2009.05.015. Epub 2009 Jun 21.


Nursing is a relatively young academic discipline which only moved en masse into the higher education sector in many countries during the 1990s. Perhaps in a bid to enhance and accelerate its credibility, the nursing academy has embraced the values and practices of evidence-based medicine and the associated 'gold-standard' experimental research paradigm as its dominant discourse. Empirical scientific research has become the most valued and highly rewarded activity for nurse academics to pursue, and the tenets and standards of research have come to define the entire academic project of nursing. As a result, there has been a gradual shift from nursing as an academic discipline founded on scholarship to one based on research. Research is no longer seen as merely one aspect of the scholarly work expected of an academic, and is now often regarded as the main (and sometimes the only) activity necessary to gain promotion. I argue in this paper for a more positive view of scholarship; indeed, that scholarly activity is both the foundation and the creative driver of the academy. I suggest that the 'gold-standard' academic output of the research report is restricted in the contribution it is able to make to the development of the discipline of nursing, and that a far broader and more critical academic base is required. Whilst empirical research supplies the basic building blocks of the discipline, it is critical and creative scholarship that provides the plans and designs that turn these piles of bricks into useful structures.

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Nursing*
  • Faculty, Nursing
  • Humans
  • Nursing Research*
  • Peer Review
  • Periodicals as Topic / trends*
  • Writing / standards*