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NURS 5990/6990/7990 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

NURS 5990/6990/7990 - Scholarly Synthesis

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

As a culminating experience, this course provides the student with the opportunity to synthesize current knowledge in the major or concentration area of study.

Course Outcomes:

At the conclusion of this course the student will be able to:

  • Complete a scholarly state of the science paper by synthesizing current knowledge, research, and evidence.
  • Produce useful conclusions and recommendations as a result of exploring the state of the science related to the chosen topic.
  • Demonstrate scholarly skills in written communication.
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

Admission to the TNeCampus MSN program. To be taken last semester of study or permission from the department.

Course Topics:
  • Topic Development
  • PICO Question and Proposal
  • Outline Development
  • Components of an Integrative Review
Specific Course Requirements:

What is a state-of-the-science paper?

A state of the science paper is an account of what has been published on a topic by accredited scholars and researchers. A state of the science paper must do these things:

  • Be organized around and related directly to a question or an issue
  • Synthesize results into a summary of what is and is not known
  • Identify areas of controversy in the literature, and
  • Formulate questions that need further study

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition (cost of book approximately $28.00)

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

No examinations are administered in this course.

Assessment and grading will be done throughout the course as assignments are submitted. Mentoring by the assigned faculty will continue throughout the semester.

Assignment Submission Procedures:

All course requirements are submitted online through the course dropbox.  Assignments submitted through email will not receive course credit. 

Grading Procedures:

All scholarly synthesis papers will be guided by a graduate faculty member (the course instructor).

The paper topic must be approved by the course faculty member before proceeding with the paper.

There are templates provided for the following modules:

Module 2: PICO Question and Proposal

Module 3: Topical Outline Development

Module 4: Components of an Integrative Review

These are the templates that must be used for assignment submission.  

Grading Scale:
Point RangeAssigned Grade
93-100 PointsA
85-92 PointsB
77-84 PointsC
70-76 PointsD
under 70 PointsF

ETSU does not recognize a grade of “D”.    All “D” Grades will automatically be converted to an “F” once received at ETSU.  

Assignments and Projects:
ProposalThe student will write a one page paper describing the proposed topic and why the topic is significant. The paper should clearly demonstrate that the student has begun a preliminary literature search and has sufficiently narrowed the topic. This one page paper must be approved by the course instructor before proceeding with the paper.
Topical OutlineThe student will submit a topical outline that clearly addresses the areas that are anticipated in the project. The student will also identify databases to be used as well as specify the time frame (years) that will be used to limit the literature search
Introduction and MethodsThe "introduction" should include the background of your proposed topic or issue as well as a CLEAR purpose statement for your State of the Science Paper. The "methods" section will explain the databases used to retrieve your literature as well as the key words used in that process. If you had to revise your search in any way, that should also be explained. Inclusion/exclusion criteria for the articles chosen will be in this section, as well as the time frame for the publications used
Results*The "results" section will include the findings from your literature review. Subheadings should be used to clearly identify various aspects of your topic/issue. This is the body of your paper and should be substantive. It should conclude with an in depth analysis of your findings.
DiscussionThe "discussion" section should contain your synthesis of the state-of-the-science related to your topic/issue. Gaps in knowledge should be identified. Implications for nursing practice, education, administration, and research should be thoroughly explored. You should be able to make some recommendations based upon the findings in your paper.
Final Paper
  • The abstract provides a summary of the state of the science paper and acts as point-of-entry for the scientific paper and includes the following parts:
    • A brief review of the literature
    • The motivation for the paper (what is missing or unknown)
    • An overview of the scientific theory or conceptual models on which the research was based
    • The purpose of the paper
  • The introduction demonstrates the purpose of the paper
  • The student establishes parameters to limit the literature search
  • Headings are logical and clearly delineate subtopics
  • The writing clearly demonstrates synthesis and integration of ideas
  • The discussion section summarizes relevant literature
  • The student identifies areas that need further development
  • The conclusion is relevant and summarizes the State-of-the-Science
  • The completion of a Literature Review Matrix
  • Free of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and APA errors

Articles used for assignments should ideally be no more than 5 years old and definitely not more than 10 years for utilization of the most current evidence based research. Not adhering to these criteria may result in grade reduction for assignments.

DescriptionPercentage (%) of Grade
Proposal Development @10%10%
Topical Outline @10%10%
Introduction and Methods Draft @10%10%
Results Draft @10%10%
Discussion Draft @10%10%
Final Paper @50%50%
Total Percentage100%


Class Participation:
Late Policy:

All students are expected to turn in work on time. Late assignments will be penalized unless prior arrangements have been made with the instructor. You must contact the instructor at a reasonable time PRIOR to assignment due dates. (e.g., one hour before an assignment is due is not considered reasonable notification time unless it is an emergency). Students will receive a 0 for non-receipt of assignments.

Late assignments/papers will have the assignment grade reduced 10% (10 points) at any time after the due time the first 24 hours and another 10% (10 points) at any time during the second 24 hours (e.g., paper due 5am on a given day - if received at 6am on that day paper will be assessed a late penalty of 10 points; paper received 26 hours past due date and time will be assessed a 20 point penalty). Penalties are in addition to points that may be lost from assignment grading. After 48 hours, late assignments will receive a zero grade and will not be accepted. No make-up assignments will be given.


Assignments must be turned in to the respective dropboxes. Assignments will not be accepted if sent by e-mail or posted to the incorrect course dropbox. Students submitting assignments incorrectly will receive a 0.

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on April 28, 2017