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Teaching Graduate Students How to Write Clearly

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❶For the writing course at the University of Amsterdam developed in association with Jos van Berkum , my feedback for students generally falls into the following categories: For the writing course at the University of Amsterdam developed in association with Jos van Berkum , my feedback for students generally falls into the following categories:.

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Department of Veterans Affairs. More information about education benefits offered by VA is available on the U. The UCSP requirement may be waived if you previously earned a graduate degree from a regionally accredited institution. For more information, contact your academic advisor. Required within the first 6 credits of graduate study for all new graduate students, except MBA students.

An overview of the skills needed for academic and professional success. Focus is on enhancing communication and critical thinking skills. Assignments provide familiarity with tools such as social media and library and information resources.

APA style and resources are also addressed. Skip to Main Content. More from the EWC. Writing the academic paper should be easy. Unlike novelists, academics do not need to worry about character development, description, dialogue, back story, and symbolism. All academics need to worry about is writing clearly — and according to the Reverend Abbott, this merely requires the mechanical application of a set of simple rules.

This perspective on academic writing may sound too good to be true. Graduate students generally struggle for years to overcome their writing problems — can this learning process really be accelerated by the application of a set of simple rules?

My experience in teaching graduate students suggests that it can: Academic writing skills can be tremendously improved with only a little instruction. This is hardly surprising when one considers that most students — and, in my experience, most tenured professors — have learned about academic writing only through trial and error , a method of learning that is often painfully slow and inefficient. To illustrate how instruction can help students write more clearly, the next section lists 10 guidelines, all of which are motivated by a single underlying principle: In order to write clearly, academics should make the life of their readers as easy as possible.

In their first papers, graduate students are likely to violate several of the guidelines outlined below. A good writing course makes students aware of these guidelines, and lets students experience how they can use these guidelines to write more clearly.

For the writing course at the University of Amsterdam developed in association with Jos van Berkum , my feedback for students generally falls into the following categories:. State the goal of your paper explicitly, and state it early. Do not test the patience of your academic readers by letting them know what you are up to only at the very end of the introduction.

Students tend to write lengthy introductions in which they summarize all of the literature that is remotely relevant. This is bad form, but boredom quickly turns into annoyance when the writer altogether forgets to state whether the paper contains experiments, a literature review, a formal model, a new statistical method, or some combination of the above. To resolve the conflict experienced in this paradigm, the powerful tendency to read the word must be overcome in favor of responding to the color dimension.

In general, abstract theoretical concepts need to be clarified with concrete examples. Concrete examples work well in every section of a paper — they can be used to clarify the introduction, the method section, and the discussion section.

Specifically, it has been hypothesized that affect and creativity correlate positively. Integrate the presentation of your results and their interpretation. Students often use the result section to summarize their findings i. These students postpone the interpretation of their findings until the discussion section.

Although this procedure may appear to be objective and scientific, it does not help the reader. The reader wants to know what the results mean. The reader does not want to be forced to work hard and come up with his or her own interpretation which might furthermore be mistaken or irrelevant within the context of your work. Try to integrate your results and their interpretation as much as possible, providing maximum guidance for the reader.

Use the discussion section to summarize what you have found, deal with alternative explanations, and transition to the next experiment. Add structure through consistent constructions. When you state in the abstract that you will discuss topics A, B, and C, retain this order throughout the entire paper. Do not set up false expectations.

Add structure through subheadings. Graduate students are often hesitant to add subheadings in their introductions, results sections, and discussion sections. Yet, few revisions add clarity as effectively as informative subheadings e. Add structure through transitional phrases.

Academics use these transitional phrases much more than novelists do. Lazy readers will be on the lookout for a transitional phrase all the time. Do not express more than one or two ideas in a single sentence. Sentences can be too long because they are wordy, or they can be too long because the writer wanted to express multiple ideas in a single sentence.

Consider the following example: Accordingly, one could rewrite the example sentence as follows: Instead, practice leads to a bias that speeds up processing in some dimensions e. Click here for information on the annual Dissertation Writing Retreat. Graduate students may be especially interested in our quicktips on getting the most from a writing group , paper cohesion and flow , and editing and proofreading strategies.

Please see our getting the most from student writing support informational handout PDF for more about Student Writing Support resources and policies. For workshops, online resources, and individual consultations on any aspect of teaching with writing, from syllabus design to grading, visit our Teaching With Writing program. For information on organizing your courses for a flexible, interdisciplinary graduate minor and thereby becoming part of a community of scholars interested in issues of literacy and rhetoric, as well as becoming eligible for travel and research grants, visit our Literacy and Rhetorical Studies Minor program.

Dissertation Calculator This online tool from the University of Minnesota helps students navigate the process of writing a dissertation. The Dissertation Calculator breaks down the process into manageable stages with suggested deadlines, and provides students with important resources and advice tailored to the University context.

This blog entry offers suggestions about how to manage and process all of the information scholars acquire. Writing Thesis, Dissertation, and Conference Proposals From the Graduate Writing Center at Penn State, this PDF breaks down the purpose and sections of a proposal for thesis or dissertation research; it also offers strategies and a sample conference proposal.

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Like its predecessor, the third edition of Academic Writing for Graduate Students explains understanding the intended audience, the purpose of the paper, and academic genres; includes the use of task-based methodology, analytic group discussion, and genre consciousness-raising; shows how to .

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Commentary for Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Teacher's Notes and Key (Michigan Series in English for Academic & Professional Purposes) 3rd (third) Edition by Swales, John M., Feak, Christine B. published by The University of Michigan Press.

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For Graduate Students Graduate Writing. Visit the Writing Center’s website dedicated to graduate writers at APU. The site is dedicated to demystifying the challenges of working and writing at the graduate level with helpful articles, tips, and advice. AWG is one of the required texts for students in my graduate-level scientific writing course. Most of the students are multilingual and are pursuing a second degree. This book helps teach them the language choices necessary for formal, academic writing. It is useful, not /5().

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For Graduate Students Whether you’re beginning the transition to graduate school or putting the final touches on your Capstone, the Writing Center offers friendly, . Graduate Students Academic and Professional Writing, a.k.a. "The Little Red Schoolhouse" or "LRS" (English ) is an advanced writing course for graduate students in all of the divisions and university professional programs.