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Workshops – Winter 2018

Download a PDF of Winter 2018 workshop descriptions and schedule, by topic. (Not all workshops are offered every quarter.)

Twenty-four 60-to-90-minute, hands-on topics are offered to resident students this term. Each workshop can accommodate 15-25 participants. In addition to students, faculty and staff are welcome.

Registration for all workshops is handled through WCOnline. Use the drop-down menu to pick the Workshops Calendar, then advance to the appropriate date.

GWC Workshops – Develop critical thinking and good mechanics

GWC workshops quickly give you practical techniques and proven strategies needed for writing your coursework, thesis, and in professional life. Refresh fundamentals, sharpen critical-thinking skills, and learn academic writing norms.

Core workshops are offered to resident students every term in the Dudley Knox Library; other workshops are offered at least two quarters per year.

A dozen workshops have been recorded for distance-learning and hybrid-program students, or those who simply can't get to a session but need the information. Others are being added each quarter. Access recorded workshops and online modules here.

Dudley Knox Library Workshops – Develop research skills

The Dudley Knox Library offers two research-related workshops: Research Quickstart I & II and Thesis Quickstart. Registration in WCOnline. See below for more information.

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Date: Monday, January 22, 1030-1200
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Stumped when you face a blank page? Acquire tried-and-true techniques for starting a paper: brainstorming, clustering, concept mapping, pre-writing, and outlining. Master practical methods to clear the cobwebs and stare down that blank page. By trying out the various techniques during the workshop, you will discover which ones work best for you.

Date: Monday, January 29, 1100-1200
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

This workshop takes your pre-writing skills to the next level. Students are encouraged to bring topics from actual NPS writing assignments to test brainstorming strategies learned in Level I. You will come away with a better sense of how to use each strategy and increase your creativity. Level I highly recommended but not required.

Date: Wednesday, January 24, 1530-1700
          Thursday, February 1, 1500-1630
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

If you daydreamed through the grammar lessons of your schooldays, take heart. Through clear and simple explanations, we demystify terms and concepts that seasoned writers take for granted, focusing on sentence structure including elements, patterns, and the active voice. For help understanding mechanics and punctuation, we recommend taking the Mastery Series first for a solid refresher. Since sentences are the basic element for clearly and concisely expressing ideas, Building Better Sentences is an ideal addition to your toolkit.

Date: Friday, February 2, 1300-1400
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Part II focuses on guided sentence-building practice, applying the toolkit acquired in Part I. Students who have taken Part I this term are automatically eligible. Students who have taken Building Better Sentences in the past or have yet to enroll should email the instructor for pre-class documents (see WCOnline calendar for instructor email address).

Date: Thursday, January 25, 1530-1630
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Not sure how an analysis differs from an argument? How an introduction should be different from a conclusion? How a thesis statement differs from an abstract? Are you unclear about the role of alternative explanations, the point of a literature review, what to footnote other than sources, and what goes into a bibliography? Come learn how the building blocks of academic papers fit together, making your papers more readable and complete.

Date: Friday, February 2, 1030-1200
Location:  Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor:  Sandi Leavitt

Constructing a research question is probably the most important task for any paper you write. An overly broad question becomes mission impossible, while an excessively narrow question won't help fill the pages. Learn seven steps for identifying answerable questions given constraints in resources, time, paper length, topic area, and data. An interesting and important research question will help keep you motivated and your reader engaged.

Date: Thursday, January 11, 1530-1630
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

You take notes and learn the subject matter, so why is it so difficult to communicate your knowledge during tests? Knowing a few key strategies can make all the difference. This workshop will provide you with winning techniques for studying more effectively, taking useful notes, preparing for exams, and performing better during tests.

Date: Thursday, January 18, 1500-1630
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Do your academic readings make you feel like an outsider? Don’t remain an unheard voice in the wilderness. Learn how to construct your paper as a “conversation with others.” In this workshop, inspired by the popular writing book They Say/I Say, you will learn the basic methods that scholars use to engage with larger debates. Your readers will understand you better, and you will stand on equal footing with the writers in your field.

Date: Wednesday, February 7, 1600-1730
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

A master’s degree requires mastering a field, and that mastery is demonstrated in a literature review, a required component of most theses and many papers. It is not, as often believed, a multi-title book review. It is, rather, a comprehensive evaluation of the literature relevant to your research question. More than a summary, it identifies strengths and inadequacies in the existing literature, which dovetails with your goal of adding new knowledge to your field. In this workshop, you will learn how literature reviews are constructed and how to make yours justify your research.

Date: Friday, January 19, 1030-1200
          Tuesday, February 6, 1600-1730
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Learn which conventions are rules, NPS norms, and style tips, all of which will help you masterfully put your words to work for you! Excellent clarity and concision stands as the core goal at the graduate and professional level of writing, so we have put together some writing master tips to make your life easier and your writing sassier in just 90 minutes.

Date: Friday, January 12, 1000-1100
          Tuesday, January 30, 1430-1530
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Learn to master the core structure of language, and, more importantly, how to put grammar to work for you! Topics include: parts of speech, avoiding pronoun confusion, alternatives to however and therefore, and, crucially, how to avoid fake news at the sentence level with tips to eliminate passive voice. Winter 2018 downloads:

Slides
Diagnostic Handout
Diagnostic Answer Key

Date: Friday, January 12, 1130-1230
          Tuesday, January 30, 1600-1700
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Learn to master commas and quotation marks, and, crucially, how to put semi-colons to work for you! Carla will admit that she got all the way to graduate school (in writing) before she was advised that she could no longer gracefully pretend she had a bowl of commas that lived on her desk that she sprinkled randomly like parmesan cheese whenever she wanted to pause; she now masterfully applies the ten comma rules, and so can you. Winter 2018 downloads:

Slides
Diagnostic Handout
Diagnostic Answer Key

Date: Tuesday, January 16, 1600-1700
          Wednesday, January 31, 1600-1700
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Academic or research-based writing is distinctly different from other forms of writing. Our primary purpose is to describe knowledge which, at the graduate school level, is most likely to address the logical connections between ideas. This calls for structured writing. This workshop will introduce the basic techniques that produce readable papers—comprehensive introductions, topic sentences, and embedding structure in language—and effective tools for composition. You will learn a systematic process for learning, organizing, and writing that will focus your effort where it counts the most.

Date: Wednesday, January 17, 1530-1700
          Friday, January 26, 1030-1200
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

You’ve all heard what you shouldn’t be doing: don’t violate the Honor Code, don’t plagiarize, don’t forget the rules of academic integrity. This workshop focuses on what to do to avoid these serious problems. We give you the skills to confidently incorporate others’ words, ideas, analyses, models, and images into your own writing. You will gain experience summarizing, paraphrasing, and incorporating quotes from source material.

Date: Tuesday, January 23, 1530-1700
         Friday, January 26, 1300-1430
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

So much reading, so little time! Learn and practice NPS professor Zachary Shore’s method of reading at the graduate level for thesis content. This “search and destroy” technique allows you to comprehend and synthesize an author’s arguments in 15 minutes. Level I teaches the "search" half, how to quickly extract an author's thesis and structure from an academic article. Though this method may take months to perfect, once you do, the payoff is high in terms of comprehension, time saved, and enhanced critical thinking skills.

Date: Tuesday, January 30, 1530-1630
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 263
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Level II teaches the "destroy" half of Professor Shore's "search and destroy" technique. Learn how to critically examine a text for its strengths and weaknesses.

Date: Tuesday, January 16, 1200-1250
          Wednesday, January 24, 1200-1250
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Dudley Knox Library
Instructors: Glen Koué

Get started with your research! Learn how to use the library search to find books, articles and more.

Date: Thursday, January 25, 1200-1250
          Wednesday, January 31, 1200-1250
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Dudley Knox Library
Instructors: Ann Jacobson or Kathy Norton

Take your library research to the next level. Develop your research skills and learn about library databases, research guides, google scholar, and more. We recommend you take Research Quickstart I first.

Date: Friday, February 9, 1030-1200
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Overusing passive voice is one of the most common stylistic blunders in academic writing. However, it can be hard to identify and even harder to fix. This workshop will explain what passive writing looks like and why in most cases active constructions are a better choice. Collaborative mini-lessons and hands-on activities will show you how to transform idle verbs and inactive sentences. You will leave with strategies to select the best possible verbs, to craft more interesting prose, and to express your ideas more concisely.

Date:Tuesday, January 16, 1400-1530
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Are you more comfortable solving equations than drafting sentences? Come focus on the precise skills you need to write clear technical reports and theses. In this workshop, we will dissect a well-written report, decide what makes it effective, identify steps you can use to emulate its features, and review editing and proofreading strategies appropriate for technical writing.

Date: Wednesday, January 17, 1200-1250
          Thursday, February 1, 1200-1250
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Is it time to begin your thesis? Not sure how to start? This workshop will cover academic research and writing in general, as well as the specifics of the NPS thesis process. Learn how to navigate the process and launch your thesis with confidence.

Date: Tuesday, January 23, 1200-1300
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Is the prospect of getting started on a paper daunting? You are not alone: every writer goes through this experience. In this panel, four seasoned writers present tips for turning chaos into calm and realizing words on paper. Participants are invited to take part in a free-flowing discussion on the topic. Bring your opinions, questions, and own lessons learned to this brown-bag event.

Date: Friday, January 19, 1300-1430
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Will your thesis have four or 84 figures? Images in your papers need to be skillfully presented in both the body of your paper and in captions. We will practice writing about flow charts, graphs, set-off quotes, and tables. The techniques also apply to equations and computer code. A simple formula will help you consistently and professionally describe figures and their sources, and explain to your readers how each image supports your argument.

Date: Thursday, February 8, 1500-1630
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Academic writing is a gentle form of warfare. You go on “offense” by discovering the inadequacies in ideas that have come before you and revealing their weaknesses. Your offense also includes presenting convincing, well-reasoned arguments, which you must in turn defend. We will explore the nature of argumentation and persuasion, discuss common fallacies, and learn to structure and anticipate counterarguments.