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Workshops – Summer 2018

Download a PDF of summer workshop descriptions and schedule. (Not all workshops are offered every quarter.)

Twenty-nine 60-to-90-minute, hands-on topics are offered to resident students this term. Each workshop can accommodate 15-25 participants. Faculty and staff are welcome, too.

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. In summer term, they are offering "Citation Management with Zotero" for the first time. Registration in WCOnline. See below for more information.

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Date: Friday, July 20, 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: Tuesday, July 17, 1330-1500
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 enhancing sentence structure including elements, patterns, and the active voice. Because Building Better Sentences focuses on making already correct sentences that much better, we recommend that you take (or request materials for) the Mastery Series (Grammar, Punctuation, and Clarity/Concision) beforehand if you want to refresh your comma use and more. That way, in just 90 minutes of this workshop, your ideas will shine through your sentences that much more brightly!

Date: Thursday, July 19, 1330-1430
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Level 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: Friday, July 27, 1000-1150
          Tuesday, August 14, 1700-1850
          Thursday, August 23, 1500-1650
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Dudley Knox Library
Instructors: DKL staff

Learn how to use Zotero, a free tool that you can use to centrally collect, manage, and format your references in APA, Chicago, IEEE, and other citation styles. We will also show you how to use Zotero’s Word plug-in to cite while you write your papers or thesis. This workshop is “hands on,” so bring your own laptop! Workshop size is limited, and registration at least 24 hours in advance is required. After registering, you will receive an email with installation and setup instructions, which you will need to complete prior to the class.

Date: Monday, July 16, 1300-1430
Location:  Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor:  Dr. Sandra 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 strategies for identifying answerable, interesting questions. A compelling research question will keep you motivated and your reader engaged.

Date: Wednesday, July 18, 1400-1500
Location:  Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor:  see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Not sure how results differ from discussion? How an introduction should be different from an abstract? Are you unclear about the role of alternative explanations or the point and structure of a literature review? Come learn how the building blocks of science and engineering papers and theses fit together.

Date: Wednesday, July 11, 1300-1400
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, what goes in a bibliography, what to footnote other than sources, or the point and structure of a literature review? Come learn how the building blocks of social science and policy papers fit together.

Date: Tuesday, July 17, 1730-1830
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: Dr. Zachary Shore

Most graduate students will, at some point, have to deliver an oral report. Knowing what to say and how to say it is a challenge. Here, you'll learn to forge a powerful presentation, penetrate to the core of your subject, and pull it off in style. The instructor will deliver a 15-minute book review, which you will then critique. In the process, we will identify the elements of strong and weak presentations, suggesting ways you can improve your own oral communications.

Date: Monday, July 16, 1530-1700
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: Friday, July 6, 1030-1200
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? And where does all the time go? Knowing a few key strategies can make all the difference. This newly expanded version of Making the Grade will provide you with winning techniques for studying more effectively, taking useful notes, preparing for exams, and performing better during tests; then receive practical, step-by-step methods for a “time investment” daily schedule.

Date: Monday, July 30, 1300-1430
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: John Locke

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: Thursday, July 12, 1300-1430
          Wednesday, July 25, 1500-1630
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: Tuesday, July 10, 1300-1400
          Monday, July 23, 1500-1600
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.

Date: Tuesday, July 10, 1430-1530
          Monday, July 23, 1630-1730
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.

Date: Monday, July 9, 1300-1400
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: John Locke

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 approach to learning, organizing, and writing that will focus your effort where it counts the most.

Date: Tuesday, July 18, 1600-1700
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

You’ve just received a prompt for a class paper.  You read it once, twice, and still can’t figure out what you’re being asked to do or what kind of paper you’re being asked to write. Sound familiar? This workshop will identify specific types of papers you may be asked to write at NPS and offer strategies for decoding and understanding instructors’ prompts.

Date: Friday, July 6, 1300-1430
          Friday, July 20, 1300-1430
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: Dr. Sandra Leavitt & Greta Marlatt

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, July 3, 1730-1900 [ME Auditorium]
          Monday, July 9, 1600-1730 [DKL-151]
          Monday, July 30, 1530-1700 [DKL-151]
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: Dr. Zachary Shore

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, July 10, 1600-1700
          Tuesday, July 17, 1530-1630
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: Dr. Zachary Shore

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, July 17, 1200-1250
          Wednesday, July 25, 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, July 26, 1200-1250
          Wednesday, August 1, 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: Tuesday, July 10, 1730-1830
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: Dr. Zachary Shore

What is graduate-level research? Without guidance, most students simply read a pile of books, then string together as many quotes as possible, creating slapdash, wandering papers that are painful to write and torturous to read. In this workshop, you will learn how to explain your research goals, explore potential research questions, and use other tactics that will make your research focused, efficient, meaningful and, yes, even fun to write and read!

Date: Friday, July 27, 1300-1430
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, July 24, 1300-1430
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, July 18, 1200-1250
          Thursday, August 2, 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, July 31, 1200-1250
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Does the prospect of getting started on a paper feel 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: Monday, July 23, 1300-1430
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: Dr. Sandra Leavitt

Will your thesis have four or 84 figures? Images in academic writing need to be skillfully discussed 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: Friday, July 13, 1030-1200
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Academic writing represents you joining an ongoing conversation, respecting what has come before you while also adding to / observing weaknesses in previous arguments. Writing winning arguments concentrates on how observing the form of papers - introduction to conclusion - can aid the clarity of your ideas. Additionally, we review the logical nature of argument, including tips on perceiving and avoiding common fallacies and also how counter-arguments and rebuttals can strengthen your argument.