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Workshops - Spring 2017

Download a PDF of Spring 2017 workshop descriptions and schedule (NPS login required). (Not all workshops are offered every quarter.)

Twenty 60-to-90-minute, hands-on topics are offered to resident students this term. Each workshop can accommodate 15-25 participants. Workshops are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. In additional 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.

Graduate Writing Center

GWC workshops quickly give you the practical techniques and proven strategies needed for writing in your coursework, thesis, and 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.

Workshops for distance-learning and hybrid-program students are being recorded. Twelve recorded workshops are already available here.

Dudley Knox Library

The Dudley Knox Library offers two workshops: Research Quickstart and Thesis Quickstart. Registration is also through WCOnline. See below for more information.

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Date: Friday, April 14, 1200-1330
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 263
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Is your writing a little rusty? Want to raise the credibility of your work? In this workshop, we will review the underlying rules behind the common problem areas of mechanics and punctuation as well as basic conventions of academic papers. Group exercises will provide hands-on practice and time to ask questions. Leave with the basic toolkit for graduate-level writing.

Date: Friday, April 28, 1100-1230
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 263
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

If NPS is your first foray into graduate-level writing, this refresher workshop is for you. We’ll build on the concepts of Level I to review the common problem areas of grammar and style in academic papers. Group exercises will provide hands-on practice and time to ask questions. Expand your toolkit from Level I with academic writing essentials.

Date: Wednesday, April 5, 1500-1630
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: Thursday, April 6, 1600-1730
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 school days, take heart. Through clear and simple explanations, we demystify terms and concepts that seasoned writers take for granted. We will dissect sentence structure, parts of speech, and word choice. You will analyze "bad," "better," and "best" sentences. Hands-on exercises allow you to instantly put your new knowledge into practice. Within an hour, you will write more clearly and effectively.

Date: Tuesday, April 11, 1700-1800
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Building Better Sentences II focuses on guided sentence-building practice. 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, April 20, 1500-1600
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: Thursday, April 27, 1700-1830
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: Tuesday, April 18, 1700-1800
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 263
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Why explain a figure if it’s worth a thousand words? Master the art of knowing when and what kind of graphic—figure, diagram, or photograph versus a table—can clarify a process for the reader or illustrate an argument. Learn some guidelines for making effective visuals and explaining them clearly. By examining some student figures, you’ll see how color coding, consistent units of measure, and annotations help the reader appreciate the data’s meaning.

Date:  Tuesday, April 25, 1700-1830
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, April 7, 1100-1200
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? 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:  Friday, April 14, 1100-1200
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

A paper with misspelled words and misplaced apostrophes instantly loses credibility.  Even a “small” error can have big consequences. That’s why proofreading is a necessary part of making the most of your message. We will cover tips and tricks straight from the publishing field to help you more easily and consistently catch your own writing errors before someone else does—or worse, someone doesn’t.

Date: Monday, April 17, 1500-1630 [moved from April 19]
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:  Thursday, April 13, 1500-1600
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: Thursday, April 13, 1630-1800
          Friday, April 21, 1100-1230
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: Wednesday, April 5, 1700-1830
          Thursday, April 20, 1700-1830
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: Wednesday, April 26, 1700-1800
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
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: Wednesday, April 12, 1200-1250
          Tuesday, April 18, 1200-1250
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Dudley Knox Library
Instructors: Ann Jacobson or Kathy Norton

The act of research opens the door to a seemingly infinite and chaotic universe of information. But your Dudley Knox Librarians are here to help you make sense of it all for a research journey that is more efficient and productive. This workshop will introduce you to the outstanding resources of the library and the online tools used to access them. It’s time to start discovering!

Date: Thursday, April 27, 1500-1630
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: Thursday, April 13, 1200-1250
          Wednesday, April 19, 1200-1250
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Dudley Knox Library
Instructors: George Goncalves or Glen Koué

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: Wednesday, April 26, 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.