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Workshops – Summer 2017

Download PDFs of Summer 2017 workshop descriptions and schedule in date or theme order (NPS login required). (Not all workshops are offered every quarter.)

Eighteen 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 and Thesis Quickstart. Registration is also done through WCOnline. See below for more information.

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Date: Thursday, July 13, 1330-1500
          Friday, July 28, 1030-1200
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: Thursday, July 20, 1300-1430
          Friday, August 4, 1030-1200
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, July 26, 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: Wednesday, August 2, 1100-1200
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 263
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: Tuesday, July 11, 1030-1200
          Friday, July 14, 1300-1430
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: Wednesday, July 19, 1330-1430
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: Monday, July 10, 1500-1600 [DKL 151]
          Wednesday, August 2, 1300-1400 [DKL 263]
Location: Dudley Knox Library, as above
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, July 27, 1600-1730
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: Wednesday, July 12, 1330-1430
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

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. In this workshop you'll learn how to forge a powerful presentation, penetrate to the core of your subject, and pull it off in style. The instructor will deliver a sample 15-minute book review, which you will then critique. In the process, we will identify the elements of strong and weak presentations, suggesting ways that you can improve your own oral communication skills.

Date:  Friday, July 21, 1030-1200
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 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: Wednesday, July 19, 1530-1700
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, July 14, 1100-1200 [DKL 151]
           Tuesday, August 1, 1100-1200 [DKL 263]
Location: Dudley Knox Library, as above
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: Tuesday, July 18, 1600-1730 [DKL 151]
          Friday, August 4, 1300-1430 [DKL 263]
Location: Dudley Knox Library, as above
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, August 1, 1300-1400
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 263
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Your toolkit for presenting messages goes far beyond the words you choose, whether spoken or on screen. Come explore the nonverbal and vocal elements of winning presentations, such as gestures, eye contact, posture, projection, tone, and movement. These help you persuade and inform your audiences, making you an even more effective leader. What tools do you have? Come find out!

Date: Tuesday, July 11, 1300-1430 [DKL 151]
          Tuesday, July 25, 1730-1900 [ME Auditorium]
          Wednesday, July 26, 1300-1430 [DKL 151]
Location: Dudley Knox Library, as above
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, July 18, 1400-1500
          Wednesday, July 26, 1530-1630
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, July 12, 1200-1250
          Tuesday, July 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: Tuesday, July 11, 1730-1830
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

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: Monday, July 17, 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, July 13, 1200-1250
          Wednesday, July 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: Thursday, August 3, 1600-1730
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 263
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, July 6, 1530-1700
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.