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GWC and DKL Workshops Catalog

For current quarter offerings, go to our workshops page.

GWC

Core writing workshops are offered by the GWC to resident students every quarter in the Dudley Knox Library; other workshops are offered at least two quarters per year. The below list is the complete catalog of GWC workshops.

DKL

The Dudley Knox Library offers three workshops every quarter: Citation Management with RefWorks, Research Quickstart and Thesis Quickstart. See below listings for details.

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Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Thesis Writing

Are you incorporating mathematical formulae in your writing? Do you need auto-numbering, cross-references and bibliographies? LaTeX ("lah-tek") is a free, decades-old tool for typesetting elegant technical documents. This workshop will introduce you to the philosophy, conventions, tools and essential syntax to start using LaTeX, employing the NPS LaTeX thesis template as our primary working example.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Thesis Writing

Building on your beginning-level skills, this intermediate course requires that students have a working LaTeX environment (able to build the NPS LaTeX thesis template) installed on their laptops. We will practice higher-level, hands-on activities—interpreting errors, writing macros, creating figures, tables, floats, captions, citations, cross-references, and math equations—and discuss organizational strategy. Please access this wiki page to prepare your laptop ahead of time.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

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.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

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.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Critical Thinking

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.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Critical Thinking

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.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

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.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

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 academic papers fit together, making your papers more readable and complete.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

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.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Presentation Skills

Do you need to prepare a research poster or quad chart summarizing your study for class, thesis defense, or the next academic or military research conference? This workshop presents tools and specific design guidelines that exceed academic and design “best practices.” You will learn the rule of thirds, the dollar-bill test, and other design principles such as balance, white space, unity, parallelism, and dominance. You will know how to select the best data, pictures, and text for each section and for the poster as a whole. So armed, your next poster’s visuals will match the text, communicate key ideas at a glance, and look inviting, too.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Writing Mechanics

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.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Presentation Skills

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.

Presented by: Thesis Processing Office
Category: Thesis Writing

A guide for foreign students on thesis formatting.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Critical Thinking

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.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Critical Thinking

How you present data influences the impact and honesty of your work, the strength of your arguments, and your readers’ understanding. This workshop covers when to use and how best to display graphs, charts, tables, bulleted lists, set-off quotes, and images. We practice presenting the same data differently and assessing the impact and integrity of each approach. You will take away general principles, strategies, and methods that hone your critical-thinking skills and make your arguments better understood.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

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.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Writing Mechanics

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.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Critical Thinking

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 analysis 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.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Special Offering (5-part series)

The poets and playwrights of Classical Greece created the archetype of the military hero who fulfilled his destiny on the battlefield. These ancient concepts of courage, honor, and military glory have come down through the centuries and continue to resonate within the lives and careers of military officers. Experience a compelling sampler of literature as well as live, filmed, and audio performances that have influenced Western culture and even military policy. Join discussions that stem from your own responses, thoughts, and questions.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

Not sure what to cite or how to cite it? Giving proper credit for ideas and information is an absolute requirement for academic writing and, like many skills, it takes practice. Learn what needs to be cited and why. You will become familiar with Chicago, APA, IEEE, and other styles common at NPS. By the end of the workshop, you will know how to maintain accurate source information and use it to cite like a pro.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

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.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Critical Thinking

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 practice summarizing, paraphrasing, and incorporating quotes from source material.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Presentation Skills

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!

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

So much reading, so little time! Learn and practice Dr. Zach 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.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

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.

Presented by: Dudley Knox Library
Category: Library

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!

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

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!

[Formerly called "How to Research."]

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Critical Thinking

Curious about the norms of scientific writing? Not sure how to captivate and persuade your peers, faculty, and prospective funders? Learn how to transform complex scientific information into accessible prose. You will learn how best to organize theses, journal articles, paragraphs, and sentences; how to make your writing concise and direct without robbing it of specificity; and how and when to employ creativity and insert some spice. Your innovative process deserves an audience, and your audience deserves the opportunity to appreciate your work!

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Critical Thinking

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.

Presented by: Dudley Knox Library
Category: Library

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.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Thesis Writing

Are you embarking on a group project or thesis? It takes more than a collaborative spirit. This workshop will introduce best practices and potential pitfalls. We’ll cover asking key questions at the outset, assessing member strengths, establishing an effective plan, assigning tasks, and communicating effectively. With the right approach, you’ll start well, finish on time, and stay friends!

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Writing Mechanics

Is the prospect of starting a paper daunting? You are not alone—every writer experiences this. 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.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Critical Thinking

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.

[Formerly titled "Smart Graphics, Smart Text."]

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

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.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

Do you feel like your writing waffles on, contains weak arguments and never says much of substance? If so, it’s not because you have nothing to say; it’s because you don’t yet know how to express it. In this workshop, strengthen your style and polish your prose by learning concrete formulas for structuring your papers, tips for getting to the point, and tactics for making your sentences sing. Come away understanding how to present arguments that pack a punch.