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Workshops – Fall 2017

Download a PDF of Fall 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. 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: Friday, September 29, 1300-1430
          Monday, October 16, 1300-1430
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Has it been awhile since you weighed the difference between an adjective and an adverb? Refreshing your writing knowledge will raise the credibility of your work and increase the clarity of your ideas. The Basics series provides a solid toolkit for students at every level of graduate and professional writing. Part I reviews mechanics, punctuation, grammar, and word choice. Please see Part II for additional help on style, Building Better Sentences for sentence structure, and Writing Winning Arguments for instruction on the form of academic papers.

Date: Friday, October 6, 1300-1430
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Part II expands the toolkit developed in Part I, adding solutions for grammar and style questions. Additionally, this workshop features time for hands-on practice and questions. Students who have taken Part I this term are automatically eligible; students who have taken it 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, October 2, 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: Friday, October 13, 1300-1400
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: Monday, October 2, 1300-1430
          Thursday, October 19, 1530-1700
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 Basics of Academic Writing 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: Tuesday, October 10, 1330-1430
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: Friday, October 6, 1100-1200
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, October 20, 1300-1430
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: Monday, October 23, 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: Monday, October 23, 1530-1630
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: Wednesday, October 18, 1400-1500
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
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: Friday, September 29, 1100-1200
          Monday, October 16, 1600-1700
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, October 12, 1300-1400
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: Wednesday, October 11, 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: Thursday, October 5, 1600-1700
          Wednesday, October 18, 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, October 4, 1330-1500
          Tuesday, October 17, 1530-1700
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, September 26, 1730-1900 [ME Auditorium]
          Tuesday, October 24, 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: Monday, October 2, 1600-1700
          Tuesday, October 24, 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, October 4, 1200-1250
          Tuesday, October 10, 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: Wednesday, October 11, 1200-1250
          Tuesday, October 17, 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, October 3, 1300-1400
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, October 16, 1030-1200
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, October 5, 1200-1250
          Wednesday, October 18, 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: Friday, October 20, 1100-1200
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

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!

Date: Friday, October 13, 1030-1200
          Thursday, October 26, 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.