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Workshops – Winter 2020

Download a pdf of our current workshop descriptions and schedule. (Not all workshops are offered every quarter.)

Twenty-plus 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, available now. 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 three research-related workshops: Research Quickstart, Thesis Quickstart, and Citation Management with Zotero. Registration in WCOnline. See below for more information.

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Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
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!

Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
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 Level I. Students who have taken Level 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).

Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
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 academic papers fit together, making your papers more readable and complete.

Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
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.

Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
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.

Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

You employ persuasion every day, but are you comfortable crafting formal academic arguments? This workshop covers the strategies and conventions of written argumentation that are essential to your NPS studies and career. Hands-on exercises help you organize your lines of attack, remedy any gaps in your defense, anticipate your adversary’s counterargument, and deliver the decisive blow through a convincing refutation.

Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Imagine a conversation among all the scholars who have contributed to your research topic. Assessing the strengths, weaknesses, agreements, and disagreements of their combined wisdom is the essence of a literature review. Using the Just War Theory, this workshop presents two examples of capturing the “conversation” and helps you identify the differences between review and critical analysis. Through guided discussion, you will be better equipped to understand and write literature reviews.

Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
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.

Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

The quality of your executive summaries influences how others perceive you and your research. Executive summaries publicize your work, provide busy decision makers with actionable information, and generate readers for your research. Learn how to prioritize and organize essential information, avoid jargon, write more powerfully and persuasively, and navigate this specific form’s rules. By examining excerpts, we will identify best practices and apply those lessons to summarizing research in different fields.

Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Master the art of knowing when and how various kinds of graphics – diagrams, graphs, photographs, tables – can clarify a process for the reader or illustrate an argument. Learn guidelines for making effective visuals, explaining them in your text, and placing them in the thesis template. By examining some student figures, you’ll see how design and annotations help the reader appreciate a figure’s meaning.

Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
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 workshop will provide you with winning techniques for studying more effectively, taking useful notes, preparing for exams, and performing better during tests; you’ll also receive practical, step-by-step methods for a "time investment" daily schedule.

Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
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.

Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
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.

Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Review examples of common grammar errors students make in their writing. The common errors covered include subject-verb agreement, use of relative clauses, connecting and punctuation of clauses, pronoun-antecedent agreement, and spotting and changing passive voice to active. You'll first learn the rule to avoid or fix these errors, then practice it in a hands-on activity.

 

Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
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 semicolons to work for you! Many of us will admit that we got all the way to graduate school (in writing!) before we were advised that we could no longer sprinkle commas randomly like parmesan cheese whenever we wanted to pause; we now masterfully apply the ten comma rules, and so can you.

Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
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.

Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
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.

Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructors: 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.

Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
Location: Ingersoll 122, following Foundations (Oct 1); otherwise 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.

Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
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.

Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Dudley Knox Library
Instructors: DKL staff

Develop your research skills and learn how to use the library search, library databases, research guides, Google Scholar, and more!

Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
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; it can be hard to identify and tricky to fix. At the same time, passive voice does have its uses. This workshop will explain what passive voice looks like and why in most cases active constructions are a better choice. Lessons and activities will show you how to transform passive-voice sentences and also identify situations when you might want to use them. You will leave with strategies to select the best possible verbs, to craft more interesting prose, and to express your ideas more clearly.

Dates: see Workshops flyer (linked above)
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Dudley Knox Library
Instructors: 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.