By: Miranda Smith

How to Make the Most of Your Writing Center Appointment when Bringing in a Thesis, Dissertation or Group Project

Large projects can have unique challenges, and the Writing Center can help you with them, such as consolidating all of your research articles, organizing your ideas in a cohesive format, or looking over your grammar and punctuation. One item to keep in mind, however, is that it is not possible to go through an entire draft of one of these projects in one session, and you wouldn’t want to. Your paper deserves feedback from more than one sitting because you have put in a lot of time and effort. To get the most out of your appointment(s) when bringing in a thesis, dissertation or large project, keep the following tips in mind:

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By:  Aaron Smale

Whether you are an incoming freshman or an established grad student, you may find it necessary to communicate your professional or academic titles, degrees, and certifications. In a lot of cases, how you use these titles in writing can be slightly daunting—do you capitalize the degree’s title or the discipline? What’s the difference between saying you have a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience? To address this sometimes confusing issue, we will discuss some strategies that you can use to make sure that you’re citing degrees and certifications correctly.

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by:  Derrian Goebel

When attempting to incorporate quotes into an essay, one of the biggest problems for students is blending the quote into their own words. A teacher asks students to provide source evidence, some students will copy/paste a quote directly into their essay, talk about it some, and then jump from quote to quote, trying to make the word count. The problem with this way of incorporating source quotes is that A) you drop the quote, with no introduction of source, and no indication as to how this quote supports the topic, and B) you are wasting your essay defending source info, not supporting your argument by using that source info.

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by: Courtney Kiley

We’ve all been there: assignment sheet in hand, resources identified, yet staring at a blank computer screen unsure how to begin crafting our thesis statement. Constructing a thesis statement is one of the most crucial components of writing an effective paper. However, writing a thesis statement can be tricky as styles can differ based upon the discipline you are writing for.

What is most important to remember about theses is their essential function in your paper is to represent your purpose and/or argument. You know you. You understand your own argument, and remember to be confident in knowing that.

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by Reece Gibb

It mightn’t take long for any scholar worth his salt to find in the annals of history instances of plagiarism, the perpetration of which went unpunished. In centuries past, philosophical and political scholars have perpetrated plagiarism without consequence. Novelist George Eliot, for instance, was purported to have under his employ a certain “Liggins,” who penned Adam Bede in exchange for a sizable payment.[1] Virgil, of Roman legend, composed the Aeneid by filching from such sources as Homer or Apollonius Rhodius “or Theocritus.”[2] Political figures the likes of Marcus Tullius Cicero, not yet the breathless orator filibusting the Roman senate, wrote as Roman youth did (and modern youth still do), “juvenile poetry.”[3] As Latin poets were wont to do, Cicero borrowed “wholesale” from Greek source material to compose “Pontius Glacius.”[4] The latter plagiarists were met with little ire or outrage. Quite the contrary, they were received rather well.

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By:  Lindsy Sullivan
The infamous semicolon drifts within the dimension of the unknown, suffering from misuse and neglect at the pencil tips of writers every day. So if you are confused about semicolons and everything they entail, relax and get comfortable as I show you why semicolons are nothing to fear.

First off, what is a semicolon? A semicolon is a punctuation mark used to indicate a pause between two main clauses. Now you are wondering, “What’s the difference between a semicolon and a regular colon? Aren’t they both for indicating pauses?” Well, yes. Although, a comma offers brief pause, a semicolon provides a moderate, more pronounced pause. Overall, if you truly want to accentuate a pause, a semicolon is best. But alas, there are strict guidelines that need to be followed in order to properly use a semicolon.

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You know how to make an argument, right? You say some persuasive things, you make some good points, and the audience nods and puts a finger to their chin. Hmm, that’s interesting, they say. Good point, jolly good, they say. But making persuasive points out of your own argument, simply stating your OWN case, well, that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to argumentative practice. What if you could use the counterarguments to make your own stronger? What if you could both use and discount other thoughts within a discussion to make your own points seem more valid, more attractive? That’s precisely what you can (and should) do!

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by Stewart Matzek

More often than I’d like to admit, I see theses that look something like this: “In society today, a lot has changed.” The student then turns to me and asks if their thesis is okay, and I have to look them in the eye and tell them I honestly didn’t know they had a thesis. This is a tough conversation to have—after all, a thesis is an extremely important part of any scholarly essay, but it is an easy issue to solve, and I find myself drawing upon a specific comparison to describe a thesis in essay writing.

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by Logan Miller

One of the larger impacts on our writing as students is how we go about reading the texts we’re assigned in classes. It is simple to suggest that actually doing our assigned reading is critical; however, effective, careful reading is a bit more involved than that, and it is this reading that is crucial to our writing process. For instance, I have a problem reading while lying down because I risk dozing off when I do. My solution has been to avoid this behavior, but in recognizing and remedying that problem, I have only taken one step in the long process of developing useful reading strategies.

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by Jonathan Vivet

What is prewriting? More importantly, why should you spend time on an “extra” step when you could get to the business of actually putting substance down on your paper? Prewriting includes everything a writer does before putting words to a draft.

Imagine you’re building a house. You wouldn’t just start driving nails through two by fours hoping you can create a pleasing, structurally sound home, would you? Of course not. You would have a blueprint: a plan to guide the placement of your beams and the hit of every nail, in order to efficiently achieve your goal. The prewriting process is the creation of that blueprint.  It develops a plan that drives the purpose and organization for a paper, generally eliminating a huge chunk of time spent trying to overcome writer’s block as result.

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