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  • 1. Working with Graduate Student Clients in the UWC
  • 2. How we help graduate students
    Online and face-to-face consultations (limited to ten for theses and dissertations)
    DATA (Dissertation and Thesis Assistance)
    Graduate Writing Groups
    Classes for international students
    Workshops for graduate students
  • 3. Some definitions
    Office of Graduate Studies: Important deadlines, and the steps and forms necessary to complete theses and dissertations
    Thesis Office: Resources on style and format for theses, dissertations, and other records of study; ensures publication standards are met
    Advisory Committee: A group of faculty that guide the work, approve the thesis or dissertation, and conduct oral defenses; “chair” or “advisor” heads this committee
  • 4. Masters students
    Masters (MA for Master of Arts or MS for Master of Science): 2-3 year program of study often requiring a thesis and sometimes an oral defense or presentation
    Thesis: presents original research addressing a question and creating an argument in chapter form; length may vary but often about 75-150 pages
  • 5. PhD or Doctoral Students
    Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy): a 4-7 year program of advanced study usually requiring a dissertation or three published articles and an oral defense; students first take prelims (preliminaries) to qualify for doctoral study, then write a proposal, then a dissertation, which they must defend in before their committee
    Dissertation: presents original research addressing a question and creating an argument in chapter form; length may be above 100 and up to 300 pages
    Defense: varies with discipline; always includes advisory committee asking questions of the student to ensure the dissertation is sound
  • 6. Tips for Working with Graduate Student Clients
    As with any client, discuss concerns and determine goals by asking questions.
    Help find model documents and then review the style, documentation, and structure together.
    Ask the client to read aloud, but don’t insist, especially for internationals.
    Demonstrate useful editing and proofreading tricks, and give clients time to practice them, then give feedback on how well they did in identifying and correcting problems.
    Our Web site includes a list of freelance editors, who charge a fee for line-by-line editing.
  • 7. AvoidingLine-By-Line Editing
    If you find recurring errors, explain how to revise and fix one.
    Next, have the client read aloud the next section of the paper and encourage him or her to identify and correct subsequent errors.
    You might have to help a bit more at first, maybe you identify the error the second time, but encourage the client to fix it and give feedback on the results.
    Ask the client to fix recurring errors between sessions.
    Make a note in the records on what you suggested the client work on independently so the next consultant can follow up.
  • 8. Types of Documents
    Some of the most common documents graduate students bring to the UWC
  • 9. Seminar Papers
    15-30 pages
    Formal academic tone
    Places the student’s work within the conversation of a current academic field using in-text citations and references (bibliography) current in clients’ field
    Topic and purpose can vary widely, depending on the course and instructor
    Likely to include secondary sources and could include primary research
    May summarize or critique existing scholarship and/or require an original argument
  • 10. Abstracts
    Approximately 200 - 250 words
    Meant to help readers to obtain a brief account of the study/research
    Include the following elements:
    What the project has done or its purpose
    An explanation of the methodology
    The findings
    The writer’s conclusions and/or implications or significance of the study
    May take a different form depending on the discipline and its purpose
  • 11. Literature Reviews
    Summarizes research already completed about the topic
    Describes the relationship between past research and need for the study/research
    ARGUES for the purpose and value of the research, does not simply list works and summarize them
    Explains or addresses omission of any “big” issue, text, or person in the writer’s study–explain what writer is not focusing on because of time or scope of project.
    Written in present or past tense (depending on discipline)
  • 12. Journal Articles
    Papers to be submitted to academic journals for publication
    Clients need to know the submission requirements that each journal specifies on its website or inside the journal itself; include, but are not limited to, length, format, and style (MLA, APA, etc.)
    Help the client find a model article from the journal to the parameters
  • 13. Proposals
    Written prior to writing a thesis or dissertation
    Length and format will vary from discipline to discipline
    Must be approved by student’s committee and department’s graduate director
    Describe research questions, methods, and most importantly, ARGUES for the research’s value as a study
  • 14. Sections of the proposal
    Objectives: state in terms that lend themselves to observation/measurement
    Present State of the Question: summarize pertinent research in the field and document with citations from this literature
    Procedure/Methods: give the nature of the data and the procedure to be employed in its analysis
  • 15. Dissertations/Theses
    Most dissertations are about five chapters, including an abstract, a literature review, methodology, data collection, and a discussion of the findings. Theses are similar but usually shorter and less ambitious in scope or type of research.
    Disciplines may vary in the structure/content, so another way to understand these documents is similar to a large five-paragraph essay. The middle chapters contain examples to support the argument that is presented in the introduction; however, each chapter should have its own argument, building on the overall argument.
  • 16. Helping with dissertations & theses
    Help the student analyze the style of a dissertation or thesis in his or her field
    Dissertations are available electronically through ProQuest Dissertations, a library database
    Literature review section is similar to the literature review for an article or seminar paper but wider in scope
    The following slides give more detail on other sections.
  • 17. Statement of Problem
    Often stated one to three open-ended research questions (as in, “This study attempts to answer the following research questions . . .”)
    Can guide the subsequent content just as a thesis does by setting the scope and focusing the research
    Some disciplines refer to it as a thesis, others, a hypothesis
  • 18. Methodology Section
    How the researcher conducted the research
    Method of selecting participants; in some disciplines, reasons for selecting a particular topic
    Process of collecting data
    Process of measuring and interpreting data
  • 19. Data Presentation
    • Generally discuss trends or patterns in the data; may report full data in appendices
    • 20. Quantitative data: countable data often expressed through statistics, tables, or graphs; may be called “hard” data
    • 21. Qualitative data: observations (field notes), interviews, focus groups, and documents from which the researcher infers trends or patterns and interprets them within a social context
  • Results Section
    Summarizes important results
    Shows some, but not all data, specifically data that answer the research question or support or disprove the hypothesis/thesis
    Explains results that partially support or do not support the argument
    Highlights results that explain or support the thesis or that answer the research question
  • 22. Discussion Section
    Explains how findings affect or fit in with existing research/theories
    Outlines limitations of the study
    Provides recommendations for further research
    Explains significance of findings—how they impact our knowledge or the way we see or do things
  • 23. DATA
    (Dissertation & Thesis Assistance)
    Students working on dissertations or theses should be routed into the DATA program so that we can offer them targeted assistance. This program is only for students who do not have immediate deadlines and who have time to write and revise between sessions.
  • 24. Identifying a Thesis/Dissertation
    Before each session, review the client’s previous session notes. Do any previous notes indicate that they may be working on a dissertation or thesis? One indication is that they have been working on the same document for an extended period of time.
    Introduce these students to the DATA program.
    Route them to the online form that will enroll them, if appropriate.
  • 25. DATA
    Clients will be assigned a single consultant who will assist them throughout the program and who will help them work independently between sessions.
    Other consultants be scheduled for their expertise.
    All students writing theses or dissertations will receive no more than 10 sessions. Those with an immediate deadline will not work with a DATA consultant.
    The first DATA session does not count in the total ten.
    If you are assigned to a DATA student, check with the front desk to be sure you have all the information you will need.
    Direct anyone with questions or problems to a UWC administrator.
  • 26. Graduate Writing Groups
    Classes for International Students
    Workshops
  • 27. GraduateWriting Groups
    Small groups of 5-7 graduate students that meet bimonthly with a UWC moderator
    Focus of each meeting is peer response, where students work in pairs to give and receive constructive criticism
    Meetings begin and end with students thinking about writing goals, either from the previous week or for the coming week
  • 28. International Student Classes
    Taught by advanced consultants
    Meet once or twice a week in the UWC
    Consultants work to customize the syllabus but generally cover topics like writing a memo or email or writing an abstract
    Class is non-credit and not for a grade—it is more like a group consultation
  • 29. GraduateWorkshops
    6-8 workshops a year on topics of interest to graduate student writers
    Check our Web site for topics, dates, times, and to register