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Webinar Transcripts

Revising & Self-Editing a Doctoral Capstone: A Panel Discussion

Presented September 28, 2017

View the recording

Last updated 10/30/2017

 

Visual: The webinar begins with a PowerPoint title slide in the large central panel. A captioning pod, Q&A pod, and files pod are stacked on the right side.

The slide says “Housekeeping” and the following:

  • Recording
    • Will be available online a day or two from now.
  • Interact
    • Polls, files, and links are interactive.
  • Q&A
    • Use the Q&A box to ask questions.
    • Send to writingsupport@waldenu.edu
  • Help
    • Choose “Help” in the upper right hand corner of the webinar room.

Audio: Beth: A couple of quick things before I hand it over to Lydia and we can start the presentation here, is you will notice, that I've started the recording. So, as a reminder, we record all of our webinars here at the Writing Center, so if you have to leave for any reason or you'd like to come back and review this session or review past sessions that we've done, please make sure to visit our webinar archive. We have lots of hours of recordings there for you for you to access.

Additionally, of course, like all webinars, we have lots of ways for you to interact with Lydia and your fellow classmates here. So, I know Lydia has some polls and chats she'll be using. So, do make sure to interact with those.

And also use that Q & A box, that is on the right side of the screen. And many of you, I see, have found that already, letting you know you can hear us, which is great. My colleague, Dan, and I will be monitoring that Q & A box. So, do let us know if you have any questions or comments throughout the session, we're happy to help. And then also, if you have any technical issues do let me know in the Q & A box as well. I'm happy to help. My technical issues are now fixed so, that's good and I'm happy to help you if you have any technical issues. So, let me know.

Finally, however, I also like to note that if you have any significant technical issues, there is that help button at the top right-hand corner of the screen. And that's the best place to go if you have any significant technical issues. So, go ahead and check with me in the Q & A box, but then go ahead and use that button as well.

All right. So, Lydia, at this point, then, I will hand it over to you.

Visual: Slide changes to the title of the webinar, “Revising and Self-Editing a Doctoral Capstone” and the speaker’s name and information: Lydia Lunning, MA, Dissertation Editor and Coordinator for Capstone Resources, Walden Writing Center

Audio: Lydia: Thank you so much, Beth. And, please, if you can't hear me, please jump in and let me know. But I am thrilled to talk to everybody today. And thank you so much to Beth and Dan for manning the Q & A box in the background while I'm talking. And I will pause a couple times in case there's anything that would be helpful if I address for everybody. But I'm here to talk to you today about revising and self-editing a doctoral capstone. My name is Lydia Lunning, and I am one of the dissertation editors here at Walden and I'm also the coordinator for capstone resources. So, in my role as an editor, I'm one of the people who will review your final document when it comes time -- you know, when you're about ready to graduate, when your committee, your chair, everybody, has signed off, approved your final document, the editors will read it over for APA, institutional, and publication requirements and we will send it back to you for revision and then you are ready to go. So, we see a lot of your documents at the end stages, but we also talk to students throughout their doctoral capstone writing process and have a lot of suggestions and have noticed a lot of, you know, things that have worked for people, issues that come up for people at this stage, and I am here to share a lot of that with you today, in the hopes that it can help you on your doctoral writing journey.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Learning Outcomes: After this webinar, you will (be able to)…

  • Understand how to prioritize revision and proofreading tasks when preparing a doctoral capstone manuscript
  • Identify good revision practices when working with a longer document, over a long period of time, with multiple rounds of feedback
  • Develop skills for proofreading and polishing a manuscript for grammar, style, and scholarly writing expectations
  • Access support resources for revising and self-editing doctoral capstone documents

Audio: So, as you may have noticed, depending on where you are in your program, and how far along you are in writing your doctoral capstone, either at the proposal or the final stages, you have probably noticed that even though you're using a lot of the same skills and performing a lot of the same functions that you have practiced as a student all of these years, you know, in terms of drafting and writing and proofreading your own work, that things are a little bit different when you get to the proposal and final study stage. So, I'm going to talk a little bit about how to prioritize your time, how to kind of adjust your expectations about revision once you get to this because you're essentially working on the same document from the time you start drafting your initial idea for your problem and your premise or your prospectus, all the way until you're putting the finishing touches on your final document. Essentially that whole time you're really developing what will become one document and that's a long time to live with the same document in lots of different forms. So, your relationship to revision in your writing process may change a little bit from what you're used to. We're going talk a little bit about that.

And I have a couple of suggestions for revision strategies that you can apply so that you make sure you're meeting all of the many, many requirement that is are upon you now that you are creating dissertation/doctoral study/project study. As you know, there are lots of specific requirements at every stage of the process and, so, I'm going talk about some revision strategies to help you with that.

I'm also going to go over developing your own proofreading skills and as I'm going talk about in a minute, those are really kind of two separate skills, either revising or proofreading, you're really using different parts of your brain. and it's a skill you need to develop. It's not something that just happens naturally. It's a thing that you can actually get better at with practice, so, I'm going to talk about some resources for you as you develop your proofreading skills and some general resources that I hope you will use as you continue to write.

So, as I indicated, it's helpful to think about as you are going over your own work and developing and refining it, it's helpful to think about revising and proofreading as two separate things. And it's not that there's step one and step two. But they are two separate mental activities. You're really -- you're doing a different mental process when you're reading for revision versus when you're reading for proofreading. And often we recommend that you prioritize the revision over the proofreading. That is not to say that proofreading's not important. As I will say later in the session, there are lots of parts of proofreading that are essential and very important. But the idea is, you want to be efficient with your time and you want to work smart, not hard. You're going to work hard, but you also want to work smart so that you're not wasting a lot of your time and getting frustrated. So, you don't want to spend a lot of time polishing up a paragraph that you end up deleting, for example. So, you want to prioritize revision before you start to worry too much about the proofreading.

But you can think of this as kind of a continuum also because depending on where you are and what you're trying to accomplish with your draft, you may do a lot of free writing and you may -- or you may like to generate a draft first and in that draft it may be really helpful for you to go through and do a lot of sentence-level editing and proofreading first so you can make sure you really have clarified for yourself what you mean, you've articulated as accurately as possible what your idea was and, so, that proofreading is actually really important to making sure that you're clear with yourself and you're clear with what you said and then you can sort of turn around and do the larger revising.

So, it's not that you have to do one first and the other second, but it's more useful to prioritize the global big-picture things like organization, focus, did I have a main idea that I forwarded, did I have support and evidence, did I develop this idea in a logical fashion, those are the things that you want to prioritize first and then proofread is -- proofreading is making sure that the grammar is correct, all the citations are accurate, there's consistency and clarity throughout the document so these are two important things, but it's helpful to think of them as separate mental activities, to not try and do them at the same time because that's really too much to keep track of and to make sure that you're giving -- you're prioritizing revision so that you're not getting stuck with the sentence-level stuff to the point where you may end up keeping material that's not as strong because you already proofread it and you don't want to change it, you want to be open to revision and change so that your document can be as strong as possible.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Revising and Proofreading at the Capstone Writing Stage

You will not be able to address everything at once! Part of self-editing is learning to prioritize and plan what to focus on in the document.

  • Decide on a handful of things to focus on in each round of revision, moving from “big picture” to “small picture”
  • Divide the draft into pieces, revising in shorter sections first

Audio: Like all parts of writing the dissertation doctoral study, project study, it is too much to keep in your brain at one time. While you may be able to think of lots of different ideas, juggle lots of different components at once for a shorter research paper, something that's maybe or five or ten pages, you cannot accomplish everything at once in terms of the dissertation doctoral study. I mean, it's going to take you months and months to write the whole thing, whereas, it may take you less time in the papers that you have been writing for your courses.

So, you want to get used to working in a systematic way so that you can do a piece at a time so that you don't have to keep track of everything all at once but then you can go back and find your place and remember what you were doing. So, working systematically is helpful and you need to learn to prioritize what you're going to do and then plan. So, you may need to start being more systematic about your revision process than you have been in the past. You may be a very diligent reviser, you may write a first draft two weeks before a paper is due, give yourself a week to read it over, just read it over a couple times, make sure everything makes sense, give yourself a couple days to proofread, to polish it, and turn it in.

At the dissertation stage, when you're writing your chapters or your sections for your proposal or your final study, you're going to need to be even more systematic than that, you know, it's going to really break down to very -- to even more categories than you're used to. So, you can decide on a few things to focus at once. So, you may spend your first round of revision, I'm just going to focus on organization and clarity. And you read for that and you revise for that. And then for your next round of revision, maybe a few days later, you say, okay, now I'm going revise to make sure I have topic sentences, things like that. So, you want to prioritize what you're looking for, so you're not trying to look at everything at once because it's too much to keep track of.

And it also is helpful to divide the draft into pieces. So, by the time, let's say you've written -- you're doing a PhD and you've written your first chapter, it is probably helpful to break that chapter down and revise it section by section rather than trying to revise the whole thing at once. So, you can start with the nature of the study, you know, and say, okay, today I'm just going to revise the nature of the study and then move on to your conceptual framework and do it bit by bit so that you can really make sure you've done a good revision of a digestible length of pages and then you can -- then you can bring it all together at the end once you've revised it in pieces.

So, it's helpful to be systematic and to plan ahead and to really give yourself goals for revision so you don't get caught up trying to do everything at once.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Revising and Proofreading at the Capstone Writing Stage

Keep these three things in mind throughout the process:

  • Did I address the requirements for my degree program?
  • Did I present the best version of what I wanted to say?
  • Did I follow my faculty’s guidance and recommendations?

Audio: My recommendation is to keep these three things in mind pretty much at all times. When you are prioritizing and planning for what your revision and proofreading schedule is going to be. Did I address the requirements for my degree? I want this to be at the top of your mind at all times. Because you could have -- you're going to be work very closely with your chair in developing your study under the guidance of your chairperson and you may have the most beautifully written passage about the significance of your study or for more specific example, let's say -- let's say you're doing an EdD project study and you have to write up the definition of the problem, and you've talked to your chair about this, you've, you know, gone to conferences, you've done research, you've done your whole literature review, you've written up this just amazing definition of your problem, everything is clear, it's concise, it's well cited, it's supported, if you have left out the relevance of this to current literature or if you leave out the section on the relevance to current practice or you leave out a required section, it doesn't matter how good this is or how much it aligns with what your chair's guidelines were, the URR is going to send it back and you're going to have to redo it because it doesn't meet the degree requirements for your program. So, keep those degree requirements right at the top of your priorities list because that -- a lot of people are going to be reading your study. It's not just your chair, and all of them, they're going to have different opinions and different suggestions, but all of them are going to be looking for the same program guidelines, so you want to make sure those are at the top of your list when you're doing your revisions.

Second thing I recommend you focus on, is making sure that you presented the best version of what you wanted to say. So, as you are reading, make sure you said what you thought you said. And that may sound simple, but that's actually one of the most difficult things to do because when you draft something, you think you're saying what you wanted to say and it's only after you go back and read it that you might discover, oh, I actually -- I actually never made my main point because I thought it was kind of obvious, but it's not as obvious as I thought, or oh, I left out this whole part that I meant to say. So, at all stages you want to make sure you're actually saying what you wanted to say because that's, you know, that's what becoming a skilled writer is, is that what is on the page is a very strong reflection of actually what you meant and it makes sense -- as much sense to other people as it makes to you. So, it can make as much sense to you as possible, but if other people don't get it, then it's not really performing the function that you want it to. So, make sure that you're always presenting the best version of what you want it to say. And this is also because your dissertation is going to be published and available for people to look at once you graduate. So, students can search for it in the database, current scholars in the field can search for it, so you want to make sure that you are leaving the most accurate and the strongest impression of your thoughts and your writing as you possibly can.

And the third thing I'm going to talk about is making sure you're following your faculty's guidelines and recommendations. The kind of feedback and the level of feedback and the frequency of feedback you are going to get or that you have been getting, once you transition from course work into writing the proposal and the final study, that kind of feedback is maybe different from the kind of feedback you were getting in courses or in your master's program or in other kind of student/faculty configurations in your academic career. At the doctoral stage, you're going to be getting feedback from a lot of different people and it may -- sometimes it seems like a lot and sometimes it seems like not a lot of feedback. Sometimes you say, well, students will say, they'll get, you know, a paragraph of instructions or a paragraph of feedback from their chair, or they get one or two comments in the first couple of pages and they'll say, oh, I really wish I got more feedback, but your chair and your committee are not going to make a comment at every point in the text that they want you to change. a lot of times they're going to be making more general comments that you have to apply throughout. And you want to make sure you're actually addressing those comments as you're revising so that when you resubmit your document, they're not going to say, you didn't do what I asked you to do, I want you to do this, this, and this. You want to make sure you're actually addressing their comments, addressing their recommendations so you can move more quickly and more easily through the approval process.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following:

Poll:

How long do you typically spend revising a draft between submissions?

  • Less than an hour
  • Several hours
  • A few days
  • A few weeks
  • More than a month

[The webinar layout changes to open up a poll box for students to respond to the poll question.]

Audio: And at this point, I would like to have a poll and I would like to see how long people typically spend revising their draft. And this is between submissions. So, this isn't, you know, I wrote chapter 1 and I spent six months going back and forth. Not that. I'm interested in how long you spend revising before you then resubmit based on comments.

[Pause as students respond to the poll.]

Oh, interesting. Okay. All right. We'll get people a couple more minutes to get answers in. It looks like almost everybody has had a chance. All right. And now I will broadcast results. And it looks like we have a nice little -- a nice little bell curve here. So, we have some people who do just very minimal, they spend less than an hour looking at it. And some people, one person spends more than a month. and everybody else is sort of kind of in the middle.

My recommendation moving forward, and I will say this on the next slide, I think, but make sure you build in what you probably feel like is more time than you need for revision. Because the focus of your writing practice is actually going to shift where drafting and generating content is going to become less important than reworking and honing the content that you've already written. And that reworking and that honing is going to be the revision process. So, it may -- most of you are sort of in the middle, where you take a few days, you kind of get their feedback, you sort of look at it and adjust it. When you're writing a section at a time or when you're writing -- let's say you've written your literature review, it may take you, you know, several weeks, actually, to address everything if somebody says, okay, I'd like you to revise your literature review, I want you to reorganize for these themes, and I want to make sure you read, you know, you read based on these key authors that I think are relevant that aren't included. So, that revision for that literature review may take way more than a couple of days, even if you're used to doing a couple of days' revision for, let's say, a course paper or a position paper that you've written.

You also want to make sure that you are not -- I would say -- overly revising. So, people can go one of two ways. They can either just read over something quickly, make a couple of changes just at the points where there are comments in their text and turn around and resubmit. Or they might do a find and replace and resubmit. And they don't really give themselves the necessary time to kind of sit with and think and kind of marinate in the recommendations that someone has given and really apply them on a deeper level but you also don't want to be in the position where you are just caught in an endless cycle of revision, where you are, you know, revising forever and there's always something that you can fix and always something that could be better. So, everyone wants to finish, everyone wants to graduate. You don't want to put yourself in a position where you are so entrenched in revision that you are afraid to then submit and move on. So, you want to be efficient in the time that you give for yourself and you want to work at a steady pace so that you can move forward, but you want to make sure you're not rushing through it so that you can then get stuck later on in the process. Because everybody gets a set amount of time to comment on your work. So, you don't want to do just a quick cursory revision just to address a couple of quick key things and then get it returned for even further revision. You want to make sure you're giving yourself enough time to really think about the comments you're getting back and really see how you can apply them.

But, yeah, yeah, this was an interesting distribution, it looks like everybody kind of has a different approach to how long they're taking.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Revision and the Doctoral Capstone Writing Process

Check out the Revision Strategies and Revision Checklist documents available to download in the Files pod in the lower right corner

Audio: Oh, thanks. And you may have already downloaded some of these slides, but I wanted to draw your attention to two specific documents that are available for download for you in the files pod. And that is the document for revision strategies and the revision checklist. Some of this information is going to be repeated in the slides that I'm about to present, but these documents are also, hopefully, helpful for you to save and take with you after this webinar and adapt and use in your own revision moving forward. So, hopefully these are useful resources for you, and as you will see, the checklist is even something you can adapt. So, there are links and tips in these documents, but you can even adapt and create your own revision checklist based on your revision needs. But I wanted to point those out.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Linear versus Iterative Process

Linear:

  • Collect è Organize è Outline è Write è Submit

Iterative

  • Collect /generate information è
  • Organize information into sections and subsections è
  • Outline content in sections & subsections è
  • Write a draft è
  • Read draft (have someone else read it) and revise è

[These items are shown in a circle with “Read draft (have someone else read it) and revise” pointing back to “Collect/generate information.”]

Audio: Keep in mind that writing at this stage, when you are writing -- when you are moving, you know, from course work to capstone, when you are writing, your proposal and your final study, that it really highlights how much writing is an iterative process. So, this means that you're not just kind of drafting and submitting with maybe one round of feedback, you are caught in this circle of iterative revision where you get information, you organize that information, you write it out, you compose a draft, you revise and adjust and you submit for feedback and then you get it back. So, this may be more rounds of revision than you're used to, more feedback than you're used to. and you shouldn't take that as revision, you don't necessarily need to take that as a source of frustration, that really is how your faculty is helping you.

So, in a course situation, the faculty will help you by creating a syllabus and by creating courses and creating course materials and, you know, answering questions and things like this. The way faculty is there to help you at this stage is to help guide you in your revision process. Essentially. That you'll have a draft, they'll help you through the revision process for the time that you are developing your study, creating your draft and moving through the approval process. So, keep that in mind.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Revising at the Capstone Stage

  • Do not try to write a perfect first draft
  • Make revision the most important stage in your process
  • Give yourself enough time
    • Take time away from your document before rereading
    • Leave room in your schedule to rework what you write

Audio: And that is why I recommend people -- everybody has a different process, things work differently for different people. But my strong recommendation is to be less precious about the drafting process itself. So, sometimes people can have a mindset where I'm only going to sit down to write when what I'm going to write is ready to show to somebody. That is going to cause to you spend -- I think that's going to cause you a lot of pain and frustration, moving forward in the doctoral process, if you only sit down to write, if you plan to write things other people are going to see. I think it really helps you loosen up your mind, get your ideas going, look for connections, find inspiration, really see the connections and the arguments and the logical pathways between previous researchers, if you start to use the writing process, the drafting process as part of your thinking process.

So, you can sit down to write, produce a draft, think of that as step one, whereas, maybe if you're writing in a course, producing a draft is like step four or five of maybe six steps. Really think of writing out a draft as step one. That's where things begin. You have a draft, okay, it's time to make -- work on this draft. And start to prioritize revision as the most important stage in your writing. And that is you need to give yourself enough time, this is a running theme, you want to give yourself enough time, not because you want to spend endless time revising, you don't want to spend -- everybody wants to graduate, everybody wants to get through their program as efficiently as possible, but you don't want to rush because if you rush, you are going to run into trouble. If you rush at the early stages, you're going to find stumbling blocks later on. As you want to go at a steady pace but you want to make sure that you are giving yourself enough time to do what needs to be done so you don't run into trouble later on. So, I highly recommend people get used to taking breaks, get used to taking breaks from your draft, so give yourself enough time to walk away and, you know, do something totally different, clear your mind before you have to come back and reread it for revision.

I highly recommend not sitting down to revise right after you've written something. Write it out, save it, file it, go do something else, say, okay, I'm going to revise this tomorrow. I'm going to revise this, you know, I wrote it this morning, I'm going to revise it this afternoon. Give yourself a break from your draft so that you can have a chance to adjust your mental activity so that instead of generating content you're really focusing on revision. And you want to leave room in your schedule to rework what you've written. So, if you have a plan for yourself, you say, okay, I want to make sure I have finished my proposal by the end of, you know, I want to write my proposal in six months, or whatever your plan is. However, you decide to divide up your time. and you say, okay, I'm going to make sure I have chapter 2 ready to submit to my chair by the end of October. You want to make sure you schedule enough time in October to actually do the revisions you need to do before you can present something that you want your chair to see.

So, leave room in your schedule for revision and make sure that revision becomes really kind of the star of the show in terms of the work that you're doing. Because it actually is much easier to adjust something you've already written than to just think of having to generate new content all the time because so many -- so many times I see drafts and people say, I'm having trouble, it doesn't look like I want it to, my chair wants me to fix this or that, and I feel like I have to rewrite the whole thing. I say, stop, no. You already have a draft, you don't have to rewrite anything. You just have to adjust what's already there and that, I think, psychologically is just a lot easier to deal with if you already have a draft to work with and I think what you end up with is a lot better if you don't start from scratch every time you need to make a change.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Global or “Big Picture” Concerns

These affect the draft overall and require abstract thinking and critical assessment of your own work

  • Does is address all requirements?
  • How is it organized? Is there a logical structure to the ideas?
  • Is it coherent? Are the main ideas clear?
  • Do you see any patterns of things you want to fix or change?

Audio: To say a little more about what we call, like, the global or the big picture or some people call them higher-order concerns, kind of the larger document elements that you focus on when we talk about revision. These affect the overall -- sort of the overall draft and they're kind of more abstract. It's really easy to point to a sentence and say, oh, this verb doesn't go with this noun, or to point to a citation and say, oh, this comma should go here instead of here. It's a little bit more abstract to say, you know, I think you need to reorder your paragraphs so they follow a logical structure. Like I can't really draw you a picture of what that looks like. That's a little bit more abstract. So, the revision parts of it, it's like more of a critical -- you're doing a different kind of critical-thinking exercise. Most important, make sure you're addressing all the requirements. I'm going to emphasize this a lot, you're going to be sick of hearing it, but it's so important and it's one of the main things that can cause you trouble later on if you don't focus on, and that is addressing all requirements. Make sure you're doing everything that you intend to do, make sure you're doing everything that is required by the program for the section that you're writing, for example. So, did this address all of the requirements?

Is it organized well? Does it make sense? Am I saying the same thing in the beginning that I'm saying at the end or did I contradict myself? Are my main points clear? Did I forget to mention them because I thought they were obvious, because they were obvious to me? Things like that, that you want to make sure you're focusing on when you're looking at the global or the big-picture revision concerns.

Another thing that you can also mention here are patterns that you want to fix. So, they may be sentence-level things, but they're patterns of things. Not just kind of isolated errors or isolated stylistic preferences, it can be patterns of stuff that you start to notice about yourself as a writer. So, you may start to notice, I'll tell on myself first, when I really started focusing -- taking revision seriously and focusing on revision and reading my own work, I notice, man, my sentences are so long and, so, -- like every other sentence was maybe five lines -- just too long, too long sentences where you just run out of breath reading them. and I started to notice that as a pattern. So that was one of the things that I would look for in my own writing. So, it's not technically one of those higher-order, global, sort of organizational issues, but it is something that happens throughout the whole draft and it's something I want to make sure I look for. So, noting patterns, too, even if it is sentence-level patterns is an important thing because then you become more self-aware about yourself as a writer.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Ways to Develop Revision Skills

  • Be self-aware of your strengths and weaknesses
    • Too wordy? Too terse?
    • Forget topic sentences? Trouble with transitions?
  • Become a peer reviewer
  • See your work as a reader and not the writer
    • Read the document aloud or have it read to you
    • Change how the text looks on the page when you read over it
  • Learn to reverse outline!

Audio: And that's another way that you can start to develop your revision skills, being self-aware about how you write. You can say, well, I just, you know, I'm really wordy, I just write, I use 15 words when I could use five. And that's important to know about yourself because that's okay in a first draft. I think a first draft is for you, the rest of the drafts are for everybody else. So, first draft can be as wordy as you need it to be as long as you know that's something you do, and you can go back and you get some practice and develop the skills you need in order to cut it down to maybe ten words if you don't need 15. So just being aware of the stuff that crops up, the kind of writer you are, the things you tend to do, and then you can know to look for them and then you know to adjust for them in your revision process.

I know you don't have, necessarily, a lot of time to do this, you may have less opportunity to do this now that you are doing your own original research, you're not really in a course structure, this is Walden, of course, so you're all in different places, you're all, you know, scattered across the globe, so it's not like there's a study lounge where you can go and exchange papers, but if you have the opportunity to become a peer reviewer or to, you know, exchange documents or to give someone else feedback, that is a great way to develop revision skills that you can then use on yourself. Because, you know, revising your own work is, in a way, the hardest thing because it makes total sense to you. But practicing giving feedback to other people and say, oh, okay, I can see that you're doing this in your draft, so maybe you could do it this way, or I wasn't clear on what you meant here, starting to do that, you can start to see, okay, I can actually look at my own draft that way and maybe apply some of these same -- some of these same principles. So, becoming a peer reviewer or giving other people feedback on their work is a great way to get practice on the skills you need to review your own work.

And, yeah, seeing your work as a reader and not a writer, as I think I said already, is one of the toughest things. But that is… It's going to help you a lot if you are able to do that, if you're able to read your own work. I know some people, I have one colleague who is almost finished with his doctorate and he was -- he would proudly proclaim for the first couple of years, he says, I don't read -- I don't read over anything, I don't read my own work, I don't need to read over it. And then he started reading over his own work, and he said, I wish I'd been reading over my own work the whole time because it could have been so much better. So, I know that if you're not used to doing it, it can feel kind of cringey, sort of like hearing your voice on a recording, oh, that doesn't -- you know, it doesn't read the way it sounded in your head when you wrote it, things like that. Everybody feels that way, and the more practice you give yourself, looking at your work as a reader, reading over your own work, the happier you will be with the product at the end of it.

The main strategy I'm going to talk to you about is called reverse outlining and I'm going talk to you about it in three different ways based on those three different priorities that I suggested to you a couple of slides ago in terms of program requirements, saying what you meant to say, and then following your committee feedback. But I wish I were here and I could ask for a show of hands, lots of people are familiar with outlining just in general in the typical form of outlining where you do some -- you do your research, you take some notes, you do some preliminary kind of maybe free writing or some, you know, key words to get some ideas together and then you do an outline where you make basically a list of everything that you want to include in your draft, you want to say, okay, I have this paragraph and then I'm going to make this point, this point, this point, and then I'm going to have this element and I'm going to do this. And then based on that list of elements, then you start writing. Reverse outlining, as the name suggests, is something you do after you have written a draft. And reverse outlining is, I think, just -- it's such a helpful way to teach yourself to look at your work as a reader instead of the person who wrote it. Reverse outlining is a great way to catch whether you said what you thought you said in a way that you think, well, I'll be able to know, when you're just reading over it, but reverse outlining is so helpful and I'm going to show you a couple of ways that you can apply it as you're working on your draft.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: The Reverse Outline I: Following degree requirements

  • Become familiar with guidebook, handbook, checklist, and/or rubric for your degree
  • Follow the appropriate guide or checklist to ensure your draft includes all necessary information

Audio: The first one is making sure you're following your degree requirements. And I thought it best not to demonstrate this because everybody has -- everybody's in a different program and all the programs have different documents for this. So instead of going over each and every one of them, I just wanted to direct everybody to the Office of Student Research Administration and that link on your screen right now on the slides is live, you can click on that now if you want, or later, you can get to it, it's through your student portal. You go to the Walden research office, the Center for Research Quality, and they have the Office of Student Research Administration, and they have all of the program documents for each of your programs. So, if you were to click on that link, you would see a list of degrees down the left-hand side of your page, D.I.T., D.N.P., D.B.A., Ph.D., you click on the link for your specific degree and all of the documents you're going to need are there.

Programs call it different things, but you want to make sure you are familiar with the document that outlines which parts are required in each section of your document. So, in some it's a rubric, in some it's a checklist, some it's part of the guidebook, but you want to go through the program documents for your program and make sure you have the document, so for Ph.D., for example, there's a checklist, so there's a qualitative, quantitative or a mixed methods checklist. You want to make sure you have that checklist saved and that you're using that at every stage of the process. for D.B.A., it's your rubric that's part of your handbook. So, I won't go through each of them. But you want to make sure you're using, whether it's called a checklist or a rubric, you want to make sure that you're familiar with the document that outlines each and every piece that belongs in your study.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: The Reverse Outline I: Following degree requirements

  • In your draft:
    • Note in the margins what the checklist or guide requires for each section of your document.
    • Highlight the passages that address each requirement for that section.

Visit the Academic Skills Center for more information on using MS Word editing tools.

Audio: How does this apply to reverse outlining? Well, and this sounds simple, but I'm telling you, it is surprisingly helpful as you are going over your document. You can do this in a number of different ways, depending on how you work with your draft and how you work in Word. But what I suggest people do is let's say you have a -- you're writing a PhD and you have a draft of chapter 1. What is surprisingly helpful is you can just do a little comment bubble at each heading, each of the required headings, do a little comment bubble, and write out all of the required elements. Oh, sorry, is there – does someone have a question? Oh, okay. I thought someone unmuted.

Beth: No, sorry about that, Lydia, nope, we're good. Sorry.

Lydia: Yeah, feel free to jump in if there's anything. I'll pause in a second, too. So, in your document, let's say you have your draft of chapter 1, in your headings, you can do a comment bubble on your heading and then in that comment bubble list the required elements that are outlined on the checklist. and then as you're going over revising your draft for each section, you want to go through what you've actually written and highlight the places where you address what's in those requirements. and you would be surprised how many times you thought you said something that you didn't say. So, for instance, I will just use Ph.D., because that's what I started with, if you are doing a qualitative study in the Ph.D., and you are revising your nature of the study section in your chapter 1, and you go through and you look at the three required elements, basically, to provide a concise rationale, briefly describe the key concepts and briefly summarize the methodology, you may think you explained your selection of design, but if you go through and you actually do this meticulously, you like go through the list of required elements, you highlight where you've addressed them in your actual draft, you may notice, oh, I actually never said -- oh, I actually didn't do that, I just said that I was going to use this particular design but I didn't really provide a rationale. It's a great way to catch things that your URR then doesn't have to catch later on when they send the document back to you without approving it. So, it may sound simple, it may sound self-evident, but I'm telling you, this will really help make sure you are addressing all of the required elements and will help you catch things that you thought you said that you didn't say.

And I have a link here for Microsoft Word elements. That… if you have questions about working with the editing tools in Microsoft Word, please check that out. The Academic Skills Center has some great resources. And I'll talk a little bit more about that later, too. But I just wanted to mention that if people had questions about comment bubbles, for example.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: The Reverse Outline II: Summarize each paragraph and what it’s doing there

  • For some parts of your draft, the program requirements are very proscriptive and the guide or checklist will provide all the structure you need.
  • For other parts of your draft, such as the literature review, the necessary subsections and the organization of paragraphs depend on your topic, the available literature, and what you determine is the best way to present your synthesized assessment.
  • Paragraph organization strategies such as the MEAL plan can help you determine what is missing from existing body paragraphs in the draft, such as topic sentences.

Audio: The next type of reverse outline is what is kind of a more typical outline, and that is showing yourself what you said to make sure you said what you meant. And this -- so, for some sections, it's very prescribed. So, your introductory chapter, section at least, you know, the first half of your section 1, if you're doing a DBA, for example, or section 2 for an Ed.D. project study, you know, some of the sections it's very prescribed, you have very specific things you have to include and it's outlined in great detail on the checklist or rubric for your program. Some sections, because you're doing original research, are really just -- there's a lot of variability based on your individual study.

So, for example, your literature review, there's going to be a lot of variability, there's not going to be as much guidance in the checklist or when you're presenting your results, you know, they're your results, so there's probably a lot of variability in how you can organize that. Same with your conclusions and recommendations and things like that. Or your description of your project. Or some of the stuff there's going to be a lot of variability. So, this type of reverse outline is going to be very helpful to you. And this is where you go through what you've written and you actually outline for yourself what each paragraph says. And I have a link here about the MEAL plan. I know some of you may already be very familiar with the MEAL plan.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: The MEAL Plan

Main Idea ♦Evidence ♦Analysis ♦Lead out

        Multiple studies indicated a strong link between transportation availability and student engagement in extracurricular activities. Author X (2010) argued that the cost of public transportation in the Midwest affected student participation in after school activities, which was similar to findings in studies across the country. Author Y (2012) reported that 60% of high school students in the United States relied on school buses to get home, meaning that the majority of students had no alternative means of getting home if they decided to stay after regular school hours. According to Author Z (2009), in a study of after school program attendance most of the participants (74%) received rides home from parents or friends. In addition to transportation availability, researchers have noted a strong correlation between student participation in extracurricular activities and parental involvement . . .

Audio: But in case some of you aren't, I think the -- following the MEAL plan is actually very helpful after you've written something because it shows very clearly if something's missing. So, the MEAL plan is m-e-a-l: main idea, evidence, analysis and a lead-out. And it looks sort of like this when applied. So here I know I have a topic sentence. I have a mixture of evidence and analysis. And I have a lead-out that kind of sums everything up and connects to the next idea.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: The Reverse Outline II: Summarize each paragraph and what it’s doing there

  • In your draft:
    • Note in the margins the main idea of each body paragraph and why it belongs in that section or subsection.
    • Create an outline based on your marginal notes so you can visualize what is in your draft, where you need to elaborate, what you can reorganize, and where you can condense or combine material.

Audio: The MEAL plan is a really helpful pneumonic to use when you are doing reverse outlining to see what you said once you've said it. So, in your draft, note in the margins the main idea of each paragraph. and it's helpful to do this paragraph by paragraph instead of just saying, oh, yeah, in this section I talk about this. It's really helpful to get down to the paragraph level because then you can say, oh, actually there are, like, four main ideas in this paragraph and I don't elaborate on any of them. Or you can say, I don't really know what this paragraph's doing here. I don't think I ever said the point. So, that's a really helpful way, especially in longer sections, like the literature review, where you can say, oh, actually, this paragraph doesn't need to be here, or this paragraph relates to a whole different section.

And then you can create an outline based on this reverse writing out what each paragraph is for and then it's easier to sort of see what you wrote because your literature review may be 30 pages and it's hard to think about, you know, it's hard to just sort of scan a literature review and see what it is. So, doing the reverse outlining for a longer passage is sometimes a very efficient and very effective way of seeing what you wrote and seeing what you might want to change.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: The Reverse Outline III: Focus on feedback

  • You will receive different feedback from different people at various stages of doctoral capstone development
  • Your overseeing faculty will focus on different things each time they look at your draft
  • Find a way to keep track of the various sources of feedback and how you will address it in your revisions

Audio: The third type of reverse outline that I suggest is focusing on feedback. and I'll go a little bit faster because I know we had a late start and I think we may go a little bit over, but if people need to leave at the top of the hour, I want to make sure that I get some questions answered. So, you want to make sure that you follow kind of the same steps you did for the first two types of reverse outline, except in this instance, based on the kind of feedback you get. So, as I said, you're going to get lots of different -- you're going to get feedback from different people. There are going to be several people sort of supporting and overseeing you in the development of your study. And you want to make sure you're addressing all of that feedback before you then resubmit for approval.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: The Reverse Outline III: Focus on feedback

  • In your draft:
    • Read over all comments carefully and make a list of the global, “big picture” concerns your overseeing faculty wants you to address
    • Note in the margins each time you see the issue or pattern of error in your draft
    • Look back over the document as a whole and strategize how best to address faculty concerns

Audio: So, in your draft, you want to make sure you read over -- once you get something back from your chair, your second committee, your URR, you want to make sure you read all the comments first. So, you don't want to start with, you know, the first comment, make a revision, read the second comment, make a revision you want to make sure you read everything they send back to you all at once. And some of them will send a summative paragraph at the beginning and make marginal comments and some will just make marginal comments. You want to make sure you read them all before you start making changes.

And then you'll have sort of a list of the main things they want you to focus on in the document. Then for yourself, do a reverse outline. Go through the whole document, note in the margins, each time you see the issue -- or you see what's happening, you see a place that you're going to need to make that change, and then you look back over the document and say, okay, these are the places that I saw what they were talking about, because they're not going to mark everywhere in the draft they see an issue, a lot of the time. They're going to say, oh, you need to do this one thing, but it's a thing that you need to do that applies to, you know, maybe 40 pages. So, they're not going to mark everywhere you're going to make a change, they're just going to make one suggestion that you're going to have to change throughout.

So, you have the reverse outline. You have a list of all the places or marked all the places where this issue comes up and then you can say, okay, how am I going to fix this? It may mean, oh, maybe I need to write a new section, or maybe I need to put these paragraphs in a different order. Maybe I need to condense. But it's just easier to kind of visualize it if you have the reverse outline in this way.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following:

Poll:

Which option best reflects your revision style?

Audio: I don't know. Do you all think there's time for another poll? I may skip over this one just so that I can –

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Becoming an Effective and Efficient Self-Editor

Check out the Grammar Journal, Grammar Journal Example, and Proofreading Tips documents available to download in the Files pod in the lower right corner

Audio: Instead of doing this poll, however, I would pause and see if there are any questions that I can address before I move on to effective and efficient self-editing. Have any questions come up? No. Okay. I will move on.

So, for this one, and you may have already seen these, I will direct your attention to the grammar journal and the grammar journal example in the documents. I won't go -- I won't spend a lot of time on those in this session, but the grammar journal example will show you kind of ways that you can apply the grammar journal in your own proofreading and then there's a list of proofreading tips.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Proofreading at the Capstone Stage

  • Even professional authors make mistakes, and everyone needs to proofread
  • Wait until you are happy with the content before you start polishing
  • Give yourself enough time
    • You read differently when looking at content than when looking at mechanics and grammar
    • The document is long, and proofreading is detailed work

Audio: But, so, as I said at the beginning, revision is one sort of mental activity and then proofreading is the other kind of mental activity. So even -- everybody makes mistakes is the first thing I will say. So, don't feel bad if there is necessary proofreading in your document because everybody needs it. There have been documents that have gone to publication and been sold to the public that had mistakes in them. It just happens. So, don't take it as a failure if, for example, you've submitted your prospectus to the Writing Center and they have some suggestions or if you've submitted to your chair and they've made some proofreading marks, don't feel bad, everybody does it and proofreading is a skill that you can develop to mitigate some of that, but no draft is going to be perfect. Even if somebody has, you know, even the most beautiful well-edited, well-crafted documents get comments back from editors during form and style. So that's just part of it. Everybody gets proofreading feedback.

You want to wait until you are happy with the content before you do a final polish. You may do some, like, sentence-level proofreading, like I said, at the beginning, to clarify your ideas as you're kind of still working stuff out before you revise, but before you do a final polish, you want to make sure you are happy with all of the content so you then don't spend a lot of time polishing something that you're going to delete or move or change.

And again, you want to make sure you give yourself enough time. And time in this case is really just because the document is going to be so long. It doesn't – you know, it may not take a long time to proofread a single page. And even if you're really used to proofreading or really good at proofreading, it may not take long to proofread a single page, but your final study may be 150, 200, 200 plus pages, and that's long. So, any kind of tips and tricks for proofreading I think will be very helpful because then it feels like less of a chore. It feels like, you know, something that is not an insurmountable task, it feels doable. And you want to make sure you give yourself enough time to do that.

And I also wanted to indicate, don't try and revise and proofread at the same time because it really is -- it's amazing how little content you can absorb when you are reading for proofreading mistakes and it's amazing how many proofreading mistakes you can completely miss when you're reading for content. I think it just -- I wouldn't be surprised if those parts of the brain don't even talk to each other. Because I think -- it's amazing how, if I'm reading something and I'm just looking for spelling and citations and commas, I can get to the end of the paragraph and I have no idea what the paragraph is about. Same as if I'm reading for content, I'm really absorbed, I'm really interested and I can look back and say, oh, you know, my name was misspelled and I didn't even notice it. So, really treat those as separate things because I think it's really difficult to do both well at once.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Local or “Small Picture” Concerns

These affect sentence- and paragraph-level clarity, consistency, and precision of meaning.

  • Are the citations correct?
  • Are the grammar and sentence structure correct? Is the punctuation?
  • Is the wording precise? Is the style formal enough?
  • Does the text follow all formatting requirements?

Audio: It's easy to maybe think because revision, we talk about global or big picture or higher order and for proofreading we talk about local or small picture or lower order that proofreading is less important. But there are some proofreading elements that are -- I mean, all proofreading is important, but the most important is your citations. Making sure you have a clear, clean, accurate references list, making sure you have clear, clean, accurate citations is one of the most important things that you can have as a researcher because if you have mistakes or errors in your citations and your reference entries, the whole system falls down. Other researchers can't -- you know, they don't work. The citations aren't actually performing their function if they're incorrect because if somebody reads over it, the citation's wrong, they can't find the reference entry it matches, or if the reference entry is wrong, they can't find the source they're looking for, the whole thing falls apart. So, proofreading, it's not that proofreading is less important than revision, they're just different functions, but keep in mind that there is some proofreading that is very, verym very important. You know, if you have a comma in the wrong place, that's fine, people can overlook it. But if you have errors in your citations and your reference entries that you didn't proofread, that can cause a lot of problems when it comes to contributing to future research.

So, think of proofreading not just as kind of looking over to make sure the grammar is correct, which is important and that the words are clear, which is important, but that also, you know, don't skip over the citations and the reference entries because those are very important to proofread, too.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Ways to Develop Proofreading Skills

  • Be self-aware of common errors you make
    • Try using a grammar journal
    • Make your own style guide “cheat sheet”
  • See your work as a reader and not the writer
    • Read the document aloud or have it read to you
    • Change how the text looks on the page when you read over it
  • Know where to look up answers instead of trying to memorize everything

Audio: As with revision, you want to make sure you are self-aware as a writer in terms of proofreading. This could mean, you could say, okay, I need to set aside a lot of time to make sure that grammar and syntax are correct or I need to set aside a lot of time to make sure that the word usage is precise or if you know you use a lot of colloquial language and you say, my writing isn't very formal so I know I need to spend a lot of time focusing on formal academic writing when I'm doing my proofreading. But being self-aware, it's really useful because it helps you know what to look out for and it helps you know what skills to develop and the grammar journal is very helpful for that.

Another thing I suggest is that people can make their own style guide. So, kind of the way that you can adapt the revision checklist that is available, you can make your own style guide. So, if there are ten APA rules that you always know you have to look up, you can just have one sheet of paper that has those ten rules or those ten guidelines and then as you're looking over your document, you can say, oh, I forgot the rule for et al and you can just look over at your cheat sheet. So, making those little style guides for yourself can make the proofreading process go a lot faster because you have it all there on one sheet of paper for quick reference and you can use that as you go over the things, like if you know you make a certain mistake over and over again or just to have the guideline there right at your fingertips, making your own cheat sheet, I think, is helpful because it's unique to you and what you need to know.

Know where to look up answers instead of trying to memorize everything. Knowing where to go to find information is, I think, one of the best skills that you can develop as a higher scholar, as a doctoral scholar. A lot of being a doctor is, you know, knowing how to think, knowing where to go for information. There is some depth of knowledge that's necessary, but a lot of it is knowing how to navigate the available resources to find the answer you need. Rather than relying on memorizing all of the answers to begin with. And I think the same is true for APA style, proofreading, grammar, syntax, knowing where to go to get your question answered is, I think, much better than trying to keep everything in your head at once. So, that's -- yeah, that's my theme for writing a doctoral study or a dissertation, is don't try and keep it in your head all at once. Offload as much as possible into the world in terms of, you know, notes or drafts or other resources where you can look things up.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Proofreading Resources

Audio: Here are some of those resources that I want to go over. Some of them are documents you can download in this presentation. Grammarly is a great resource. Some of you may already use Grammarly a lot. A couple of things to note, some of you may be using Grammarly where you can just upload your document or copy information into it. Once you get to the longer documents, Grammarly actually can't sustain it, so you would have to upload it in pieces or download a piece at a time or copy a piece at a time. But you can download Grammarly as an add-in so it shows up in your Word for longer documents. So, if you're really comfortable with Grammarly, you like using Grammarly, but you don't want to break up your document like that, do keep in mind that there is an option for you to download the add-in to your Microsoft so that you can actually keep using it but in a longer document that won't actually fit if you try and upload it in the old way.

There's also the Microsoft grammar and style check you can use. The classic, oldy but a goody, APA style manual, 6th edition Just make sure you have your copy, make sure you have it close. You can always ask the Writing Center questions, you can always contact the editors, if you have questions. But I highly recommend people get used to going to the APA Style Blog, too, because if you have a question about something, it's not in the manual, you can't find a resource for it, a lot of times there is actually a specific answer in the APA style blog. So, for example, if you're not sure how to cite a table, you don't just want to kind of make it up. If you go to the APA style blog, it actually has answers for how to cite, you know, a specific kind of source in a table note. So, check that out. That's a great place if you have questions -- you're not sure how to format something, you're not sure exactly how something is supposed to look, check out the APA style blog.

Merriam Webster’s dictionary is a great thing, too, and I also have some general resources linked here for resources on the Writing Center website in terms of proofreading and revising for grammar.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Proofreading “Tricks” for Longer Documents

  • The “Find” function
    • Leave notes to yourself (e.g., “find citation”)
    • Check citations/reference entries for consistency
  • The “Replace” function
    • Make bulk changes more efficiently
    • Check citations and reference entries for consistency
  • Different “View” options

Visit the Academic Skills Center for more information on using MS Word editing tools.

Audio: As I mentioned, this is a great big document, as you know, and proofreading can be -- is very detailed work. It's very, like, small-scaled, detail oriented and it just feel really daunting to go through that big long document. So, make sure you are using the Word processing and editing tools available to you to the best advantage so that you're not stuck, you know, scrolling through page after page after page. You want to make sure you're using tools that are going to make it go faster for you. There are a lot of these, and you may already be familiar with all of these. You may know several that I haven't even mentioned. Or you may not be familiar with these at all and you're not -- and you're not used to kind of doing this because you haven't had to really work with an unwieldy document of this size in the Microsoft Word format. and some people just prefer to print things out.

But if you don't want to print things out and you want to work with things on the screen, I highly recommend the find function, I wish the find function were available in the real world so when I lose my keys, I could just say control F and I know where my keys are. But in 150-page document, the find function is really helpful because it takes you exactly to where you want to go and it shows you how many times something shows up in a document, wherever it is, so, if you're not sure, you know, maybe you knew that you had the wrong citation and you used the wrong citation through the whole document for this one source, and you may have used it seven or eight times, and instead of having to scroll through and look for that citation, you can just do a find for that and it shows you all seven times you used it and then you can fix it and everything's great. So, it's much faster, the find function just saves so much time, it saves so much of my time. I'm a find function evangelist, I hope everybody gives it a try if you haven't already.

The replace function, also really useful in a longer document. So, if you spelled something wrong, you can just do a replace. Be careful with the replace all because sometimes in context, it may make a change you don't want it to change. But be careful about that. But it's really helpful to make sure, you know, that authors' names are spelled consistently or if you know you were using a term incorrectly in one chapter you can do a replace for that so it's really helpful and then the different view options lets you look at different parts of your document at the same time. So, you don't have to print it out, and like, hold different pages in your hands. You can actually use that on your screen.

And, again, I have the link for the Academic Skills Center for people if you want to investigate some of the editing tools that are available to you that are just going to make your life much easier so that you're not caught up in a lot of this stuff when what you really want to be doing is either polishing your document, reading over your document or preparing to graduate, preparing to move on, preparing to move through the approval process. and all of these things are here to make that happen more easily.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following:

Chat Question:

What proofreading or revising tricks or tools do you suggest? What do you want to try after this session?

[The webinar layout changes to open a chat box for students to type into in response to the chat question.]

Audio: If we have time, -- well, first, I will sort of combine this, I guess. I think I would like to ask everybody if you have any additional proofreading or revising tricks that you use? I'm interested in what people do. Because sometimes you have -- you're in this experience, you're in the middle of it, and you may have things that you try that I missed or things that you've discovered that the editors just haven't found out about yet, so, please, if you have stuff that do you that works, let us know because your colleagues who are also viewing this can maybe benefit from your experience. So please let us know. and as people are typing, as people are sharing, I will ask Dan or Beth if there are anything -- if there are any questions or if there's anything in the background that I should address as people are typing.

Dan: Hey, Lydia?

Lydia: Yes, hi, Dan.

Dan: Can you hear me?

Lydia: I can, yes.

Dan: Good. I just wanted to point out, I thought one good question that was asked that I thought maybe you could share your ideas on, was, one from Addy, any tips to revise the writing at the organizational level, and then she asked if she should use the research argument to tie chapters together and she also talked about, like, kind of breaking the argument up over the course of the chapters and if that was a good way, you know, like, spreading out the research argument across the course of the chapters, you know. So, I mean, how would you think about organization and using organization -- the organization of the document or the study itself while revising?

Lydia: Yeah.

Dan: and I responded, I had some of my ideas, but I just thought I'd maybe throw it out to you while you're giving people a little time.

Lydia: Oh, sure. and I see we have a lot -- yeah. I see someone suggests hiring someone. I don't know, Dan or Beth, if you want to put the link in there about the editor's tips for hiring an outside editor, while I think about this.

Dan: Actually, I already did that in a response to a question. So that's out there.

Lydia: Okay, awesome, excellent. So, how to revise for organization. Well, -- so that's one of those sort of tricky, abstract things that's going to kind of be different for everybody based on the document. I think for me and what I have seen work for people, if you are concerned about organization of a chapter, of a section, to do that reverse outline or to do your regular outline, and then see if you can -- see if -- you know, that outline tells a story or, for lack of a better phrase, if there's a logical sequence or a logical structure or a justification to why things are in that order, basically. Like, if you have -- if you have a list of the main ideas of all of your paragraphs, if you put these paragraphs in a different order, would it make any difference? And if the answer's no, it wouldn't make any difference, you probably need to do some revision. So, that's what I would say, once you have the reverse outline together and you have a list of all the things you've actually written, see if that list can be put together in sort of a logical progression. Do they need to know, A first before you tell them B before you tell them C? Why are you telling them these things in this order? and if you don't have an answer, you need to think about coming up with one. Because the answer of why these paragraphs are in this order is really kind of -- that's the answer of what the structure is or what the organization is.

That would be my suggestion. So, like, not only reverse outlining to see what all the different paragraphs say, but once you see what all the different paragraphs say, do they connect, can you figure out why you said this before that and then to experiment also, like, put things in a different order. Not, you know, not your -- don't put your research questions before your problem statement, you know, like, some stuff has to be in a specific order based on your checklist. But if it's your -- I'll just do the literature review because that's the example I always use, why are you talking about these themes in this order? Is it important to talk about this variable and the research about this variable before the other one? Why? Why are you doing it this way? Why did you choose these subsections? So, if you can think to yourself, if you can justify why you did things in a certain order, and then strengthen that justification by, like, adding in transitions, that's often really helpful. But I would just -- yeah, that's my main suggestion is to make sure you can actually explain to yourself why things happened in the order they did and if you don't know, then you can figure out a way to change it, make it better.

In terms of carrying over a research argument between chapters, I don't know if this will exactly answer the question, but the argument you're putting forward in your proposal is -- the argument you're making is, this is the study that needs to happen. So, you're not taking a position like -- it's a different kind of position you're taking than in a course paper or in a persuasive paper. So, let's say you're writing about, I don't know, you're writing about access to health care for, you know, women in rural areas under 35. If you're writing a persuasive paper, you may say something -- you may write a thesis that says, you know, these specific policy initiatives should be undertaken to increase access to health care for women under 35 in rural areas. You are not taking that kind of position in your proposal. The position you're taking in your proposal is, this is the research that needs to happen. And all of the different sections in your document are designed to support that argument.

So, does that -- I don't know if that's answering the question. So, the research argument you're making in the proposal is, this is the research that needs to happen. And then in your final study, your thesis statement, your thesis, for lack of a better word, is, this is research that needed to happen and this is what I found. So, you can think of developing an argument, it's a little bit different than like a -- it's a specific kind of position you're taking and you're not taking a position on an issue, the position you're taking is this research needs to happen and it needs to happen this way. So that's really the argument you're making in your proposal in your final study. Do you think that -- did that make sense? Okay. Good. Good, good.

Well, I know that we've gone a little over an hour at this point. I see lots of good suggestions. I hope people are getting their question answered. There are -- in case someone answered this question already, I apologize, but there are softwares that can generate APA citation and can -- and then can check for APA. You can actually check for some of the APA style guidelines through Microsoft Word. You can tell Microsoft to check for passive voice or the serial comma or stuff like that. But like with any software, you still need to be able to kind of check its work because language is complicated and sloppy and sometimes computers don't know -- you know, sometimes computers do things that are wrong and it doesn't actually match with kind of the messy, organic-ness of language. So, there are some softwares that you can use that do it, but do make sure you recognize where that software falls short, would be my suggestion.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Additional Resources

Help is out there!

Audio: Okay. Well, thanks, everybody, for hanging in through all of the technical difficulties and the -- and my long-windedness and thank you all so much for your suggestions to each other, that was great and for your great questions.

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Form and Style website

[Slide includes a screenshot of the Form and Style website.]

Audio: I want to… I want you to note that we have some additional general resources linked in these slides. One is the form and style website, which is really your one-stop shop for all of your, for any needs specific to the doctoral capstone and this is linked through the Writing Center. Which I'm sure you are already familiar with.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Additional Resources for Capstone Writers

Audio: And I wanted to highlight a couple of capstone-specific resources that may be of use to you. One is the Walden capstone writing community, which is where you have an opportunity to interact with your colleagues and with editors and get more information and more exposure to kind of expectations for academic writing, APA, what the form and style will look like, things like that. And we have five document reviews where you can actually see someone's document being edited and writer hangouts, Dan oversees one of the writer hangouts, if you want to come hang out with Dan in the afternoon, it's a chance for you to kind of sign in and either talk to an editor, if you have questions, have dedicated writing times, things like that.

If you are unaware of the doctoral capstone writing workshops, please check those out. People have found great success, if they have the time and wherewithal to set aside six weeks to participate in one of the doctoral capstone writing workshops. Please check those out. And there's also the doctoral capstone resources website, which links to resources across Walden, so not just the Writing Center, it also links to the Library and the research office and the different programs specifically. You can find the checklist or rubric for your program at that link, too, that's there. So, I want to make sure everybody's aware of those.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Questions after this webinar:

Anytime: editor@waldenu.edu

Looking for more help with your capstone?

Check out the doctoral capstone webinar series for more on writing the different elements of the proposal and final document.

You may also likePreparing for the Form & Style: Common Errors and Editor Q&A

Audio: And we've made it to the end, you guys. Great job. And unless anybody has any additional questions, I will turn it over to Beth.

Beth: Thank you so much, Lydia. We haven't seen any other questions come in. So, I'll go ahead and wrap us up for the day. And, first, I want to thank you for such a wonderful presentation, Lydia. We have so many thanks coming in the Q & A. It sounds like this was really helpful. So, thank you to you for a fantastic presentation, and Dan, thanks so much for your help in the background answering all of the questions that came in. And then lastly, thank you, everyone, for coming in. As Lydia said, thank you for hanging in there with us. We do hope this was useful. We have a couple of other links on this last slide here of other webinars that you can come to. And of course, our October schedule is up and running, so do feel free to register and come to some of those webinars. We'd love to see you there as well. All right, everyone. Have a wonderful evening. And thanks again. We'll see you soon.