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Webinar Transcripts

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

Presented Thursday, April 14, 2016

View the webinar recording

Last updated 5/2/2016

 

Visual: The webinar opens with a large slide show pod in the center. The slide shows the webinar title and lists the names and positions at the Writing Center of the three panelists and the discussion moderator. Stacked to the right of the slide are pods for captioning, Q&A, and files.

Audio: Beth: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us for this webinar and this panel discussion. This is Revising and Self-Editing Your Doctoral Capstone, which is a new sort of format, well, not an entirely new format, we've done panels in the past, but this is a new focus for a panel that we're doing for the Writing Center today, focusing on revising and self-editing your doctoral capstone. And I want to thank you all for joining us and let you know that we're going to have our panelists and our moderator, Lydia, start in just a minute here.

 

Visual: The slide changes to show the housekeeping slide with information that Beth discusses about how the webinar works.

Audio: But before I hand it over to them, I want to start with a couple housekeeping notes real quick. And I guess I should also say that my name is Beth Nastachowski and I'm just going to start us out by doing the housekeeping and I'll be in the background answering any questions or comments that you have in the Q & A box.

Just a couple things before I hand it over to Lydia, we are recording this webinar, this panel discussion, so if you have to leave for any reason or you'd like to come back and review it, you're more than welcome to do so, it will be in the doctoral capstone in the webinar archive. If you're not aware, we do record all of the recordings so you can find them in the archived webinars at any time. We don't have any polls or chats that we're going to be using today because this is a panel discussion. But we do have lots of resources in the files pod for you to download, as well as some links that we welcome you to use as well more information. So I just want to point that out if there are things that seem like they would be useful tools for you or you'd like to know more about, take a look at those files and take a look at the links that we have throughout the slides.

Also note that I'll be monitoring the Q & A box, if you have questions about what the panelists are discussing, I'd be happy to respond to as soon as I can. Also note, if there are particularly relevant questions, we'll take note of that, see if we can fit that into the panel discussion as well. If you do ask a question or you think of a question after the panel that you don't get a chance to ask, please feel free to e-mail us at editor@waldenu.edu, we're happy to help through the e-mail address.

Last thing, if you do have any technical questions or technical issues, please feel free to let me know in the Q & A box, I will try to help us out as much as but there's the help in the top right-hand corner of the screen, that's the place to go for Adobe Connect's technical help. So, with that, I'll hand it over to you, Lydia.

 

Visual: The slide changes to “Overview and Objectives” and has three bulleted points that show the order of events for the webinar.

Audio: Lydia: Thank you so much, Beth. And thank you to all of you for coming to this special cross-over session. This panel discussion that we're going to have today about revision and self-editing. So, for the first part of the session, I am going to talk a little bit about the Walden capstone writing community. This session is meant to be an example of what goes on in the Walden capstone writing community and I'll tell you a little bit more about what that resource is in a minute. But the rest of this session will be a preview of the kinds of live events that happen in the community that you can participate in if you are a member.

And I see that some of you are already members and it's lovely to see you here today at the session. But I will preview what we call the live document reviews and those are opportunities for students to submit their work and have their work reviewed in a one-hour session by an editor with other members of the community invited to come watch and then the bulk of today's session will be a version of our roundtable discussions that we have in the community, which are opportunities for editors and other staff members and people to come together and discuss an issue specific to writing the doctoral capstone document and people have the opportunity to ask questions.

So, you will have an opportunity to ask questions here today. Beth will be answering questions in the background, and giving questions to us to address out loud. And we will hear from the vast and varied experiences of the panel on the specific issue we're talking about today.

 

Visual: The slide changes to “Walden Capstone Writing Community” and shows a screenshot of the homepage. A short description of the purpose is below that and a hyperlink for more information. Lydia discusses these.

Audio: So, a little bit more about the Walden capstone writing community for those of you who maybe aren't members or maybe those of you who have not had a chance to check out that resource. It is an opportunity for students to connect with one another and connect with other people at the same stage of writing your doctoral dissertation or your doctoral study or your doctoral capstone document, your original research that you will complete before graduation and that you will eventually publish. And when you get out of course work and you're really working on your own individual research, you're doing your own individual study, under the guidance of your committee, of course, but you may find, it can be a little bit isolating once you're no longer working on things you can share with your peers.

Your peers may be going through the similar process, but they may be, you know, working on a different document or they may be going at a different pace or it just may not feel as connected if you're not in the course all work on the same thing. So the capstone writing community is a chance for people to really connect with their peers and develop writing groups if you want to check in with each other to post about your progress and to ask questions and get information from the Writing Center editors about writing issues that may come up for you as you're working on your doctoral capstone document.

 

Visual: The slide changes and lists three bullet points about the writing community which Lydia discusses in detail.

Audio: More specifically, it is a community that is exclusively for doctoral capstone students who have reached the proposal stage. So, if you have an approved premise or an approved prospectus or you are at the stage where you're actually writing your official proposal, you are eligible to join this community and share work with your peers and participate in the discussions and all of the other social features that are available in the community.

You are allowed in the community also if you're on your final study as well because sometimes when people are at the final study, once they've reached IRB approval, and they've collected their data and they're doing their analysis or they're developing their projects or whatever the second part of the doctoral capstone is, depending on your degree, you're also in the community and you can connect with people who are at the final stages of the doctoral writing process as well.

A few of the editor-led services we have are the live document reviews, which I will talk about more specifically in a second, and editor roundtables, which you will get a taste of during the majority of today's session. We also have an editor "on duty" Monday through Thursday, and with that feature, there's an editor who is responsible for monitoring the community, if you post questions in the chat box or if you add something to discussion or you have a question, there is an editor on duty who is available to respond to your questions and if you have a question about a sentence and you want feedback on a sentence, they can give you feedback. So there is an editor on duty Monday through Thursday to answer your questions.

And we are adding new sessions and new features all the time, so if you have an idea for something you'd like to see in the community or you have a question about something, please let us know or check back, we're going to be developing new sessions all the time and trying things out just to make sure that the session -- that the community is a place where students can get the most out of their interaction with each other and their interaction with the Writing Center editors.

 

Visual: The slide changes to “Live Document Reviews.” It shows a screenshot of a live document review. Lydia discusses the purpose, format, and how the document review progresses.

Audio: This may be a little small. This may be a little small, but I wanted to give you an idea of what it looks like if you attend a live document review. So, for the live document review, members of the community are allowed to volunteer. It is closed to just members of the writing community and occasionally students who are in the doctoral capstone writing workshops offered through the Academic Skills Center, but they are closed sessions and that is so people can feel comfortable sharing their work and that you don't have to worry about, you know, your draft being out there for all the world to see or, you know, other committee members seeing it before you're ready to show them. It's really a safe place where you can know that you're just submitting your document to be shared with your peers and the Writing Center staff in the community.

It's not for kind of public debate or—and it's not going to be recorded and out there for all time, it's just a closed session for you and the community members that you feel comfortable with. And the brave volunteer will submit their work and the editor will conduct a live session where they will edit the work and explain issues they see in the document, suggestions for revision, things that they see that the document does well, that they recommend to other students, and people who attend the review can ask questions, offer feedback, give suggestions and really just get a sense of how they can adopt good writing practices in their own writing and just to see an example of what other people are doing and how other people are going about writing their doctoral studies.

So, while we cannot give you an example of that today, because these capstone webinars are open to everybody and not just the community, I did want to assure everybody that that is a really good resource and that people really have a good time getting a sense of what other people are doing and getting feedback on their own writing. So if you are at the proposal or final stages, I highly recommend you join us and volunteer.

 

Visual: The first slide reappears with the title of the webinar and the panelists, their positions at the Writing Center, and the moderator’s information.

Audio: But on to the main part of our session today, which will be our Writing Center Roundtable. We have a set of distinguished panelists with us today, Carey Little Brown, dissertation editor, Dayna Herrington dissertation editor, and coordinator of international and multilingual student writing support and Amy Lindquist, who is a writing instructor and our other coordinator of international and multilingual student writing support. So we have kind of a broad array of different experiences working with doctoral students, doctoral writing, and talking about revision strategies for research at the graduate and doctoral level. And I am Lydia Lunning, dissertation editor and coordinator for capstone resources. So I oversee the writing community and organize resources for capstone students.

 

Visual: The slide changes to “Revising” and has four bulleted questions to guide the discussion which the panel begins after they introduce themselves.

Audio: So, I think without further ado, I will just to get us started, would our panelists like to introduce themselves?

Audio: Carey: Sure. This is Carey. My name is Carey Little Brown. I'm one of the dissertation editors in the Writing Center. And I've been with Walden since 2012. And I always enjoy these discussions, so I hope it's helpful to everyone.

Audio: Dayna: And, hi, I'm Dayna Herrington, I'm also one of the dissertation editors, like Lydia had introduced before. I've been at Walden for a little over 2 years. And I'm looking forward to our discussion today.

Audio: Amy: All right, I'm Amy Lindquist, I'm a writing instructor. So primarily what I do at Walden right now, I work with students during their course work stage. They can make appointment us with us in the Writing Center. So I have a lot of experience giving feedback to students kind of as they're developing their writing skills. And I'm also very happy to be here with you today.

Audio: Lydia: Thank you, again, everybody, for coming and for trying out this new session, this new session format with us today. While we talk about revision and self-editing strategies, I thought it would be useful to divide it up into two sections. So, rather than talking about everything at once, I thought we could first address revision and revision in the broader sense. So, in terms of reading over your work, reorganizing things, developing your thoughts, kind of the bigger-picture changes to a draft that you might do or the skills for revision that you might develop.

So, if you have specific questions about revision, please type them into the Q & A box and we'll see if they can address them through our discussion. But if you have questions more about specific proofreading and self-editing, we may address those in the second half of our session. So just for an idea of how the flow of discussion will go.

But just to start off, I wondered if I could hear from each of you or those of you who want to contribute, how you learned to revise your own work effectively or if you have a story of something that really worked for you as you were developing your writing practice as an academic writer.

Audio: Carey: I can start, if you'd like. This is Carey.

Audio: Lydia: Yeah.

Audio: Carey: In thinking about this question, you know, I found that this is one of the more difficult ones to answer. And I think the main thing I would share about my experience with revision is that even though I've been doing academic editing since about -- I've been with Walden since 2012, but I started doing this kind of work in 2002. And, you know, started it well into my adult life. But what I realized in learning to edit other people's work very early was that revising my own work had actually never come very naturally to me, and it was a skill that I would say I developed actually through the early part of my career.

And in thinking about that now and why that was, I would say that the major issue I had as a student, you know, an undergraduate and graduate school, was time management. And I think this is something a lot of students struggle with, and I think I had this idea that I had to really rely on adrenaline to get all of my assignments done and that really precluded the revision process. So, I think the major thing I had to learn in my own life, and it was a long process, but once I realized this, I was able to realize was that, you know, time management is really the critical precondition to being able to revise or self-edit because you need that time for reflection and to really look at your writing in detail. I hope that wasn't too long-winded but that's the main thing I would share.

Audio: Lydia: Yeah, I think that that resonates with me. [Laughter] Definitely, a lot. But before I jump in, I see Dayna has unmuted.

Audio: Dayna: Thanks. I was going to say, as well, that I agree completely with Carey that giving myself time to revise was a skill that I definitely had to learn, and looking back at something after I take a break, it always reveals something about what I wrote that I didn't see before. And that has always been the case. But it has also been a slow learning experience to me to figure out that I really do need to make sure that revising time is part of my process.

I was thinking also about how I learn to revise my own work effectively, and I think the thing that comes to my mind the most here is just practice. You know, practice as a student. I had a lot of professors when I was both an undergraduate and a graduate student, who would facilitate peer-review sessions for us in class and I found these particularly helpful. And I would really use the feedback that I got in these peer review sessions. I would also pay close attention to my instructor feedback and then I would try to take those ideas that I got from both peer review and from my instructor and I tried to apply them not only to the work that I was working on at the moment but also, you know, my future work. So, if I was going to another assignment, I could think back about, you know, what people had said about my writing before and try to implement those changes into the new work.

But I guess, one thing that strikes me, too, though is that revising for me is still not a completely individual process. So, when I think about, like, professional writers and published authors, they always get feedback on their work before going to publication. And, so, although I think that it is really important to develop some of these skills on your own, I don't think that writing in a whole is really what writers do. You know, we do it for a little while, but then we go out there and we get feedback from others. So, for me, revising is not just a solitary activity. It's something that requires feedback from other people as well.

Audio: Lydia: I think that's a really good point, that it's not just -- you don't learn to be a good reviser and a good self-editor so you can just be a self-contained unit. That a big part of learning to revise and learning to self-edit is learning how to incorporate feedback and also learning how to engage with your audience or put yourself in your audience's shoes. So, yeah, I think that's a really good point, that it's not to make you more insulated in the writing process. Amy. Go ahead.

Audio: Amy: Sure, yeah. I was just going to follow up with my answer to the first question as well. And I think, like everyone has said, it certainly was a process, and I think for me, specifically it was a process of just kind of better understanding what is expected in that academic writing because I remember being a younger—a young person, maybe in high school, and learning about some of the characteristics of essays, for example, and I took that to college with me and then I think some of my early writing in college was more about—you know, I would just kind of start typing out my thoughts on a topic and just keep going and going and going until I had reached the page limit, right? I mean, that's—as an undergraduate student, that was kind of my goal, is to just put some words on the page.

But I think over time, and also having taught language, I taught English as a second language for a while prior to coming to Walden and teaching academic writing, and, so, I think really over that period of time of better understanding via looking at textbooks or looking at resources and working with students what would be expected in a certain, you know, field or type of assignment, I think allowed me to better kind of look at my own work and think, you know, kind of consider how do I need to organize these ideas in order to kind of align with what's expected. And, you know, learning about even more about kind of higher-level academic writing and thinking about the different sections of the paper and headings and how that all kind of fits together with how I want to present my ideas and making sure that clarity for the reader is really important. So I guess all of that is a long way to say that it was a time of, you know, learning and reading and writing myself, kind of like what others have said so far, you know, all of that has kind of helped play into my ability to better revise my own work.

Audio: Lydia: Yeah, I mean, listening to you, listening to your description, it makes me think, and you guys can weigh in on if you agree or disagree with this, but it seems like revision or learning or embracing the revision process is really kind of a big step in maturing as a writer. So maybe not maturing as a person, because it can happen to you at kind of any stage of your life, but maturing as an academic writer, there seems to be a big step or a big moving from just working on the draft and focus on the draft itself, taking the next step to actually being able to revise that draft and to be self-aware about your own writing process and to be reflective on what you've written seems to be like a big step in maturing as an academic writer.

But I don't know--I don't know, maybe that's overstating it a little bit, but it does seem to be something that, as Dayna was saying, doesn't come automatically, really, throughout the writing process. It's a skill you kind of have to develop once you already know yourself as a writer. Yeah, I had never really thought of putting it that way.

So I guess—I mean, I know it really is, as you said, specific to everybody's individual writing process, but if you could, what is kind of one piece of advice you would give to people? So if someone says, I'm having trouble revising or I'm in a position where I really need to reorder my own work and incorporate all these feedback and I don't know what to do, what is kind of your one go-to silver bullet advice that you give people about successful revision?

Audio: Amy: Can I start with that one? Sorry. In preparing for the session today, I had written myself a couple of notes, and really the one strategy that I use or maybe piece of advice that I often give out is one that Carey had already mentioned, and that's creating some distance from your own writing. So I find that to be absolutely essential for me in allowing myself to kind of come back to my writing and have a better perspective. So by creating distance from my work, you know, that might mean, you know, giving myself some time. I mean, that's typically what it means is really giving myself some time. That does require possibly working ahead or, you know, having a longer deadline in order to be able to, you know, finish a version of a draft, maybe wait a couple days and come back and just read it afresh without necessarily, you know, stopping to make edits or comments or anything like that. But being able to come back and look at the overall, you know, section or draft of the paper and thinking mostly about overall clarity, organization of ideas, and focusing on that—really the content before getting into the nitty gritty of, you know, did I punctuate my sentences correctly or things like that.

Audio: Carey: This is Carey. I guess I can jump in with something else if you'd like.

Audio: Lydia: Yeah. Yeah, please.

Audio: Carey: I would say that the main thing that I find is really essential in revising my own work and that I share with students, other than the time management issue that we discussed before, is finding some way to both slow myself down in reading the work and, if possible, look at it in a different way. And the way I like to do it, and I don't know if someone had mentioned this already, is to read the document aloud to myself. Now, you know, that requires, you know, a situation in which you can talk to yourself without bothering other people. And that may not be the best strategy for everyone. But if that is something that works for you, I find that with me it helps me to both kind of hear and be attentive to the language in a different way, you know, as well as to slow down enough that I'm actually looking at individual words so it also can support proofreading. But that may not work for everyone for a variety of reasons.

And also like printing out your document is one suggestion I often see put down, looking at it in print instead of on the screen may help you get it in a different context and look at it more deliberately. But anything you can do to actually slow down your reading process, you know, and look at that from a different angle I would say really helps with revision.

Audio: Lydia: And that comes to—oh, sorry, Dayna, not to cut you off, but I wanted to mention one of the questions we had come in, this question put it really nicely, that this person says they often read from their head, not from their document when they're revising. I think that's—I don't know, that is a really accurate description of what's going on. A lot of times when you're—when you've just written something, you're reading what you thought, instead of what you actually wrote. Distancing yourself from time or defamiliarizing yourself in terms of format, as Carey said, like printing it out or reading it with a pen in your hand or reading it in a different font, whatever you need to do to defamiliarize yourself is really good. Sorry, Dayna, I cut you off.

Audio: Dayna: No, you didn't, you're fine. You're fine. And I agree with what Amy and Carey were saying as well. And when I was looking at this question, I was having some trouble coming up with the one, the one piece of advice, I kept finding myself coming up with more than one. But I think if I really had to choose one, it's that I recommend developing a sense of self-awareness. And I think that the sense of self-awareness, of knowing where your writing strengths and knowing where your writing weaknesses are so that you can better focus on the weaknesses in your own writing is really essential to everything else. If you don't have the sense of self-awareness, then it's going to be hard to figure out how to prioritize what you're going to do when and how you're going to do it.

Kind of going along with that, then, I also think that it's good to remember that the revision process might actually be the most time consuming part of the writing process. So, getting down that rough draft on paper, although it's a big surmountable task, that might actually take less time than it's going to take you to go back through and revise your work, your writing. And that's okay. But I think just being aware of that is helpful as well.

Audio: Lydia: and that kind of goes right into a couple of questions—I think a couple people are asking about similar things. And that's what sort of formula can you use to determine how much time to set aside for revision? And I know that it really—you know, you can't just say, it takes five days. You know, it's very hard to determine or estimate how long it's going to take. But are there—what are some ways of thinking about how to set aside that time or how to incorporate that time into your writing practice?

So I think, Dayna, you already said factor in maybe more time for revision than for the actual writing. So if you have a deadline, you know, I need this submitted at the end of the month, maybe give yourself a week to write it and three weeks to revise it. I don't know. What are some other ways of thinking about setting aside time without specific numbers because it kind of depends?

Audio: Dayna: Yeah, for me, I think it really depends on the length of what I'm writing as well. So, if it's something shorter than I probably can, you know, spend less time on revision. But, yeah, I guess, you know, in my ideal world, I would say that your description there kind of worked well. So say I have four weeks to write something, I'd want to give myself, if I could, a couple weeks, maybe even more, to really involve myself in that revision process. Now, that's ideal. That doesn't mean that necessarily will happen in our lives with everything else going on. But that would be my ideal.

Audio: Amy: and to add to that, I know I think, you know, the type of document or the length of the document, you know, what it is you're doing is going to factor in to the time, of course. Like I remember back to working on my master's thesis and doing revisions on that and, you know, basically setting up a schedule for myself of, you know, I know I'm going to spend an hour a day for the next two weeks, you know, maybe as an example, working on revisions. So, you know, on Monday and Tuesday, I'm going to devote my hour to revising my introduction, right? And then Wednesday, Thursday, I'm going to devote my hour to revising the next section, for example. And maybe I would find that I didn't—that that wasn't enough time or that I had more time. But kind of, for me, personally, kind of saying, setting my goal is something smallish, you know, not too overwhelming, not saying, I have to revise the whole document in one sitting, but allowing myself to just say, I'm going to focus on this section today. And maybe I'll focus on it again tomorrow and the next day, too. But I'm just going to provide—give myself some small goals, really. And, for me, that really works. I get super overwhelmed when I feel like I have to do a huge project or everything kind of all at the same time. So, that's one strategy that I had used.

Audio: Lydia: Yeah, I am a big fan of the breaking it down into tiny doable pieces. I think—especially, especially when you're working on something the size of the doctoral study or a dissertation. I think -- that just seems really effective because you can't sit down and write a book. [Laughter] So it really does, I think, help conceptually to keep you from being overwhelmed, if you're doing a master's thesis or a dissertation or a doctoral study to do the piece that you can visualize at that time. So, yeah, like you say, just be systematic, I'm going to do the introduction today or I'm going to write for 20 minutes today or whatever it is so that you're doing it consistently.

This reminded me, I was having a conversation with a colleague recently, who's finishing her dissertation, and I was trying to give her a pep talk. And I had, you're never going to be in the mood to do it or you can't wait until you're in the mood to do it because you're never going to be in the mood to do it because it's too much. It's too much to do all at once. So you just kind of have to override that and be systematic about it sometimes. I think that—yeah, that seems to work for a lot of people.

Audio: Carey: Yeah. This is Carey. I agree completely with all of that. I think it's taken me a long time to understand about myself. Again, as somebody who really has struggled tremendously at different points in my life with time management. You know, and attention and focus, that when I'm dealing with a really big task, it's so—and writing, you know, a large document is one of the bigger tasks that one would do in your life, that it really is critical to break it down into subtasks. And what I do, actually, that helps a lot, you know, and it may be helpful to those of you who also struggle with these sorts of issues, is, you know, I tend to keep, like, two lists whenever I'm doing any kind of a project. And one list has sort of everything on it, you know. And it would be very overwhelming to look at all at once, all of the tasks I have to complete to, you know, complete the project.

And then I keep another one, and I don't look at the big list most of the time, I keep another one in front of me that, in my case, I like to just have three small tasks on it. And that's what I'm looking at. So at any given time I know the next three things that I'm going to do. And it makes, you know, a really big process so much more manageable. And that's one trick that works for me. So, perhaps it would be useful to some of you, too.

Audio: Lydia: I love that. I think that's so great. I think that—and that kind of approach you can really adapt, I think, to not just time management but kind of anything, like as you're conceiving of just A.P.A. style, don't try and memorize the whole manual and incorporate every piece of A.P.A. style in your first read-through. Maybe write down like three things that you're going to look for in this read-through. Like I'm just going to focus on topic sentences and organization. And, so, you don't have to focus on everything all at once. I love that. All right. Dayna, go ahead.

Audio: Dayna: Oh, I was just going to add, and I think other people are touching on this as well, that I think that it's important to remember, too, that revision is often an iterative process. Like it happens again and again. And it's not something that might just occur at one stage in the writing process. And, so, I think that if somebody asks me, well, how long does it take to revise something, that's part of my challenge in answering that question, is because I'm one of those people who, as I'm writing, I tend to also revise. And then I write some more and then I revise some more. Then I write some more, then I revise some more. And then I might think that my entire document is done and then I go back and revise it again. And, so, because it becomes more of this iterative process, sometimes it overlaps like with the drafting stage or with the proofreading stage or whatever the case may be. But I think that that's okay as well.

Audio: Lydia: and I think this—I mean, this is sort of a great way to transition to what some of the benefits are to revision. I mean, I know what the obvious benefit is that your writing is clearer. [Laughter] But if there are any sort of other benefits to revision that you wanted to talk about in terms of, I don't know, perspective on your writing or developing new ideas or like what kinds of insight or benefits you have experienced or you have seen people experience in the revision process.

Audio: Amy: Lydia, I would say one thing that I have found is that when I am working on a really long document, as I go back and revise, I tend to kind of remind myself of what I'd already written. You know, sometimes I will have, you know, had enough distance, maybe, from that section, from writing that section or writing about that topic, and then I come back to it and I think, oh, yeah, that was great. I wrote that? Or I might, you know, think, oh, now this doesn't align with what I've just been writing recently. So, I do think that process of going back and looking again and revising does, as you had kind of alluded to, help you kind of better understand the topic, better, you know, understand how to communicate the ideas. So, I think there's just a great benefit in, you know, in looking back after maybe having some time and space away.

Audio: Lydia: Yeah, I think that that seem to fit with, we just had a question come in about flow, the ever elusive idea of flow in your writing and flow can mean a lot of things to a lot of different writers. If someone says, you need to improve your flow, they may mean one thing and you may interpret that another way. But, really, flow is like this big abstract idea that I think, or at least when I hear it, I think it translates to, do the ideas flow, like do they flow easily, can you follow along.

And I think successful revision is a good way to ensure that because you—maybe you wrote things down in the order that they occurred to you, which may not make sense to a reader, but when you go back and read it over, you can say, oh, yeah, as you said, Amy, like I wrote that, that's kind of awesome, I want to build on what I thought that I meant at that point. So I think revision and being a skillful reader of your own work is a great way to work toward successful flow. But I don't know if other people—I didn't want to step over you guys. Benefits of revision or comments on flow? What do you recommend to people about that?

Audio: Carey: Well, I would say that, and not everyone's in a situation all the time where you can do this, but if you have a peer or a family member or, you know, someone else, it may not even be an expert on your topic, who is willing to read your work and let you know, you know, where the discussion stops making sense, if it does, you know, or where they have questions, I think that can help, you know, really to obviously get you outside of the writing yourself and get someone else's perspective on where you might need to improve the flow, improve the connections between ideas, you know, clarify things.

And a lot of when I do, you know, as an editor in some of our programs, you know, is ask questions when, you know, as a general reader, I can no longer follow the discussion. So, sometimes I think to the extent that you can get other people's feedback, that can be really useful, especially in, you know, sort of flow and the presentation of your argument or information.

Audio: Lydia: Yeah.

Audio: Dayna: When I think of flow, I tend to think of things like transitions, transition words but also transition expressions, and then I also tend to think of other cohesive devices that we use, like pronouns or other types of language that we use to help the reader basically to guide the reader for one idea in the text to the next. And as to how to improve it, I think being aware of cohesive strategies is helpful, but I think, again, and we've gone back to this a couple of times in our discussion today, but the idea of time away from the document, I think, helps, too, because you're sitting down to write it the first time, you think, oh, no, my ideas are clear and they're clearly connected and I understand how one thing goes to another.

And then if you put that document down, come back to it again and start rereading with a fresh eye, you might say, oh, oh, no, I don't see how these two ideas connect. Oh, this didn't really make sense to me. So, I think, again, that that time away might be beneficial. As to your other question, Lydia, about some benefits of revision, one thing that I had jotted down here was that I think revision helps you become a more critical reader and a more critical evaluator of text. So, it increases your own critical thinking skills as well that I hope then you can bring back into your own writing, too.

Audio: Lydia: Oh, yeah. I mean, yeah, absolutely. And I think that fits nicely with what you said earlier about revision being part of, you know, not being self-contained. It's helping you not only understand the feedback and your reader but also being a reader yourself, I think that's a very important point. That it's all part of this big chain of being, I guess you could say. We've touched on a couple misconceptions, that revision takes more time than you think, that revision is a skill you have to develop and may not come naturally, but are there other kind of misconceptions or barriers to revision that you see coming up when people are writing at the doctoral level?

Audio: Carey: Well, I think one thing I've seen people struggle with, and I think I probably felt these things at various points in my own life, certainly at earlier times in my own education, this feeling that I think it's, you know, hard to avoid until you change your thinking about it, that if you're being asked to revise or being asked to make substantial revisions that it means that your work is not good or if you're getting feedback that indicates that you need to revise that that really is some kind of statement that the work is good—is not good because, you know, if it were good, I wouldn't have to revise it. And I think, you know, it took me longer than it probably should have as a student to realize that, really, everyone needs to revise. The very best writers, you know, can develop something positive through the process of revision. So, it's not like it's really the level of revision required or the level of revision that's desirable is not really an indication, you know, always of like the quality of your thinking or even, you know, the quality of the document. If that makes sense.

Audio: Lydia: Yeah, totally, yeah, absolutely. I think—yeah. Sometimes it might help—because everybody who has gotten, you know, to this stage where they are doing doctoral-level research got to that stage because at some point somewhere they had success as a student. You know? Like usually throughout their career they may have had difficulties and barriers, but to some extent, they have been successful as a student and they have been successful as a writer, enough to get them to the point where they are doing doctoral-level research. But that does not mean that, you know, they're finished developing, they're finished developing as writers at that point. And, yeah, as you say, everybody needs revision and, like, revision is actually part of the learning process once you get to that stage because you're out of course work and you're working on your own stuff under the guidance of your committee and feedback is really the way that they are guiding you rather than kind of giving you a grade based on your performance on an assignment. Yeah. Dayna.

Audio: Dayna: Oh, yeah, well, and I agree completely. And I was thinking of how—one misconception people have maybe about revision is that we become really attached, like, personally attached to what we write. And I think that we need to work against that a little bit. Sometimes we're afraid to delete that paragraph or a page or an entire section when somebody else will suggest it just because it took so much initial effort for us to get that down on the page to begin with, we don't want to just take it and throw it away. But I think that we have to remember that true revision is holistic and it might actually require us to throw out entire pages of what we've written. And that's okay and that's part of the process. And I don't think it's a waste to write something and then get rid of it again because the initial act of writing it has helped you kind of solidify your ideas about it, has kind of formed a background for what's going to come later.

So, one of the misconceptions that I see people have about revision is that they might be afraid of those bigger changes. They might just like want to work on the sentence structure or the grammar and say, okay, I've revised, I've made sure all my sentences are, you know, grammatical. But actual revision might be more than that and it might be, yeah, deleting sections for organization, for development, bigger-picture issues.

Audio: Amy: and I might just add one more thing here. It was previously talked about that revision is an important part of the writing process, but also it's not like it's possible to get to a point where you're such a good writer and such a good thinker that you never need to revise again, right? You know, it's always going to be a part of the writing process. I think about even myself feeling like I'm probably a better writer now than I've ever been in the past, and I'm also probably more likely now to seek out, you know, feedback from a colleague or from a friend than ever before, just because I realize that I may overlook something, I may not realize, you know, how I could provide better clarity in a certain instance and, so, it's really, you know, something that's going to be beneficial even if you have developed your writing skills very well.

Audio: Lydia: Yeah. And I mean, I like that that fits with what Dayna was saying before, too, about feeling like a good writer doesn't mean that—you know, that's not isolating, you know, that's not being more self-contained, that's actually being more connected to the community of people that you're writing with or about. And I hope that this transitions into our next section, but please stop me if you guys want to add more on revision, but I think this might be a good point to switch over to the self-editing part.

Visual: The slide changes to “Self-editing” and has four bulleted questions to guide the discussion. The panelists and Lydia discuss strategies in depth.

Audio: And this is what is more sentence level things, like being able to catch the A.P.A. errors or being able to catch kind of the grammatical structure or the punctuation or that kind of thing. So, if we think of revision as this big, like, overall organizational, conceptual refining your thoughts, clarifying your ideas, self-editing and proofreading, we can think of as really like sentence level, you know, spelling and punctuation level kind of stuff, which is a different kind of skill that you  have to develop. And I don't know, we don't necessarily have to go through each of these questions but if there is one of these questions that you all want to start with in talking about self-editing as opposed to revision or maybe what you think the difference is.

Audio: Carey: Well, I could start with something that I think fits probably best with the second question about, you know, any advice we have about proofreading. In thinking about this, my biggest piece of advice, and this is for catching the typos, catching grammatical errors, you know, fixing your formatting, that sort of thing, you know, the more detailed stuff, you know, or even the surface-level parts of it, parts of your writing, is I would really recommend learning how to be effective in using Microsoft Word and the various display options of Microsoft Word in a way that's going to be best for you to actually be able to see those things. And that sounds like a very basic idea, but when I started doing this, it made such a tremendous difference, especially—I used to work as a private editor for over ten years, and in that work you really are under pressure to produce something pretty flawless.

And in order to do that, I found that the default setting in Word, you know, in terms of the way the text appears on the screen really was too small for me to see it effectively without crossing my eyes and feeling, you know, feeling ill. So using the zoom function in Word, I always look at a document at about 150% instead of at the 100% setting and that really makes everything come out. And I don't know if it would be helpful for me to show any of this.

The other things I would recommend thinking about, if you're really doing your final proofreading pass and you want to be attentive to everything, I like to proofread with all of the formatting marks showing, which you do by clicking that paragraph button up in the tool bar. It will show you the spaces between words and sentences, you know, and more of the formatting details. And that can be useful. And also connected to that is, you know, getting comfortable enough with track changes and comments that you know how to look at the document with, you know, like change tracking visible or, you know, there but not visible. That would be my major advice on proofreading because I think when you have a visually chaotic document where you can see all the change tracking, all these comments and it's small, you know, I think that can really make the task of proofreading a lot more difficult.

Audio: Lydia: Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, I saw a couple question come in in this regard, too, Just to remind people, let people know, if you didn't know this already, the Academic Skills Center actually has resources for working in Microsoft Word about things like track changes and showing the proofreading marks and things like that. And you can find the link for those static resources in the resources file that you can download in the files pod.

 

Visual: The screen changes to show a document with proofreading tips that is available in the files pod. The page has a list of several ways to proofread accurately.

Audio: And if you also go to the Academic Skills Center and you search for Microsoft help—thank you—there's the link for the Academic Skills Center, Microsoft Word help and you can make an appointment, too, you can make a one-on-one appointment if you have questions about working in Word or any of those functions. Yeah, as Carey says, it is highly highly beneficial to develop your facility with Microsoft Word because there are a lot of functions that can actually help you even though it may seem like a lot of the functions are there for you to fight with, if you take advantage of the resources at the Academic Skills Center, you can actually use those resources to help you develop your proofreading and self-editing skills.

Audio: Carey: I do have a sample document up. I don't know if technically it's going to be difficult for me to show my screen. But I could quickly show where those things are that I was talking about.

Audio: Lydia: Oh, sure. Because we have about ten minutes.

Audio: Carey: We don't have time. Yeah, that's true.

Audio: Lydia: Unfortunately, unfortunately.

Audio: Carey: Yeah.

Audio: Lydia: But I do recommend people—or if you have a question about something you can write to wordsupport@waldenu.edu or if it's a specific question about capstone document editor you can e-mail but please take advantage of those Academic Skills resources. Dayna.

Audio: Dayna: Well, I wanted to point out that we do also have in the downloads pod at the bottom of your screen, we have one of the documents about proofreading tips. And I would recommend those. I think that proofreading is sometimes an overlooked step in the writing process. And I think it's one of those steps that sometimes we just don't want to do, like you think about all the time you spent on drafting, all the time you spent on revision, you're finally done, thank goodness, and then you have to go back and proofread. You're like, oh, no. But I do think that it's still a really important part because proofreading errors can cause your readers to question your credibility as a writer.

So, after all of your hard work, and after all of your research, you want to make sure that your readers find your ideas convincing and credible. And if your writing is full of proofreading errors, it will cause the reader to find it less credible, even though you have done all the research necessary to get it to that point. So I do encourage you to check out those proofreading tips. And you don't need to use them all. I think the idea is to find a couple of them that work well for you and use those and try different proofreading tips at different steps with the process. And there they are up on the screen for us. Yeah. The one that I use the most often is probably reading aloud, but I like to try some different ones, too, because different ones will make me focus on other issues.

Audio: Lydia: And did you want—sorry, go ahead, Amy.

Audio: Carey: It's Carey, I think, unless it was Amy talking, too.

Audio: Lydia: I think it was both of you. Go ahead.

Audio: Carey: Well, I guess I'll go ahead. Sorry about that. I was going to say, I know that some people really struggle, you know, and feel that it's too difficult, you know, to identify all of the proofreading level errors in a document. For a variety of reasons. And that is a place where it can be helpful, you know, if you have someone who's skilled that you know who will do that for you as a favor, that's ideal, will proofread the document for you and identify those mistakes. But that is an area, too, where it can be helpful, you know, especially with something larger and important like a capstone to hire a private editor. And I would say certainly catching proofreading-level errors or helping you with APA formatting, catching, you know, grammatical errors, you know, and even, like, nonidiomatic language, those kinds of errors is a perfectly acceptable use of a private editor, you know, in an academic context.

I saw that somebody had asked the question about that and maybe that got addressed. I see that question up now. So I would say using an editor for basic copy editing functions, you know, improving the grammar, spelling, coherence, you know, cutting out repetition and so on, you know, is generally considered, you know, an ethical and appropriate use of an editor. If someone is actually writing new content, developing the ideas, or contributing to the research in any way, you know, as a paid private editor, that gets into an area where you could have a code of conduct violation. But certainly getting somebody to help with proofreading the document, you know, and even revising some of the language to be less repetitive or clearer is typically fine. And we do some of that, actually, in the form and style review or at least try to help guide students toward making those revisions by modeling them in the form and style review.

Audio: Amy: And just maybe to add to that, too. One strategy that I recommend to really focus on grammar, syntax, sentence structure is the second bullet point on that revision

 

Visual: “Revision Strategies” document that is located in the files pod is pulled up.

Audio: Amy: Let's see—I think Beth just changed it—on the tips for proofreading and that's to read your draft backwards.

 

Visual: The screen changes back to the “Proofreading Tips” document.

Audio: And that sounds a little bit funny. But to start—especially, you know, for maybe specific sections or for, you know, a few pages, to start by reading the sentence that is very last on the paper to the sentence that is very first. That strategy can help you focus on the sentence structure and less so on the content.

So, another thing, too, is just—I know in my experience, I remember I had an eighth grade teacher who just ingrained in us the different types of sentence structures, when to use semicolons, when to use commas, all of that. And, so, I felt like it was really ingrained in me from, you know, a younger age. But I also realize that people have had a variety of educational experiences and maybe it's just been a long time. And, so remembering, okay, when do I use a semicolon, when do I use a comma, getting a refresher can be helpful with that. There are a couple of archived webinars, the mastering the mechanics series of the archive webinars, focus really specifically on different types of sentence structure, so simple sentences, complex and compound sentences, and, so, you know, reviewing those may be helpful in allowing yourself or kind of giving you the tools to better notice your own errors and improve your self-editing skills by noticing when should I use a comma, when should I use a semicolon. So Beth might stick that in the Q & A box as well, the link to those webinars, which may be helpful.

 

Visual: The slide “Walden Resources for Doctoral Capstone Students” opens. It shows a screenshot of the Doctoral Capstone Resources Website and has a hyperlink for the website. Lydia discusses the website resources.

Audio: Lydia: Thanks, Amy. And I don't want to cut anybody off, but I think that that flows nicely into kind of the end to wrap up as we've touched on and as a lot of our panelists have mentioned developing good revision and good self-editing skills at this point in your doctoral journey when you're working on a long form document and original resource. A lot of your needs are going to be very specific to you and a lot of the strategies you're going to develop are going to be things that are particular to your own style of writing and what your needs are, so, I would recommend, as Amy suggested, and as Dayna and Carey suggested, making use of the resources that are available both through the Writing Center website in the webinars and in the web pages and in the options available for download and in the modules and also the resources available through the Academic Skills Center.

Make sure that you know what the resources are that are out there, even if you just start by downloading the resources file in the files pod and kind of looking through what's available at the various centers, make sure you know what's out there so that you know how to put it to use and how to make it work for you as you're revising and editing your doctoral documents. One last plug for the doctoral capstone resources website, this link takes you to sort of the one-stop shop that has links to all of the capstone-related resources at Walden. So there are program specific resources, there are research resources from the Center for Research Quality, there are Library resources from the Library, there are Writing Center resources, there are Academic Skills resources, anything that is of use to you as a doctoral student working on your doctoral capstone document, you should be able to reach from this website. So, if you don't find something that's useful to you in the resources file that you download or in the Writing Center web page, check out the doctoral capstone resources website and if it exists at Walden, you should be able to find it there.

 

Visual: The final slide “Questions” opens with the editor email address and a hyperlink for other doctoral capstone webinars. At the bottom is a text box with an announcement for the next panel webinar.

Audio: And I think I will get ready to wrap it up. I don't see any questions coming in. But please stop me if we do. But I will say thank you so much for our panel. And I didn't mean to cut anybody off as I was segueing to the end of our session, but if anybody has any final thoughts or final suggestions for students as we send them off to revise and edit their work, please feel free to unmute. Any final thoughts, anybody?

Audio: Carey: I would just encourage everyone to stay in touch with us, through the writing community, if you're a member or to join if you're not. And do feel free to send us your questions at the e-mail address here. And I don't know if -- I saw someone had asked how quickly do those get answered. Those typically get answered within one business day. So, if you have, you know, questions about APA, questions about the template, you know, general questions about writing the capstone, please feel free to ask us.

Audio: Dayna: And I was just going to add that I would just recommend downloading the files here in the files pod. We have also been updating our revising and proofreading tips on our website itself, but the things here in the files pod are nice, page-long documents that you can take with you, read through, and try to incorporate in your future writing. So, thank you, everybody. That's it for me.

Audio: Beth: Hi, everyone, this is Beth Nastachowski, and I just want to thank all of our panelists and thank Lydia, thank you, everyone, for attending. We're going to go ahead and end the session for today but feel free back to come back to the recording if that's useful for you. And we hope to see you at another webinar coming up, either this month or next month. We will be having a joint panel on the literature review with the Library. So watch out for that session, which will be scheduled next month. So, thank you so much, everyone. And have a wonderful day.