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Webinar Transcripts:
Scholarly Writing for Undergraduate Students

Transcripts for the Writing Center's webinars.

Scholarly Writing for Undergraduate Students

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Presented December 12, 2018

Last updated 2/18/2019



Visual: Slide changes to the following: Housekeeping 

  • Recording
    • Will be available online within 24 hours.
  • Interact
    • Polls, files, and links are interactive. 
  • Q&A
    • Now:Use the Q&A box.
    • Later:Send to or visit our  Live Chat Hours
  • Help
    • Ask in the Q&A box.
    • Choose “Help” in the upper right-hand corner of the webinar room

Audio: Kacy:  Hey everyone, thank you so much for joining us today. My name is Kacy Walz. And I’m a Writing Instructor joining in from St. Louis, Missouri, and I just want to thank you all for joining us for this webinar about scholarly writing for undergraduate students. 

Before we get started and I hand things over to our presenter, Claire, I just want to mention a few things. This webinar is being recorded and it a day or two you’ll be able to access it through our website. You’ll also find various webinars on different writing topics in our webinars archive. There will be several chances to interact with your colleague and our presenter, Claire. So please be sure to participate during the chat section in the large chat box just like you did before the webinar started, today. 

Also, all of the links in the slide show are active, so you can click directly on them for access to more information now or later if you’re watching the recording. We also have a few helpful files in our Files pod and you can download them by clicking on the download files bottom at the bottom of the pod.

There’s going to be a lot of information in this webinar. And if you have any questions you can use the Q&A box. I’ll be watching the Q&A box throughout the webinar and I’ll try to answer your questions as quickly as I can. If we run out of time, however, or you have questions later on, please send them to and you will get a response through email. I apologize if you can hear my dog barking in the background. 

Finally, if you encounter any technical difficulties, there’s a help button in the upper right-hand corner of the webinar screen. You can also reach out to me in the Q&A box and I can try to help you out there. So thank you so much for joining us and I am going to turn it over to our presenter, Claire Helakoski. 


Visual: Slide changes to the title of the webinar, “Scholarly Writing for Undergraduate Students” and the speaker’s name and information: Claire Helakoski, Writing Instructor, Walden University Writing Center

Audio: Claire:  Hi, everyone. As Kacy said, I’m Claire Helakoski, a Writing Instructor here at the Walden Writing Center. And today I’m going to be presenting on scholarly writing for undergraduate students. It looks like we have a small in person group today, which is great. I hope you all ask a lot of questions, because I will be sure to make plenty of time to respond to those questions. And if you're watching the recording, you can always send us questions at a later time, as well. So, let's go ahead and get started.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Webinar Objectives:

•      Identify how scholarly writing (at Walden) is different than other kinds of communication

•      Understand the ADAPT framework for your writing at Walden

•      Learn the Writing Center resources available to you

Audio: Our objectives today are to identify how scholarly writing at Walden is different than other kinds of written communication, understand the ADAPT framework for your writing at Walden -- and that's a handy little acronym that I will go over during the presentation and to learn what Writing Center resources are available to help support you during your Walden coursework.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Scholarly Writing

Audio:So first, we're going to focus on scholarly writing. There are many different kinds of writing and at Walden, we engage in scholarly writing. But how is that different than other kinds of writing you might do? Some types of writing that you might navigate already is writing for the job you already have, whatever that might be -- writing email, sending text messages, creative writing, jotting notes down to your children, your spouse, on social media, and writing for school which is the writing you’ll do for Walden.

All of these forms of writing have this sort of baseline intent, right, to communicate something to your intended audience. So, we'll talk little bit about how scholarly writing, in particular, differs from other forms of writing that you might engage in. And, the good news is that you're already navigating through multiple forms of writing in your daily life and you're just not aware of these small switches and shifts you do because of the format of the writing that you're doing. So, we’ll focus on what shifts you need to make for that scholarly writing for school writing at Walden.


Visual:Slide changes to the following: There’s good news!

  • You already navigate different contexts in your everyday life.
    • Police officer
    • Boss
    • Friend

Audio:As I mentioned, you navigate these different contexts in your daily life, already. So, you would talk or write differently to a police officer, to your boss, and to a friend. Right? And it would depend on the format, as well. You might write differently in a letter then you would in a text message, for example, even if it was to the same audience. 

So, navigating those small changes is something that you're probably not aware that you're doing, but you're doing it all the time. You're making little shifts and changes in how you approach that communication, what your tone is, how you convey your overall purpose, how formal you might write or present the information.  And being able to make those shifts means that you already have the skills that you need to shift into a mindset for scholarly writing here at Walden.


Visual:Slide changes to the following: Scholarly Writing

Academic writing: Writing performed in an academic context.

•      Discussion posts

•      Course papers


How is writing for your assignments different than other kinds of writing?

Audio:So academic writing or scholarly writing is writing performed in an academic context. And scholarly writing includes discussion posts and your course papers, which will be the two main types of assignments you will have here at Walden.

So how is writing for your Walden assignments different than other kinds of writing? And those can be some of the other kinds of writing that I've already gone over verbally, or any other sort of writing that you might think of. So, let us know in the chat box, I will give you a minute or so to respond.  

[silence as students respond]

And don't be shy, we have a very small group.  

[silence as students respond]

I am seeing that your approach might vary depending on the different topics that you're discussing. Definitely. In academic writing, you're talking about really different subject matter than probably other forms of writing that you are doing. 

I am seeing a good distinction, too, between discussion posts and course papers. Those discussion posts can be a little more casual, right, because they're a little bit less formal. Usually, they are more intended to kind of engage you throughout the week and connect you with your fellow students. 

Yeah, those are great distinctions.

So, I want to think about, too, how writing for Walden is probably a lot different than the other forms of writing you're doing every day, right? Writing an assignment for Walden is probably much different than a text message or an email that you may be sending, right, and that has to do a little bit with the content, as somebody mentioned. So, we are writing about these really research-heavy disciplines and dealing with incorporating research into our work which is something that we don't typically do in our general everyday lives. Right? You're probably not citing research and notes to your friends, your spouse, or even in, you know, a letter to a police officer. You're probably not citing research. You're probably not dealing with this really content-heavy and specific information you're trying to convey to your audience. So that's a big difference and were glad somebody mentioned that difference.

We're also thinking about your tone, right? So, your tone in your courses for Walden, in your course work, even in discussion posts where you might be a little more, you might be a little less formal, your tone is going to be more formal overall than it would be just chatting with a friend or texting someone that you know well, right? Because you want to convey yourself in a professional way.  It’s a professional environment. So that has an impact, too, on how you're conveying that information in the approaches you're taking to writing. And even though you may not consciously realize you're making that little switch, you are. From week to week. And to help you consciously ingrain that shift, we are going to talk you through some of these approaches, today.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Scholarly Writing

Generally, includes: 

•      A central claim 

•      Evidence

•      Formal tone 

•      Clear organization

Audio:To clarify, as well, scholarly writing usually includes a central claim, evidence, so I talked about evidence, and by evidence, I mean additional supplements will research or in some cases like a personal reflection. You might have personal evidence like experiences that you had. But usually, evidence refers to research. You can have a formal tone. I like to imagine writing to someone in your field who you admire but have never met in person. You want to impress them a little bit. And, having a clear organization. Scholarly writing is really meant to be accessible to any reader in your field. So, you need that clear organization so that they can follow along. Whereas for example, in an email to a friend, you don't have to be as clearly organized, because the purpose is different. Your audience is different. You know each other. You're going to cut each other some slack if you go off and talk about something and then come back. In scholarly writing, your piece needs to stand completely on its own, and your readers are probably strangers. So, it's important to think about that, too, as you work to communicate formally with evidence and with a clear organization.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Academic Writing Expectations (AWE)

Audio:Some of this may sound familiar in regards to your Academic Writing Expectations or AWE – A.W.E.  You may or may not see this in your classroom, that kind of theories, but that's sort of the expectation that Walden has for undergraduate students like yourself. So, we have some tips about these guidelines on our webpages. And again, that's an active link, so you can check these out if you would like more information. I will go over some of the basics of these today. But if you see AWE in your classrooms or see it mentioned elsewhere, that's what we're talking about, those Academic Writing Expectations for undergraduates at Walden University.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: ADAPT Approach to Scholarly Writing

1.    Audience

2.    Directness

3.    Authority

4.    Purpose

5.    Technique

ADAPTInfo and Exercises

Audio: All right, so I'm going to focus, as well, on another acronym, which is ADAPT. Which is a nice way to kind of break down the main approaches and things to consider in your scholarly writing. So, you want to consider that Audience, Directness, Authority, Purpose and Technique. And we have some information on ADAPT and exercises for you on this link in our Writing Center pages, as well.


Visual:Slide changes to the following: Audience

You are writing for

•      Your instructor and classmates but also

•      A hypothetical outside reader


•      Appropriate background

•      Clear and logical organization

Audio:So, we're going to start with audience. We’ve talked a little bit about Audience already, because Audience is one of the main differentiators between scholarly writing and other forms of writing that you're doing from day to day.

In academic writing, you're writing for your instructor and classmates, but also that outside reader. Right? That person who is in your field who you don't know, who doesn't have a connection to you, at all. So that's important to kind of consider and I think will help you kind of hone your scholarly voice and tone over time.

So, your audience requires the appropriate background. So whatever information they might need to kind of help follow the connections that you're making in your work. And, they need that clear and logical organization so they can follow along.

What I often see with students is because your assignments are all the same from week to week and by the same I mean everyone in your class is writing the same thing there is kind of assumed knowledge or understanding of what you're writing about and why. But I will challenge you as scholarly writers to try to write as though your reader hasn't seen your assignment prompt, right, because that outside reader isn't in your classroom. They're not part of your assignment. They don't know what you're writing about or why it's important or the necessary background information. They are not in your course, so you can't rely on them having read the same things you’ve read or have the same information that you have. And, instead, need to think about it as its own, unique, stand-alone piece.

And that's more for your coursework then it is for discussion posts, which often involves that kind of back-and-forth conversation with your fellow students.


Visual:Slide changes to the following: Audience

For this assignment, I chose methamphetamine addiction. Because methamphetamine addiction is on the rise, something has to change.

What assignment?

What about methamphetamine addiction?

Audio:All right, so thinking about your audience, and this is sort of what I was talking about, you might write something like this: "For this assignment, I chose methamphetamine addiction. Because methamphetamine addiction is on the rise, something has to change." So, as an outside reader who is not in your course, I have no idea what assignment you’re talking about. What assignment? What about methamphetamine addiction? You chose methamphetamine addiction as an issue you want to discuss? As a policy that needs to change? I’m really lost as an outside reader. And it can be hard to put yourself in those shoes, and we'll talk about some resources to help you get that secondary set of eyes. But it's also good to keep in mind, you want to give your reader all the context they need, so even if they weren’t in your classroom, they will really understand what the main, core purpose of your paper is.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Audience

In the United States, an estimated 1.2 million people are addicted to methamphetamine (National Institute on Drug Abuse [NIDA], n.d.). There is evidence that pharmacological treatment alone is not effective. Rather, the most effective treatment plan for methamphetamine addiction may be a combination of pharmacological and cognitive therapy (NIDA, n.d.). 

Background Statistics

Audio: And, your reader might need background statistics. They might want to understand why methamphetamine addiction is relevant. What's going on with methamphetamine addiction? Even if you read about it in your course that week, you can't rely on your reader knowing all that information and remembering it on their own, because they probably aren't in your course and so they may not be as well versed as the research you have done. So, you need to reiterate it for them like in this example. 


In the United States, an estimated 1.2 million people are addicted to methamphetamine. There is evidence that pharmacological treatment alone is not effective. Rather, the most effective treatment plan for methamphetamine addiction may be a combination of pharmacological and cognitive therapy. 

So, you will see here that have source information -- and that's the evidence that we talked about, and we will talk about that a little bit more -- and I'm giving the reader some context, and explaining why this is an issue and giving them the information, they may need to understand me when I say, "This is a problem.” 


Visual:Slide changes to the following: Audience

Clear organization:

•      Introduction

•      Body

•      Conclusion


This is the introduction paragraph that introduces your reader to the overall topic of the paper and explains your specific focus. 

This is the first body paragraph that explains your first point or idea.

This is the second body paragraph that explains your second point or idea.

This is the third body paragraph that explains your third point or idea.

This is the conclusion paragraph. A conclusion paragraph is similar to an introduction paragraph, but instead of introducing ideas it recaps ideas. You should not repeat entire sentences or introduce new ideas, but remind the reader of the points you made.

Audio: All right, so when thinking about your audience in that clear organization, a general paper structure and I recommend trying this out for your discussion posts, as well is to have an introduction, a body paragraph or body paragraphs, and a conclusion. So, in your introduction, you want to give your reader an overview of the topic and what your specific focus is. In your body paragraphs, you're going to want to explain different points and ideas that you have which support and link back to your introduction or overall purpose. And then, in your conclusion, unlike other forms of writing you may have done in the past, your conclusion isn’t making new statements. Instead, it's kind of a review and a recap of what you went over in the paper. I like to think of it as sort of a finish summary. And it's something I like to think about, as well, is considering if a reader read just your introduction or just your conclusion, they should have a really good idea about what exactly your paper was about. Not just generally what your assignment was about, but what your specific paper was about.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Audience


Let’s look at a template that you can use to guide your organization.

Audio:Let's look at a template that we have to guide you in your organization. And this template is also available in our files pod, it's called Handout Sample Paper Template. Let’s take a look at this.


Visual:Slide changes to the following: Template

Title of Your Paper, Centered, and Using Both Upper and Lower

Your Name Here

Walden University

Instructor’s Name

Course Title and Number


[Visual of APA template paper being shown]

Audio:This is a template you can download which is there for your use it has the general APA formatting for the title of your paper, your instructor's name, and everything that you need -- you know, your page numbers. The nice thing about a template is you can keep that information, too, and just plug in what you're already working on. So here, we have some information about introductions and thesis statements. Then, we have some information about scholarly voice and tone. And you can see how the paragraphing is kind of looking, so that's how your paper should sort of like. We have resources on transitions, headings, all sorts of resources are embedded in the template, which is really helpful. And then conclusions, as well. And we have a sample reference list with some information. So, this is a really, really helpful resource to kind of get you started if you're feeling a little lost on how to organize your paper or would just like some additional tips and resources from the Writing Center as you're working. And again, you can go ahead and download that in our Files pod. You just click on handout and then the download files button will activate for you.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Audience


Let’s look at a template that you can use to guide your organization.

Audio: So, we will get back to our main presentation, but that's a really great resource to kind of help you think about your audience and the general academic writing expectations for a course paper. I will say I know that template was quite long and I know your coursework will be much shorter until you progress further along in your program. Don't worry about that. You should worry about meeting these page limits set by your assignment. It's just more of a visual and has a lot of advice in there for you.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Directness

Academic writing is:

•      Straightforward

•      Concise

•      Formal in tone

Audio: So now we're moving on to the second aspect of ADAPT. We talked about audience and now we’re going to talk about Directness. Academic writing is a little bit different than other forms of writing because it's straightforward, it's concise and it's formal. Think about this as opposed to haw you might chat with a friend. As I mentioned before, you might meander, you might talk about this and that. In academic writing, you want to be really straightforward. You want to be as concise as you can and you want to keep that formal tone. Because you are writing to this mystery audience who you don't know and haven't met, they are relying on you to inform them about this information and this idea. So, they really need you to get to the point clearly and maintain that concise, straightforward tone. 


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Directness

            Avoid idioms, slang, or metaphors

                        My discussion post this week was a piece of cake. 

                                    My discussion post this week was easy.

Audio: So, some ways to achieve this and these are also tenets of scholarly voice, which is something you may hear from us or your faculty is to avoid idioms, slang or metaphors. In APA writing you really want to be direct and literal. Because the thing about metaphors is that readers can interpret them in multiple different ways that’s what’s cool about metaphors and useful in other types of writing. But in academic writing, you want your readers to have the exact picture that you are painting in your head as you do. You want them to have the exact, precise correct meaning of what you mean and not leave wiggle room for interpretation. So instead of saying, "My discussion post this week was a piece of cake," you might say that "My discussion post this week was easy.” One way to think about it is, am I being literal here, or was your discussion post an actual, physical piece of cake which appeared in front of you, and then your assignment was to eat it?  Probably not, right? So, think about being as literal as possible.


Visual:Slide changes to the following: Directness


Submit your revision for this sentence:

Life is a rollercoaster ride.

Audio: And I’ll give you a chance to practice, too. And this is what I see a lot in student writing. So, how might you revise this sentence to be more precise and literal. From "Life is a roller coaster ride." And I will give you a couple minutes to come up with a revision of that. And there's not one right answer.

[silence as students respond]

I am seeing some nice revisions here.  It's a time when you might have experienced challenges and sometimes success, so that's kind of identifying the specific, different experiences that you might have. Right? So, what you want to ask yourself is, "What do I mean by life is a roller coaster ride?" I really mean that, that there are positive experiences and negative experiences. And, that that can go up and up unexpectedly. Right? So, you guys are doing a nice job kind of pinpointing that and yeah, I would recommend even going further than just saying up and down or twists and turns, and focus on specifically, exactly what you mean. Because "ups and downs" can mean different things for different people. Just like roller coaster can mean one day I'm happy and one day I'm sad, versus, one day I get promoted and the next day my car broke down, versus many, many other possibilities. Right? 

So, to help everybody have the same picture, you really want to be sure you are being as precise as possible. So, saying something challenges and successes really clarifies. Or, emotional stress interspersed with periods of calm, so that's being really concrete, really specific, and those are nice clear revisions. 

Great job, everybody. And of course, if you were talking about literally riding a roller coaster, explaining how that is, would be perfectly appropriate, although probably is unlikely to come up in your Walden coursework.  Great job, everyone.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Directness

            Avoid contractions

                        The law didn’t go into effect…

                                    The law did not go into effect…

            Avoid questions or conversation with the reader.

When you read my paper, you’ll understand the important issue of bullying. Let’s move on.

Bullying affects 2 million students a year, making it an important education issue.

Audio:All right. So, in the spirit of directness, we want to avoid those expressions. We want to avoid contraction. So, this is part of that formality, as well. Instead of, "The law didn't go into effect," we would say, "The law did not go into effect." I know that will seem odd to a lot of you. It was a little odd for me, I come from a liberal arts kid of creative writing background myself. So, avoiding those contractions was at first was a little bit of a shift for me. But you will adjust to it, I promise.

And you want to avoid questions or conversation with the reader. So, although you’re writing to the reader, you’re maintaining this sort of professional formal distance or directness. So, instead of, "When you read my paper, you'll understand the important issue of bullying. Let's move on." That's very conversational, right? Instead, you want to just say things how they are in nice, clear statements, like this, "Bullying affects 2 million students per year, making it an important education issue." You want just the facts, right? You want to say things as they are and support those with evidence, rather than to engage your reader like you might in a blog post or other form of writing. So that's something to think about, too. And you want to avoid questioning the reader like, "Why is bullying important?" for example. Avoid that, as well. The only questions that should appear in your writing are occasional your research questions, which of course, you want to phrase as a question.


Visual:Slide changes to the following: Authority

            How will people listen to you and believe you?

•      Research the topic

•      Use sources as evidence to support your thesis statement

•      Credit those sources = 

                                                            More knowledge, authority, and 

                                                            credibility as an academic

Audio:All right, so now that we've talked about directness and audience, we'll talk about Authority. So how will people listen to you and believe you about your topic? There are some steps to prepare you for this and help make an authority on your topics and in your writing that will help achieve that authoritative and formal and direct tone. 

So, research your topic. Be informed about your topic. If you don't feel informed, do some extra research. Make sure that you feel you understand the concepts that you're writing about. Use sources as evidence to support your thesis statement throughout your work. That help show that you have done your research, it's not just a unique thought that you're having, but something that is based on other things, other conversations going on in your field.  And, crediting those sources by citing gives you that knowledge and authority and credibility as an academic.  


Visual:Slide changes to the following: Authority

            Types of evidence from books, articles, and some websites:

•      Statistics and data

•      Studies and experimental evidence

•      Facts supported by research

Typically Avoid

•      Anecdotes: “When I was a kid…”

•      Your own beliefs or opinions: “I believe that…”

•      Emotional pleas

Our evidence incorporation pages can be a helpful tool!

Audio:So, some types of evidence might be books, articles, potentially some websites. And by websites, I mean established websites, not a person's personal blog. So, like, the CDC website or the website for an organization, a well-known organization within your field, for example. So, you might find statistics and data, studies and evidence, facts supported by research. And those will help establish your authority. We have a great evidence incorporation page as a helpful tool, as well. And you want to avoid, usually you will avoid anecdotes like, "When I was a kid," your own beliefs or opinions such as, "I believe that," and the sort of more emotional pleas. 

There are exceptions to that. I know that in particular, a lot of undergraduate assignments may ask for personal reflections. Obviously, if your assignment is, "How did you come into your field?" "What do you want to learn in the nursing school here?" Or, I’ve seen assignments, too, where it might say, "What would you do in this situation? What changes do you think need to be made?" So, in those cases where it’s specifically asking for your experience in the assignment, of course you should write that. Right? But if it doesn't specifically ask for those things, you should generally avoid it and instead, kind of state just the facts like we talked about before, where you're going to make claims about a topic and support those claims with that research and evidence.

And, with your emotional pleas I mean things like, "This is an absolute crisis. Something must be done." Instead, you want to maintain a more neutral tone, present the facts as they are, and use cause effect reasoning to explain what will happen if changes aren't made.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Authority

            Opinion without example:

                        The high school curriculum is boring and unimaginative.

The high school curriculum does not engage 

students with recent examples. The current social 

science textbook, for example, is out of date. It was 

published in 2010 and thus does not include recent 

political developments.

            Emotional and passionate:

Doctors must find a cure for cancer! Too many people 

are dying a slow, painful death.

There is increased need to find a cure for 

cancer, given the continued growth of cases. In 

2015, over 1.5 million new cases of cancer were 

reported (CDC, 2018).

Audio: So, here's some more examples. An opinion without an example: “The high school curriculum is boring and unimaginative.”  Okay. That's direct. But how? We might be wanting more. Instead, we might write something more specific like, "The high school curriculum does not engage students with recent examples."   So that's what we mean by boring, right? "The current social science textbook, for example, is out of date." That's a nice, specific piece of evidence. Even though it's not research evidence, it's still specific evidence. "It was published in 2010 and thus does not include recent political developments." And that's a further explanation of why this textbook being out of date is relevant. You can see how that kind of builds here.

And this assignment is probably something like, "In your school, what is a curriculum change that you would recommend?" So, it all depends on the assignment, a little bit. But you can see how we use evidence and kind of build on it to help support our statement. 

Here's an example of that emotional and passionate language. "Doctors must find a cure for cancer! Too many people are dying a slow and painful death." So instead, we're getting emotional here, right? We're making an emotional appeal to the reader. Although that's really common in other forms of writing and probably most of the writing you’re reading, because that's what all of those clickable articles say, things like that, right? But instead, in scholarly writing, to establish your authority, you want to back that up with evidence and make those clear cause effect statements, instead. Instead example, “There is increased need to find a cure for cancer, given the continued growth of cases”. So that’s that cause and effect reasoning I'm talking about. Here's what should happen, here's why, and here's some evidence. "In 2015, over 1.5 million new cases of cancer were reported."



Visual:Slide changes to the following: Authority


How would you revise this sentence? What would you add or change?

Nurses today have an unreasonable number of responsibilities 

that they never had to take on in the past.

Audio:So, I am going to challenge you guys again, how would you revise this sentence? And what would you add or change? "Nurses today have an unreasonable number of responsibilities that they never had to take on in the past." And if you're not in nursing, you can still use your imagination here and add some pretend information or specifics. So, I'll give you a couple minutes to go ahead and write some examples.

[silence as students respond]

I'm seeing some nice revisions here.  Recent studies would be a great thing to add to support. “The needs of the patient are increasing while the nurse to patient ratio remains the same.” Right. So that's a specific challenge that nurses are dealing with. There's, "Nurses are required to be responsible for too many tasks which, in the past, were not the nurses' responsibility." So, I think that's a great start, and I would challenge that writer to add another sentence, right, that's going to go over what tasks are they talking about? But that is much more specific. And here we have an example where we have that sort of beginning sentence and then the supplemental sentence with our evidence. "In the past, the responsibilities of nurses were vastly different than today. With the rise of technology and ever-growing need to be more precise, they have a lot more tasks to complete and things to learn." So, that's great supplemental information, right? And if we were really writing this paper, we would probably have some statistics to back that up, some sources to show, hey, this isn’t just my experience as a nurse, or my own observation, it's actually a documented phenomenon that's going on.

I see a few people still typing and I want to give them a chance to submit their revisions, too. And I would challenge the use of "unreasonable," too, it's a little bit emotional. So that would be something to think about too. Unreasonable is kind of a personal picture. What’s unreasonable to one person might not be unreasonable to somebody else. So instead of saying something like unreasonable or too much, you might want to focus, instead, specifically on what's happening. There's too many patients or an increase in patients but not an increase in nurses, and what impact that might have. You might want to do some research. Does that make nurses more tired? Are they more likely to make mistakes? Why is this a problem?

Great job, everybody. I really appreciate all your interaction. I know we have a nice, small group, and so I’m glad to be able to really read over a lot of different examples from all of you. I'm going to wait another 30 seconds if you're still typing, then I'm going to move on so we have time to get through everybody.  

And I appreciate all of you, too, because I know you're not all nursing students, probably and going on an imagination ride with us, here. It's easier to make these changes when you are working in your own discipline and have done the course reading for that week so, you have that evidence probably, have the evidence that you need. Going to go ahead and move on, and I apologize if I didn't get to read your example.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Authority


How would you revise this sentence? What would you add or change?

Nurses today have an unreasonable number of responsibilities 

that they never had to take on in the past.

Nurses today are faced with complex healthcare delivery systems, heavier workloads, and other responsibilities due to nurse shortages (Felblinger, 2014).

•      Cited source

•      Specific examples 

•      No judgmental language

Audio: And this was another revision example, you guys did a great job. This one is based on real research which, of course, I did not expect you to complete during this exercise. “Nurses today are faced with complex health care delivery systems, heavier workloads and other responsibilities due to nurse shortages.” So here we are focusing on these specific things. So, we might have kind of an introductory sentence where we explained that nurses are overly stressed, they're more stressed than they were in the past and then explain, here's why. So, you can see how we have a cited source, specific example, and avoid that judgmental or emotional language. 


Visual:Slide changes to the following: Authority

When you use evidence, give credit to the source. A citationtells 

the reader where you got your information.

            Basic format for a paraphrase:

Your own words and voice (Author, Year).

Basic format for a quote: 

“Someone else’s words” (Author, Year, p. #).

            Check out our citation basics pages for more!

Audio: And you may have noticed that we have some citations in this example and in some of the other examples. So, when you use evidence, give credit to the source. Excuse me. And I like to think about it, too, we use language, we use evidence. But I like to think about it as, when you use information informed by a source. So that doesn't mean you took the exact statistics word for word and put it quotes, necessarily. Anytime you are getting information and ideas that are informed by your course reading, it's not something you just happen to know and instead it's informed by what you’ve read. You need to cite for APA, because you’re giving credit to your author, so you're avoiding plagiarism and you're establishing yourself as an authority.

So, a basic format for a paraphrase which is when you aren't using those direct quotes but you’re just rewriting what the source says in your own words and sentence structure. You might have your own words and voice and then, in parentheses, the author, comma, the year. So that's the basic format for a paraphrase.

And the basic format for a quotation is very similar. So, we had the exact words from the source, in quotation marks, and then in parenthesis immediately following that we have the author, the year, and then for quotations we also need that page number. And we have more information on citation and other webinars as well as on our Citations Basics Page. I just want to know that today as an important part of establishing ourselves as scholarly writers.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Questions?



Audio: Let's pause for a moment and see if there are any questions.

Kacy:  Thanks, Claire. You mentioned earlier that there might be some places where you want to use questions in scholarly writing, but overall you want to avoid them. Could you talk a little more about that? Like, maybe I have heard that starting with a question is a good way to grab the reader's attention, or something like that. Can you talk maybe a little more about why you want to avoid using questions like that in scholarly writing?

Claire: Yeah, that's a great question. I know in other forms of writing that we might recommend kind of hooking the reader with a question. Right? But in scholarly writing you have the answers to the questions, so that’s kind of like the authority. Whereas other forms of writing might be seeking more to explore or sort of hook readers, scholarly writing assumes that your audience is kind of interested in your topic, in general. There are people in your field who are part of the academic conversation, so you don't need to hook them with your question. And what's more, you should have the answer to your question. You are going to establish yourself as an authority in your work. So instead of asking, "Why is bullying bad?" You're going to tell the reader why bullying is bad. You are going to explain and explore why bullying is bad in your paper and make a clear statement about that.

Kacy:  That's super helpful, Claire. And then also, you mentioned about belief and opinions. How do we make sure it's clear we're distinguishing an argument as opposed to just presenting a belief or an opinion?

Claire: That's a great question, and it can be really tricky, sometimes. One way is to be sure to avoid those sort of, "I believe," or "Every nurse deserves a raise," like, those sweeping generalizations. Those really personal, biased statements. Avoiding that biased language, and really relying on your evidence to help support your points will help make sure that you aren’t just relaying a belief or an opinion, because beliefs and opinions are important. Right? They are probably what’s driving you to write whatever you're writing, because you read whatever you read for your coursework and you are like, nurses deserve some relief! They are overworked! And that's your belief or opinion that can be the sort of fundamental core of your paper. But going off of that, you want to help make it neutral and figure out what the points are that really actually support that belief or opinion, what evidence can you use? What logical explanations can you provide to help support that argument or idea that may have come from a belief?

Kacy: Awesome. Thanks so much that’s all we have for now Claire.

Claire:  Keep asking questions!


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Purpose

•      What do you want to sayabout the topic?

•      What is your overall point?

•      What is your overall purpose?

•      Thesis Statement

Audio: We are almost to the end of our ADAPT and we will talk a little bit about Purpose.

So, thinking about what do you want to say about your topic? What's your overall point? To, what you want to say is a little bit that sort of personal belief or opinion we just mentioned. And then, what’s your overall point? Are you arguing for change? Are you establishing that this is true? What's your point? What's your purpose? So, your point and your purpose may be intertwined, or they may be slightly different. And thinking about all those things will help get you to your thesis statement.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Purpose

A thesis statement

•      Argues for or against something

•      Can be supported with information from sources

•      Is specific

The rest of the paper builds off of this thesis statement.

Audio: Now a thesis statement is a statement which argues for or against something. And it can be supported and most of the time will be supported with information from sources. And a thesis statement is specific. The rest of the paper builds off your thesis statement. So, a thesis is important to establishing your authority and purpose and it will also help with that sort of,  what's the difference between my belief and what you want to accomplish with this paper. So, a thesis statement can give answers to that, as well. And, we have some examples of thesis statements.


Visual:Slide changes to the following: Purpose

            Too broad: Mental health treatment plans are important.

More specific, but not arguable: The purpose of this paper is to discuss the best treatment plan for methamphetamine addiction.

Specific and arguable: The most effective treatment plan for methamphetamine addiction is a combination of pharmacological and cognitive therapy. 

Audio: So, I should say, too, that a thesis usually is the last sentence or sometimes two sentences at the end of your introduction. So, a broad thesis statement might be:  Mental health treatment plans are important. 

So, we are arguing something here, we can see that, but it's a little general. It would be hard to prove in a paper, because it's not very specific.

More specific but less arguable: The purpose of this paper is to discuss the best treatment plan for methamphetamine addiction.

So that's just kind of telling the reader what you're going to do. It’s not really what your argument is, what is the best treatment plan for methamphetamine addiction? That's what makes the paper, that's what your argument is.  And it's okay to give away your argument in the introduction. You should, so that readers know what to invest in and what to expect in the body of your work.

Here's an example of specific and arguable: the most effective treatment plan for methamphetamine addiction is a combination of pharmacological and cognitive therapy.

There, we are super specific, we are concise and we are arguable. We are not just saying we are going to discuss an effective plan. We are saying, here is the plan I am going to discuss. So, the reader knows, going into your paper, that you are going to focus on combination of pharmacological and cognitive treatment as an effective treatment for methamphetamine addiction. And you are going to explain why that's the most effective option.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Purpose

Poll Practice: 

Which is the best thesis statement?

Audio: All right, let's do a quick poll, which of these is the best thesis statement? And I will go ahead and read them aloud.

Option A, “I will discuss how teachers can address the individual needs of students in high school setting.”  B, “Adjusting the individual needs of students results in 13% more success on standardized tests.” and we have a citation. Or, C, “Addressing the individual needs of students in the high school setting is important to students' later success in life.”  

I will give you all a moment to go ahead and fill out the poll. 

[silence as students respond]

I’m seeing a drop in adding new answers, so I'm going to go ahead and go over the response. [LAUGHS] So, the strongest thesis statement is actually C, because we are being concise and arguable, “Addressing the individual needs of students in the high school setting is important to student’s later success in life.” We are arguing this cause and effect really specifically. The second that a lot of you chose, has great statistics we should definitely use in the body of our paper, but it's not arguable. It's just the results of a study. So, it's not meeting the arguable component of what you're actually going to argue in your paper. And usually, a thesis statement won’t include a citation, itself. However, your introduction will often have some citations in it to help establish that background information and why you're making the argument you're going to make in your paper. Great job, everybody.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Purpose

            Ourproofreading pages have even more strategies

            Proof carefully for grammar and clarity:

•      Read your paper out loud

•      Read your paper backwards 

•      Ask a friend, classmate, or the Writing Center for feedback

Audio:All right. So, you want, in thinking about your purpose, because you want to be this authority, this established scholarly figure and writer, you want to proofread for grammar and clarity, because this is formal, right? This isn't a text, this is something that is professional. It is in your body of work and it's really good to practice these skills.

So, some ways to proofread are to read your paper out loud. I know that sounds silly, but it really helps catch small typos or weird phrasing or really, any number of things. You can read your paper backwards you sort of read the last paragraph first, and then read, kind of, you know, the succession of paragraphs going up your paper. Or, you can ask a friend, classmate, or the Writing Center for feedback on your work and having a second set of eyes can be so, so helpful in really giving you that context, making sure that things are clear to someone who’s not in your classroom, and that everything is making sense.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Purpose: Grammarly

•      Automated grammar revision tool accessible from the Writing Center website.

•      Freefor Walden students.

•      Does not “fix” paper; instead, provides instruction that corresponds to errors noted in the writing.

Audio: You can also use Grammarly, which is an automated grammar revision tool. You can access it from the Writing Center website, and it is free for Walden students. It does not fix your paper, it's not going to magically make sure you have no grammar errors, at all. But it's a little bit stronger than Word's like spell or grammar check, and can help note things like passive voice that might show up in your writing. And can really help you figure out what patterns you might have in your writing so you can look at those as part of your revision process.


Visual:Slide changes to the following: Writing Center Resources

[visual clip of the writing center website]

Audio: And, you can use a number of Writing Center resources. We have tons of resources for students on just about any writing topic you can think of. So, if you haven't visited our website yet, I highly recommend it, and there are lots of resources on there for anything you're looking for, if you're not sure where to find them, you can go to that upper, right hand corner here and search the search bar with whatever term you're looking for.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Assignment Planner

            Downloadin the “Files” pod or clickthe link above to access online!

Audio: You can also use an assignment planner, which is in our files pod, and that can help you sort of make sure that you're making enough time for each assignment, keep track of what your goals are for the assignment, what things you want to focus on, as far as the writing itself, what feedback you've gotten from your faculty or the Writing Center in a paper review.


Visual: Slide changes to the following:Writing Feedback Journal

            Downloadin the “Files” pod or clickthe link above to access online!

Audio:And it looks like this. So, you can have what date you're working on it, what date it's due, what you want to work on, what resources might be helpful and, you can get some of that information from your faculty and their feedback, but also from us at the Writing Center and our paper review appointments. 


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Writing Center Resources


            Paper Reviews


            E-mail Q&A

            Website Materials


            Grammar Modules

            Social Media

Audio:So, we have a lot of resources in here.  And I’m talking about our paper review appointments, which are, I'm on the undergraduate schedule, so you would very likely have an appointment with me. And you’ll just go into MyPass, that's our paper system, and you will attach a paper to a slot on the schedule, and I or another Writing Instructor will review it and give you feedback on whatever you're looking for help with, and we will provide some resources and next steps for you. And then, you can expect it back within two days of your appointment date. There's no live communication, you just attach your paper, let us know what you're working on, then we will get it back to you, you will get an email when it's done, you download the paper, it will have all our feedback embedded in it. 

So, it's a really great resource, especially if you feel lost when you get feedback from your faculty or you have your own goals and you want to understand how to achieve those a little bit more concretely, or just makes sure that you're writing in this scholarly, straightforward way, the Writing Center's paper reviews are a really great resource for that.

Of course, we have other webinars, you can always send us specific questions via email, we have our website, you can use Grammarly, we have wonderful modules on grammar as well as APA and other things. And we post on social media, we have a podcast which Kacy and I are cohosts of, where we talk writing things. We have a Facebook and a Twitter with little inspirations and reminders. We have a lot of resources for students, so please use us. We are here because you are here and so, that's a great way to really make use of us and help yourself, as well.


Visual: Slide changes to the following: Questions: Ask Now or Later•  Live Chat Hours

Learn More:

Check out the recorded webinars “What Is Academic Writing?” and “Writing Effective Academic Paragraphs”

Audio:All right. So, we've got five minutes left, about. Are there any additional questions? And if you haven't asked any, you can go ahead and plug them in the chat box now, as well.

Kacy:  So, Claire, you went over a lot of different resources that we have. Do you have any specific favorites that you would specifically want to recommend to these students?

Claire:  Oh, that's a good question. I added a few of them throughout this presentation, which is something I always like to do. But I highly recommend our blog for kind of a less formal tone, overview of some of the topics that I talked about today. It's really nice, we all kind of contribute to the blog and write on there with our personal tips or advice for students on a lot of different issues. 

I definitely recommend other webinars if you've found this format to be beneficial to your learning style. “What is Academic Writing?” is another really good one if this felt a little fast, and you want to take more time with that scholarly voice and tone and expectations. And, the “Effective Academic Paragraphs” webinar is probably my favorite webinar. It really goes over how to structure those body paragraphs and make use of some tools and ideas to keep things cohesive, to make sure you're supporting that evidence. I also love our APA modules. I had mentioned our grammar modules, but our APA modules, if citing sounded really overwhelming to you, our APA modules are great. They're interactive, they're great, and they really helped me solidify my use of APA when I started working here, because I come from an MLA background, originally.

Kacy:  I agree, I love the modules, and I also use them. When I was training, I come from an MLA background, as well, and they were so incredibly helpful. So those are some of my favorites, too. I also sent out a link to a blog series. Claire mentioned that she really enjoys the blog posts, and this one is specifically for scholarly tone. It's called [indiscernible].  You can check out if you want to learn more about scholarly voice and scholarly writing. 

And with that, I think we can close of our webinar, so thank you so much, Claire, and thank you so much for joining us, and we hope that you will check out some of these resources that Claire mentioned today and you will join us for the webinar in the future. So, thank you so much, everyone.