Crafting a Research Story

Whether you’re presenting in the 3-Minute Thesis Competition, preparing for a job interview, writing a grant proposal, or chatting about grad school with your Aunt Sally over Thanksgiving dinner, you’re telling a story about your research. Is that story a compelling one?

In this workshop, University Writing Center Director and Professor of Rhetoric & Writing Trish Roberts-Miller will discuss elements of an engaging research story, like concision and vividness, and introduce strategies for composing an effective description of what you do and why it matters.

Find the recording of this workshop below!

Dates and times for the following workshops will be announced soon.

UWC Graduate Services Open House

The University Writing Center (UWC) provides free writing support for all UT graduate students. We offer individual consultations, writing groups, retreats, presentations, and more! Please join us for an Open House to meet our consultants, tour our space, and learn how the UWC can support and empower you as a writer. All graduate students and faculty are welcome.

The Home Stretch: Workshop for Doctoral Candidates

Are you preparing to defend your dissertation this year? Join the University Writing Center for an interactive workshop to map out the final steps of your doctoral degree process. We will focus on planning for Spring 2020 graduation, but all doctoral students are welcome to attend.

This workshop serves as a complement to the Graduate School’s upcoming events, which address official submission deadlines, copyright embargoes, and formatting templates. At the UWC event, writers will review Graduate School requirements for defense scheduling and project submission and learn how the UWC can support and empower you during your final months of writing.

From Abstract to Script: How to Prepare An Effective Conference Presentation

The rationale for this workshop is grounded in the reality that many people are terrified of public speaking and conference presentations are boring if people simply read a text aloud that would do better as a journal article – i.e. they have lots of quotations and references, and long, relatively complicated sentences.

This workshop will help graduate students prepare effective conference paper drafts that look and read like scripts. It will also cover strategies for ensuring that the content of a presentation is easy for an audience to follow, with a view to get some good questions in the follow-up!

Organizing Your Research with Zotero

One of the most difficult parts of writing a dissertation—or an article, or a seminar paper, or any other lengthy project, for that matter—is organizing your research and notes. Zotero–a free, open-source reference management program–makes this process much simpler, but it can seem daunting at first, especially to new users. In this one-hour workshop, the University Writing Center’s Jamie Garner will demonstrate how Zotero can make conducting research more manageable and organized. During this talk, you will receive a basic overview of Zotero’s primary functions, as well as some tips and tricks to make using it more efficient as you integrate it into your research process.

Framing Interventions: Making Your Work Matter

As academics, we are often confronted with the challenge of answering the question of why our work matters. We spend hundreds if not thousands of hours pouring ourselves into writing articles and books that will be read—if we’re lucky—by fewer than 100 people over the course of our lifetime. Convincing our friends, family, and even colleagues that our work is important can therefore be challenging. We may at times feel like we don’t have the answer or even believe that there is one. “Framing Interventions: making your work matter” is a workshop designed to help aspiring academics to get a better sense of how to answer such challenging questions. In this workshop, we will examine what it means to intervene in a broader conversation that might mean more to a wider range of audiences.

How to Write Effective Emails

Emailing with supervisors: Love it or hate it, it’s one of the primary ways we make requests, communicate plans, share drafts, negotiate expectations, get feedback, and garner approval.

Make your emails work for you. The University Writing Center can help. In this workshop, we’ll explore email-writing strategies that will help you get results and work effectively with your supervisors.

In this workshop, you’ll learn email strategies that will help you do the following:

  • Maximize your chances of receiving complete, helpful responses
  • Minimize the need for follow-up or clarification
  • Establish objectives for meetings and conferences
  • Set the tone and pace for important stages of your research projects
  • Project confidence and autonomy as well as deference and respect

This workshop is designed to help folks at any stage of any program, whether they intend to pursue careers inside or outside academia. We’ll focus on examples of emails between late-stage dissertation writers and their committees, but our advice for crafting such emails can be applied to a broad range of academic and professional situations.

Writing Introductions

First impressions matter. It is no coincidence that many writers struggle to write introductions for their work. Depending on the type of writing you’re doing, introductions tend to have multiple objectives. In academic writing, your introduction often needs to establish the scope of your argument, provide appropriate context, introduce your thesis statement, and foreground your supporting argument. It also needs to hook your reader and make sure that they even want to follow you down your argument path.

In this workshop, we will explore a variety of strategies that make introductions easier to manage, whether you’re writing an introduction for an essay or working on the introductory chapter to your dissertation. We will cover outlining strategies that help ensure your introduction effectively foregrounds what you want to cover in the rest of your paper. We will also look at various different ways to revise your introduction as your project develops over time.

This workshop will be open to all UT graduate students.

Writing Conclusions

What’s in an ending? Just as even the most experience writers struggle to get started with their writing projects, concluding an essay or dissertation can also be daunting. This workshop sets out to dispel some of the myths and misconceptions about conclusion writing by framing it as an opportunity to reinforce the significance of a piece of writing. We will explore a variety of strategies that make conclusion writing more manageable, whether you are writing a conclusion for an essay or a concluding section for a longer piece of work.

This workshop will be open to all UT graduate students.

Reading for Moves: Understanding Abstracts and Proposals

In this workshop, we will take an empirical approach to understanding abstracts and proposal-style writing more broadly. Rather than try to talk through what these genres ‘should’ be, we will review the rhetorical moves and writing strategies consistently used by successful abstracts across a variety of disciplines. This workshop will help attendees become more attentive readers and writers by encouraging them to consider the goals of genres like abstracts and how language is used to accomplish those goals.

This free workshop will be open to all UT graduate students.

NOTE: Attendees should bring an abstract of their own to workshop in this session.

Publishing in Grad School

This panel addresses issues that face aspiring graduate student authors in today’s publishing environment and offers practical tips on how to select publication venues, how to respond to reviewer’s feedback, who to ask for advice, and what sort of publishing goals to set while still in grad school.

Crafting Standout Presentations

Well-designed presentation slides are an opportunity for graduate students to stand out from the crowd—whether during a seminar, a conference, or a job talk. This workshop focuses on the visual components of a presentation, introducing participants to the basics of visual-aural processing, reviewing visual composition best practices for slide design (including ensuring accessibility for neuro-diverse audiences), and covering some intermediate/advanced tips and tricks for capturing and directing an audience’s attention. Time will also be given to practicing those strategies in break-out groups using either a participant’s own project or a practice file provided.

This workshop is open to all UT graduate students.

Time Management for Academics

UWC Graduate Services presents “Time Management for Academics,” a presentation and discussion led by Professor Clay Spinuzzi. We will discuss strategies for starting and maintaining a work schedule, protecting your writing time, setting specific goals, and breaking large projects down into manageable components. This free event is open to graduate students and faculty members in all disciplines.

Click here to view presentation slides from this event:
Clay Spinuzzi – Time Management for Academics

Writing a Dissertation

This workshop will identify common challenges to writing a dissertation and introduce potential solutions to those challenges. Topics include making time to write, cultivating productive writing habits, communicating with advisors, setting short- and long-term writing goals, and being strategic about the role you want your dissertation to play in your professional development.

This workshop will likely be most helpful for graduate students in the early stages of their dissertation process, but all writers at all stages are welcome to join. This event is free and open to all UT graduate students.

Spring into Summer Writing!

Over the summer break, you may have a much-earned reprieve from teaching and big plans for all the writing you’re doing to do. How much writing can you actually expect to accomplish? What’s the best way to manage your time so that you get a lot of work done and still get a summer break? What kind of services and resources will the UWC offer over the summer to help and support you?

We’ll answer these questions and more in a one-hour workshop that will help you prepare for a fun and productive summer of writing. All graduate students are welcome to attend this free event!

Revision and Editing Workshop

This workshop will introduce strategies for revising and editing your own academic prose. University Writing Center consultants will discuss ways to tighten your draft’s focus, reorganize sections and paragraphs, and improve sentence-level clarity and concision. All graduate students are welcome to this free event!

Slides: Revision Workshop, Sentence Clarity

Starting a Writing Group

Writing is easier when we face it together! At this workshop, University Writing Center consultants will teach strategies for starting and maintaining your own writing group. We’ll discuss ways to exchange effective feedback on drafts, the nuts and bolts of scheduling, and practices for goal-setting and accountability. We’ll also help you connect with other students to set up groups and partnerships. All graduate students are welcome to this free event!

Presentation Slides