Improving Your Graduate Writing

This series of four workshops will provide an overview of key issues facing academic writers at the graduate level. In particular, we will look at four areas that often prove challenging: tone, flow, coherence, and correctness. This workshop series is appropriate for both native and non-native speakers of English.

Understanding Tone

For many graduate writers, finding an appropriate tone is a challenge. In this workshop, we will discuss how to evaluate and adjust the level of formality in your academic writing. Informality can come from a range of features in our writing: excessive generality, inaccurate verbs, imprecision, wordiness, and poor word choice. After looking at examples of how informality can weaken academic writing, we will introduce a collection of strategies that can help to combat these problems.

Managing Flow

Managing flow in academic writing requires that we grasp the connections among our own ideas and that we provide readers with what they need to make sense of those connections. Because of the complexity of this task, many graduate writers find themselves relying on transition words instead of building flow into their writing. In this workshop, we will look at how to avoid this overuse of transition words before going on to discuss strategies for constructing cohesive sentences.

Establishing Coherence

Academic writing can be dense, unwieldy, and confusing, even to its writer. Given the challenging nature of academic writing, graduate writers often struggle to construct coherent texts. Even if readers wish to engage with these texts, they may have trouble understanding the overarching structure and argument. In this workshop, we will consider how to plan and​ revise texts in ways that will enhance overall coherence.

Achieving Correctness

In order to produce effective academic writing, we need to follow basic rules of grammatical correctness. Even if we have a good understanding of the importance of tone, flow, and coherence in academic writing, we may still be puzzling our readers with our grammatical choices. In this workshop, we will review a range of grammatical issues that we know to be challenging to graduate student writers.