Foundations of Academic Writing

Spring Quarter Arrivals: Watch the five videos and review the slides provided below. Then, email with cc to your program officer to attest to having done so.

In this 90-minute general presentation—which is mandatory for all new students—you will learn the basics of what is expected of your written work, gain survival skills, and receive an overview of the writing process, whether your task is a two-page executive summary or a multi-chapter thesis.

The presentations consist of the following topics delivered by five seasoned scholars and writers. Slides and videos from the present and/or past quarters are available under each presentation description below. (Combined slides from 16 July 2019.)

Foundations covers the philosophies, standards, and techniques of academic writing. For an introduction to the Graduate Writing Center and its services, see our New Student Orientation video (15:40).

Workshops Quarterly Presentations - spring 2014

This introduction to Foundations explains its goals and provides an introduction to each presenter.

  • Video (Winter 2020, George Lober [contractor], 9:13)

This talk introduces the fundamental challenges of working in the knowledge domain and how academic writing is adapted to them. It discusses the need for having a clearly-defined purpose, for consistently placing contextual descriptions ahead of details, for accuracy, and for analyzing evidence as the means to answer a research question. Dr. Zachary Shore covers additional elements of reading and research at the graduate level, while John Locke also addresses the benefits and liabilities of the Internet as a research tool. Only one of their presentations is required.

  • Video (Fall 2019, Zachary Shore, 27:09)
  • Videoslides (Winter 2020, John Locke, 27:28)

Scholars and students contribute to our understanding of important issues through their original analysis and research. To do so, they must discuss and build upon the work of others. Thus, as a student, it is inevitable that you will need to cite, quote, paraphrase, and summarize a potentially wide range of sources in your own writing. Dr. Leavitt discusses how sources are used to develop better arguments, the norms and rules for using those sources, why those norms exist, and how to maintain academic integrity and avoid plagiarizing.

Dr. Egerton offers a step-by-step guide to getting started on writing a paper, overcoming writer's block, and drafting and revising your writing.  Good writing at every level involves discovery, planning, developing ideas, creativity, and revision.  Students will learn a variety of techniques as well as receive sound advice on what to expect, how to cope, and how to excel while writing papers and building toward a successful thesis.

  • Video, slides (Winter 2020, Kate Egerton [contractor], 23:11)

Students conducting research using the following types of methods may be conducting human subjects research: Surveys, interviews, equipment testing on people, audio/video recording, archived data mining containing PII, and task or work analysis. These types of research are more common in the social science and business fields. Please consult your advisor or professor for more information. Or email Dr. Larry Shattuck.

The website for the Human Research Protection Program is here.