Quick Clips & Tips - Graduate Writing Center

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Quick Clips Intro

Quick Clips & Tips


Good things really do come in small packages! Especially when your to-do list is long but you're short on time. On this page, you'll find our brief videos, infographics, and learning modules, all offering bite-sized information on a variety of writing- and research-related topics. Click on each item to reveal its highly concentrated contents. (Video might take a moment to load; click "sign in" to view.)

= infographic = module = video
Quick Clips Grad School Survival

Grad School Survival


GWC director Dr. Sandra Leavitt introduces the Graduate Writing Center—its mission and services (fall 2020):

You have questions, we have answers (6:02):

We’ve got an appointment with your name on it! Once you sign up, that is; learn how to book coaching and workshops with our infographic or video, then visit our WCOnline calendars to secure your spot.

Dr. Cheryldee Huddleston (contractor) presents "Mastering Note-Taking" (15:54). Before heading to class, learn the best way to watch, write, and remember each lecture!

So much reading, so little time! Adapted from Dr. Zach Shore's method, our Strategic Reading infographics will help you comprehend and synthesize authors' arguments efficiently.

Part I explains how to quickly extract an author's argument and structure from a text.

Quick Clips Research and Citation

Research & Adding Source Material


To cite or not to cite? It may depend on whether the information is common knowledge, which in turn depends on your audience. Our common knowledge infographic will help you determine whether information in your writing is common for all readers, common for field-specific readers, or commonly uncommon!

Why cite? It's a question only slightly older than citations themselves. But just think: only 8:36 from now, you'll know 8:36 more about the usefulness and importance of citing, as well as its fundamental principles:

An iThenticate report contains a lot of information—numbers, percentages, and more colors than a full-on double complete rainbow. What does it mean? Our iThenticate infographic will help you interpret and respond to your report—all the way.

As Benjamin Franklin famously put it, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Learn the fundamentals of responsible, effective, plagiarism-free use of sources with our "Plagiarism Prevention 101" presentation, featuring lessons and exercises to help keep your papers in tip-top shape.

Paraphrasing entails presenting information from a source in your own words and writing style, tailoring your presentation of that information to the needs of your document.

A paraphrase will be about the same length as the original. Be sure to cite! Find out more in this video (8:54):

Quoting means borrowing a source's language word-for-word, using special formatting rules in addition to citing to signal that the language is someone else's.

Quoting is most useful when the source's language is distinctive, authoritative, controversial, or worded so precisely that paraphrasing would substantially alter its meaning (5:26):

Summarizing involves condensing long passages, large ideas, or detailed information from a source into an abbreviated form, capturing the main idea(s) in your own words and citing them. For example, you just read a summary of this video (5:19):

Quick Clips Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking


Become a stealth persuader with the expert moves taught in our workshop "Crafting a Convincing Argument: Attack & Defense." This six-video series teaches you how to organize a strong central argument, remedy gaps in your defense, anticipate an adversary's counterargument, and deliver a convincing rebuttal:

Looking to research your questions about research questions? You've come to the right place! Our four-part "Creating Research Questions" video series walks you through the process of developing a viable and trenchant RQ, from formulating to refining:

So much reading, so little time! Adapted from Dr. Zach Shore's method, our Strategic Reading infographics will help you comprehend and synthesize authors' arguments efficiently.

Part II walks through the steps of critiquing a text.

Quick Clips Planning and Organization

Planning & Organization


It's true what they say: you never get a second chance to make a first impression. This brief video (5:37) will help ensure that your introductions are head and shoulders above the rest:

Quick Clips Mechanics, Grammar, and Style

Mechanics, Grammar, & Style


Have questions about when your pinkies should be reaching for those shift keys? Be sure to capitalize on our capitalization infographic, designed to help NPS students avoid common blunders (but not common nouns).

Over the river and through the woods, to the point of the sentence we go: using too many prepositions can make it hard for your reader to see the forest for the trees. This video (8:17) shows how revising prepositions can help you achieve succinct prose:

FANBOYS is a mnemonic for the seven coordinating conjunctions—for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so—small but mighty words that link independent clauses in a sentence. Become a fan with our FANBOYS infographic! And remember, always place a comma before a coordinating conjunction.

Deciding how to format a given mathematical expression in your text is a C(2, 1) situation: it can either go in-line with the text or on a separate line, as a display equation.

This video (4:12) explains how to make that choice and offers guidelines for describing and punctuating mathematics clearly:

Just as light is both a particle and a wave, within your text, mathematical expressions are both math and prose—even when written as display equations. Our infographic illustrates how those display equations interact with periods, colons, and commas.

Looking to format your numbers by the numbers? Our infographics summarize the number norms from a number of major style guides:

Parallel universes might be mysterious, but parallel sentence constructions are nice and clear. Parallelism occurs when words that serve the same function take the same form—e.g., "biking, running, and swimming" rather than "biking, running, and to swim." Learn the technique with this short video (5:43):

In this epic tale of active vs. passive (7:28), the actor of the sentence takes center stage, but passive voice insists that it has a place in academic writing. Lights, camera, cue video! Then download the infographic for the continuing saga.

No matte rhow compeling you're contwnt is,  turning inwork fu;ll of typoes and grammer erors leavs a bad empression..

Our online module explains why proofreading is essential, identifies common errors to look for in your work, and demonstrates how to spot and avoid these errors. It also helps you refine your skills via fun, interactive practice with immediate feedback.

Transform your documents from "technically writing" into clear, compelling, efficient technical writing with this video series, which gives you the tools, nuts, bolts, and all:

For some basic re-training in grammar and punctuation, try our writing mechanics modules, short instructional videos that offer effective quizzes to test comprehension and awareness.

Quick Clips Thesis Writing

Thesis Writing & Publishing


If abstracts are feeling a bit...abstract, have a look at our infographics, tailored to your discipline. They give concrete guidance about how to summarize your document effectively, illustrated with examples:

These must-see videos are the best relationship advice you’ll get in grad school! Professor Zachary Shore shares his insider tips for finding your advisor, building a solid team, working together, and avoiding common mistakes.

Are you incorporating numerous mathematical formulae in your writing? LaTeX ("lah-tek") is a free, decades-old tool for typesetting elegant technical documents. Consult the LaTeX Thesis Portal for the template, manuals, tutorials, and videos.

The literature review is the part of your paper where you show that you understand the academic conversation you are joining. In the literature review, you discuss the scholarly work that precedes yours, that makes your work possible, or perhaps that makes your work necessary.

Our infographic gives you four tasks toward completing your literature view.

Need to prepare a research poster or quad chart for class, your thesis defense, or the next academic or military research conference? Our online module guides you through academic and design best practices and offers templates for creating a knockout poster.

Accordion Open Script