Workshops Catalog

GWC and DKL Workshops Catalog

For current-quarter offerings, go to our workshops page.

GWC

Core writing workshops are offered by the GWC to students every quarter via Zoom; other workshops are offered at least two quarters per year. The complete catalog of GWC workshops is listed below.

DKL

The Dudley Knox Library offers three workshops every quarter: "Citation Management with Zotero," "Research Quick Start," and "Thesis Quick Start." See the listings below or the workshops page for details.

Workshops Complete Catalog

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

Now offered as the three-part Mastery series: Grammar, Punctuation, and Clarity and Concision.

For a filmed version of Basics of Academic Writing, see our filmed workshops page.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Critical Thinking

Stumped when you face a blank page? Acquire tried-and-true techniques for starting a paper: brainstorming, clustering, concept mapping, pre-writing, and outlining. Master practical methods to clear the cobwebs and stare down that blank page. By trying out the various techniques during the workshop, you will discover which ones work best for you.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Critical Thinking

This workshop takes your pre-writing skills to the next level. Students are encouraged to bring topics from actual NPS writing assignments to test brainstorming strategies learned in Level I. You will come away with a better sense of how to use each strategy and increase your creativity. Level I highly recommended but not required.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

If you daydreamed through the grammar lessons of your schooldays, take heart. Through clear and simple explanations, we demystify terms and concepts that seasoned writers take for granted, focusing on sentence structure including elements, patterns, and the active voice. For help understanding mechanics and punctuation, we recommend taking the Mastery series first for a solid refresher. Since sentences are the basic element for clearly and concisely expressing ideas, Building Better Sentences is an ideal addition to your toolkit.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

Part II focuses on guided sentence-building practice, applying the toolkit acquired in Part I. Students who have taken Part I this term are automatically eligible. Students who have taken Building Better Sentences in the past or have yet to enroll should email the instructor for pre-class documents (see the WCOnline calendar for instructor email address).

Presented by: Dudley Knox Library
Category: Library

Learn how to use Zotero, a free tool that you can use to centrally collect, manage, and format your references in APA, Chicago, IEEE, and other citation styles. We will also show you how to use Zotero's Word plug-in to cite while you write your papers or thesis. 

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

Constructing a research question is probably the most important task for any paper you write. An overly broad question becomes mission impossible, while an excessively narrow question won't help fill the pages. Learn strategies for identifying answerable, interesting questions. A compelling research question will keep you motivated and your reader engaged.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

Not sure how results differ from discussion? How an introduction should be different from an abstract? Are you unclear about the role of alternative explanations or the point and structure of a literature review? Come learn how the building blocks of science and engineering papers and theses fit together.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

Not sure how an analysis differs from an argument? How an introduction should be different from a conclusion? How a thesis statement differs from an abstract? Are you unclear about the role of alternative explanations, what goes in a bibliography, what to footnote other than sources, or the point and structure of a literature review? Come learn how the building blocks of social science and policy papers fit together.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Critical Thinking

You employ persuasion every day, but are you comfortable crafting formal academic arguments? This workshop covers the strategies and conventions of written argumentation that are essential to your NPS studies and career. Hands-on exercises help you organize your lines of attack, remedy any gaps in your defense, anticipate your adversary's counterargument, and deliver the decisive blow through a convincing refutation.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Presentation Skills

Do you need to prepare a research poster or quad chart summarizing your study for class, thesis defense, or the next academic or military research conference? This workshop presents tools and specific design guidelines that exceed academic and design “best practices.” You will learn the rule of thirds, the dollar-bill test, and other design principles such as balance, white space, unity, parallelism, and dominance. You will know how to select the best data, pictures, and text for each section and for the poster as a whole. So armed, your next poster’s visuals will match the text, communicate key ideas at a glance, and look inviting, too.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Critical Thinking

Imagine a conversation among all the scholars who have contributed to your research topic. Assessing the strengths, weaknesses, agreements, and disagreements of their combined wisdom is the essence of a literature review. Using the Just War Theory, this workshop presents two examples of capturing the "conversation" and helps you identify the differences between review and critical analysis. Through guided discussion, you will be better equipped to understand and write literature reviews.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Critical Thinking

Do your academic readings make you feel like an outsider? Don’t remain an unheard voice in the wilderness: learn how to construct your paper as a "conversation with others." In this workshop, inspired by the popular writing book They Say/I Say, you will learn through hands-on activities the methods that scholars use to engage in larger debates. Your readers will understand you better, and you will stand on equal footing with the writers in your field.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Presentation Skills

Most graduate students will, at some point, have to deliver an oral report. Knowing what to say and how to say it is a challenge. In this workshop you'll learn how to forge a powerful presentation, penetrate to the core of your subject, and pull it off in style. The instructor will deliver a sample 15-minute book review, which you will then critique. In the process, we will identify the elements of strong and weak presentations, suggesting ways that you can improve your own oral communication skills.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

Master the art of knowing when and how various kinds of graphics—diagrams, graphs, photographs, tables—can clarify a process for the reader or illustrate an argument. Learn guidelines for making effective visuals, explaining them in your text, and placing them in the thesis template. By examining some student figures, you’ll see how design and annotations help the reader appreciate a figure's meaning.

Presented by: Thesis Processing Office
Category: Thesis Writing

A guide for foreign students on thesis formatting.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Thesis Writing

Does your professor want you to use LaTeX to write your thesis or dissertation? Are you passionate about beautifully formatted equations? Do you want to leave the formatting woes of Microsoft Word behind for a brighter tomorrow with LaTeX? If you answered yes to these questions or are just curious about LaTeX, please join us for a LaTeX crash course that will introduce you to using LaTeX to write your thesis or dissertation. In one hour we will introduce you to the fundamentals of LaTeX so that you are equipped with the skills needed to start using LaTeX immediately.

Presented by: Dudley Knox Library
Category: Library

With Library Quick Start, you will develop your research skills and learn how to use the library search, library databases, research guides, Google Scholar, and more!

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Critical Thinking

How you present data influences the impact and honesty of your work, the strength of your arguments, and your readers’ understanding. This workshop covers when to use and how best to display graphs, charts, tables, bulleted lists, set-off quotes, and images. We practice presenting the same data differently and assessing the impact and integrity of each approach. You will take away general principles, strategies, and methods that hone your critical-thinking skills and make your arguments better understood.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Grad-School Survival

You take notes and learn the subject matter, so why is it so difficult to communicate your knowledge during tests? And where does all the time go? Knowing a few key strategies can make all the difference. This workshop will provide you with winning techniques for studying more effectively, taking useful notes, preparing for exams, and performing better during tests; you’ll also receive practical, step-by-step methods for a "time investment" daily schedule.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Critical Thinking

A master's degree requires mastering a field, and that mastery is demonstrated in a literature review, a required component of most theses and many papers. It is not, as is often believed, a multi-title book review. It is, rather, a comprehensive evaluation of the literature relevant to your research question. More than a summary, it identifies strengths and inadequacies in the existing literature, which dovetails with your goal of adding new knowledge to your field. In this workshop, you will learn how literature reviews are constructed and how to make yours justify your research.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

Learn which conventions are rules, NPS norms, and style tips, all of which will help you masterfully put your words to work for you! Excellent clarity and concision stands as the core goal at the graduate and professional level of writing, so we have put together some writing master tips to make your life easier and your writing sassier in just 90 minutes.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

Review examples of common grammar errors students make in their writing. The common errors covered include subject–verb agreement, use of relative clauses, connecting and punctuation of clauses, pronoun–antecedent agreement, and spotting and changing passive voice to active. You’ll first learn the rule to avoid or fix these errors, then practice it in a hands-on activity.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

Small symbols with great power, punctuation marks can do it all—connect ideas, convey tone, clarify meaning. Used incorrectly, however, they can undermine your writing, distract and confuse readers, and diminish confidence in your academic work. In this workshop, we cover the most common punctuation marks in graduate writing. Examples, quizzes, and detailed explanations ensure that you leave with a solid grasp of everything from em dashes to Oxford commas—including that most mysterious mark of all, the semicolon.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Special Offering (5-part series)

The poets and playwrights of Classical Greece created the archetype of the military hero who fulfilled his destiny on the battlefield. These ancient concepts of courage, honor, and military glory have come down through the centuries and continue to resonate within the lives and careers of military officers. Experience a compelling sampler of literature as well as live, filmed, and audio performances that have influenced Western culture and even military policy. Join discussions that stem from your own responses, thoughts, and questions.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

Academic or research-based writing is distinct from other forms of writing: our primary purpose is to describe knowledge, which, at the graduate level, is most likely to address the logical connections between ideas—a task that calls for structured writing. This workshop introduces basic techniques that produce readable papers—comprehensive introductions, topic sentences, and embedding structure in language—and effective tools for composition. You will learn a systematic process for learning and writing that will focus your effort where it counts the most.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Critical Thinking

You've all heard what you shouldn’t be doing: don't violate the Honor Code, don't plagiarize, don't forget the rules of academic integrity. This workshop focuses on what to do to avoid these serious problems. We give you the skills to confidently incorporate others' words, ideas, analyses, models, and images into your own writing. You will gain experience summarizing, paraphrasing, and incorporating quotations from source material.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Presentation Skills

Your toolkit for presenting messages goes far beyond the words you choose, whether spoken or on screen. Come explore the nonverbal and vocal elements of winning presentations, such as gestures, eye contact, posture, projection, tone, and movement. These help you persuade and inform your audiences, making you an even more effective leader. What tools do you have? Come find out!

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Thesis Writing

The quality of your executive summaries influences how others perceive you and your research. Executive summaries publicize your work, provide busy decision-makers with actionable information, and generate readers for your research. Learn how to prioritize and organize essential information, avoid jargon, write more powerfully and persuasively, and navigate this specific form’s rules. By examining excerpts, we will identify best practices and apply those lessons to summarizing research in different fields.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Writing Mechanics

A paper with misspelled words and misplaced apostrophes instantly loses credibility. Even a "small" error can have big consequences. That's why proofreading is a necessary part of making the most of your message. We will cover tips and tricks straight from the publishing field to help you more easily and consistently catch your own writing errors before someone else does—or worse, someone doesn't.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

So much reading, so little time! Learn and practice Dr. Zach Shore's method of reading for argument at the graduate level in this workshop, tailored to social science and business fields. Dr. Shore’s "search and destroy" technique allows you to comprehend and synthesize an author's arguments efficiently. Level I teaches the "search" half—how to quickly extract an author's thesis and structure from an academic article. Though this method may take time to perfect, once you do, the payoff is high in terms of comprehension, time saved, and enhanced critical thinking skills.

Also be sure to check out Strategic Reading Level II, which offers techniques for analyzing sources' arguments.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

So much reading, so little time! Adapted from Dr. Zach Shore's method of reading for argument at the graduate level, this new workshop is tailored to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. Learn and practice reading techniques that allow you to comprehend and synthesize an author’s arguments efficiently. This workshop teaches how to quickly extract an author's thesis and structure from an academic article. Though this method may take time to perfect, once you do, the payoff is high in terms of comprehension, time saved, and enhanced critical thinking skills.

Also be sure to check out Strategic Reading Level II, which offers techniques for analyzing sources’ arguments.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

Level II teaches the "destroy" half of Dr. Zach Shore's "search and destroy" technique. This workshop prepares you for class discussions, argument papers, thesis writing, and more. Learn how to examine a text for its strengths and weaknesses. Identify how authors build and support their arguments, then develop your own critical response by evaluating an author's empirical and logical evidence.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Writing Mechanics

Overusing passive voice is one of the most common stylistic blunders in academic writing; it can be hard to identify and tricky to fix. At the same time, passive voice does have its uses. This workshop will explain what passive voice looks like and why in most cases active constructions are a better choice. Lessons and activities will show you how to transform passive-voice sentences and also identify situations when you might want to use them. You will leave with strategies to select the best possible verbs, to craft more interesting prose, and to express your ideas more clearly.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Critical Thinking

Are you more comfortable solving equations than drafting sentences? Come focus on the precise skills you need to write clear technical reports and theses. In this workshop, we will dissect a well-written report, decide what makes it effective, identify steps you can use to emulate its features, and review editing and proofreading strategies appropriate for technical writing.

Presented by: Dudley Knox Library
Category: Library

Is it time to begin your thesis? Not sure how to start? This workshop will cover academic research and writing in general, as well as the specifics of the NPS thesis process. Learn how to navigate the process and launch your thesis with confidence.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Thesis Writing

Are you embarking on a group project or thesis? It takes more than a collaborative spirit. This workshop will introduce best practices and potential pitfalls. We’ll cover asking key questions at the outset, assessing member strengths, establishing an effective plan, assigning tasks, and communicating effectively. With the right approach, you’ll start well, finish on time, and stay friends!

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Grad-School Survival

You've just received a prompt for a class paper.  You read it once, twice, and still can’t figure out what you’re being asked to do or what kind of paper you’re being asked to write. Sound familiar? This workshop will identify specific types of papers you may be asked to write at NPS and offer strategies for decoding and understanding instructors’ prompts.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Writing Mechanics

Is the prospect of starting a paper daunting? You are not alone—every writer experiences this. In this panel, four seasoned writers present tips for turning chaos into calm and realizing words on paper. Participants are invited to take part in a free-flowing discussion on the topic. Bring your opinions, questions, and own lessons learned to this brown-bag event.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

What are the common elements of academic papers at NPS? What do professors expect? Come and learn how the building blocks of academic papers fit together, making your papers more readable, complete, and academic. In this comprehensive overview, you’ll learn about paper intros, conclusions, thesis statements, roadmaps, research questions, hypotheses, literature reviews, abstracts, citation styles, NPS resources, and more!

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Critical Thinking

Will your thesis have four or 84 figures? Images in academic writing need to be skillfully discussed in both the body of your paper and in captions. We will practice writing about flow charts, graphs, set-off quotes, and tables. A simple formula will help you consistently and professionally describe figures and their sources, and explain to your readers how each image supports your argument.

[Formerly titled Smart Graphics, Smart Text.]

Learn to target appropriate academic journals for your discipline, decode submission requirements, query editors, prepare manuscripts, and address wider audiences for your academic research. This workshop covers the basics of academic publication, common obstacles, and models for adapting your research for publication as a journal article.

Do you want to impact broader military and security discussions? Learn to pitch, scope, draft, and revise short pieces for online outlets such as The Strategy Bridge and War on the Rocks. In this workshop, we will review submission requirements, learn from published writing, and show how writing coaches can help you shape your pieces for these audiences and specs.

Replaced by Crafting Convincing Arguments: Attack and Defense.

For a filmed version of Writing Winning Arguments, see our filmed workshops page.

Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Category: Core

Do you feel like your writing waffles on, contains weak arguments and never says much of substance? If so, it’s not because you have nothing to say; it's because you don't yet know how to express it. In this workshop, strengthen your style and polish your prose by learning concrete formulas for structuring your papers, tips for getting to the point, and tactics for making your sentences sing. Come away understanding how to present arguments that pack a punch.