About John Dunham

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So far John Dunham has created 44 blog entries.

International Writing

2018-10-09T18:01:33+00:00October 9th, 2018|

International writers to American universities can have a varied experience, but one constant is the impact of the “secret language” of American idioms and academic jargon. Marshall Adams is a doctoral student from Ghana studying at Antioch New England’s Environmental Science program. He talked with WEX recently and shared a few insights to the ways [...]

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Writing Abstracts

2018-10-31T15:46:46+00:00June 11th, 2018|Tags: |

As researchers, doctoral students have already relied on abstracts to glean the relevance of an article. In the same way, the doctoral abstract is the general overview of the dissertation  proposal and the subsequent dissertation manuscript. The abstract has a distinct purpose to highlight the major points/issues of the research for the reader. Abstracts are [...]

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Using Mindfulness to Soothe the Anxious Writer

2018-11-19T16:10:08+00:00April 4th, 2018|Tags: , , , |

Trying to start a new academic paper used to leave me in a cold sweat, panicked and nauseated. When I sat down to start, my mind was distracted by thoughts warring for my attention. I often postponed the work until hours before it was due. Then, in a mad rush, I would write a chaotic [...]

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Read to Cross-train Your Mind

2018-11-19T16:43:27+00:00March 13th, 2018|Tags: , , , |

When I first started my graduate program, I expected to do plenty of reading, especially in my field. After all, as writer Joseph Addison famously said, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” What I didn’t realize though, until I started working at the Virtual Writing Center, is how much I [...]

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Cracking the Cover Letter

2018-11-19T16:44:10+00:00February 20th, 2018|Tags: , , , |

Cover letters are a part of job, internship, and practicum applications that always tripped me up.  As soon as I saw the words “cover letter”, I felt stuck because I didn’t know where to begin.  Unfortunately, as a graduate student, cover letters are an unavoidable part of my life.  Many graduate school, practicum, and job [...]

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Three Rules That Set Me Free

2018-11-19T16:44:22+00:00January 30th, 2018|Tags: , , , |

I’ve considered myself a writer for the past few years now, and yet, with the exception of scattered moments in which I felt I’d combust if I didn’t write, I found myself putting writing off. A lot. If something came up during my “ideal” time of day to write, I’d easily say I would get [...]

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Triage Your Thinking

2018-11-19T16:45:13+00:00January 9th, 2018|Tags: , , , , |

I often have trouble deciding what to write about in a paper. It is typical for one initial idea to spin off into multiple different yet relevant avenues, and I hit a wall in my writing as I struggle with all of these thoughts. Each avenue feels equally important, so how do I decide which [...]

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The Pre-Writing Process

2018-11-19T16:45:40+00:00November 28th, 2017|Tags: , , , |

I used to think I could sit down, write, and create something incredible. It’s easy enough to convey an idea through words; I speak every day, why should writing be difficult? I have since learned that writing is a complex process that takes a great deal of planning and organizing. It is impossible to produce [...]

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Nurturing Creativity

2018-11-19T16:45:51+00:00November 7th, 2017|Tags: , , , , |

Perhaps one of the most challenging and time consuming stages of my writing process is finding out what I want to write. Finding an idea—a good idea is essential. I have often tormented myself sitting down across from a blank screen. However, this is not where my ideas generate. I discovered that I think best [...]

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The Curse of Knowledge

2018-11-19T16:52:17+00:00October 17th, 2017|Tags: , , , |

Once I know something, I find it hard to remember what it was like not to know it. As a result, I have a hard time communicating what I’ve learned. I use jargon – specialized words that experts in the field know. I don’t include examples and evidence that seem obvious to me. I expect [...]

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Proofreading Made Easier

2018-10-31T15:46:47+00:00September 26th, 2017|Tags: , |

Proofreading your own writing can be a difficult enterprise. You’ve read the material so many times that your eye doesn’t catch what can be glaring to an outside reader. Errors or typos are too quickly lost to your own field of vision. After all the hard work of conceptualizing, researching, writing and revising, you want [...]

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Revising for Clarity and Precision: The Paramedic Method

2018-12-01T23:47:04+00:00September 5th, 2017|Tags: , , , , |

Perhaps you’ve been told that your writing is wordy or that your heavy phrasing confuses your reader. Most writers face this problem of “overwriting.”  However, clear sentences are integral to clarity and facilitating your reader’s understanding. To ensure greater readability, try using the Paramedic Method described here. The “Paramedic Method” is an easy, do-it yourself [...]

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