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What I Wish I Had Known How to Do in Microsoft Word Before Writing My Thesis/Dissertation

June 13th, 2018|0 Comments

What I Wish I Had Known How to Do in Microsoft Word Before Writing My Thesis/Dissertation By Loretta Rafay, MS   Many graduate students discover late in the game that they do not know how [...]

Writing Abstracts

June 11th, 2018|0 Comments

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 [...]

Where’s the Consistency?  

April 9th, 2018|0 Comments

Director’s Desk: Where’s the Consistency?   When Academic Program Handbooks and the APA Manual Disagree You’ve made it this far with APA and for the most part the manual has been consistent in presenting definitive [...]

Using Mindfulness to Soothe the Anxious Writer

April 4th, 2018|0 Comments

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 [...]

Read to Cross-train Your Mind

March 13th, 2018|0 Comments

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 [...]

Cracking the Cover Letter

February 20th, 2018|0 Comments

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.  [...]

Three Rules That Set Me Free

January 30th, 2018|0 Comments

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. [...]

Rules with Academic Degrees

January 15th, 2018|0 Comments

WEX has had a few questions in the past couple of months regarding ways of acknowledging academic degrees in our writing, and we hope this posting would help clarify the rules.   Capitalization: In the [...]

Triage Your Thinking

January 9th, 2018|0 Comments

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 [...]

Nurturing Creativity

November 7th, 2017|0 Comments

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 [...]

Dash Away!

October 19th, 2017|0 Comments

Have you ever wondered what all the commotion was between hyphens and dashes? If you're writing for publication (esp in APA), you might have been given feedback from a reader or an editor about the [...]

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Proofreading Made Easier

September 26th, 2017|0 Comments

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 [...]

Revising for Clarity and Precision

September 5th, 2017|0 Comments

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 [...]

Homophones Explained

August 5th, 2017|0 Comments

Homophones are words that sound the same but are spelled differently. For many writers, homophones are the number one reason for misspelled words. It’s not necessarily that we don’t know how to spell a certain [...]

Beyond Rules

July 24th, 2017|0 Comments

I recently went through a box of ephemera from high school, including old essays. Each one I read started with a dictionary definition. According to Merriam-Webster, rigid (adj.) means inflexibly set in opinion, or strictly [...]

Do I Really Have to Ask For Help?

July 10th, 2017|0 Comments

I used to sit in the back of the classroom struggling to comprehend what the teacher wanted from me. Sometimes assignments would be pretty clear to me. Other times, it was as if the teacher [...]

When in Doubt, Begin With a Brain Dump

June 19th, 2017|0 Comments

For as long as I can remember, I have been a slow writer. To frame “slow” in a quantitative perspective, I have averaged 2.5 words per minute at the onset of typing lengthy papers. On [...]

The Tension with Tenses

May 4th, 2017|0 Comments

I’ve found that when working with ESL students, the most challenging thing for me has been explaining verb tenses. Now, as a bilingual person, I completely understand how confusing English is. That doesn’t mean I [...]

Using Richard Feynman’s Technique for Writer’s Block

March 5th, 2017|0 Comments

Richard Feynman was a Nobel Prize winning physicist who famously challenged colleagues to explain difficult concepts in simple language rather than “hide behind” the esoterica and arcane language of their fields.  A popular faculty member [...]

Show, Don’t Tell

March 2nd, 2017|0 Comments

If writing is a public act, then, your purpose as a writer is to ignite reader’s interest and understanding of what you are writing about. The “Show, Don’t Tell” strategy emphasizes the reader’s experience of [...]

The Descriptive Outline: Revising for Content and Organization

February 27th, 2017|1 Comment

Many writers rely on the organizational value of outlines to organize their thoughts in the initial stages of writing. Outlines can also provide a useful framework to help ensure organization during and after writing. This [...]

Revising for Clarity and Precision: The Paramedic Method

February 24th, 2017|0 Comments

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 [...]

Revising for Coherence

February 21st, 2017|0 Comments

Readers agree that effective writing proceeds in some sensible order with each sentence following naturally from the one before it. We generally call that “coherence” or the sense that the material is unified. When the [...]

Reading Your Reader

February 14th, 2017|0 Comments

“You need a comma here. Also, what does this sentence mean?” I know unclear comments are just a part of getting feedback, but I still do a double-take when I see them. What were you, [...]

Finding Clarity Despite the Clutter

January 31st, 2017|0 Comments

Like many, I multi-task throughout the day, juggling various responsibilities at the computer. Today, I’m juggling emails, finishing reports, editing texts, and writing this reflection.  If I am not careful, a variety of documents stack [...]

Writing With Purpose [Video]

January 10th, 2017|0 Comments

WEX Editor and Writer Vincent Kovar discusses writing with a specific purpose.

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Formatting Tips for Track Changes

December 22nd, 2016|0 Comments

Wex Editors use "Track Changes" for their in-text corrections and comments. When working with tracked changes and/or comments to a document, you're going to want to access the "review" section of MS Word. When your [...]

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Rethinking Writer’s Block

December 12th, 2016|0 Comments

“I’m not a writer. I don’t want to become a writer. I just want to finish this document. Could you wordsmith it for me?” I hear this, or something like it, all the time at [...]

Striving for Imperfection

October 31st, 2016|0 Comments

When I was a young writer, I saw the written word as carefully crafted and immaculate. Writing was the transfer of knowledge from the expert to me. To be a writer, I believed I had [...]

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Learning to Accept Feedback

October 17th, 2016|0 Comments

When I finish a draft, I want to hear how a reader reacts to my thinking and the way I’ve expressed it. I know from experience that this feedback will help make my next draft [...]

A Recipe for Semi-accuracy

October 3rd, 2016|0 Comments

I like to think of punctuation as spice for words—sprinkle in a pinch of commas, add a dash of dashes, and drop in a semicolon or two for flavor. Semicolons, though, can be like the [...]

Anatomy Matters

September 19th, 2016|0 Comments

John McPhee is a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter who helped reinvent narrative non-fiction. He is also one of my writing heroes and mentors (even if he doesn’t know it.) McPhee has often spoken about one [...]

Trimming the Fat

September 5th, 2016|1 Comment

The best of my writing is marked by a direct, concise style, and yet I confess that it seldom begins that way. In fact, I tend to “overwrite” as I discover what I want to [...]

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A Tale of Two Sentences

August 8th, 2016|0 Comments

Every good thing I have written has two introductions: one for the reader, and one for myself. The former is my objective, but I inevitably begin first drafts with the latter. These rough beginnings clarify [...]

A Cure for the Citation Blues

May 27th, 2016|0 Comments

I believe deeply that we should cite our sources. When we cite sources, we honor those who helped us learn. We also make it possible for our readers to follow the path of our learning [...]

Having a Writing Mentor

April 25th, 2016|0 Comments

Finding a mentor as we dive into writing can be enormously valuable. Whether live or in text format, having a kind, emphatic voice about the writing process can relieve internal stresses while also illustrating that we are [...]

Writing Thesis and Dissertation Proposals

April 12th, 2016|0 Comments

Keep in mind that the goal of writing proposals is to argue two things: Your project is worth doing. Is it substantial? Is it interesting? Is it original? You are well-prepared to do it. Do [...]

The Dissertation – Chapter Breakdown

April 12th, 2016|0 Comments

A traditional dissertation is comprised of five chapters: Introduction, Review of Literature, Methodology, Findings, Conclusions, Discussion & Future Considerations. ( In a four-chapter dissertation, the literature review is integrated into the first chapter.) Chapter 1: [...]

Dissertation & Thesis Writing Groups

April 12th, 2016|0 Comments

Starting a writing group is a very good way to keep you connected and supported during what can be an isolating act of writing. The scheduled meetings should be frequent enough to keep the writing momentum going—a [...]

The Review of Literature as a Research Essay

April 12th, 2016|0 Comments

The Review of Literature is often a daunting academic writing task. While there are sometimes specific purposes outlined by your faculty member, most reviews of literature serve as an overview of the research that support [...]

Five Habits of Successful Professionals

April 11th, 2016|0 Comments

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of students in on-ground classes, online classes and hybrid courses too. Though the technology has constantly changed, certain things have not. Check out the five online habits used [...]

Email Etiquette

April 11th, 2016|0 Comments

What would we do without email? These days we rely heavily on email as one of our primary modes of communication, and while email is generally more informal than the formal letter, emailing a colleague [...]

Writing an Annotated Bibliography

April 11th, 2016|0 Comments

The Annotated Bibliography is a standard academic writing exercise that stimulates critical thinking through researching, analyzing, and evaluating those resources to compose effective annotations. The Annotated Bibliography reflects the researcher's understanding and evaluation of sources, [...]

Find a Community of Writers

February 9th, 2016|0 Comments

You don't have to write alone! Recently I found myself re-reading Stephen King’s memoir On Writing. While King writes with a delightful irreverence, he offers a very grounded, no-nonsense perspective about writing. As I read [...]