University Writing

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Below are resources that University Writing has developed to support students and instructors across the disciplines in their writing and writing instruction. We define writing broadly, so you will find resources on ePortfolios, visual design, professional communication, and presentations in addition to traditional writing tasks like reflective writing, literature reviews, peer review, and editing and proofing.

Please use the keywords on the right-hand side of the page or the search bar above to navigate these resources. If you would like to use these resources in your course, please follow the Creative Commons information located at the bottom of each resource. If you plan to use the source in its original format, we ask that you leave the University Writing branding intact.

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Tagged Entries: Graduate Students

Academic Writing

Academic writing is a unique type of writing and can vary across disciplines. Use these materials to better understand the elements of academic writing, such as voice, disciplinary writing, and college-level writing. Reading academic sources is an important part of learning how to write in your discipline. For tips on how to engage with reading these sources, see our section on Reading Difficult Materials 

Materials designed by Christopher Basgier, Amy Cicchino, Megan Haskins, and James Truman

This worksheet is designed to help incoming first-year college students learn a bit about writing at the college level. There are also scenarios where students can consider what they would do in difficult writing situations 

The handout breaks down some implicit expectations related to academic voice, such as when and how to use first-person writing, jargon, style, and sentence variation 

This worksheet invites you to revise a piece of writing by paying attention to its voice within a sample paragraph 

This brief handout provides some examples of academic voice from various disciplines 

This worksheet provides excerpts from disciplinary writing and asks participants to guess the disciplinary context for the writing. By doing this, we hope you will begin to see how different disciplines structure and style their writing 

This worksheet helps you apply reading like a writer to your work by inviting you to examine written artifacts from a writerly perspective by paying attention to features like structure, key terms, signposting, and verb use

This worksheet is meant to help graduate students approach writing their first manuscript by making explicit options for manuscript section organization and looking at examples 

This handout invites readers to compare an excerpt from a dissertation to an excerpt of the same material, rewritten for nonspecialist or "general" audiences

This worksheet invites writers to plan a piece of writing for a general audience by leading them through the elements of the rhetorical situation

Delivering Oral Presentations and Visual Design

In order to effectively share our research findings with others, we must be able to deliver presentations clearly and impactfully. These resources include tips about oral and visual communication as well as visual design principles that will help engage and inform your audience. 

Materials designed by Christopher Basgier, Katharine H. Brown, Amy Cicchino, Carly Cummings, Megan Haskins, Layli Miron, Annie Small, Heather Stuart, and Parker Wade 

This brief handout outlines elements of oral communication 

Once you have a draft of your oral presentation, this peer review worksheet can help you self-assess or get feedback 

This handout will help you decide the best way to visually represent your data 

This handout introduces you to four principles for visual design: contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity 

This worksheet is meant to help you put together a presentation. It has been designed for students in aerospace engineering 

This handout will introduce you to scientific posters and analyze example posters

This worksheet will help you self-assess a draft of your scientific poster or gather feedback from a peer

This worksheet is designed to help you articulate how you “see” visible materials and what you expect students to do with visible materials in your courses 

Grants

Grants are a difficult genre for anyone to learn. A straightforward technical description of the proposed project simply won’t do the trick. The resources below will help you consider how to tailor your project to a request for proposals (RFP), consider your audience, and manage the process. 

Materials designed by Christopher Basgier  

This handout compiles common tips and advice related to grant writing 

This worksheet helps you reflect on what you already know about grant writing and begin by analyzing a model excerpt from a grant. 

IRB

To conduct human-based research, you need approval from Auburn’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). These resources will help you learn about IRB applications and offer tips for creating clear, effective IRB materials.  

Materials designed by Lucus Adelino, Christopher Basgier, Amy Cicchino, and Niki Johnson

This handout will define terms that appear in the IRB application form.  

Writing a successful IRB protocol is more than just filling out the form; it requires dutiful attention to your audience and your purpose. This handout has tips to help you write your IRB protocols more effectively 

These practice worksheets help you review and give feedback on a sample IRB scenario. By analyzing these samples, we hope you learn strategies for writing and revising your own application and protocols

This worksheet will help you give feedback to someone else’s IRB protocol

Learn more about Auburn’s IRB by visiting their website, which contains guidelines, application forms, sample information letters and consent documents, and more. 

Literature Review

A literature review is an evaluation of the available literature on a given subject. In literature reviews, you are synthesizing and analyzing research to tell a story about the work done about a topic and how it relates to present and future research. Use the resources below for guidance as your write your literature review. 

Materials designed by Katharine Brown, Autumn Frederick, and Layli Miron 

This worksheet helps you begin identifying scholarly conversations by analyzing an example literature review 

This worksheet helps you analyze an example literature review to identify the storytelling elements being used  

This worksheet parallels the moves a writer makes when creating a literature review with Freytag’s pyramid. It guides writers in outlining their own literature reviews by answering a series of brainstorming questions

Managing Large Projects

Large writing projects, such as dissertations, theses, and research papers, can be daunting. Use these resources to assist you with organizational and time management strategies needed to finish your project. Be sure to see our resources on The Writing Process as you engage in this work.  

Materials designed by G. Travis Adams, Katharine Brown, Amy Cicchino, Megan Haskins, Annie Small, and James Truman 

This handout provides strategies for approaching large writing projects 

This worksheet has tips and reflective questions to help you begin a large writing project 

This worksheet introduces you to and helps you begin creating writing goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. 

This handout offers you strategies to developing a regular writing routine 

This handout shares strategies for tracking your writing progress, like wordcount trackers, accountability logs, and goal planning 

This worksheet can be used to create a weekly writing schedule 

This handout invites writers to reflect on their academic identity, celebrate writing successes, and plan their next steps in their large writing project

This brief writing prompt helps writers plan how to use their time productively in a writing session

This worksheet provides two brief writing prompts to use as a warm-up as well as recognize and celebrate moments of growth in writing skills

This writing warm-up encourages writers to affirm their readiness for writing through identifying the strengths they bring to the project

This writing warm-up invites writers to reflect on a semester's worth of writing and recognize moments of growth

Managing Writing Anxiety

The writing process can be stressful, and it is easy to feel anxious about writing, struggle to start writing, or lose focus while writing. Use these resources to implement mindfulness strategies such as meditative pauses, progress tracking, and reflective journaling into your writing routine.  

Materials designed by G. Travis Adams, Christopher Basgier, Katharine Brown, Michael Cook, and Annie Small 

This brief handout describes writer’s block and explains its causes 

This brief worksheet explains solutions to writer’s block and a short reflective writing prompts to help you begin overcoming your own writer’s block 

This is a handout useful for instructors as they help students navigate writer's block

This longer worksheet explains some of the causes of writer’s block and writing anxiety, and it offers reflective prompts you can use to manage writing challenges 

This handout describes the meditative pause, or brief moments in which you deliberately stop writing and check in with your body, your breath, and your mind, before returning to write 

The following meditation script, “Focus into Breathing,” can be used before you write as a way of slowing down a busy mind and focusing attention 

This activity helps you recognize your patterns of thought about writing and replace self-defeating thoughts with empowering ones to reduce the occurrence of writer’s block and writing anxiety 

This activity combines Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and contemplative and embodied pedagogies to help writers externalize and silence an overly harsh inner critic

This brief writing prompt helps writers plan how to use their time productively in a writing session

This worksheet guides you in using expressive writing for self-discovery. You will learn about different types of expressive writing, such as answering prompts or making gratitude lists, and can complete several reflective prompts.

This worksheet provides two brief writing prompts to use as a warm-up as well as to recognize and celebrate moments of growth in writing skills

This writing warm-up encourages writers to affirm their readiness for writing through identifying the strengths they bring to the project

This writing warm-up invites writers to reflect on a semester's worth of writing and recognize moments of growth

Personal Brand

Your personal brand is a representation of your work that tells your professional story. Taking time to reflect on and develop your personal brand can help employers, review committees, and graduate schools know who you are, what you do, and what you value. The resources below will introduce you to personal brand and help you begin to develop a personal brand statement. 

Materials designed by Amy Cicchino, Layli Miron, and Megan Haskins

This handout explains what personal brand is and why it matters

Once you’ve reviewed the Personal Brand Handout above, use this worksheet to help you begin drafting your personal brand statement 

This worksheet helps faculty and staff consider their professional brand and develop a brand statement 

Personal Statements

Personal statements are often part of the application process for prestigious scholarships and graduate or professional school applications. Use these resources to identify your goals and the expectations of your audience so that you can craft an effective personal statement. If you are applying for a Fulbright grant, please also see our resources specific to Fulbright.  

Materials designed by Katharine Brown, Emily Cosgrove, Annie Small, and James Truman 

This toolkit introduces personal statements and offers step for producing an effective personal statement 

This worksheet will guide you in analyzing an example personal statement 

These open response questions will help you brainstorm and pre-write for your personal statement 

Once you have brainstormed, this worksheet will help you outline your personal statement 

This worksheet will help you reflect and self-assess a personal statement draft to consider opportunities for revision 

Reading

Carefully and critically reading is an important part of being a successful student and professional. Reading can help you understand important information and learn more about how a particular kind of writing is created.  

Materials designed by Christopher Basgier, Katharine Brown, Margaret J. Marshall, and James Truman

This handout guides you through “reading like a writer,” an analysis strategy developed to help you think about the choices the writer made 

This worksheet helps you apply reading like a writer to your work by inviting you to examine written artifacts from a writerly perspective by paying attention to features like structure, key terms, signposting, and verb use

This handout provides you with tools you can use to make sense of difficult reading material by engaging in active reading 

This worksheet will help you make important observations about a text before you begin reading it by previewing 

This handout gives a broad overview of academic scholarship and strategies that you can use to actively read the major parts of an academic research publication 

This worksheet introduces you to a says/does outline, which can help you understand why and how a writer communicates their ideas 

Research Abstracts

One type of academic writing is research abstracts, which are important distillations of academic research. In many fields, they are used as conference proposals, and they appear in journal articles to help readers understand the research and decide if they want to read further. Use these materials to better understand research abstracts and begin creating your own research abstracts. 

Materials designed by Christopher Basgier, Layli Miron, and Megan Moeller

This handout introduces you to abstracts, or the summaries that typically begin a kind of research writing 

This resource was designed to introduce readers to abstracts within the College of Human Sciences, in fields such as Nutrition, Hospitality Management, Consumer and Design Sciences, Human Development and Family Science, and Global Education 

This worksheet will help you analyze example abstracts from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds 

This worksheet features four abstracts accepted into Auburn’s 2018 Research Symposium, which you can analyze to identify the six components of an abstract 

Synthesizing Sources

Many styles of academic writing require synthesis, or the process of representing relationships among multiple sources, including patterns of similarity and contrast. These materials introduce synthesis, provide select examples, and offer strategies for identifying opportunities for synthesis in your current research project. 

Materials designed by Christopher Basgier and Heather Stuart 

This handout offers tools and examples for identifying synthesis strategies that writers use in different academic disciplines. 

This worksheet is a synthesis matrix, designed to help you create and see connections across sources 

Theses and Dissertations

There is no one “right” way to organize a thesis or dissertation, which is part of what makes writing one challenging. Use these resources to help guide you as you make decisions regarding organization structure and argument development for your thesis or dissertation. To learn more about formatting your thesis or dissertation, contact the Graduate School. Also check out our section on research writing. 

Materials designed by G.Travis Adams

This brief handout explains the different parts of a thesis or dissertation 

Writing Groups

A successful writing group can help you take personal accountability for your writing progress and give you a support network of other writers. Writing groups can help you create a writing routine, give and receive feedback on your writing, and help you talk through writing blocks.  

Materials designed by Katharine Brown, Amy Cicchino, Megan Haskins, Margaret Marshall, and Annie Small 

This handout will introduce you to writing groups and offer some considerations for you as you organize your own writing group 

This worksheet introduces you to and helps you begin creating writing goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound 

This handout offers you strategies to developing a regular writing routine 

This handout shares strategies for tracking your writing progress, like wordcount trackers, accountability logs, and goal planning 

This worksheet can help your writing group determine what progress looks like for you and track that progress. 

This worksheet can be used to create a weekly writing schedule 

This reflective, discussion-based activity invites writers to evaluate their growth and discuss with group members areas of desired growth

This group conversation starter invites each group member to identify one writing skill of which they are proud and share it with the group

This activity invites writing groups to compose a letter to each other sharing how the writing group has been of support