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: Thesis

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

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

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 

Using Sources and Navigating Citation Styles

As writers, we often draw on existing research and writing to support our arguments and frame our research. Citation styles help students, faculty, and scholars attribute and discuss existing research in a specific discipline. The resources below will introduce you to ethical source use and citation styles, including APA and MLA (two of the more common citation styles).  

 

Materials designed by G. Travis Adams, Christopher Basgier, Amy Cicchino, Carly Cummings, Megan Haskins, Heather Stuart, and James Truman

 

This brief handout gives strategies and resources for two common citation styles, MLA and APA 

This worksheet introduces you to the Chicago Style standard of writing and helps you practice paraphrasing and summarizing in Chicago

This handout explains how graduate student writing uses sources 

This handout introduces you to research, summary, paraphrase, quotation, attribution, citation, and citation systems 

This worksheet gets writers considering how to paraphrase and summarize a source 

This worksheet will help you write an annotation for a source for an annotated bibliography 

This resource provides detailed information on how to cite and write in APA style. Writers will learn how to organize their work and develop in-text and formal reference lists according to APA.

This handout introduces the idea of plagiarism and its various types. Further, it recommends strategies to faculty on how plagiarism can be avoided by using techniques such as timely peer review, feedback, and effective paraphrasing 

This activity asks you to consider whether or not something is plagiarized 

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