November 2011 -->

Walden University Writing Center

Where instructors and editors talk writing.

Don't Lip-Synch Your Way Through College

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By Tim McIndoo, Dissertation Editor

Here’s a riddle:

What do Milli Vanilli and scholarly writing have in common?

You remember Milli Vanilli, the German pop group that appeared in the late 80s and won a Grammy in 1990? It turned out that the lead vocals were not sung by the band’s members. As a result, the group was stripped of its Grammy award and faced numerous lawsuits. Millions of album buyers were eligible for refunds. So why offer refunds? Because what the album purported to represent was not the case: band members Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan were merely lip-synching; therefore, buyers were defrauded.

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And so, in Conclusion, I Will Now End My Paper and This Relationship

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by Jeff Zuckerman, Dissertation Specialist, CSS Faculty Member, and Dating Advisor

Dear Jeff: How do I end a paper? Sometimes I just keep going on and on and on and on and on. And on.
Signed, Confused

PS: Also, can you help me end my relationship with my boyfriend?

Dear Confused: Luckily, ending a paper is much like ending a relationship. You have several choices, depending on your purpose, audience, and context—whether it’s an undergraduate or graduate paper.  Let’s start by ending things at the undergraduate level (with apologies to Lunsford [2008, pp. 134-135]):

• Move from specific to general.

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A Source Within a Source

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By Nikolas Nadeau, Writing Consultant

Here is one of the most common questions we receive at the Writing Center: How do you cite a source within a source?

To show what I mean, imagine that you are reading Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation by Jeff Chang and D.J. Kool Herc. (I highly recommend this book as personal reading, by the way!) Let's say that within this book, Chang and Herc cite the following newspaper article:

Lee, D. (1997, April 22). 5 years later: A mixed legacy of rebuilding. Los Angeles Times, p. A1.

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You’re the Navigator! On Introductory Paragraphs and Topic Sentences

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By Tim McIndoo, Dissertation Editor

Readers can follow your argument much better when they know in advance what you will be discussing in a paper, chapter, or paragraph. Here’s an analogy that may bring home the point.

Chances are, you’ve driven your car with a navigator in the seat next to you. You’re driving along and suddenly you hear her say, “Take a left.” It takes a second to realize what the instruction is, but then you slam on the brakes, signal a left turn, and then squeal through the intersection. (OK, I exaggerate a little.)

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New View, New Perspective

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By Beth Oyler, Writing Consultant
I recently had to write a literature review for one of my own classes. While I work with literary texts versus scientific studies, the lit review that we complete as English majors is quite similar to the ones that I review as a tutor. Because I’m usually the one reviewing another student’s completed lit review, being on the other side of the situation was enlightening. No wonder we get so many questions about lit reviews—they are tough!

While I didn’t find any quick fixes or miracle ways to make this type of assignment easier, I did discover a handy Microsoft Word feature: the Outline view.

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