November 2012 -->

Walden University Writing Center

Where instructors and editors talk writing.

Becoming Your Own Grammarly

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Matt Smith
By Matt Smith, Writing Consultant

In my last post, I discussed the benefits of incorporating Grammarly into your writing process. Grammarly is a great resource, but it can’t do everything; its core function is only to quickly analyze your writing and provide details about the grammar issues it identifies. Unfortunately, it has no speedy, high-tech way of ensuring that you learn and retain this information.

You can best internalize these grammar rules—to know them so well you use them as automatically as you walk, without having to think about putting one foot in front of the other—by using them over and over again. The most natural way to do this is simply to write, which you already do in your coursework and capstone projects. Just like critical reading, however, you’ll learn more from this experience by engaging your writing critically, actively learning from your mistakes and improving over time as a result. In other words, you can more fluently understand grammar by, essentially, becoming your own Grammarly.

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Remembering Your Reader (Even in the Methods Section)

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Jeff Zuckerman
By Jeff Zuckerman
Dissertation Editor and CSS Faculty Member

One of the most challenging and important sections that capstone researchers need to write is the methods section. In your proposal it’s critical to describe what you plan to do and why, or once the research is completed, what you did and why you did it.

In Walden doctoral studies, that’s Section 2. In dissertations, it’s Chapter 3. Your task is twofold: You must show enough details of the research method so that the study can be replicated, and you need to show that what you did made sense and that your work was conducted ethically and soundly.

Too often, though, students forget they are writing for a reader rather than crafting a textbook. As Booth, Columb, and Williams (2003) advised, put yourself in the shoes of a reader who pleads, “Just tell me something that I don’t know so that I can better understand the topic of our common interest” (p. 25).

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D-O-I & Y-O-U

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Tim McIndoo discusses using a DOI for an electronic journal article.
By Tim McIndoo, Dissertation Editor

A reference tells us who wrote what–when–where (author, year, title of article, journal, volume, issue, page range). If we take those data to a large scholarly library and attack the journal stacks, chances are good we’ll find it. But how slow and cumbersome!

In the 21st century, filing and retrieving scholarly articles (including abstracts) has become much simpler and much faster. That’s because all the standard data (author, year, title, etc.) are now commonly encoded into a unique, permanent, alphanumeric string called a digital object identifier or DOI. Here’s what a reference looks like with the DOI in position after the period that follows the page range: 

Nance, M. A. (2007). Comprehensive care in Huntington’s disease: A physician's perspective. Brain Research Bulletin, 72(2-3), 175-178. doi:10.1016/j.brainresbull.2006.10.027

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