June 2016 -->

Walden University Writing Center

Where instructors and editors talk writing.

The Writing Center is Closed on July 4th

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In honor of Independence Day in the United States, the Walden University Writing Center will be closed on Monday, July 4th. We will pick up tomorrow with the next installment in our 5 Flow series, so please enjoy time with your friends, families, and writing groups. Happy Birthday, USA. 

The Walden University Writing Center
is made up of professional Editors and Instructors who work individually with students and produce cutting edge materials for students to use on-demand for all their writing needs. But not this weekend. They'll start doing all that again on Tuesday. 

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5 Flow Part 1: Create Logical Connections for Flow in Your Writing

You may know how to self-edit for punctuation and proper APA citation and how to paraphrase previously published material, but how can you tell if what you wrote really flows? More urgently, what steps are you supposed to take if your faculty instructor or committee chairperson tells you to revise to improve “flow”? What are some ways to incorporate that kind of feedback?

While there are many specific guidelines and clear rules for you to follow for some elements of grammar and style, we are all running after that elusive quality of “flow” in our writing, and sometimes it’s hard to tell how to achieve it. Beth Nastachowksi laid out five principles that can help create flow in your writing, the first of which is creating logical connections between ideas.

Logic and Assignment Goals
How to achieve appropriate logical flow depends somewhat on the goals of your writing. For instance, in courses you will need to write essays and research papers to develop a specific thesis and support it with evidence and analysis. In order to achieve logical connections in this type of writing, you will need to construct a sound academic argument—that means conveying to your reader how you analyzed the evidence and connecting everything together to argue a point.

In a standard, thesis-driven academic essay, making logical connections between ideas is central to achieving the purpose of the assignment. You still need to create logical connections between your ideas, though, even if you are writing with a different goal. As a scholar, you will need to learn to support and argue a point, but you will also need to learn to discuss, explore, explain, reflect, summarize, synthesize, question, and participate in many other intellectual activities in a logical, scholarly way. No matter the goal of your writing, make sure the decisions you make as an author always seem logical to your reader.

Building Connections
As an example, let’s say you are a doctoral student writing a literature review for your dissertation. Your goal in this section is to summarize and assess current research on your dissertation topic and in your field—this means not only explaining to your reader what other researchers have said but synthesizing what they said and showing your reader how your dissertation will fit into the academic conversation. How do you make sure you have synthesized that previous research in a logical way?

Whenever you connect two pieces of evidence together, the first step is to make sure your reader knows the connection you are trying to make. If you have a sentence with paraphrased material from one source followed by a sentence with paraphrased material from a second source, it isn’t necessarily obvious how those two sources connect. Putting two sentences next to each other is not enough to show your reader what those sentences have to do with one another; are you making a comparison? introducing a contradiction? building the second idea from the first? Rely on transitional words and phrases to signal to your reader how the different pieces of evidence logically fit together and when you move from one point to the next. (You will hear more about transitions later in this flow blog series.)

Keeping Connections Strong
As you make these logical connections clear to your reader, make sure those connections themselves make sense. Logical fallacies are examples of ways an author can rely on connections that aren’t really there, or at least are not as strong as the author thinks. If you visualize logical connections as the bridges connecting different ideas, a logical fallacy is a bridge that will collapse when you try to stand on it!

Some of the more common types of logical fallacies you will want to avoid include things like circular reasoning, hasty generalizations, and non sequiturs. The thing to remember about logical fallacies is that they can seem to make sense at first, but when you look deeper, the connection disappears. That is why is it useful to review the types of common logical fallacies so you know what to watch out for in your own drafts.

Think of including logical connections in your writing as drawing a map for your reader. As you read over your own work, make sure you ask yourself, “Will my reader know how I got from here to there? Will they be able to follow that same path?” If you use sound logic and clear language to signal the connection between ideas, it is easier for your reader to get to where you want them to go! And those are the first steps in creating flow!

This is the first part in a five-part blog series. Tune in next week for our next strategy for enhancing flow in your academic writing: Using Topic Sentences.

Lydia Lunning is a Dissertation Editor and the Writing Center's Coordinator of Capstone Services. She earned degrees from Oberlin College and the University of Minnesota, and served on the editorial staff of Cricket Magazine Group.

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Strategies for Enhancing 'Flow' in Your Academic Writing: 5 Part Blog Series

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We are proud to announce the start of a five-part series on this blog that addresses one of the most commonly asked-about topics here in the Walden U Writing Center: How do I make my writing flow?

Two years ago, Writing Instructor extraordinaire Beth wrote a post for the Writing Center blog on the topic of creating flow. We knew our readers were interested in understanding and practicing these important skills, but we had no idea how quickly Beth's post would reach Greatest Hits status. Since that time, "Five Ways to Create Flow" continues to be one of our most viewed posts, our Instructors and Editors continue to receive questions related to flow, and our WritingSupport@waldenu.edu inbox continues to fill up with requests for more instruction on flow.

With that in mind, it is with great excitement that we announce our upcoming blog series. Starting on Monday, June 27th, we will revisit Beth's post and go into much greater detail about each of the five strategies cited in the post. For tips on how to enhance your writing's flow by using these strategies, click each link below to check out each part in our series:

Stay tuned. And let us know how we can help you become a better writer.

The Walden University Writing Center Blog is seven years old now and is a precocious, curious, and unpredictable bundle of joy. Consisting of the efforts of a revolving team of professional Writing Instructors and Editors, the blog combines healthy doses of wit, humor, advice, and reflection on topics sure to appeal differently to writers everywhere.

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Learning the Language of Academic Writing

Recently, my husband and I enrolled in a local Somali language class to better communicate in the heart language of some of our friends. In our first class, the teacher told us his immigration story and gave us some background on Somali culture and customs. We then learned the Somali alphabet. Later we learned a few general greetings: What is your name? Magacaa? My name is… Magacaygu waa… and so on. 

As we moved forward in the difficult and rewarding process of language learning, I couldn’t help but think about the parallels between learning a language and learning the “language” of academic writing. Here are a few of my observations. Do any of these ring true in your own experience?


Thursday Thoughts: Course-Specific Writing Resources Will Soon be Your Best Friend

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Did you know that the Walden University Writing Center has writing guides for common courses that are offered regularly at Walden? To help our students manage and excel in the writing-rich online classroom environment, we've created guides you can use as you move through your course. 

These week-by-week guides will help you complete your writing tasks by:
  • Providing Writing Center resources that will assist you in your assignment
  • Offering targeted writing tips that will give you strategies for completing the writing task you've undertaken for the course 
  • Granting access to sources required to complete assignments via the Walden University Library's Course Guides

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If you're enrolled in any of these common Walden graduate courses, check out the link and see what we've got for you:

We have these course-specific writing resources available for undergraduate courses:

We certainly hope these course-specific resources will be helpful. If you'd like to make a suggestion for the next course guide we create, let us know in the comments below. 

The Walden University Writing Center
is a part of the Walden University Center for Student Success. The CSS also houses the Walden Library, Career Services Center, and Academic Skills Center. As part of this four-pronged approach, the Writing Center strives to increase the writing skills of all writers, students, and agents of positive social change

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A Paper of A Thousand Pages Begins with a Single Word

When you see that flashing cursor on a blank Word document, do you feel excited for the possibilities of what can fill the page? Or are you consumed by dread and anxiety, knowing you are the one who has to fill the page? Getting started on a new assignment, even when you are excited for it, can be a difficult task. Armed with your assignment prompt, a clear understanding of the topic, ideas about what you want to say, and stacks of research at your disposal, you may still find yourself struggling with where to start.

Preparing to write is an important part of the writing process. We, as writers, take that time to get to know our subject through careful reading and thinking. However, moving in to the first draft can be a sticking point for many writers. You may know what you want to say, but where do you begin? Let's look at a few possible starting points that might work for you as you begin your next writing project.

Title image for this post. Hands on a keyboard with the word START on a screen.


WriteCast Episode 28: 5 Things to Avoid When Writing an Introduction

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We are pleased to announce the release of Episode 28 of WriteCast: A Casual Conversation for Serious Writers. This installment of the Writing Center podcast aligns with our recent blog post about how to write effective introductions to your course papers. However, to avoid being redundant, Beth and Brittany share with us their five thing to avoid when writing introductions.  

Topics discussed include
  • How much evidence should you include in your intro?
  • Is there a target length your intro should be?
  • When should you write your intro?
To download the episode, press the share button on the player above, then press the download button. Visit the Writing Center's WriteCast page for our episode archive and transcripts. Happy listening!


The WriteCast podcast is produced by the Walden University Writing Center. New episodes are published monthly, and suggestions for episode topics are always welcome. Just leave a note in the comments. 

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Smooth Moves: Introducing and Integrating Sources into Academic Prose

“Smooth moves” are not only for dating show contestants, confidence wo(men), or poker players—smooth moves are necessary for effectively using and incorporating evidence to support an academic argument. In fact, unlike dating show contestants, confidence wo(men), or poker players, you want to be 100% transparent with your argument, “show your hand,” and avoid putting on a “poker face.” 

Title slide for this blog post.A chess board with text above.


Blogs of Note

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Your friendly Walden University Writing Center Blog Team consists of many avid readers who have a whole host of different interests. From time to time, we'll point out some Blogs of Note that we think might interest you. This week, let's take a look at three blogs from around the Walden University community that we think you should check out. 

In No Particular Order:

Making the Grade blog
Part of the Walden Student Community, this blog provides helpful suggestions for how you can be a productive and efficient student. The Making the Grade blog is also a portal into the broader Community where you can join discussions,  stay up to date on events, and gather tons of information.

Spotlight on Walden blog
This resource is a weekly update about all the research that is happening at Walden University by its faculty and students. If you're interested in what your Walden colleagues  are doing, the Spotlight blog is worth checking out. The editors of Spotlight also have a standing call for you to tell your story. Maybe they'll turn their spotlight on you. 

Walden University Career Services blog
The goal of Career Services is to prepare its learners to navigate career transition over a lifetime by educating, coaching, and advising its learners to proactively manage their careers. This mission comes through loud and clear on their blog, updated weekly. There is practical advice, news & updates, and plenty of information to help you with your search. 

If you have any suggestions for online reading that you think other readers of this blog might appreciate, please let us know in the comments. And if you have suggestions for future Blogs of Note topics, we're always open to suggestions. 

The Walden University Writing Center
is dedicated to building a community of academic writers among its students, faculty, and higher education colleagues. We welcome your feedback for how we can enhance, strengthen, and grow. 

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