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Walden University Writing Center

Where instructors and editors talk writing.

Thursday Thoughts: July Webinar Schedule

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One element that some online students miss in their regular coursework is live and interactive sessions with their instructor and classmates. Working together live harnesses our energy and allows you to receive feedback and answers to questions in real time. For students seeking this sort of experience, the Walden University Writing Center has a ton of live webinars coming up in July 2019. Note that with the exception of one, all of these webinars are appropriate for students in all programs and in all phases of their coursework.



Tuesday July 2, 8-9:00 p.m. ET 
An essential component of academic writing is a thesis statement, whether you are writing a discussion post or a course paper. Join this session to solidify your knowledge of thesis statements with a focus on practicing creating your own thesis statement.

Monday July 8, 3-4:00 p.m. ET 
Scholarly writing does not have to be boring: Your ideas are exciting, so your writing should be too! Learn how to create sentences that will engage your readers, helping them to be as excited as you are about your ideas. You'll leave this webinar knowing more about how to vary sentence structure, use active voice, and incorporate transitions.

Wednesday July 17, 7-8:00 p.m. ET 
Confused about whether the first person "I" is allowed in academic writing at Walden? Unsure of how to avoid bias in your scholarly work? Join this webinar to learn Walden's and APA's policy on the use of first person, as well as various ways to avoid biased language and ideas in your writing.

Thursday July 18, 12-1:00 p.m. ET
This webinar focuses on how best to use tables and figures to present data (as well as APA requirements for doing so), as well as discussing qualitative and quantitative data. The best audience for this webinar is doctoral students working on their final capstone document.

Wednesday July 24, 2-3:00 p.m. ET 
Crediting sources for their ideas is often a tricky balancing act between citing too much and not enough. This session focuses on how to cite research using proper APA format; attend this webinar to become a citation expert!

Tuesday July 30, 3-4:00 p.m. ET
This session discusses the do's and don'ts of annotated bibliographies using examples. This session is relevant for any graduate students completing an annotated bibliography as part of their course work. We also explain how annotated bibliographies can be used by all writers as a way to take notes and organize research. If you are currently writing or will write a large research paper, this is the webinar for you!

Walden University Writing Center

The Walden University Writing Center supports undergraduate and graduate students throughout their programs with paper reviews, webinars, modules, a podcast, and a comprehensive website.


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Annotated Bibliography Essentials: Five-Part Blog Series for Research Writers

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The annotated bibliography is a common course assignment for Walden University students and is a useful tool with which writers can organize and make sense of their research. However, the annotated bibliography is an often misunderstood writing challenge for Walden students. The combination of writing in a new genre with specific formatting and content requirements, along with the challenge of locating, cataloging, and writing about literature from their field, makes this a complex task for writers. 


Annotated Bibliography Essentials


To ease the burden on student-writers and to demonstrate how the annotated bibliography is a tool to support the complex task of constructing research-based writing, we've created a five-part blog series. The three main components of the annotated bibliography (summary, analysis, and application) are important for any scholar-practitioner to understand and execute, so we've delved into each of these elements, along with other practical advice.

May we present to you, without further ado, our brand new blog series titled Annotated Bibliography Essentials. This series will provide practical tips that will help writers use this research writing tool to its fullest. Join us as we present the following posts in this series!



The Walden University Writing Center

The Walden University Writing Center creates content to help students with a range of topics related to scholarly writing, APA style, and the writing process. We host webinars, and offer paper reviews, live chat, and a podcast. You can check out all of our resources by visiting our Walden University Writing Center home page.

Annotated Bibliography Essentials
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Annotated Bibliography Essentials: Introduction and Conclusion

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When students think about an annotated bibliography, they most often imagine how they need to format their resources and what information they need to include in the three paragraphs for each resource. Although the formatting of each resource is important in an annotated bibliography, it is just as important to think of the bigger picture. Rather than just including your resources in an annotated bibliography, it is important that you also include an introduction and a conclusion for the assignment, as well.


Annotated Bibliography Essentials: Introduction and Conclusion


The introduction of an annotated bibliography will provide some context for the collection of resources you are including in the document. For instance, the introduction will cover the general theme or topic that your resources explore, including any background information or theoretical explanations that might be important for understanding the compilation of resources in the annotated bibliography. The introduction is also where you include any information on gaps in the literature you hope to address using the resources that are in the annotated bibliography. Once the introduction is complete, the bulk of the annotated bibliography—the resources themselves—will follow immediately after.

After you have properly written about and formatted your resources, you will need to include a conclusion to the document. The conclusion is where you will be able to reflect on the material covered by your resources and where you can touch on the gaps that became apparent. Taking stock of the possible gaps in the literature will help you determine where your research will go in the future. Likewise, you can also touch on the commonalities you took note of as you read through all of your research material. Were there common themes that continued to pop up as you read? Were there disparities between the resources that you think would be useful to think about?

Similarly to other types of APA-style assignments, proper formatting is important with an annotated bibliography. However, it is also important to think about the document as a whole, including the introduction and conclusion. The introduction and conclusion will help put your research into perspective for readers and will go a long way towards making your research compelling for those reading.

For an example of an annotated bibliography, take a look at our sample document here.


If you're curious to learn more, stay tuned for all of the posts in this five-part series on Annotated Bibliography Essentials!

The Walden University Writing Center

The Walden University Writing Center creates content to help students with a range of topics related to scholarly writing, APA style, and the writing process. We host webinars, and offer paper reviews, live chat, and a podcast. You can check out all of our resources by visiting our Walden University Writing Center home page.

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Annotated Bibliography Essentials: Overview

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The annotated bibliography is a common course assignment for Walden University students and is a useful tool with which writers can organize their research. Over the next weeks, we will share an in-depth look at each of the different elements of the annotated bibliography. We hope this blog series will help Walden's scholar-practitioners understand, complete, and utilize this helpful scholarly research writing tool. Enjoy! And stay tuned for the next entries in this series! 
Annotated Bibliography Essentials: Overview


What is an annotated bibliography and why can’t I find the formula for it in the APA Publication Manual?
While the APA Style Blog points out that there is not a specific format for annotated bibliographies and mentions that, in fact, “APA Style doesn’t use bibliographies of any sort,” the annotated bibliography is a useful form for writers to utilize. Specifically, the annotated bibliography is a writing form that allows writers the opportunity to showcase the information they have gleaned from each of their research sources; what they make of that information; and important conclusions they have drawn, reached, and processed.

Most importantly, partaking in creating an annotated bibliography serves a greater purpose. It allows writers the opportunity to assess what research has come before them, showcase why they interpret the research the way they do, and see where they, as researchers and writers, can both contribute and participate in the greater research conversations that are going on in their fields. 

What annotated bibliography form do Walden University writers use?
We have a solid tried and true definition and form on our website that Walden students can look to for suggested form and formatting of the annotated bibliography:

An annotated bibliography is a list of references that not only identifies the sources of information but also includes information such as a summary, a critique or analysis, and an application of those sources' information.

Thus, Walden students will want to be sure to format their annotated bibliographies to include four main parts for each of their research sources. These four parts are the reference entry, summary, analysis, and application.

So, what is the purpose of the annotated bibliography?
I like to think about the annotated bibliography as a way to prove that I have formatted the sources I used correctly in providing correct reference entries, so my readership can find each one of my sources effortlessly, and that the summary, analysis, and application sections reflect a truly valuable bundle. Each of these components showcase important perspectives and different vantage points on the research at hand.

In the summary, writers reveal that they have read the source thoroughly and have reflected to readers what it is about overall. Showing their readership that they know their research well in the analysis section entails that they point out what the author or authors have highlighted and what the authors have not highlighted, what they have missed, avoided, or simply not brought to fruition. In a nutshell the summary and analysis serve as proof to readers: proof that the writer has done their research and that they know what each author has shared on the topic at hand and what they make of it.

Reflecting this knowledge and deep analysis gives writers credibility as valuable and reputable sources themselves. Thus, their readership knows that they have done the work that allows them to make associations in the application section and decipher where the gaps in research are on their topic and where there may be questions left unanswered and problems left unsolved.

If writers do this bundle of reference entry, summary, analysis, and application for each of their sources well, they most likely have earned their seat at the table as a reputable researcher and writer armed with valuable takes and contributions on their topic that will benefit their field at large. And, who doesn’t want a seat at the table and perhaps possible publication someday?
If you're curious to learn more, click here to view all of the posts in this five-part series on Annotated Bibliography Essentials!


Christina Lundberg author photo

Christina Lundberg received her BA from the University of Minnesota and obtained her MFA from Naropa University. Presenting over 6 years of college teaching experience at various academic settings, Christina has taught a wide array of English courses both residential and online. Christina is driven by the desire to grow, shape, and develop a page to reach its highest potential. In her position as a Walden University Writing Instructor, she enjoys witnessing the transformations of a good paper grow into greatness. 

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Using MEAL Plan Strategies for Tempo Learning Short-Answer Responses

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As a student in a Tempo Learning program here at Walden University, I’ve gotten into a groove with my approach to each new competency. I open it up, check out the announcements, and then my next click is to the “Assessment” section to see what I’ll need to produce. I see variety in assessment formats, but what I’ve seen often are the short-answer assessments, and that’s what I’ll focus on today.

MEAL Plan + Tempo: Strategies for Responses

 
For short-answer assessments, there are usually a handful of prompts that require a response ranging from a few sentences to a few paragraphs. Usually I’ll download the provided template and scan through it to see what I’ll need to cover in the assessment, which also helps me decide how much time and attention to give to each the competency readings and materials.
 
After working through the competency materials and taking good notes, I usually find it rather easy to pull together the ideas for responding to each of the short-answer prompts. However, I noticed a pattern developing in my own writing for short-answer assessments that, as a writing instructor, kind of caught me in my steps. I noticed that I was sometimes responding to these prompts with two or three pieces of paraphrased evidence, and that was it. Sometimes my answers seemed a bit choppy or lacked flow (it can happen to the best of us, right?). Here’s an example of what I initially wrote for one of the prompts:

Short-Answer Prompt
Explain how a 2-year-old’s physical abilities compare to a 4-year-old’s physical abilities in a typically-developing child.

Response
Children around age 2 are typically running, climbing, bumping into things, and self-feeding (Stassen Berger, 2012). Four-year-olds may be catching balls, hopping on one foot, using scissors, and pouring from a pitcher (Stassen Berger, 2012).

Reference
Stassen Berger, K. (2012). Developing person through childhood (6th ed.). Retrieved from https://online.vitalsource.com/#/books/1464166528/

Somehow, I overlooked something that I work with Walden students on every day, and that’s creating strong academic writing and paragraphs. Understandably, the format of short answer is different than what is typical in most academic writing situations, so it might be easy to not think about implementing our “normal” practices for academic writing in this context. The prompts typically allow me to use just a few sentences and don’t necessarily stress crafting a well-developed, cohesive paragraph. However, in my Writing Instructor role, I know what I would say to this student. I’d say something like:
This evidence from the literature is a great start, and it definitely addresses the prompt. To take it a step further and demonstrate your knowledge and academic writing skills, you might use your own voice to introduce the evidence from the literature and also follow it up with your own voice, maybe adding some analysis or a wrap up for the paragraph. One helpful strategy for crafting paragraphs that flow well and are driven by your own voice is the MEAL Plan. MEAL Plan paragraphs start out with a topic sentence, or main idea, to help ease the reader into the paragraph. Then, they typically include evidence, analysis, and a lead out. Even if you’re not expected to go the extra step and create MEAL Plan paragraphs, it’s a great opportunity to practice.

So, with that in mind, I made sure to revise, using the MEAL Plan strategy as a guide:

Short-Answer Prompt
Explain how a 2-year-old’s physical abilities compare to a 4-year-old’s physical abilities in a typically-developing child.

New Response
There is a wide range and progression of physical development characteristics that children will exhibit from 2 to 4 years old. Children around age 2 are typically running, climbing, bumping into things, and self-feeding (Stassen Berger, 2012). These skills and behaviors continue to progress, and by the age of 4, children may be catching balls, hopping on one foot, using scissors, and pouring from a pitcher without spilling (Stassen Berger, 2012). The running and climbing practiced as a 2-year-old help prepare the child at 3 and 4 to hop, pedal a tricycle, and maneuver stairs without the use of hands. Developments in both fine and gross motor skills mean children can do more complex and precise movements as time passes.

Reference

Stassen Berger, K. (2012). Developing person through childhood (6th ed.). Retrieved from https://online.vitalsource.com/#/books/1464166528/

This revised response addresses the prompt in a more cohesive and complete manner than my initial version, which included only paraphrased evidence. The MEAL Plan makes a great guide, and though it might not fit perfectly for every short-answer prompt, using it can help you create well-rounded responses in your short-answer assessments.

Final note: Maybe you’re a Tempo student who’s coming into the program with a lot of experience, so it’s easy to write assessment responses maybe without even doing the reading. That’s great! One thing to keep in mind is that using evidence and citing sources helps improve your credibility as an author, so it’s still a good idea to bring in some evidence from a published source along with the evidence based on your personal experience.



Amy Bakke is a senior writing instructor and multilingual writing specialist at the Walden Writing Center. She enjoys researching cultural differences in education and considering how people with different perspectives and histories experience education at Walden. She also enjoys learning about child development as a student in Walden's M.S. in Early Childhood Studies Tempo program.

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