Welcome to Spring 2024!

Welcome back for a new semester! We have some new projects cooking up at the Lab, including new online resources, so stay tuned for some exciting announcements in the coming months. Until then, we are still offering our typical consultations, including:

Also, please take some time to review our Policies, as there have been a couple changes over the past couple of semesters.

Looking forward to seeing you here in the Lab!

Spring 2023 Offerings

Welcome back! In Spring 2023, we are happy to provide all of our usual offerings. Click the links below to be taken to the relevant sign-up pages:

We are also working on cooking up some new, comprehensive resources for students in a future semester. Stay tuned!

Looking forward to seeing you in the Lab soon.

Pilot Offering: Capstone Writing Groups

In Fall 2022, the SCS Writing Lab will be piloting a new offering: writing groups! Writing groups are very common in graduate school, especially when students are writing those final capstones, theses or dissertations. They are composed of students (either within the same field/program or across fields/programs). These groups can offer accountability, feedback, and support throughout the process of large writing projects.

What is a writing group?

A writing group is a small group of 3-5 students who meet regularly (often weekly/biweekly) to support each other in their writing. They may also have a facilitator in the form of a writing lab consultant or a faculty member (at SCS, groups will be facilitated by a consultant).

What do students do in writing groups?

It’s ultimately up to the group! There are generally three ways a group can function:

Accountability – students meet together to write. They might have a weekly meet-up at a coffee shop when they turn off social media, open their laptops and write. Or they might do something similar over a Zoom call–everyone is virtually “present” while writing. It provides a formal schedule for a writing block, which can be helpful for students who tend to procrastinate or have trouble with time management.

Feedback – students provide feedback to one another on their writing. Often, they rotate who is getting feedback each week, and the one who is receiving feedback sends their work to the group a couple of days ahead of the meeting. Groups can be disciplinary (everyone in the same field) or interdisciplinary (everyone in different fields)–more on this later.

Support – students meet to share their experiences in writing/research and swap strategies. They may also offer emotional support, as this time can be very stressful!

In practice, groups often combine some element of all three of these functions as they get going.

How much work is involved?

This is again up to the group itself, but we do recommend some amount of regular meetings to get the full benefit of a writing group. This could be anywhere from an hour of writing every week at a coffee shop, to 3 hours biweekly at a library to provide feedback. It is up to the group!

Should a group be disciplinary or interdisciplinary?

There are advantages to each, but we actually recommend interdisciplinary groups! Here’s why: while a disciplinary group has shared knowledge and expertise in terms of content, this can actually act as a hindrance in feedback or support writing groups. Sometimes, knowing the content well can get in the way of focusing on the writing.

For feedback groups, research has shown that when students do NOT have content expertise when leaving feedback, they leave better writing-focused feedback (Brooks-Gillies, Garcia, & Manthey, 2020). Feedback in interdisciplinary groups focuses more on organization and clarity than in disciplinary groups, which tends to get mired in small details. The lack of content knowledge allows students to read beyond the content itself to pay attention to how it is presented and explained.

For writing support groups, students sometimes find it helpful to be able to share setbacks and frustrations with uninvolved third parties, who are not familiar with programs, professors or classmates.

Disciplinary groups can certainly be helpful when it comes to content and research. Classmates may have some field-specific strategies that are helpful, and they can give feedback on content in a way that non-experts wouldn’t be able to. But, in many cases, the opportunities for this already exist in the form of classes (and let’s not forget the ultimate source of expert content feedback: the professor!).

What is the role of Writing Lab consultants in a writing group?

Lab consultants will act as facilitators to help students initially set up their group, guiding them through issues like deciding on the primary focus of the group and the frequency & structure of meetings. Consultants can attend meetings if students would like that continued structure, or they can just occasionally check in on the group’s progress and experiences. They can also act as writing resources for the group, answering questions or even preparing miniature workshops as needed.

How can I join a writing group?

Complete our interest in writing groups survey and we will help you connect with a group and get started!

How can I learn more about writing groups?

Some great writing group resources can be found at:

UNC Chapel Hill’s Writing Center

UCLA’s Graduate Writing Center

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Brooks-Gillies, M., Garcia, E., & Manthey, K. (2020). Making due by making space: Multidisciplinary writing groups as spaces alongside programmatic and institutional spaces. In M. Brooks-Gillies, E.G. Garcia, S.H. Kim, K. Manthey, & T.G. Smith (Eds.), Graduate writing across the disciplines: Identifying, teaching and supporting. (pp. 191-210). The WAC Clearinghouse.

Spring 2022 Offerings

Welcome back! In Spring 2022, we are happy to provide all of our usual offerings. Click the links below to be taken to the relevant sign-up pages:

We also have a new offering this semester: presentation practice. You can attend one of these sessions if you have a big presentation coming up (either at midterm time or finals) and would like to practice it in front of an audience and receive feedback. The audience will consist of a writing consultant and possibly other students from different degree tracks (who would also be presenting). Learn more and sign up using the link below:

We are also working on cooking up some new, comprehensive resources for students in a future semester. Stay tuned!

Looking forward to seeing you in the Lab soon.

Fall 2021 Offerings

Welcome (or welcome back) to the Writing Lab at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies! We are excited to offer the following services to students this semester.

Live (synchronous) tutoring

Meet one-on-one for 30-60 minutes with a writing expert. All of our tutors are English professors with at least a master’s degree. Tutors will read over your work with you and give you advice on the clarity, organization, cohesion, and citations of your papers. They will also help you with some mechanics and grammar, but please note these will not be the focus of the session. Sign up for synchronous tutoring here.

Asynchronous tutoring

This was piloted in Fall 2020 to great success! It is now officially launching this semester. With asynchronous tutoring, you upload your assignment and receive a report with tutor feedback within 48 hours (not counting weekends). We use the same tutors for asynchronous tutoring as synchronous, so rest assured that all feedback is coming from trained writing experts. Learn more about asynchronous tutoring here.

Weekly Lunchtime Webinars

As usual, we’re offering several weekly webinars about a variety of writing or assignment topics to assist students. These happen most Tuesdays at noon. Read about this semester’s webinars and sign up here.

Fall 2020 Presentation Practice Slots Now Available!

In past semesters, the Writing Lab has offered slots for students who wish to practice their presentations before doing them in class. In these practice sessions, students were able to receive valuable real-time feedback from a qualified Writing Lab tutor and from their fellow students in the audience.

We’ve decided to adapt these practice presentation slots to our remote-learning world, especially since many students may be presenting on Zoom or other virtual platforms for the first time. These virtual presentation practice sessions will allow students to iron out the technical kinks in their presentations as well as receive feedback on their presentation skills and materials.

There are several dates available. When registering, students can select their top two date choices, and also indicate any dates that will not work for them. Students will be scheduled in groups of 2-4 selected based on date preference, so there is a chance they may not get their top date choice if that date proves to be highly popular (or unpopular, for that matter). There is no need to sign up with a group of classmates–students will be assigned to presentation dates individually and will have the chance to watch presentations from other students from a variety of backgrounds and fields.

After each presentation, students and the Writing Lab tutor will be given time to provide written feedback to the presenter. This feedback will then be combined and emailed to each presenter after the session, so they may revise and practice accordingly.

To register for a practice presentation slot, please complete this form. Looking forward to seeing you in the Lab!

Practice Presentation Slot Dates

  • Tuesday, November 17th @ 4:00pm-5:00pm
  • Thursday, November 19th @ 4:00pm-5:00pm
  • Tuesday, November 24th @ 4:00pm-5:00pm
  • Monday, November 30th @ 12:00pm-1:00pm
  • Tuesday, December 1st @ 12:00pm-1:00pm

Fall 2020 Offerings

Welcome to the Writing Lab! We are here to assist SCS students at any stage of the writing process. Our goal goes beyond editing–we want to help students become better writers. To do this, we have several offerings in Fall 2020:

Wednesday Webinars

They’re back! These weekly lunch hour webinars will guide students through a variety of topics and pitfalls they may encounter during their writing careers at SCS. View webinar descriptions and sign up here.

Live Tutoring

As always, we’ll be offering live, one-on-one tutoring with qualified writing tutors. All tutors have at least a master’s degree and are experienced English or writing professors. Students can get live feedback at any stage of the writing process by signing up here.

Asynchronous Tutoring (NEW)

New for Fall 2020 is a pilot offering: asynchronous tutoring. With asynchronous tutoring, students will not meet with a tutor in real-time. Instead, they will upload a document and receive feedback from a tutor within 48 hours. Learn more about this pilot offering and sign up here.

Feel free to contact scswritinglab@georgetown.edu with any questions or comments.

Wednesday Webinars (students)

We’ve listened to the feedback from students & faculty, and this semester are offering weekly student webinars (instead of our 4-5 workshops at the beginning of the semester). Join us at lunchtime on Wednesdays for a 30-45 minute webinar on a variety of topics. To see topic descriptions and sign up, visit our Webinars & Events page. Hope to see you at one soon!

Come Write With Us on Nov 26th!

End-of-semester crunch time is upon us! This time of the semester can be isolating, as you hole yourself up to finish writing or revising those last few pages. Don’t let the winter gloom or Capstone panic keep you home–come join the Writing Lab for a “Write-In!”

We’ll be in room C124 all day on Tuesday, Nov 26th to provide you a dedicated writing space (complete with coffee). You can write quietly in a corner or come armed with questions for the tutor who will staff the room–either way, it’s an excuse to leave your apartment and come work on your final project in a slightly more social (but not distracting) setting. Did we mention the free coffee?

RSVP here. And don’t forget to sign up for one-on-one tutoring as well–slots are filling up fast!

Annotated Bibliographies

You’ve chosen a topic for your big research paper and have started doing some research. Now your professor is asking you to write an annotated bibliography of that research, but you’re not exactly sure what that is or what should go in it. Before you panic, read on!

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is exactly what it sounds like—a bibliography with annotations! It looks like a bibliography with some extra notes after each entry.

When do I write an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography usually comes somewhat near the beginning of the writing process. You generally already have a topic, research question(s) and a thesis by the time you are writing an annotated bibliography. You’ve also done some amount of research—otherwise there wouldn’t be anything to write about!

What are the components of an annotated bibliography?

The “bibliography” section is simply your end-of-text citations (formatted according to your field or professor’s style guide), while the “annotations” are in your own words.

Bibliography Entries

Format these according to the style guide in your field. Most departments/degrees at Georgetown SCS use APA, but some do use Chicago/Turabian or MLA. You can create these manually by checking the official style guide booklet (available at the Georgetown SCS library) or have the computer manually create them for you by using software like Refworks.

Annotations

This is the part that you do in your own words. The annotations are typically short—but the exact length may depend on your specific project or professor. Annotations typically have 3 parts, depending on the exact purpose of your annotated bibliography (keep in mind, though, that these parts are not labeled in the annotation itself—you’d just write it all in 2-3 narrative paragraphs).

SummarY

Annotations begin with a brief summary of the work. If you’re using a particularly long source (like a book, for example), you might give a couple of sentences with the general idea or argument of the overall source, but then spend most of your time looking at the parts that are directly related to you and your research. Keep in mind that summaries do not need to include every detail—you can generally skip over the specific statistics and stick to the main idea(s) only.

Evaluation

Here you will assess the usability of the source. Does it make a valid argument? Are there any holes in its argument or anything missing in its conclusions? Keep in mind that while no research is perfect, you shouldn’t include a source with a lot of weaknesses unless you have an express reason to do so (to disprove common faulty thinking, for example).

Reflection

This is the portion of the annotation where you will discuss how the source will be useful to you and your research. Does it include statistics or other “proof” to help support your argument? Does it have a particularly strong research methodology that you’d like to emulate? Does it supply a framework to help you conceptualize the components of your argument? Think about how and why you are choosing to include this source in your research and justify it here.

Why do we write annotated bibliographies?

Annotated bibliographies help you think about your topic and be aware of what’s already been researched or said about it. In writing your annotations, you may begin to see connections between sources—something that will help you when it comes time to write an outline or literature review. It also helps other researchers (or your professor) understand the existing research without having to start their own research from scratch.

 

To read more about annotated bibliographies, the Purdue OWL has a nice description with tips, while Walden University has a great example with explanations.

If you have any questions about annotated bibliographies, please feel free to contact the Writing Lab at scswritinglab@georgetown.edu. You can also schedule a tutoring appointment to get feedback on your annotated bibliography.

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