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Writing at the Graduate Level. Lydia Lunning Dissertation Editor. Housekeeping. Muting Questions Tech trouble? http://support.citrixonline.com/en_US/GoToTraining Recording and PowerPoint: http://writingcenter.waldenu.edu/415.htm Captioning. Graduate Writing.

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Writing at the Graduate Level

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Writing at the Graduate Level

Lydia Lunning

Dissertation Editor


  • Muting

  • Questions

  • Tech trouble? http://support.citrixonline.com/en_US/GoToTraining

  • Recording and PowerPoint: http://writingcenter.waldenu.edu/415.htm

  • Captioning

Graduate Writing

“Graduate level writing displays, above all, critical thinking skills. The writer demonstrates the ability to see various sides of an argument: he/she questions assumptions,  avoids commonplaces and develops a clear argument from the available literature on the subject.

This type of writing always establishes a purpose while addressing a specific audience. Often, graduate level writing also provides suggestions for further research and development beyond the limits of the course assignment.”

(University of Mary Washington, 2011)

Said another way:

Another level of writing and thinking.

Graduate versus Undergraduate Writing:A question of scale…

What’s the difference?

What’s the difference?

What’s the difference?

Choose own topic

Do own research

Analyze sources

Synthesize sources

What do you anticipate to be the biggest challenges in graduate-level writing?

Transitioning into Graduate Level Writing

Argument and Analysis

Argument and Analysis

Argument and Analysis: Thesis


  • Specific and arguable

  • Comes at the end of introduction

Not so great: This paper is about classroom management

Better: Classroom management is an important part of teaching.

Best: All teachers should develop the classroom management skills of authority, individualization, and time management, which are necessary to run effective classrooms.

Argument and Analysis: Evidence


  • Supports your central argument throughout your paper

  • Demonstrates your scholarly credibility

    • Each sentence that uses information from a source must include a citation.

  • Cite credible sources (more in a few slides)

Argument and Analysis: Analysis


  • Your own interpretation of other authors’ ideas

  • Use research it to support your argument (not just summarizing)

According to Wilson (2011), 68% of Dallas high school juniors reported chronic boredom in math class, suggesting a need to reconsider the math curriculum and invest in teacher training in this district.

Essential Components

Writing Process




MEAL plan:

  • Main idea: topic sentence

  • Evidence: information from your sources to support your main idea (usually include citations)

  • Analysis: explanation of the evidence/discussion of its relevance in light of your thesis statement

  • Lead out: conclusion

    (Duke University's Thompson Writing Program, n.d.)

Revise, revise, revise!

Revision checklist:

  • Thesis statement

  • Paper and paragraph organization

  • Use of evidence

  • Citation format

  • Reference format

  • Scholarly tone

  • Simple and direct sentences

  • Mechanics (grammar and spelling)




Your Mind = Funnel



  • Reread until you relax

  • Look up from the screen

  • Be selective: Do you need to paraphrase the entire source?

  • Change the structure, then the words.



“Students who have a tendency to apply source material without adapting a proper citation and abiding by APA format may be prosecuted for intentional imitation and may be required to modify their material.”


Students may be accused of plagiarism and have to rewrite their papers if they use outside sources and don’t follow APA rules for citations.

Scholarly Voice

Scholarly Voice

Goal: sound professional and informed

Formality: Point of View

Avoid the second person (you/your)

You need to be aware of your treatment options. →

Patients need to be aware of their treatment options.

Avoid the general we (or us or our)

We are responsible for our children’s wellbeing. →

Parents are responsible for their children’s wellbeing.

Formality: Point of View

Use the first person (I/me/my) as appropriate

This paper will discuss…→ In this paper, I will discuss…

The data will be collected.→I will collect the data.

The scholar will argue… →Iwill argue…

Avoid opinion statementslike I think/I feel/I believe

Not so great: I think childhood obesity is a major concern.

Better: Childhood obesity is a major concern.

Best: Childhood obesity is a major concern, as 17% of children in America are obese (CDC, 2012).


Avoid generalizations

Not so great: Children do not get enough exercise.

Better: Many children do not get enough exercise.

Best: According to the CDC (2012), in 2011, only 29% of high schoolers received the recommended amount of exercise, defined as at least one hour per day.

Consider Your Audience


APA Style

APA Style

APA Style Resources

  • APA Style introduction page

  • Templates (#1 course paper, thesis, doctoral capstone)

  • Common Reference List Examples

  • “APA Citations” webinars

  • “Reference List Checklist” webinar


  • Use APA style

  • Paraphrase mindfully and carefully

  • Keep your tone formal and neutral and your sentences simple

  • Use scholarly arguments to join the conversation

  • Remember that writing is a process!


Now: Type into the Question box

Later: Didn’t get to your question? Enter it in the survey after the webinar closes.




University of Mary Washington. (2011). What constitutes graduate level writing? Retrieved from http://orientation.umw.edu/wp-content/blogs.dir/2131/files/2011/09/what-is-graduate-level-writing.pdf

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