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Resources for Students
Advice for Student Writers
Topic, Focus, and Thesis
What do you do when you have no idea how to begin a writing project? Are you struggling to decide what to write about? Do you have so many ideas you that you feel overwhelmed? You are not alone. Watch this video for advice about identifying a topic, finding a focus, and determining a thesis
You have your topic, but now how do you find reliable, credible information about it? How can you find sources that actually address your specific topic? How can you find enough information about your topic once you have narrowed it down? This brief video provides some tips for finding good sources for your writing.
Nobody wants to plagiarize: How can you use words and ideas from your sources effectively and accurately in your writing? Watch this clip for some suggestions
Planning for Writing How do you chart a course for your paper? What are some strategies for determining an organizational scheme for your writing project? Faculty and staff of the University Writing Center share their thoughts in this segment.
Writing Arguments How do you write a coherent, focused argument that your readers will be able to follow and will find convincing? It isn’t easy, but these suggestions can help.
Writer's Block Most of us have experienced “writer’s block” at one time or another. What do you do when you can’t get the words out to begin with? What do you do when you are writing along and the words just stop coming? This video provides some ways to move writer’s block out of your way.
Conclusions The project is drafted, except for the end. How do you conclude? What can bring everything to a strong ending? The answer will depend on what you are writing and why, but this video will point you in the right direction.
Writing in Unfamiliar Situations So you have those short essays and reading responses down, but what do you do when you have to write your first business plan or your first lab report? What do you do when you find yourself having to write in a format and style that are completely unknown to you? There are some things you can do: watch and learn!
Proofreading and Editing
You have your content down: but now how do you make sure the words and sentences make sense and are error-free? This video explores strategies for ensuring that your sentences are correct and clear, for checking for typos and grammatical mistakes, and for building coherence between sentences and paragraphs.
As Associate Professor of Nursing Dr. Rebecca Benfield explains, even very short pieces of writing need to be fully accurate and clear in the field of nursing. It is critical that nurses communicate effectively to other healthcare providers and to patients. To find out more about the kinds and characteristics of writing that nurses do, watch this short clip.
Writing assignments can vary widely across English courses due to the many subfields included in the department, but analytical writing is very common and careful reading skills are essential to success on such assignments. ECU’s Marianne Montgomery, Associate Professor of English, provides more details.
What kinds of writing do Music majors need to know how to do? Being conversant in Music theory and being able to document sources effectively both are essential, according to Dr. Kevin Moll, Associate Professor of Music at ECU. For more information, check out the full video.
Effective writing for a variety of audiences, ECU Teaching Instructor Joe Campbell explains, is essential to business success. Find out about the kinds of writing business professionals need to be able to do.
Are you thinking about going to med school after you finish your undergraduate degree? As Dr. David Weismiller, Professor of Family Medicine at ECU's Brody School of Medicine, explains in this clip, you will need to be a strong writer who is capable of explaining complex concepts in everyday language. In medicine, unclear writing can have serious health and legal consequences. Watch to learn more about the kinds of writing you will need to do in graduate school and on the job.
In this clip, Dr. Carolyn Dunn explains that the kinds of writing done in technical disciplines such as Engineering, Computer Science, Construction Management, and Technology Systems, rely on writers who can communicate clearly and concisely through words, graphics, and design.
Dr. Glenn Hubbard from ECU’s School of Communication explains that, although there are many different forms of writing practiced in the different areas of Communication, precision and clarity, using straightforward language, are critical to success across the board.
If you are majoring in Psychology, you will need to be able to synthesize multiple sources and write concisely about numbers and numerical data. To find out more about what writing in Psychology looks like, check out this video featuring ECU Teaching Assistant Professor, Laura Edwards.
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