- Manuscript Elements
- Scholarly Writing
- Academic Integrity & Turnitin
- Microsoft Writing Resources
The Walden Writing Center staff is dedicated to ensuring your transition to a writing intensive program is a smooth one. In the pages listed on the left you will find all the information you need to master the craft of scholarly writing.
If you are new to scholarly writing, it may be helpful to remember that writing is a process, not an event. Some common steps in the life cycle of a writing project are outlined below. Click each step to access information and resources on that topic, or navigate through our interactive "Life Cycle of a Paper" project at the bottom of the page.
Good luck with your scholarly writing, and remember that the Writing Center is always available by email if you have any questions!
Good writing begins with focused reading. First, you will choose a topic for your paper after carefully reviewing any assignment guidelines. It is okay if you do not know much about your topic to start--your next step is heading to the library! Look for sources that connect to your topic, and take notes as you read. Thinking and analyzing as you read is important groundwork for a strong paper.
In your courses, your may have heard the term synthesizing. Synthesizing means thinking about how an idea or collection of ideas relate to one another, and articulating that relationship. Critical thinking and research are two key components of synthesis. Once you have begun to consider the relationship between your sources, you will be better prepared to draft your paper's central argument, or thesis statement. Most academic writing requires a central argument--check with your instructor if you are not sure if one is required. With an argument an your notes, you are now prepared to start thinking about the organization of your paper, and drafting an outline.
Many students think writing a first draft is the hardest part of a paper, but if you have taken careful notes and made a good outline, you are well pepared for smooth drafting. Remember to keep analyzing at this stage of the cycle, rereading and looking closely at specific pieces of evidence to examine them for strengths and weaknesses. Integrate quotations smoothly, and remember to use them sparingly, relying on paraphrase instead to demonstrate your understanding. Finally, pay attention to how you are constructing your paragraphs in your draft--each paragraph is a unit of argument that should build on the previous paragraph to advance the paper to its logical conclusion.
Finished a draft and ready for feedback? It is time to share your work! The Writing Center offers one-on-one reviews with our professional tutoring staff, which many students find helpful. We also provide access to Grammarly, an automated, no-reservation-needed sentence tutor, and Turnitin, a plagiarism detection and citation assistance service. Be sure to review our resources on these tools before getting started.
Revising and proofreading are important steps in stregthening your draft. You probably received a lot of feedback after sharing your work, so in revision, ask yourself what is valuable, and how you'll make your ideas clearer and the evidence that supports them stonger. Now is also a good time to examine your writing for any possible bias, and to work on strengthening your conclusion.
The writing process is not over once you have turned in your work! Now is the time to reflect, evaluate your work, and consider areas for improvement. Perhaps you could work on your precision and clarity, a stumbling block for many academic writers? Many students choose to enroll in Walden's writing courses to tackle specific problem areas. Do not forget to identify your strengths as a writer, as well, so you know how to maintain strong skills.