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Writing Advice from WIC Culture of Writing Award Winners

Writing Advice from WIC Culture of Writing Award Winners

The 2015 WIC Culture of Writing Award winners were asked to give writing advice for students in their respective majors and disciplines. Here is what they had to say:

Peter Kilgore, Mathematics:

“If you are going to be writing mathematics, take the time to learn LaTeX; it will make the project much easier and gives a nice professional look to your work. When it comes to getting your ideas on paper, make an outline! It doesn't have to be super detailed, but this helps develop a nice flow within your paper. Above all, be clear and concise. Mathematical writing must be exact and precise without getting bogged down in superfluous verbiage. Say exactly what you mean in as few words as possible. I think these are the basis for writing a good mathematical paper.”

Tim Chase, Music:

“It's most important when selecting a topic to choose a subject that interests you most. I suggest taking the one or two aspects of first term Music History that you found the most fascinating and stick with them, even if a thesis statement doesn't come right away. When I chose to write about music notation, I cycled through different thesis statements multiple times a week until I found one that fit. So my best advice is to choose something, however broad, that makes you curious and excited, and then simply read everything you can. An arguable thesis will come, and then your research will be driven by interest and fascination as well as a deadline.”

Hannah Whitley, Sociology:  

“I think that writing for sociology requires a delicate, yet necessary balance; not only do individuals need to know the tools necessary for writing in the humanities, but there is also the required scientific component when it comes to quantitative and result analysis. I feel like many writers are either comfortable with ONLY writing for science or ONLY writing for humanities, which is why writing for social science has traditionally been so daunting.

​“M​y biggest piece of advice is to acknowledge that (as with any research paper), your process is going to take time. We have always been told to not procrastinate and not leave assignments until the last minute, but in writing major sociological research papers, this piece of advice is a big deal. In order to communicate your ideas effectively, while simultaneously weaving through the humanities/scientific writing maze, make sure to set aside enough time to simply write. I feel like a lot of students struggle with underestimating how long something will take them to write, which is why this is a very important piece of advice! Also, never overlook the power of a second opinion. I like to make sure that all my major papers are seen by a minimum of three other people. This way, I can see if my ideas are communicated effectively and clearly.”

K. C. Clay, History:

 “Unless it is a direct quote, every citation should have at least two sources. Other scholars might disagree with your argument or your interpretation, but your facts will be fixed.”

Brittany Stoneburner, Religious Studies:

"Work hard. Don’t just write for the class or a good grade. Seek out your Professors. They will bring out the best in you. Above all else – be creative and have fun." 

 Kodasha Thomas, Public Health:

"The primary advice I have for other writers in the Public Health major is: Write about your passions and what interests you! Don't hold back from experiencing different types of writing that you aren't used to. And remember, writing is a process, so be patient with your work!"

Wed, 07/15/2015

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