Working with a Writing Consultant
Here are answers to questions grad students typically ask about working with a writing consultant.
Q: I'm working on a long paper (or a thesis or dissertation). What can we accomplish in 30 minutes?
A: In a thirty-minute session, we can talk about the big picture of your project (e.g., organization, argument, content) or read and discuss a portion of your draft (generally about 4-5 double-spaced pages). We can also coach you on strategies for working through a large project.
Q: I'm writing for people who share my disciplinary expertise. What if the consultant doesn't understand my paper?
A: By working with writers from many different academic backgrounds, consultants develop strategies for offering feedback on highly specialized papers. The writing consultant can help you identify questions you have for your professor.
Q: How can you help me with citations and formatting?
A: As a graduate student you probably have a fair amount of experience with the basics of the citation style used in your field. Often grad students come to us with trickier questions that go beyond the basics. Just like you, we rely on the current style manual to answer those questions. We have the manuals on hand and can help you look for the information. If the answer is not clear from the book, you will probably want to ask one of your professors for guidance.
Q: Can you edit my paper for me?
A: If your main concern is "correctness"--getting the grammar, punctuation, and spelling right--we can help you develop your editing skills. Sometimes it's a matter of learning a few simple proofreading techniques. Or it may mean using the handbooks, spellcheckers, and resources we have on hand.