Services

Writing Support

Who is writing support for?

Writing support is a free support service offered to all MHC students and for all programs and disciplines. Writing techniques and guidance are often effective for a wide variety of students, such as first year students who are transitioning from high school to college, ESL/international students, high achieving students, mature and upgrading students, and students that are writing in more than one discipline at a time.

Successful Academic Writing:

To be a successful academic writer, students must master the main components and skills required in post-secondary writing. For this to happen, students must have a grounded knowledge and demonstrate their capabilities in the following categories:

Essay Structure

Essay Structure The foundation to writing a good paper is having a strong knowledge of the basic structure of an essay. All academic essays must include an:
  • Introduction
  • Main body paragraphs
  • Conclusion

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Grammar and Punctuation

Grammar

Grammar describes how language works. Following the basic rules of English grammar is what allows you to communicate with others. Developing and learning how to apply those rules will improve your oral and written communication skills.

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Check out the resources below for more grammar tools:

Punctuation

Punctuation is the marks in your writing. It separates thoughts, words, and parts of speech to give your audience direction when they read. There are basic rules to punctuation, like there are for grammar. By following and learning these rules, your writing skills will develop.

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Understanding Your Assignment and Assignment Types

Understanding Your Assignment

The first, and most crucial, step to take before you begin writing or doing research is to understand what your assignment is asking you to do by reading your assignment outline. This is important because:

  • All the key information to do your assignment is in the assignment outline
  • Failure to read your assignment outline carefully could result in an unfocused and unanswered paper

Download the resource below for steps to avoid this:

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    Assignment types

    There is more than one form of an academic essay. Depending on the course or discipline, you may be asked to write anything from an annotated bibliography to a case study, and everything in between. Each type of assignment has its own writing formats and expectations, and you have to know how, for example, a research paper in Philosophy differs from a research paper in English. Use the resources below to help you!

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    Thesis Development and Supporting Argument

    Thesis Development

    A thesis statement is your answer to the essay question. It is the point you want to argue and prove in your paper. It is, in essence, the foundation of your paper and it will serve to guide you in writing the entire paper. A strong thesis statement is:

    • Clear
    • Concise
    • Not a generalization
    • Something that can be proven in the scope of your paper

    If your thesis is not clear and too broad, the rest of your paper will suffer.

    Download the resources below for help on how to narrow and check your thesis:



    Supporting Argument

    The supporting argument is the area of the essay where you have to prove and support your thesis. This is where you will provide evidence and research to back your points/arguments up. Generally:

    • The content of your research is usually stated in the essay question (ex. novel, time period, etc.)
    • Remember after your evidence is provided, you have to explain how it supports or relates to your thesis! You can’t put a whole bunch of research in one paragraph and expect that alone to back up your thesis. Your evidence is supplementary; it will not prove your thesis if you do not explain how it does.
    • Use the University of Hull’s Main Paragraph Acronyms when planning and outlining your body paragraphs:

    TEA (Topic, Evidence, Analysis)

    PEE (Point, Evidence, Explanation)

    WEED (What is the topic?, Evidence, Explanation, Did I relate it to my thesis?)

    The Writing Process and Time Management

    The Writing Process

    Writing is a process. It is not something that can be done in one sitting. The entire process has 4 stages:

    • Prewriting
    • Drafting
    • Revising
    • Publishing

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    Time management

    A key component for the writing process to work is managing your time well. If you struggle with time management, check out the resources below:

    If time management is a consistent struggle, connect with the Academic Strategist for support and guidance.

    Citation

    Citing

    Citing means to quote. In an academic paper, citing is quoting ownership and authorship to outside material that you use. As a student at MHC, you are expected to understand and practice Academic Integrity in your writing. This means properly citing and referencing research and words that are not your own. If you try to use someone else’s wording or work as your own, that is plagiarism and it is an academic offence that can have huge consequences on your academic and professional career. The main citation styles you will come across at MHC are:

    • MLA
    • APA

    You may come across other citation styles depending on the course and instructor preference.

    Visit the MHC’s library page for citation guides and handouts for APA and MLA style.

    Other Online Resources:

    If you struggle with paraphrasing and not knowing what is and is not acceptable, check out the module below for examples and information.

    Self-Editing

    Self-Editing

    Self-editing is an important step in the writing process. It is an act of finding and revising mistakes, and like every step in the writing process it takes time to develop. Learning to edit your own writing is important because:

    • It gives you a chance to understand your strengths and weaknesses as a writer
    • This strengthens your writing skills
    Download the resources below for strategies on how to self-edit:

    In-Class Essay Exams

    In-Class Essays
    Essay exams usually have fewer questions than regular final exams, and often those few questions are related to each other, but worded and focused slightly differently. Doing well on essay exams demands that you be well and thoroughly prepared with the concepts, ideas, theories, and arguments from your course. In general, you need to be able to think critically and to communicate your thoughts in written form.

    Download the resource below:

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    e-Writing Support

    e-Writing support is a new feature offered to MHC students! It is a form of online tutoring where you can get the same support from the writing specialist that you do in person, but online! It is a free service for MHC students, and it’s available in Blackboard. Click here to upload your assignment!