Working with the Writing Specialist, students are provided practical writing support that supplements in-class instruction and helps them understand a wide variety of writing assignments including essays and research projects in all disciplines and programs. Assistance is also provided for formatting, thesis development, grammar, punctuation, outlining, self-editing, and the writing process in general. Writing support proactively engages students in their academic writing and researching skills.
MHC’s writing specialist is available for confidential one-to-one appointments and small group meetings. Workshops on a variety of topics, drop-in times, and online tutoring are also available.
Who is writing support for?
Successful Academic Writing:
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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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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.
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:
Download the resource below for steps to avoid this:
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!
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:
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:
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:
TEA (Topic, Evidence, Analysis)
PEE (Point, Evidence, Explanation)
WEED (What is the topic?, Evidence, Explanation, Did I relate it to my thesis?)
Writing is a process. It is not something that can be done in one sitting. The entire process has 4 stages:
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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.
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:
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 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:
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.
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Drop in to a 45-minute workshop to learn a wide variety of strategies and skills required for student success.
View the schedule here.
Monday to Thursday: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Friday: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Book an appointment by email.
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