USF Writing Studio

Archive for the ‘Dissertations & Theses’ Category


Giving Yourself Permission to Write (a sh*tty first draft)

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 | Posted in Dissertations & Theses, USF Writing Studio Blog: Tips, News, and Updates by dmfarrar | No Comments »


Are you struggling to get started with your latest writing assignment? Feeling anxious? Procrastinating? Well, I have some good news for you, courtesy of my favorite writerly advisor Anne Lamott:

“Now, practically even better news than that of short assignments is the idea of sh*tty first drafts. All good writers write them. This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third drafts.”

Yes, you too can write a sh*tty first draft. Moreover, you should. You have my permission, and I instruct you, implore you, to grant yourself this same courtesy. Here is why:

Writing Is Thinking
Writing is writing, but writing is also thinking. Have you ever gotten to the end of a paper only to realize that what you ended up writing wasn’t what you thought you were going to write at all? That’s because, as Annie tells us, “very few writers really know what they are doing until they’ve done it.”  Even the famous ones. Even the best ones. Really. Look here.

Writing Is a Process
Writing is a process, often a messy, messy process (see link above). Part of that process is getting started. Why is this task of putting words on the page so daunting? It is because we have unrealistic expectations about what writing is and how it works. We think we should be able to sit down and write a masterpiece in one draft, but no one does that. We write the mess first, then we clean it up. That is the process.

So, get messy and have faith! When you finish making your mess, you will know what you are trying to say, and you will be able to tidy things up.

For more on sh*tty first drafts, check out Anne Lamott’s original ideas here.


Doing Research with the Library Databases

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 | Posted in Dissertations & Theses, USF Writing Studio Blog: Tips, News, and Updates by dmfarrar | No Comments »

Research Because of all the services the USF Library offers, its website can sometimes be confusing to navigate, especially for those of you who are new to not only to doing research but also to doing scholarly research. While Google Scholar is a good resource for finding sources, did you know that USF’s Library subscribes to hundreds of databases that contain thousands of credible and scholarly sources? Some of the best places to find sources are in databases like JSTORAcademic Search Premier, Expanded Academic ASAPGeneral OneFile, and many others. Watch the video tutorial below that takes you through how to locate and search the Library databases and good luck with your research! Doing Research: Navigating USF’s Library Databases


2014 Dissertation Forum

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 | Posted in Dissertations & Theses, Events by dmfarrar | No Comments »

March 7, 9AM-4PM in Grace Allen Room, 4th Floor USF Tampa Library

The Forum provides resources and services for PhD candidates who are currently working on proposals, writing or revising dissertation chapters, or preparing to submit their dissertations this semester. Breakout sessions will include information about writing strategies, research tools, stress management practices and first-hand advice from recently hired Assistant Professors – all in one place!

<a href="View Schedule & Registration »

Graduate Dissertation Forum

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 | Posted in Dissertations & Theses, Events by dmfarrar | No Comments »

Feb. 14, 8:30AM-4:30PM in Grace Allen Room, 4th Floor USF Tampa Library






dissertation forum
For Valentine’s Day this year, why not devote the day to yourself: work on the dissertation you love (or love to hate), alleviate stress, develop a concrete plan, and let us help you prepare for success.

This workshop is designed for graduate students actively developing and writing their dissertations (ie. drafting the proposal or chapters). Research and writing professionals from across the university, including librarians, writing consultants, graduate school administrators, psychologists and disciplinary specialists, will help you move forward in your writing process.



Dissertation Library Guide

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 | Posted in Dissertations & Theses, USF Writing Studio Blog: Tips, News, and Updates by dmfarrar | No Comments »

The 2012 Dissertation Forum was a great success! Thank you to all who joined us. It was a great time for networking, sharing ideas and learning how to make it through the dissertation process. Many of our presenters offered to share their materials with us. If you weren’t able to join us, or would like a refresher on the materials, please check out the Dissertation Workshop Library Guide!


Dissertation Writing Forum

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 | Posted in Dissertations & Theses, Events by dmfarrar | 1 Comment »

Calling all doctoral students!

July 18th and 19th, 2012

The Writing Center, in conjunction with the USF Tampa Library and the USF Graduate School will be hosting a dissertation forum on July 18th and 19th, 2012. Please register and join us for two days of dedicated dissertation work. You’ll meet with librarians, IRB representatives and writing consultants and leave with some serious progress made on your work!


Why Cite?

Friday, June 8th, 2012 | Posted in Dissertations & Theses, USF Writing Studio Blog: Tips, News, and Updates by dmfarrar | No Comments »

Why do we bother citing someone elses work in our papers? Most people’s initial answer is so they don’t get caught plagiarizing. While that is certainly true, there are other more important reasons we cite that improve what we write.

When we conduct research, we need to cite our work to show where we found information. This gives credit to the original writer of the text you are using to support your points. It also, however, shows your reader that you conducted research and know what information is out there about your topic. Demonstrating this gives you credibility with your reader and he or she will consider you more reliable. Your reader will be more likely to trust your analysis, opinions, and ideas. (more…)


Writing a Conference Proposal

Friday, April 6th, 2012 | Posted in Dissertations & Theses by dmfarrar | No Comments »

Marc Wathieu CC

Many upperclassmen and graduate students strive to take part in conferences and show others the work we’ve been doing. Conferences are a great opportunity to bounce ideas off other experts in your field and get ideas for developing your work. Applying for a conference, however, can be daunting work and many are quite competitive.

If you’ve never applied to speak at a conference before, here is how the process usually works:

  • The conference will send out a “Call for Papers” (CFP) that tells everyone things like what kind of conference is being held, the conference’s theme, the requirements for proposals, and deadlines.
  • You’ll write a proposal, which is usually an abstract ranging anywhere from 200-800 words and explains you topic.
  • You send the conference folks your proposal by the deadline (miss the deadline and you’re out of luck).
  • Many conferences will conduct a “blind review.” This means that 1-3 people will read your proposal without any identifying information on it. They’ll have no idea who wrote it. The reviewers will send the abstract back to the conference committee with their recommendations of whether or not your idea is one they’d like to hear at the conference.
  • You’ll get a notice stating whether or not you were accepted. (more…)

Helpful Books for Writing Your Dissertation

Sunday, January 8th, 2012 | Posted in Dissertations & Theses by dmfarrar | No Comments »

Writing a dissertation or thesis can be a daunting task. If you’re looking for some books that may help motivate and focus you, try out a few on this list. The USF Library call number is provided as well, so check a few out!

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a list as well that you may find helpful during your writing process. http://www.library.illinois.edu/learn/tutorials/writing_tips.html

Writing the doctoral dissertation: a systematic approach.

By Gordon B. Davis, Clyde A. Parker

USF Lib: LB2369.D357

Doing your dissertation in business and management: the reality of researching and writing.

By Reva Berman Brown

USF Lib: LB2369 .B73 2006

Writing your dissertation in fifteen minutes a day: a guide to starting, revising, and finishing your doctoral thesis

By Joan Bolker

USF Lib:  LB2369 .B57 1998

Demystifying dissertation writing : a streamlined process from choice of topic to final text

By Peg Boyle Single ; foreword by Richard M. Reis.

USF Lib: LB2369 .S55 2009

How to Prepare a Dissertation Proposal: Suggestions for Students in Education and the Social and Behavioral Sciences

By David R. Krathwohl and Nick L. Smith

USF Lib: LB2369 .K723 2005


Sample Dissertation Proposals

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011 | Posted in Dissertations & Theses by dmfarrar | No Comments »

Writing a dissertation proposal is a daunting task. Some students find it helps to see samples while constructing their own work.

The University of Texas at Austin provides sample proposals from a wide variety of disciplines. Search for the discipline and/or topic most closely linked to your own to see how other students in your position are putting dissertation proposals together.


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