Using the Dictionary in APA, Chicago, & Other Academic Writing

Did your parents ever tell you to go look up a word in the dictionary? Mine did (figures I’d end up in a career driven by language and writing). What a lot of people don’t realize is that you can get the answers to many of your questions from the good old dictionary.  Or maybe I should call it the good new dictionary, now that you can access words immediately online. No more excuses for me!

So, here are some very practical uses for Continue reading Using the Dictionary in APA, Chicago, & Other Academic Writing

Merriam-Webster and Oxford Add Funny Words to Their Dictionaries

So I know this is a “serious” site for serious academics, but every once in a while we all have to have a little fun! So you may have heard of Oxford’s addition of buttload to the Oxford English Dictionary or Merriam-Webster’s addition of bromance this past year. A few more examples are tweet, Continue reading Merriam-Webster and Oxford Add Funny Words to Their Dictionaries

Using Tracked Changes & Comments: A Quick Guide

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If you are new to using tracked changes or comments in Microsoft Word, or if you have used them before but want to see if there is anything you are missing, here is a quick overview of the functions. This is helpful for correspondence with Continue reading Using Tracked Changes & Comments: A Quick Guide

Common Mistakes With APA Headings

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This post shows a visual of the standard APA heading styles in APA 6th edition and describes three common mistakes with heading styles and heading usage in general. The basic styles and three most common mistakes are Continue reading Common Mistakes With APA Headings

How to Cite Personal Communications in APA 6th Edition

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How to Cite Pseudonyms, Participant ID Numbers, & Personal Communications in APA 6th Edition

Any time you mention information that you obtained through an interview or conversation in person, via e-mail, on the phone, or in some other way, you have to cite this in the text of your document. Such citations should not be included in your references list.

This post shows the basic form, five common mistakes, and also how to handle participant pseudonyms and identification numbers. First, here is the basic Continue reading How to Cite Personal Communications in APA 6th Edition

Why Social Workers Need to Write More Precisely

Unclear Writing
Do readers have to piece together your ideas?

Have you ever heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls? Without going into detail, they are a series of almost 1,000 ancient biblical texts. Biblical scholars have been putting together pieces of the text with advanced microscopes and computers to ascertain their meaning, almost like the puzzle-like scraps of paper shown in the image to the left.

Many authors have the same problem with their writing. I especially see this in Continue reading Why Social Workers Need to Write More Precisely

Writing Assistance for Professors and Students Who Write English as a Second Language

Professor Writing English as a Second Language
Writing Tutorials for Professors and Students Who Write English as a Second or Foreign Language

The United States is becoming an increasingly diverse country. In addition to the richness that diversity has brought to our culture, the academic literature has also benefited from new perspectives. But, in the process of contributing to the literature, scholars whose native language is not English often struggle with writing a clean manuscript for Continue reading Writing Assistance for Professors and Students Who Write English as a Second Language

Writing Workshops

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Click to go to Writing Lesson 1

Welcome to Serious Scholar!

This web site contains a series of writing workshops specifically geared towards professors and students who are looking to advance their writing to another level. Whether you are a seasoned professor who strives for perfection, a nonnative professor or student looking to sharpen up your manuscripts, or a student on the road to your profession, you will find a mountain of treasure in this web site.

Throughout 7 years of editing for professors, postdoc fellows, and graduate students at the best universities in the country, I have continually found ways to strengthen my writing. Perhaps Hemingway was right when he said, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

It is a pleasure for me to share my knowledge with you as you strive to publish more research, strengthen the quality of your articles and books, sharpen your professional correspondence letters and e-mails, complete your thesis or dissertation, or excel in your course essays.

Please join me in the free lessons to get started. Best wishes and see you on the other side!