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September 06, 2017

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The Weekly Writer

Guideposts (and Guides!) on your Dissertation Journey

By Rachel A., Tutor

Writing a dissertation may well be one of the most challenging tasks you ever take on. Lots of people will contribute to your dissertation over time, not least your chair and committee, but don't forget that the Writing Lab can play an important role in your dissertation process!

One of the most important considerations for any academic writing is that it should be intelligible to a non-expert audience, and our tutors are trained to act as that non-expert audience for you. After you've worked on the same project for many months, if not a year or more, a Writing Lab tutor can provide a second pair of generally educated and curious eyes. We can help you address issues of clarity that can come from your own highly specialist knowledge—you certainly know what you mean, but we can tell you if outsiders will, too!

The process of dissertating is certainly a long one, and one skill many dissertators often overlook is project management—when you are dissertating, you have to manage your research and writing time, balance other academic and personal obligations, and work with your committee's own busy schedules. It can be easy to let longer projects fall by the wayside because their deadlines are off in the distance. Visiting the Writing Lab regularly can help keep you accountable; you will have to have some new material, new thoughts, new ideas, etc. to show your tutor (or tutors, if you visit different tutors instead of only one) each time you come, and the low-stakes rapport you can develop with a tutor can encourage you to keep going.

Whether you are just starting out on the road to your dissertation or you're already part of the way down that path, consider making Writing Lab visits part of your workflow.

Writing Lab News & Events

Workshop: Cover Letters
September 20, 1:30 – 2:30 PM
One of the most difficult writing situations is having to write about yourself. Learn more »

Workshop: Statements of Purpose for Grad School Applications
October 4th, 1:30 – 2:30 PM
Getting a jump start on your graduate school applications? Learn tips and strategies for creating an effective personal statement. Learn more »

Staff Spotlight

By Amy L., Tutor

I am a sophomore studying Accounting and Management with a minor in Dance. I love writing because it is a multidisciplinary tool that is used across all genres. Language has always fascinated me, which is why (on top of English) I have studied Chinese, Spanish, and am currently studying ASL. I am Asian-American, born and raised in California. Growing up in a diverse state, I have always been encouraged to share my ideas and stay open-minded. I love travelling around the world and making new friends across cultures. My job in the writing lab is to make students feel welcome and to encourage the diversity here at Purdue.

Fun fact about me: In high school I founded a non-profit organization that taught English to underprivileged children abroad. Currently, I am running a side business project in e-commerce that can hopefully expand across the globe.

From Our Partners


An Evening with Dante Basco
September 12, 2017 - 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Hiler Theater

Actor, Writer, Poet, and Producer Dante Basco (Avatar: The Last Airbender, American Dragon: Jake Long, Hook) will share experiences from his 20+ year career in film/television and talk about the importance of diversity in the entertainment industry. Dante will also highlight his new short film "Bangarang," and perform original spoken word! More information »

Rainbow Callout

Rainbow Callout is the annual welcome and resource fair for the entire LGBTQA+ and ally community at Purdue University. With live performances and over 80 on- and off-campus departments and organizations present, you will meet new friends, connect with supportive resources, and find ways to get involved in the campus community! Staff, faculty, undergraduate & graduate students, and community members welcome! More information »

Hours of Operation

Fall 2017

Aug 21 – Dec 13

Main Location

Heavilon Hall, Room 226

Mon – Thurs
9 AM – 6 PM

9 AM – 1 PM

Evening Satellites

HSSE Library
6 PM – 9 PM

6 PM – 9 PM

ME Building
6 PM – 9 PM

Connect With Us

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Writing Tip of the Week

"When I find myself making reoccurring mistake in my writing, I look for patterns and create my own coding system. Yellow might mean I have verb-tense issues. Orange might mean I have misplaced commas. This way, I can self-teach myself to limit these mistakes in the future."

-Elizabeth G., Tutor

Book of the Week

Strategies for Writing Center Research

Recommended by Beth T., Tutor

It's a great introduction to inquiry-based research in a writing center, with practical advice and examples for both novice and experienced researchers.

You can find this book in the Writing Lab's library. Just ask the front desk.

Writing Consultations

Schedule a writing consultation/tutoring appointment at any location or register for our group programs with our online schedulerFace-to-face (in-person), online (live video chat), and etutoring (emailed feedback) appointments available.

Please note: You must be a Purdue student, staff, or faculty member of the West Lafayette campus to use our writing consultation services or attend our group programs. For assistance scheduling your first appointment, we've prepared a helpful guide to using our online scheduler, WCO. 


2nd floor Krach leadership center (KRCH) 

Monday-Friday 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

HSSE Library Stewart Center

Monday-Friday 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Evening and weekend hours may be available at our satellite locations or virtually as late as 9:00 pm, please check our online schedule for details on current availability.

Contact us

Phone: (765) 494-3723
Fax: (765) 494-3780

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