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Academic Writing Coach Tips & Ethics


Hi everybody Dr. Annette here, and I am going to wear my academic writing coach hat today. because there are just a few things I wanna get off my chest. I don't wanna call it a rant, but it's something that I've been noticing, with folks who are contacting me, for assistance about some, not all, but, as it relates to their academic writing for their thesis and specifically, their Ph. D. dissertations. Now mind you, there are rules and guidelines that every university and every program has for their Ph. D. programs. And as a student, you need to follow those rules. And those guidelines. Now, as a writing coach, I can assist you, maybe with formulating, some ideas and sort of some developmental things, but that's what you have your committee for.


That's your dissertation, your, the whole process. There is a committee and they are working with you to help you, with some of that developmental work. And where I come in is if you need further assistance. But my first question is, what are the criteria for your program? Where is your document? Every school, every, program has a booklet, they have guidelines, and now we're in this digital age, they're available, it's available to you online. So what are your guidelines for writing, your proposal, your thesis, your dissertation, and even your reports and term papers? What are the criteria for that? Your instructor, when you're at the term paper level will have, you know, your, guidelines for writing what the requirements are for the project, but definitely for dissertations and thesis, your master's thesis, your Ph. D. dissertation, there is a book of guidelines, and there is probably a template for you to follow that even, lay out what your document is supposed to look like.


In addition to having, your introduction, your literature, a review of your methodology you know, the results and discussions, all that entire process is documented for you. But one of the things I wanna get at is I will not write your paper for you as a writing coach, as, a scholar, as someone who earned every single bit of their Ph. D., I will not write your paper for you. And if you want my expertise and my guidance, I'm at the place now, where that it comes with a fee, there's a fee for that. And so I do not want to be, I don't want individuals contacting me and asking my prices and doing, going through that process. And then I give you, you know, I give you that, that consultation time, which is free of charge. And then when it comes down to it, you're gonna try to say, can't you just do this. Don't you believe in karma, labor? Work is work, and there should be compensation for that. So, no, I'm not gonna write your paper for you and my expertise, there's a fee for that.


The next thing, is as a student when you are going into your program, part of what is necessary is for you to know who you're leading scholars are in your field, who, what are the theories that are coming, that you're being taught about? So communication is multidisciplinary, but there are, theoretical constructs that we follow. There are leading theorists historically. And right now, in our contemporary times, we have leading scholars in the field, who are they for you? You need to know this. So when you are writing your paper and maybe your undergraduate and your master's is in another discipline, however, when you are writing for your Ph.D. in communication, you need to know what's going on and what's happening. And some universities have prerequisites where you have to, they allow you to formally fill in the gaps of your, learning and education about your discipline, about the field that you're gonna be writing in, and some programs and some universities don't.


And I won't say any names, but you will see it in the writing. A Ph.D. is all about researching and writing. And it's your research, it's your writing, they're your ideas. And what new are you bringing to? the discipline, the field, the discussion of whatever it is, whether it's, you know, communication and media and, nonprofits. What is that new thing that you're seeing some new phenomena are happening, and it has you thinking about it. And it has you formulating questions that you feel need to be answered and making sure that those questions haven't already been answered. That's why you do the research, because maybe what you're, thinking's been answered, but as you're reading and researching and observing these phenomena out in the world, you have come up with another idea, another angle, some other question that needs to be answered, or a question that's out there, and you've, identified the answer to it.


And so you are, writing, creating something new, and maybe you come up with a new theory to look at a phenomenon happening out in the world. And so whether it's, communication, sociology, chemistry, biology when you are doing your academic writing, that should be coming from you, your brain, your critical thinking, and your analysis of the information. And it should not be anyone else's so ethically, I will not write your paper. I will guide you and correspondingly with your committees. If you bring me on as a, you know, an external writing coach, but the tools that you need when you are in your program and your, with your whatever university or college, it is where you're doing that work on your master's thesis, or your dissertation. You have a writing center, you have a committee, and those are your first go-to's to make sure that you are doing everything that is necessary for your program and four-year university, to get through and completed your work when you're at the point of, writing and pulling together all your information.

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