Academic Paper Writing Clinic: Principles and Practice

Guy Hoffman, Cornell University


Location: Upson 106 Conference Room Next to the Lounge

Time: 2:45p.m.

Abstract: How does one write a good academic paper? What makes some papers easier to read than others? Are there techniques that can easily be applied to improve your paper? How do you overcome “blank-page syndrome”? In this workshop, I will share some of the lessons I have learned over years of writing academic and non-academic texts. I will analyze published papers and, if there is interest, propose strategies for students’ existing papers-in-process. Please send examples your own writing that you would like us to discuss at least 48 hours before the seminar.

Teaser: Here are two of Donella Meadows’s [] tips for writing an op-ed column:

1. Be clear, not fancy: Use everyday language. Be specific, not abstract.  Offer easily imaginable examples. Be sure your words make pictures in people’s heads. Be sure the pictures are the ones you intend.

2. Use most of your column for evidence: Tell stories, give statistics, show the impact of the problem or the solution on the real world. People can form their own conclusions if you give them the evidence. Don’t take much space for grand, abstract conclusions; let the reader form the conclusions.