FAQs for Writers
Who can use the Writing Center?
The Writing Center welcomes every student at URI in every stage of the writing process. No matter your year of study, your major, or your writing level, we are happy to work with you.
Can I work on a group project in the Writing Center?
Yes, you can work on group projects with tutors at the Writing Center. We only ask that as many members of the group as possible are present at the tutoring session.
Where is the Writing Center located?
The Writing Center is in the basement of Roosevelt Hall, room 009. Enter Roosevelt from the Memorial Union side and go down one flight. Reception for the Writing Center is the second door on your right.
What kind of help can I expect from a Writing Center tutor?
Writing Center tutors can help you in any stage of the writing process, including: brainstorming ideas, developing a thesis, organizing main points, etc. Writing Center tutors focus on helping you learn to improve not only one specific paper, but your writing skills as a whole.
What kind of writing can Writing Center tutors help me with?
Tutors at the Writing Center are able to help you with all forms of writing from any major. If you are interested in working on a lab report, reflection piece, master’s thesis, research paper, or more, we will be happy to work with you.
Do I have to schedule an appointment?
No, the Writing Center is happy to accept walk-ins. However, we do encourage (especially during midterm or final exams week) that you schedule an appointment to ensure that a tutor is available to work with you.
What do I need to bring with me to a Writing Center appointment?
This will depend at what stage you are in the writing process. If you have already written a draft, bring in a copy. (Whether you prefer a hard copy or a digital copy is your preference.) It is also helpful to bring the assignment sheet and/or writing prompt. If you are in the initial, brainstorming stage of the writing process, you can bring the assignment sheet and we will be happy to help you get started!
Will my professor know that I visited the Writing Center?
Some professors may request that their students visit the Writing Center, in which case you can ask your tutor to sign a professor verification form to vouch for your presence. But, unless requested, professors will not be aware of your visit to the Writing Center.
“How to” Writing Tips
How to read an assignment
It is important to make sure you read the assignment clearly and fully understand the objective. Creating a writing piece is much more difficult if you are uncertain of what the final outcome will be. To help, keep the following tips in mind:
Stay on topic:
It is easy, particularly when you are in the brainstorming or drafting process, to stray from the assignment’s original objective. You may develop several ideas branching off from one another that – before you know it – lead you down a rabbit hole with a thesis unrelated to the original prompt.
In order to stay on topic, as you write, make sure to continue to refer back to the assignment and check that your statements are clear and relevant.
Think about the bigger picture:
When you are working on the assignment, keep in mind previous assignments you have already completed and assignments that may be fast approaching. Instructors often design their coursework in a strategic pattern; so, thinking about the current assignment in context of the entire class may help you to better understand the ultimate goal of the project.
How to construct a thesis
The thesis is the foundation of your entire paper. Without it, your writing will lack direction and will be difficult for the reader to follow. As such, it is important to put forth the necessary time and effort to construct your thesis carefully. In doing so, remember the following:
Analyze your primary sources:
The key word here is “analyze.” Do not merely make an observation about an author’s writing. Instead, always ask yourself, why?
For example, if the author uses obtrusive punctuation in his/her poem – why? What is the author’s purpose in doing so? Analyze the work carefully and develop a unique perspective. That is a thesis.
Write down your thesis:
We know, this sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But it is important to remember to write down all drafts of your working thesis, even your very first idea. Your thesis will most likely be a work in progress as you create several drafts of your writing piece.
Continuously re-writing your thesis will help you stay focused on the assignment’s objective and make sure your writing is headed in a clear, logical direction.
Keep your thesis in the introduction:
For shorter writing pieces (between five and fifteen pages), the thesis is usually found at the end of the introductory paragraph. This way, the thesis may truly act as a road map for the rest of your work.
Anticipate potential counter-arguments:
As you write your thesis, keep in mind potential weak spots where it may be refuted. This will help you to: 1) refine and strengthen your thesis; 2) prepare to write a counterargument later in your essay.
How to construct a conclusion paragraph
A strong concluding paragraph will effectively summarize all your essay’s main points. Remember, it will be hard for the reader to retain all of the information he/she has just read; so, think about the main idea you would like to make a lasting impact. Consider the following:
Use your introductory paragraph as a guide:
If you have already written a strong introductory paragraph, often you can use it as a basis for creating your conclusion (i.e. try re-stating your ideas with different wording).
Reflect on your body paragraphs:
You want to make sure your concluding paragraph summarizes and ties together all of the ideas you have already discussed – the conclusion is no place to introduce new information.
For a long paper, a good tip is to look back at each of your body paragraphs and capture the essence of each in your conclusion.
Prompt the reader to think:
Finally, a good writing piece will leave the reader with something to think about. For example, you may prompt him/her to take an action or answer a question.
Your conclusion is – obviously – the last thing your reader will read. Even if he/she is unable to recall the entirety of your paper, you want to create a final statement that will hit the reader with impact.
Resources for Different Citation Styles
How to properly use:
Further explanation of:
Additional Writing Center Websites
For access to more resources for improving writing skills, we encourage you to visit Writing Center websites from other universities as well: