Writing Strategies, Using the Internet, and Other Resources

All students should investigate these readings on writing and research, and related readings.  Many of these recommended readings may be worth purchasing as useful references and guides throughout one’s studies at WISR. . . .

For Free:

Techniques and Uses of Note-Taking

Read the short handout on “Note-Taking Methods and Ideas for Community Agencies”.  This article was written by Terry Lunsford and John Bilorusky, of the WISR faculty, in 1981, as part of WISR’s Federally-funded FIPSE project on teaching and learning action-research. It briefly outlines some ways of taking notes by spending just a few minutes every few days, and then over time, using these notes for one’s research and writing projects. 

Writing Strategies: Writing in Your Own Voice

This article emphasizing the importance of Writing in Your Own Voice, by WISR Faculty members, Cynthia Lawrence and John Bilorusky, June 2, 2006, was initially written for a WISR seminar, to help WISR students get some ideas and tips on how to “get started” in doing writing for their various projects. Emphasis is on finding manageable ways to write a little at a time, in small chunks, as part of our everyday living. Emphasis is also on letting go of the inhibiting factors that have influenced us in the mis-education that is usually experienced as we have gone through conventional schools and colleges. There are also some suggestions for writing meaningfully, clearly and in your own voice in the latter stages of the writing process.

Consider purchasing some of these, or similar references, or tools:

Rules of Thumb:  A Guide Writers by Jay Silverman, Elaine Hughes and Diana Roberts Wienbroer, 2006.  This highly well-reviewed book provides technical guidelines and advice for writing, as well as issues of grammar, and does so in a down-to-earth way.  The (spiral-bound) book can be obtained new for less than $10 (including postage) at Amazon.com:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/007353319X/ref=tmm_other_meta_binding_new_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=new&sr=1-1&qid=1408826108

A more recent edition (2012) of the book is available as a Kindle (e-book that can be read on most any computer or tablet) for $32.12.

An earlier variation of this book–which covers the Research Process in addition to writing: Rules of Thumb for Research by Silverman, Hughes and Weinbroer, 2000—is very highly recommended by WISR faculty member, Dr. Marilyn Jackson.  It can be obtained at Amazon.com:  http://www.amazon.com/Rules-Thumb-Research-Jay-Silverman/dp/0070276390/ref=sr_1_31?ie=UTF8&qid=1408830890&sr=8-31&keywords=rules+thumb+silverman

The Student’s Guide To Writing College Papers, by Kate L Turabian, and others, 2010, is a long-standing, traditionally used source for the technical details in researching and writing academic papers.  It is useful especially for outlining standards of citation and style for the Chicago, APA, and MLA conventions of style, but also for suggestions on grammar, punctuation and the like.  Although WISR emphasizes writing in your own voice, and some variations off of traditional academic style, this book can be a useful and valuable reference book, especially for students and faculty submitting articles for publication.  It can be purchased as an e-book at Google Play for $10:  https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kate_L_Turabian_Student_s_Guide_to_Writing_College?id=-QhuhWHhAyYC

A very valuable e-book, on Internet Research Skills, available on Google Play for $36.00 (expensive, but very comprehensive and recommended for those who want to be thorough, and very skillful, in doing research using internet and online (for pay, and for free) resources:  Internet Research Skills by Niall O Dochartaigh, 2012, Sage Publications.  Go to:    https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=7zX7AwAAQBAJ&rdid=book-7zX7AwAAQBAJ&rdot=1&source=gbs_vpt_read&pcampaignid=books_booksearch_viewport

Ginger Software–this software, which can be downloaded (free and paid versions), not only helps you to proof-read drafts of papers for spelling errors, typos, grammar and sentence structure, but the “paid version” (for a few dollars per month) will give you personalized tips on how to improve your writing, assist you in rephrasing and improving specific sentences, and even read back to you what you wrote so you can hear how it sounds.  It is very useful for people who are uncomfortable writing, as well as for people who are experienced, accomplished writers!

Coming soon:  WISR will soon have an online Career Center, with information about resources to use for purposes of seeking internships, jobs and career planning.  WISR faculty member, Michael McAvoy, will update and coordinate the use of this Career Center, and he will advise students.  In addition,  all WISR faculty are always available to help you make the most of the information and resources accessible online, to coach you on matters of career development, as well as to help you network with WISR alumni and friends as part of your career development.

Access to libraries and online databases:  WISR is currently exploring which online database will be most cost-effective in supporting student and faculty research efforts, and we expect to have access for such a database by early 2015.  We are also seeking to learn about possible access to academic libraries for our students–in the meantime, WISR will reimburse each student $100/year to enable them to gain access either to the UC Berkeley library, or another similar, convenient academic library of the student’s choosing. Also, by contacting WISR President, John Bilorusky, WISR students can also obtain access to an electronic pdf file of the annotated bibliographies of recommended readings compiled by WISR students and alumni over the past five years.  WISR students may also access to articles on qualitative research, action-research and participatory, community-based research written by WISR faculty over the past 30 years, at:  http://actionresearch.wisrville.org

Multimedia and Social Media

Students who are interested in learning how to incorporate the use of multimedia–video and films, media clips, audio files, graphics and art work–into their projects should discuss their interests with WISR faculty.  We have had students who have used multimedia for their projects, and we can put you in touch with others who know about these modalities.  As students progress through the WISR studies, they will be encouraged and supported in their efforts to make use of multimedia, social media, and other current technological developments.

Let us know if you have any thoughts or questions about writing strategies, library research, online research, how to do action-research, how to move forward in your career,  using computers or multimedia, or related topics.  If you wish, post comments and questions on the Discussion page, and as always, please discuss questions, concerns, or ideas with your faculty advisors and with other WISR students and alumni in seminars and discussion forums.

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