Ask Dr. Wobs: How to bust out of rigid academic writing boxes

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Today’s question comes from a university student who thinks the professor is putting him in a box with instructions on how to write a paper. But how big is that box, really? Dear Dr. Wobs, Re: Avoiding the structure of academic writing I’m taking a political science writing class at Ohio State, and we have a … Continued

How to write a short bio that’s not awful (Ask Dr. Wobs)

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Everybody needs a short bio, whether its at the top of your LinkedIn page or on the bookflap of your first book. But it’s hard to write about yourself succinctly and objectively. That’s why people writing their own bios so often end up sounding like an idiot. Dear Dr. Wobs Why are bios so bad? … Continued

How close to perfection can you get? (Ask Dr. Wobs)

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Today’s question is about the pursuit of perfection — not only how to do it, but when it makes sense. Dear Dr. Wobs: On perfection: how close to 100% error-free can an editor aspire to? What tools can help a mere mortal get a little closer? Martha Pings Perfection is a dangerous goal Dear Martha: … Continued

How to write a case study (Ask Dr. Wobs)

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Dear Dr. Wobs, How do you write a captivating one-page case study that provides enough information to be understandable (and credible), but doesn’t overwhelm with detail? I read your blog post on preparing for an interview, and found it helpful, but I’d like more information on producing the case study. I’ve also found that “case … Continued

The best way to create a footnote or citation in print or online (Ask Dr. Wobs)

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Here’s my fully-optimized technique for referencing sources, developed over many years of authoring. (Yes, I am a huge book nerd.) You get to read it thanks to today’s reader question: Dear Dr. Wobs, What is the best way to cite sources or give notes in a blog or book? What format do you use to cite sources/notes … Continued

Preparation is the key to a great research interview (Ask Dr. Wobs)

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Preparation is the key to a successful research interview. Deliberate planning makes sure your time isn’t wasted — which is the concern expressed in today’s reader question. Dear Dr. Wobs: Good analysis requires research: analyzing data and interviewing people. I know how to make my research data sing. But how do I prepare for and conduct … Continued

Fat outlines help you write without anxiety (Ask Dr. Wobs)

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When you’ve completed most of the research for a writing project, but before writing, you should create a “zeroth draft” — a fat outline. Fat outlines are both easy and helpful, functioning as an onramp to your writing process. But as today’s Ask Dr. Wobs question shows, fat outlines are unfamiliar to people. Dear Dr. Wobs: What … Continued

Where should I practice writing? (Ask Dr. Wobs)

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Dear Dr. Wobs: I just finished Writing Without Bullshit and I’m looking for some material to help me get started in putting these new techniques to practice. I’m graduating college this spring, so I don’t have much required writing at the moment and I’d like to start developing strong writing habits before I enter the … Continued