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Walden University Writing Center

Where instructors and editors talk writing.

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Thursday Thoughts: December Webinars

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Walden students! We hope your first few weeks of the quarter are going smoothly. We are excited to begin working with you and reading all of your interesting discussion posts. For those of you in semester programs, we hope your final papers are going well.

To new and returning students alike, we encourage you to check out this page to learn how to set up a 1:1 appointment with a writing instructor. Here, you'll find information about our scheduling system, myPASS, and the types of documents we can review. Additionally, this month, we have a number of webinars on the schedule.


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Every webinar presents students with a live, interactive setting, in which you can ask questions about current projects, get ideas from peers, and develop a better understanding of the topic being presented. This month, our topics range from use of first person language to effective paragraphing.
Click on the webinar links above to register for the webinars and receive reminder emails in your inbox! We hope you'll join us!

Feel free, as well, to check out our entire Webinar Recording Library here! If you have any questions about our webinar schedule or appointment scheduling system, e-mail us at writingsupport@waldenu.edu.




The Walden University Writing Center webinars teach APA guidelines and writing skills for all Walden students, along with webinars specifically for undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral capstone students. Webinars offer live writing instruction, as well as an opportunity for students to connect via Q&A and chatting with staff and other Walden students, and each webinar is recorded for later viewing.




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A Writing Center Review: Recite Reference Checker

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Managing and updating citations is an arduous, but critical, part of the scholarly writing process. These tasks can be particularly vexing for capstone writers because their work is lengthy, undergoes so much revision, and demands precision, accuracy, and correct formatting. Today, I will provide some perspective on a tool that might be helpful to Walden students, particularly students in the process of writing their capstone studies. The tool is Recite Reference Checker.

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Many students are familiar with citation managers such as EndNote, Zotero, RefWorks, and Mendeley. These tools allow you to create a database of sources, from which you can compile citation information and automatically create in-text citations and reference lists. You can annotate research articles as well as create libraries for specific projects. For many individuals and those working on collaborative projects, these tools are useful at all stages of the research process, from writing a literature review to proofreading for publication.

However, Recite is different from a reference citation manager in that it is a citation checker. Its tagline is “Reference Checking Made Easy.” In contrast to citation managers, this is a tool that you would probably find most useful when proofreading your study before your defense or submission to the URR and ProQuest.

Recite is currently free as it is undergoing Beta testing. Its developer, 4cite Labs, plans to introduce “very competitive pricing” after testing is complete. All you need to use it is a Google account. Another plus for Walden students is that it is compatible with APA style, one of the two citation styles Recite supports.

User Experience: How Recite Worked for Me

To use the service, you login in using your Google account on Recite’s website. Then, you upload your own document. I recommend uploading your full study, as opposed to an individual chapter or section, as the software checks your in-text citations against your reference list.

Recite will first show you a list of all in-text citations from your document. The output is color-coded. Dark blue indicates that your citation correctly matches a reference entry. Yellow indicates a possible match while red indicates no match.

Demonstration of Recite Color coding
Demonstration of Recite's Color Coded Citation Checking
The software also compares your citations and entries to literature in its databases and suggests possible errors. For example, you may have a wrong name or, for a source with multiple authors, you might have authors out of order. Recite will show you an entry that it thinks is correct. That way, you can assess whether your citation and possible reference entry need to be changed. The software will also tell you when it can find no references for an author or year.

Another positive is that Recite checks your citations and reference entries and tells you about possible APA errors. For example, in one of your sentences, you might include “Smith et al.” as an author in a citation. If this work only has two authors, Recite can tell you that this is an invalid use of “et al.”  Recite will also go through your reference list and check whether your entries are correctly formatted in terms of APA. It will show you places for you need to include an ampersand or modify your punctuation, for example.

Evaluation: Is Recite Right for Walden Capstone Writers?

With its integration of APA and its ease of use, Recite seems like a helpful tool for capstone writers. Like any tool, however, Recite may provide you with inaccurate reference or formatting information. You cannot use it as an alternative for double-checking your source information and formatting. If Recite points out a possible mismatch between your reference entry and what it has in its database, you should still double-check your PDF or printout and confirm whether your entry needs to be corrected.

Likewise, if Recite points out a possible APA error (e.g., an ampersand should be used instead of “and” in the author element of a reference entry), you need to be able to determine whether this is, indeed, an error. There really is no shortcut to developing your own APA proficiency as a capstone writer. That is why we offer so many APA resources on our website.

You can test Recite for yourself by either uploading a document or by reviewing the markup on a demo paper on its website. Be sure to read Recite’s terms of service and privacy policy if you decide to use it. Also, keep in mind that Recite stores your document for a “short amount of time,” but the company says this is temporary, while the software is Beta.

Let us know in the comments box whether you have used Recite and what you think about it. 


Tara Kachgal
 is a dissertation editor in the Walden University Writing Center. She has a Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and teaches for the School of Government's online MPA@UNC program. She resides in Chapel Hill and, in her spare time, serves as a mentor for her local running store's training program.


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WriteCast Episode 32: The Great Debate

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The Walden University Writing Center has just released its 32nd episode of WriteCast, our podcast on all things writing. This episode is titled, "The Great Debate: Continuity or Variety in Writing Feedback." In this episode, Beth Nastachowski and Brittany Kallman Arneson discuss whether it's best to work consistently with one writing instructor at the WUWC or to work with a variety of writing instructors. 

Beth and Brittany make arguments for both approaches, and they present different student mindsets and how these mindsets might affect the choice you make. If you're curious about this topic, take a listen. Hit the orange play button below. 




For a list of all of our WriteCast episodes, visit the Writing Center website for Interactive and Multimedia writing resources. Here, you can also access download information and transcripts for each of our podcast episodes. Happy Listening, WriteCasters!



WriteCast is a monthly podcast written, produced, and published by staff in the Walden University Writing Center. WriteCast: A Casual Conversation for Serious Writers offers listeners the chance to sit in on a dialogue between two experienced and trained writing instructors. Possible episode topics will always be considered from listeners, just let us know in the comments. 


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And/Or No More: A Stylistic Consideration

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Sometimes there are minor issues that crop up in papers that, while they don’t ruin a student’s academic writing, are still worth remarking upon in a blog post like this. Today I will talk about a small issue I see as I work with Walden University students in Paper Review Appointments: the use of the forward slash between conjunctions “and” and “or,” like this: “and/or.”



This term is meant only to pop up in sentences rarely, in situations where either options in a sentence or both options are simultaneously possible. That means, in order to use it in a sentence, both the “and” and “or” must make sense by themselves in a sentence.

This is where students get tripped up. Here is a sentence where it does not work: 

“This paper will explore the effect of teacher evaluations on student grades and/or test scores.”

Why does this not work? In order to use “and/or,” you would want to make sure that “and” by itself and “or” by itself both work in the sentence. First, the conjunction “and” works because you are talking about two separate factors, and you plan to focus on both of them in the paper. The word “or” does not work so well—you are not working on one or the other, right? You are looking at both. Therefore, “and/or” does not work here and should be revised for better clarity.

Even in those situations where “and/or” does work grammatically, instructors and editors here at the Writing Center strongly encourage you to express yourself another way, without that term. And we are not the only ones. Many of our favorite resources for academic writing style advise writers to avoid a forward slash between words. The APA Sixth edition manual tells readers “not to use a slash when a phrase would be clearer.” And blogger Grammar Girl reaffirms, “you’d be hard-pressed to find a style guide that doesn’t admonish you to drop and/or and rewrite the sentence with just and or just or.” It may sound smart in your writing sometimes, but chances are, editors and proofreaders don’t like it so much.

So try to avoid “and/or.” Even if it sounds smart in a sentence, or grammatically appropriate, you can still probably express yourself another way, without forward slashes between words.


Nathan Sacks
 is a writing instructor in the the Walden University Writing Center. He also enjoys writing books, playing guitar, and playing with cats. 


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Thursday Thoughts: An Autumn Reprieve

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Walden students!
We hope you are enjoying your current courses! Whether you are enrolled in a quarter- or semester-based program, you are on your way to a brief coursework reprieve. Quarter-based students, you are on vacation from coursework right now! Soak it up. You deserve this time off. Semester-based students, you are so close! Just a few more weeks until you're in a window between current classes ending and new classes beginning. We at the Writing Center enjoy seeing so many final papers for all your interesting courses, and we are excited for your new courses to get started, too! Soon, the cycle will begin anew, with your very first course discussion posts.

Intermittently throughout this cycle, we meet new students in their first courses at Walden, and we say goodbye to students completing their programs. To all of you, we would like to say thank you for making our job so much fun. You inspire us to work hard and to work towards our dreams, like you.

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We hope you're able to thoroughly enjoy your breaks between courses and, as you begin new courses and new writing assignments, we hope you'll return to us for paper reviews and writing support!  We have a few announcements for you during your coursework break:


  • The Writing Center will be closed on Thursday, November 24, and on Friday, November 25. Our services will resume on Monday, November 28. 
  • Our webinar on Engaging Your Reader With Sentence Structure, which was originally scheduled for Nov. 17 at 5 pm Eastern, is now scheduled for Nov. 30 at 5 pm Eastern due to the presenter's illness. We hope you'll join us this time around! 

Most importantly, we want to tell you: You make our job worth doing. Without you - and your fun APA questions, and your thought-provoking discussion posts, and your informative and educational papers - our job would not be worth it. Thank you.

We cannot wait to see you again when your new courses begin!


The Walden Writing Center offers to Walden students 1:1 writing support and offers to students and non-students alike all the writing expertise, tips, and information a writer could want.


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