Searching and writing help
The main goal of the Writing Studio is to support Maastricht University students and help them reflect on their thinking, searching and writing process. It is a joint effort from information specialists from the University Library and teachers from the Language Centre.
Here’s what some students who got help from the Writing Studio think of this service:
- “As a student of the SBE faculty the writing of a thesis is really difficult as this is the first research I ever did. I studied applied sciences before and therefore never had courses in Quantitative Methods. For me the thesis was this big blur that I did not know how to ever finish. Joining the Writing Studio I received help in better structuring my thesis, formulating and thinking about a good research question, and learning how to better look where for what information.” [Student in MSc International Business]
- “To me the biggest challenge is the language use. I am student from a non-English speaking country so when it comes to the issue of academic writing, language skills count as an obstacle to develop a good paper. It is of a great advantage if you can include the aspect of language skills as far as academic writing is concerned.” [International Student in MSc Public Policy & Human Development]
- “To complete my study at the faculty of Law I have to write a master thesis. Getting started, you have to write a proposal and then find someone to guide you. All my proposals have been rejected so far, so I asked for help. My study advisor told me about the writing studio. The coach looked at my proposals and helped me find a better topic for my thesis.” [Student in MSc Dutch Law]
The Writing Studio emphasizes that its service is complementary to the services already offered by faculties to their students.
The Writing Studio can help Maastricht University students who face the following issues:
- I am researching my topic and would like to know the best way to go about this
- I have been searching for relevant literature for a while now but I am unable to find enough (or I find too much) information
- I would like a further explanation about a specific database
- I have a question about citations and/or source references
- How do I overcome writer’s block?
- I have difficulty writing a text in Dutch or English
The answers to these questions will give students new searching and writing strategies which they can apply independently to their work.
- Feedback on language use (English and Dutch), such as text structure, style, syntax, terminology, grammar and spelling
- Help with collecting the necessary information (literature, data) and with writing citations and references (EndNote)
- Training in academic writing and the academic argument; developing a research plan from the problem definition to the conclusion, structuring the thesis (e.g. into chapters), writing the research report
- Advice for self-study
- The Writing Studio does not replace content guidance The guidance meetings focus solely on the writing and searching process. The discussion on the content of the thesis is the responsibility of the subject teacher or thesis supervisor, who is also responsible for the assessment.
- The Writing Studio is not an editing service The Writing Studio coaches do not edit texts; they are sounding boards, not editors. Students themselves have the final responsibility for the text.
- The Writing Studio is not a search service The Writing Studio’s information specialists do not search for literature. They can, however, help students select useful information sources and give them tips for using these sources.
The first step for a student is to go to Ask your librarian, the virtual helpdesk of the University Library. Here, the student has to provide the following details:
- name, faculty, email address, phone number, student id
- thesis topic: short description of the problem (writing skills/language – finding sources, literature/source references)
- language of the thesis and mother tongue.
Based on this information and within two working days, the University Library will set up an intake meeting, which will take about 45–60 mins. The student will have this meeting with an expert from either the University Library or the Language Centre, depending on the nature of his/her needs. If necessary, a second meeting will be set up (which will also take about 45–60 mins).
For bachelor and master students who are in the process of starting to write or writing their thesis the library offers a special portal called Thesis SupportAll.
Here you will find all kinds of information on how to get started, what to do if you get stuck in the process, useful information on who to contact, information about available workshops, etcetera. The Thesis SupportAll is complementary to the information provided by the faculties.
Next to the Writing Studio the library also offers a peer-to-peer service. Peer Point provides free research assistance to students studying at Maastricht University. Peer Point is staffed by master students trained at responding critically and constructively to the work of their peers. For more information, check the Peer Point website or Peer Point’s facebook page.