Posts Tagged ‘writing voice’

Dissertation Writing Tips: Find Your Voice

Dear Colleagues:

In working with my students this week, I find a common struggle: finding one’s writing voice.  When we write, we may have different writing styles.  We may have one writing style for work (and several within this area as well–one for those above us, one for those lateral and below); one for our community or volunteer organizations, and one (or more!) for our academic purposes.  Why do we need so many?

Let’s address the need for writing voices with looking at the end user.  The first rule of writing is to know thy audience.  If we know our audience well, we will then know for whom we write and the style most in line with their expectations and understanding.

Think of the sender receiver communication model.  Both sides of the communication model are needed to ensure that communication occurs.  If our audience does not understand, then communication has not taken place.

For example, if you are in pursuit of either a graduate or Phd or doctorate degree, you may be writing your capstone thesis (graduate) or doctoral dissertation (doctorate) where each require a very specific academic writing style.  In these two examples, our writing needs to objective, not personal.  As we write the results of a capstone or doctoral research study, our opinions are not relevant as they could bias the results.  We then focus on the merits of objective third person within the APA writing style to ensure that we are in line with academic writing style expectations and outcomes.

If however we may repurpose our writing for a research journal, we may find our writing may need to have a more personal writing style, perhaps even first person.   Why? Our writing may be commenting more on simply the results, but the process of the results where we the researcher may need to be more of an integrated participant, instead of a non-biased observed.

So how then do we know what style is needed?  Ask.  I know this sounds incredibly simple, however we need to ensure that we connect to our audience as appropriate to the culture we are writing for.  Remember that one size does not fit all. *Smiles*

My advice is to begin to pay close attention to the writing styles that you already have and those that may be needed as your experience and writing prowess develops.

Be sure to share with us your comments as I welcome what you may think.  Cheers!

With respect,


Dr. Cheryl Lentz

Chief Refractive Thinker®

Refractive Thinker: Vol VII: Social Responsibility

Refractive Thinker: Vol VII: Social Responsibility

November 23rd, 2012 by admin