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Research, Reading, & Writing Studio

Get Started - Updated April 4, 2022

SPU Research, Reading, & Writing Studio
The Research, Reading, & Writing Studio serves current students who are seeking to read, write, and research better.  We come alongside students at any stage of the writing process, offering strategies for how to move forward with their own projects. 

Meet with a writing assistant:

In-Person Assistance in the Ames Library's Studio Space

Open Monday through Thursday 11am-3pm and Fridays 11am-1pm
Located on the library main level in the southeast corner (straight back and to the left)

Online Zoom appointments:

We offer daytime and evening appointments,
use Penji to see availability and make an appointment

See below for information about downloading the Penji scheduling app.

NOTE:  The Studio will be closed for the Easter Weekend including Good Friday: April 15 until 12 noon on Monday, April 18, 2022

Have a quick writing question?  Ask A Librarian using the chatbox in the lower right of this window!

Penji Scheduling App

For remote assistance, get started by downloading
the Penji app:

Penji Logo 

Computer | iOS Device | Android Device

Then use your SPU username and password to sign-up for a Penji account.
(You will likely get logged into the Center for Learning section,
just switch to the Research, Reading, & Writing Studio for writing assistance.)

Image of two iPhones with Penji app on their screens

What to Expect from your Session

What to expect at an in-person session

  • Come the Research, Reading, & Writing Studio on the library main floor.
  • Take a table top sign and turn it to working if you just want to work in the Studio space; flip the sign to ask a question to let the Writing Assistant know you have a question.
  • The Writing Assistant will come help you as soon as they are able; we will help you get started with a strategy, or work with you on a section of your paper, and then move to help other people who might have a question, this letting you return to writing asking questions as they come up.
  • If you have more questions, just flip your sign back to ask a question

What to expect from a 25 minute Zoom appointment

  • Appointments must be booked at least 2 hours in advance, also appointment-time options may vary from week to week
  • At appointment time, you will meet for 25 minutes with a writing assistant; we recommend prioritizing a few things you want to work on beforehand, so you can make the most of the appointment time. 
  • You will have an opportunity to upload documents (paper, assignment rubric, etc.) to a private Google drive space when making your appointment.
  • Sign up is limited to two appointments per day.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can the Studio help me?
The Studio will provide assistance in and strategies for research, reading, and writing including, but not limited to:
-Topic Selection
-Assignment decoding
-Addressing instructor feedback
-Searching for sources
-Evaluating sources
-Reading difficult texts
-Creating a thesis statement
-Organizing a paper
-Referencing and citing sources
-Editing/proofreading

Who can use the Studio?
Any current SPU student--both undergraduate and graduate--is welcome to use the Studio.

What kind of papers do you help with?
We can offer guidance on any paper you're working on for any class, whether WRI or HIST or BIO or SOC. We'll work alongside you to strengthen your thesis, support your claims, and cite your sources, whatever it is you're writing.

What do I need to bring when I interact with the Studio?
As much or as little as you like.  If you have a draft of your essay, use that.  The assignment sheet and grading rubric can help the writing assistants understand your assignment. You might also want to have ready any books or research materials you've been working with.

How are Studio Assistants chosen?
Studio Assistants are hired in the spring for a one-year renewable appointment beginning the following fall.  All Studio Assistants take a one-credit, year-long course while on staff (WRI 2930, "Methods for Writing Assistants").  If you are interested in becoming a Studio Assistant, contact Liz Gruchala-Gilbert or Carrie Fry.