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Illinois Tech Library Guides

Liaisonship: Writing Assistance


Director James Dabbert
Siegel 232-233
Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 3:30 pm*
*hours may vary, see sign–up sheets on the doors of SH 232 and 233 for up–to–date Writing Center hours

Writing Assistance

Proposed Learning Outcomes for Research Specialist Training:

  • Can locate research guides
  • Can find subject librarian for any subject
  • Can develop a keyword search
  • Can refer various library services
  • Can communicate library services based on student needs
What Specialists Won’t Assist With:
  • Won’t address every problem in a paper
  • Thesis Statements
  • Essay Structure/Organization
  • Grammar
  • Assume Faculty expectations
Things for Specialists to Remember:
  • Writing is a skill and is, thus, best learned incrementally (lots of edits and revisions; it’s a process)
  • Writers can only focus on one or two issues at a time
  • Shorter, multiple, focused consultations can assist in accomplishing writing goals
  • Students should visit the writing center!
  • Think about the integration of the research & writing process

Writing Assistance Suggestions

Conversation of mankind is a collaborative learning method



W = welcoming, open attitude & body language
O = open-ended questions
R = restating/rephrasing/review the question
F = ask follow-up questions


Suggested Questions:

  • Please tell me more about your topic.
    • What do you mean by X?
    • Please give me an example?
    • I don’t know much about X.  Can you help me understand?
    • Please explain that in more detail. Please be more specific.
  • What additional information can you give me?
  • How much information do you need?
    • What kind of information are you looking for?
    • What types of information do you need (books, articles, etc.)
    • What types of sources may you use for your assignment.
    • What have you already found?
  • Follow-up with:
    • If you don’t find what you’re looking for, please come back and we’ll try something else.


  • Accept drop of papers: we work with students to advise them on writing a better research paper; not about errors, but the process.
  • Correct grammar or spelling
  • Never cover more than one to two concerns
  • Argue, ask for clarification or suggest ways to strengthen the argument

Adapted from: Bradley Shipps's, Reference Interview 101.