We can help you develop effective research, writing, and critical thinking skills.

Promoting Excellence in Graduate Studies operates under a Title V grant awarded to California State University Dominguez Hills in 2010. We are a collective group of professors and student scholars committed to promoting academic excellence among all CSUDH students, including Hispanic and under-represented, low-income graduate students. The PEGS mission is to promote graduate-level scholarship and facilitate intellectual development by helping students to enhance critical thinking, improve research and writing skills, and strengthen ties to the academic community. Since opening our doors as a multi-faceted, research-writing and resource center in October of 2010, we have served as many as 4,888 students and 324 faculty with our interrelated activities in Student Services, Leadership, and Outreach and acknowledged as a campus-wide resource center. (We have also made considerable progress in instituting PEGS as campus-wide resource.)

PEGS offers a variety of innovative research and writing models and activities to support students and faculty such as:

  • Independent Study for Research Writing
  • The Scholar’s Program
  • Writing of Literature Review/ Assessing Research Sources within Discipline
  • Seminar Sessions
  • The Research Writing Virtual Lab
  • Research Writing Workshops


Programs & Services


To Attend a PEGS Academic Workshop click here


PEGS has created six learning models focused on student research and critical thinking. Each model integrates Student Services, Leadership, and Outreach activities in accordance with PEGS’ logic model.

1) Independent Study for Research Writing

Our Independent Study program provides guidance and support to students working on a thesis, capstone project, or other research writing. A constructive learning program, this model focuses on each stage of the research and writing process helping students to learn how to define a problem, state a hypothesis, write a literature review, design and implement an experiment, collect and analyze data, and discuss results of a study. This model was piloted in year three of the PEGS grant and achieved demonstrable success, wit

witnessed, in part, by the degree of positive feedback PEGS received from students and faculty alike. We thank the graduate/undergraduate students and faculty who participated in the test-model, and look forward to further enhancing and refining this service for campus-wide usage.

2) Writing of Literature Reviews and Assessing Research Sources within a Discipline

This model provides a comprehensive support system for both students and professors. First we coordinate supplemental learning activities with faculty whose courses/discipline require competency in writing literature reviews. Activities can include a combination of workshops in or out of the classroom, small group tutorials, or question and answer sessions all designed with discipline-specific examples. Then, as students prepare to write the literature review, they receive comprehensive guidance and support from PEGS Graduate Research Writing Consultants (GRWCs). Areas of focus in this model range from assessing research sources for currency, relevance, and usefulness, to analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing those sources in complete and purposeful (thesis-driven) reviews of literature. When faculty request one or both of the workshops under this model, their students qualify to receive continued support in the later stages the writing process.

3) PEGS Scholar’s Program

The PEGS Scholar’s Program offers supplemental support to students working on a capstone project or thesis. As they make continual progress toward publication and completion of their Master’s Degree, participants receive one-on-one assistance from PEGS GRWCs. In this setting of peer-assisted learning and mentorship, students have the opportunity to polish and perfect graduate-level research and writing skills such as: developing a research question, creating a strong thesis statement, composing a literature review, evaluating research sources, preparing for and presenting at academic conferences, using bibliographic software, and citing sources (e.g., APA, MLA, CSE, etc.). Sessions directly correspond to discipline-specific guidelines set by the student’s committee of advisors. The Scholar’s Program also provides participating students with a centralized location 

(i.e., the PEGS Center) where they can meet and collaborate, share and discuss research, and exchange writing strategies, all the while being facilitated by a PEGS GRWC.

4) PEGS Electronic Journal (EJPEGs)

EJPEGS Scholarship model has expanded to include developmental categories that provide more opportunities for students to engage in the preparatory stages of research publication. EJPEGS will showcase work done in the process of creating a publishable research article such as scholarship proposals, annotated bibliographies and in-depth literature reviews. The purpose of expanding the criteria for submissions is to acknowledge the accomplishments of students as well as to encourage the student body to engage in similar academic pursuits.

5) Seminar Sessions

PEGS Seminar Sessions offer students the opportunity to work collaboratively in small group settings (3-5 students) facilitated by Graduate Research Writing Consultants. This venue of learning helps students to clarify, supplement, and expand upon various workshop topics as they relate to the students’ course assignments. PEGS Research and Writing Workshops offer students a variety of writing and research opportunities which address both general and more specific academic topics.

6) The PEGS Research Writing Virtual Lab

The Research Writing Virtual Lab page (www.pegs4grads.org) is an online resource designed to further facilitate students’ skills in critical thinking, reading, writing, and research. In addition to providing workshops and small group seminar sessions, PEGS – with this new resource – is now offering full-length online PowerPoint presentations, short video tutorials, and looks forward to developing an Online Discussion Board! This 

new and diversified learning format will encourage student collaboration and communication, all facilitated by Graduate Research Writing Consultants in real time.

7) PEGS Research Writing Workshops

PEGS offers workshops addressing a wide variety of academic needs. In all of our workshops, we strive to strike a balance between encouraging the development of practical skills and giving students the conceptual understanding that will help them to retain those skills. Our Writing Series covers some of the most important steps in writing strong, graduate-level papers with an emphasis on the recursive, rather than linear, process of drafting and revision. We also offer two workshops on specific essay formats sometimes required in graduate educational settings, and in professional writing: How to Write a Literature Review and Writing the In-Class Essay. Students coming to workshops can learn purposeful and practical ways to approach research, and how to follow their discipline’s stylistic conventions (citation styles). They can learn some new techniques, or re-discover forgotten ones. Whether they are enriching their knowledge base through original research or attempting to join the conversation in their field through academic/professional presentations, PEGS workshops have something for them.

PEGS Workshops

APA Overview

This workshop provides an overview of formatting rules and procedures for the Publication Manual of American Psychological Association (APA). It discusses the most common issues students encounter when formatting their papers per APA, including formatting: the title page, abstract page, tables, seriation, in-text citations, references and appendices. It also discusses both plagiarism and paraphrasing.

Assessing Research Sources

This critical reading workshop focuses on four criteria for assessing research sources: objectivity, argument, accuracy, and tone. In this presentation a five-step approach to close-reading is discussed with respect to the unique purpose of reading at the graduate level: namely, to enter into an academic/professional conversation via both papers and conference presentations. Students looking to improve comprehension and retention of graduate-level texts will be given practical skills, as well as a chance to practice what they’ve learned. A brief review on ‘Library Navigation: Finding Sources worth Keeping,’ is also provided.

Drafting and Revising: Introductions and Conclusions

In order to help writers develop strong introductory and concluding paragraphs, this workshop reviews the essential elements of each, and models themusing in an example from professional-level, peer-reviewed, juried research article. Key issues, such as creation of a strong thesis and how to create interest, are modeled with particular attention to graduate-level writing and rhetoric. Opening and closing your papers can be a daunting task; this workshop helps to approach writing these important sections by explaining writing as a recursive process, rather than as a linear activity, and giving writers some practical strategies.

Drafting and Revising: Organization

The most common reason for grammatical and stylistic errors is poor organization. Taking a form-follows-idea approach to writing, this workshop models strong organization and explains linear (basic) organizational schemas at the paragraph level and for outlines. In the second half of the workshop, students learn to recognize signs of poor organization and are given opportunities to practice identifying poor organization in sample paragraphs. Finally, the workshop teaches two methods for fixing poorly organized papers (or sections).

Drafting and Revising: Proofreading Style

This workshop shows writers how to ease their reader’s passage through their work by modeling clear and simple (elegant) prose and stylistic conventions that signal the writer’s authority. With an emphasis on increasing writers’ awareness of their own stylistic tendencies, this workshop teaches practical proofreading techniques including how/when to approach proofreading, and how to spot common stylistic problems. This workshop includes examples for students to practice the techniques they have learned. 

Finding and Fixing Common Grammar and Punctuation Errors(Proofreading & Editing)

This workshop discusses common grammar and punctuation errors, providing descriptions, examples, and activities designed to help students learn to proof, then edit, their own papers. It includes suggestions for improving editing strategies and a checklist for editing papers. Sub-topics include independent and dependent clauses, dependent markers, conjunctions, comma usage, parallelism, semi-colon usage, conjunctive adverbs, active and passive voice, relative clauses, colons, parentheses, apostrophes, dashes, and quotation marks.

Giving Conference Presentations

This workshop covers the basics of how to give a conference presentation, from how to find conferences, to preparing for the presentation itself. Other topics include tailoring article-length papers to conference standards, academic expectations for power points and other visual aids, what to wear, and many other tips and tricks gathered from presentation-giving pros.

How to Write a Literature Review

This workshop describes and explains the standard literature review and the strategies and best practices to prepare for and write the review. It also includes activities to help students practice creating a synthesis matrix and header sentences to synthesize source material.

Prewriting: Generating Ideas for Research Papers

This workshop will discuss strategies for generating and organizing ideas for research papers that allow the student to enter debates in his/her discipline and to make the composition process more efficient and the final product more powerful.

Writing Timed Essays

This workshop discusses strategies for organizing and writing ideas quickly for timed in-class essays or comprehensive exams. It reviews the five paragraph essay format so that students can focus on content rather than how to structure an argument.

Detecting & Avoiding Plagiarism

This workshop defines and discusses various types of plagiarism, focusing on the two principal methods by which plagiarism is avoided: 1) paraphrasing sources & 2) citing sources.

Writing Abstracts

This workshop distinguishes between the two most common types of abstracts, then describes and explains how to write both.

Personal Statements & Statements of Purpose

This workshop distinguishes between the two most common types of graduate admissions essays, describing and explaining how to write both.

Synthesizing Sources

This workshop describes and explains one of the most challenging skills associates with graduate-level writing: the ability to successfully imbricate the ideas of others with your own, doing so in a way that allows you to control your sources, rather than the other way around.

Contact Us

Have any questions? Feel free to contact us online, via email, via telephone or in person. We're happy to help.



  • Telephone: (310) 243-2700
  • Fax: (310) 516-4407

Visit Us

PEGS Center
LIB 4579
1000 East Victoria Street
Carson, CA 90747

Office Hours

  • Monday: 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday: 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
  • Friday: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.