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Writing from the Reader's Perspective

Professor George Gopen is the creator of the groundbreaking method known as The Reader Expectation Approach.  This technique allows writers to predict with great accuracy how most readers will interpret the writer’s text.  It therefore gives writers a new inroad to their own thinking process.

This one-day workshop with Professor Gopen examines common writing flaws and demonstrates how to communicate with clarity and accuracy.  Professor Gopen’s approach to achieving desired results is stated simply: Readers take the majority of their clues for the interpretive process not from word choice nor from word meaning, but rather from the structural location of words.  Thus, where a word appears in a sentence will control most of the use to which that word will be put.  We all know this intuitively as readers.  Professor Gopen will make it conscious in us as writers.

Most people assume that reading and writing are 85% word choice and 15% structure when it is really 15% word choice and 85% structure.  Readers need to be able to answer five essential questions to understand the message correctly.  If the reader gets even one wrong, the interpretation arrived at will not be the one the writer intended.  The five questions are:

1. What is going on here?
2. Whose story is this?
3. How does this sentence connect to the previous sentence?
4. How does this sentence lead into the next sentence?
5. What pieces of information should be read with special emphasis?

The surprising news, as the Reader Expectation Approach explains, is that all five of these questions are answered primarily by structural location: We know where in the sentence to look for each of the answers. The Reader Expectation Approach has been recognized as a paradigm shift in the teaching of writing.

Who Should Attend
This workshop is open to the public and ideal for anyone who needs to be a better writer. It is particularly useful for those who are involved with academic writing, composing grants or business plans, and communicating with the public. 

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Curriculum & Course Details

A certificate from Duke Continuing Studies is awarded to participants who complete the entire workshop. Certificates are typically emailed within two weeks after the workshop.
The certificate verifies seven hours of participation and awards .7 of a Continuing Education Unit (CEU). CEUs are respected in many industries as proof of commitment to continuous learning and accepted for recertificatiorequirements as a measure of in-service activities in professional fields.

An official transcript documenting CEUs is available for $10. To request an official transcript, contact Duke Continuing Studies at 919-684-6259. CEUs typically cannot be applied toward an academic degree.


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Schedule & Registration


Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Durham, North Carolina
Duke University - West Campus, Bryan Center, Griffith Film Theater (first floor)

Registration closes at Noon, Friday, May 3, 2019 or until maximum enrollment is met, whichever occurs first.

8:00 a.m. Check-In
8:30 a.m. Workshop Begins
10:15 - 10:30 a.m. Morning Break
10:00 - 12:00 p.m. Workshop In-Session
12:00 - 1:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30 - 3:30 p.m. Workshop In-Session
3:30 - 3:45 p.m. Afternoon Break
3:45 - 5:00 p.m. Workshop In-Session

Workshop Materials

*Please bring a pen or pencil.  A workbook will be provided.  You will not be required to purchase any additional materials.  Non-alcoholic beverages are permitted.

Lunch is not included but a variety of dining facilities are located in and around the Bryan Center.

Parking is not included but is available at the Bryan Center garage - Map for Bryan Center Parking Deck.


  1. REGISTER ONLINE 24/7 using a credit card with our secure, real-time registration system.  Add the course to your shopping cart and follow the instructions for checking out.
  2. Register by Phone at 919-684-6259 or 1-866-edu-Duke during our business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm EST).  
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Professor Gopen

Professor Gopen is the recipient of the Legal Writing Institute’s 2011 Golden Pen Award – a lifetime achievement award for contributions to the field of legal writing. His article “The Science of Scientific Writing” has been recognized by American Scientist as one of the 36 “Classic Articles” in its 100-year history of publication. The Canadian government now uses this writing approach in the drafting and revision of all of its federal legislation. Professor Gopen has consulted with and lectured to thousands around the world, assisting writers of law, science, technology, and any other professional prose.

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Tuition & Funding Sources



Payment is required at the time of registration.  No discounts apply to this course.

Tuition does not include parking.  Details are listed on the Directions and Parking page.

Tuition does not include lunch.  A variety of dining facilities are located in and around the Bryan Center for your convenience.


Payment Plan

No enrollment substitutions are allowed for this workshop.

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Policies & Procedures


A refund, less a $20 processing fee, is available only if you cancel your registration by Wednesday, May 1, 2019. To request a refund, send an email to learnmore@duke.edu with a request to withdraw (including your full name and the workshop title) or call 919-684-6259.

Refunds will be made in the manner in which you paid for the course. Neither failure to attend, nor inability to complete the course, entitles you to a refund.

No enrollment substitutions are allowed for this workshop.

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