Get the help you need to realize your potential as a writer, speaker, and knowledge worker. Writing Commons publishes peer-reviewed articles informed by research, theory, and practice in Writing Studies, an interdisciplinary academic discipline. Articles are sorted alphabetically by topic. | Site Map

Students in collaboration with one another and online


Collaboration is the process of learning from and working with others to achieve goals. As humans, we create new knowledge by engaging in dialog (e.g., scholarly conversations) and by co-authoring, peer reviewing and critiquing texts. Collaboration is a highly prized workforce competency: employers rank collaboration and teamwork as the second most important competency college graduates need to succeed in the workplace.

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Design definition - "Facebook as imagined by Jeremy Bentham: The Panopticon of Modern Age" by iLifeinicity C BY 2.0


Design is a powerful mode of communication, a form of visual language, a semiotic system—& more. Learn about 7 design definitions so you can use design principles to develop texts, products, and services. Knowledge of design principles and processes can empower you to communicate clearly and persuasively.    

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Evidence & the Writing Process: NASA's model of the big bang & expansion of universe


Evidence is necessary to substantiate claims in workplace & academic writing. Learn to reason with evidence in workplace & academic writing. Review research and scholarship on the uses of evidence. Explore how evidence can help you communicate more clearly and persuasively.

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People create new genres by remixing genres just as these tin men are made of remixed parts/ Moxley


Genres reflect shared textual expectations and values (e.g., respect for intellectual property) between readers and writers. Genres reflects the histories, activities, and values of discourse communities (aka communities of practitioners). Use genre knowledge to communicate clearly and persuasively.

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Michelangelo's Creation of Adam I


Invention is the act of creation, the Eureka moment. Learn how successful writers, entrepreneurs, and product developers manage invention. Review research and scholarship on invention. Explore how successful writers, entrepreneurs, and product developers manage their creative processes.

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Mindset can be learned: just as these dogs have learned to line up in the I formation when visiting with the buffalo


Mindsets are ways of perceiving and acting in the world. The mindsets you hold, consciously or subconsciously, shape how you feel, think, and act; your sense of identity and belonging; what you believe is possible. Review research and scholarship on mindset. Learn to coach yourself, to avoid unnecessary negativity and anxiety when writing. Explore how to adopt the habits of mind employed by successful writers, entrepreneurs, and product managers.

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Organization: pic of fish swimming in a school


Organization is a rhetorical act, a pattern of discourse, an interpretive framework, a cognitive schema, a way of thinking, an attribute of prose. Learn to organize information clearly & persuasively. Explore the organizational schemas that people use to communicate. Review research and scholarship on organization.

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Research finds evidence: pic of corona virus


Research is a method writers, speakers, knowledge makers . . . use to gain knowledge about a topic, to develop new knowledge, and to create new businesses, new applications. Learn how to solve problems at work, school, and home by developing your competencies as a researcher. Learn how to develop new knowledge and test knowledge claims using informal, qualitative, quantitative, textual, and mixed research methods.

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Rhetoric concerns perception, interpretation, and communication


Rhetoric is a theory of human communication. Rhetorical knowledge can help you interpret information, make strategic decisions, and communicate. Rhetorical knowledge informs rhetorical analysis and rhetorical reasoning, two critical literacy processes. 

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Transitions – Transition Words – Transitional Phases

Transitions are a lifeline for readers, listeners, users—a kind of conceptual superglue. Transition words and traditional phrases are crucial to helping audiences keep track of the author's reasoning and purposes for writing. Learn to identify when transitions are warranted in your work and the work of others. Distinguish between effective and ineffective transitions.            

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NASA astronaut writing on the job

Workplace Writing

This article introduces workplace writing as an umbrella term that encompasses written and visual communication within sites of work—an activity that students across academic majors will need to accomplish in their careers.

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Writing studies: Pic of network of relations among writing studies scholars

Writing Studies

Writing Studies is an academic subject of study with B.S., B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. programs in the United States. Writing Studies is an interdisciplinary field, with investigators coming from a multitude of academic and professional fields, including English studies, communication, the learning sciences, corpus linguistics, rhetoric, composition, and English Education.

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Writing Commons

Conducting a Spatial Analysis through the Lens of Universal Design

The sign in this image reads, “WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE ENTRANCE AVAILABLE, PLEASE ASK INSIDE FOR ASSISTANCE.” Obviously, this picture was taken and turned into a meme because someone thought it was funny, which it is. But is it just funny, or does it reveal a deeper message about the way our society thinks about people with disabilities? What does this meme actually tell us? It tells us this building has been retrofitted with an alternative wheelchair accessible entrance, and its proprietors went so far as to post a sign with this information. However, the proprietors

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So Your Instructor is Using Contract Grading…

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Working Through Revision: Rethink, Revise, Reflect

 What is revision? How can it help me improve my writing? Read about what revision is and how to solicit, interpret, and implement feedback that helps you make positive changes to your work.

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You want me to do what to my paper? Interpreting your professors’ feedback

Feedback is one of the major components of effective writing. Professional technical writers may get feedback from clients or members of their target audience before producing a deliverables; creative writers may ask other writers they trust or a sample of their target demographic to provide feedback; and workplace writers may receive feedback from their boss or coworkers before releasing the final version of a draft. What these writers know is that feedback provides an invaluable opportunity to understand the needs and perceptions of their audiences, so it’s important to take that information into account to produce a rhetorically sound final product. The purpose of this article is to walk you through some common comment types, and help you respond effectively to improve your writing.

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NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Fake News: An Undergraduate Composition Course

Fake News is a themed undergraduate English composition course. This course aims to help students develop an understanding and practice of Empathetic Information Literacy.

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