Joseph M. Moxley

Founder, Writing Commons
joe@domain.org
joemoxley.org
linkedin.com/joemox
University of South Florida
Writing Commons represents an independent effort from Moxley's work as a professor of English at the University of South Florida. (USF relinquished rights to Writing Commons on 8/08.)

Joseph M. Moxley, the Founder of Writing Commons, has published 17 books and numerous articles in the discipline of Writing Studies. Moxley has received over $1.5M in funding from NSF (National and FIPSE (Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education). He also

  • founded My Reviewers, a software application used at USF between 2008 and 2018.
  • founded The Journal of Writing Analytics.

Awards

  • Computers and Composition Distinguished Book Award for College Writing Online (2004)
  • Teaching and Learning Innovator Award from Campus Technology for developing My Reviewers, a software application
  • Microsoft Scholar Gift Award, 2000 ($100,000)
  • Writing Program Certificate of Excellence Award, a national award from College Composition and Communication
  • USF Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award (1990, 1993, 1996)
  1. 3/18/13 is a pretty huge day @Writing Commons Thanks to Duke MOOC

    In past blogs, I’ve chronicled the development of Writing Commons, the Open Education Home for Writers, with hopes that my experiences developing an Open Education Resource (OER) might be of interest to faculty across the disciplines.  I’ve argued that faculty might want to consider contributing to Writing Commons or other OERs that are peer-reviewed, that faculty might want to develop their own OERs and...

    Published on Mar 21st 2013

  2. A letter from the Founder of Writing Commons

    Dear Friends, Welcome to the new site design for Writing Commons, the open education home for writers. Our new design is not only more attractive and accessible thanks to the creative work of Alston Chapman, but it is also much better protected against hackers. Our new website was precipitated by a recent challenge we faced at Writing Commons: between November...

    Published on Apr 15th 2016

  3. Academic Writing

    The phrase, "Oh, that's academic!" tends to mean "Forget about it!  That's boring and unimportant!"  Yet that isn't what teachers mean when they ask for "academic writing."  Instead, professors tend to define academic writing as research-based, objective and formal in style and tone, thesis-driven, and deductively organized (that is, where your introduction presents your argument or interpretation and forecasts the organization of...

    Published on Oct 29th 2010

  4. Adopt Effective Writing Habits

    Understand the psychology of writing, particularly the importance of balancing believing with doubting. Learn how to overcome "writer's block" and manage difficult writing assignments. When it comes to writing projects, do you tend to procrastinate and then binge-write around the deadline time? Do you ever have difficulties scheduling your writing work so that it doesn't become aversive? The following suggestions...

    Published on May 20th 2011

  5. Adopt Effective Writing Habits

    Summary Understand the psychology of writing, particularly the importance of balancing believing with doubting. Learn how to overcome "writer's block" and manage difficult writing assignments.When it comes to writing projects, do you tend to procrastinate and then binge-write around the deadline time? Do you ever have difficulties scheduling your writing work so that it doesn't become aversive? The following suggestions...

    Published on Oct 28th 2009

  6. Adoptions

    As discussed at About, Writing Commons aspires to provide the resources college students need to improve their writing, research, and critical thinking. That said, as a global resource, we do not wish to impose a single vision for writing pedagogy. As rhetoricians and compositionists, we embrace linguistic and pedagogical diversity.  We aspire to celebrate and interrogate context-based writing processes, genres, and methodologies....

    Published on Mar 12th 2013

  7. Advice on Finding Collaborators

    If you have the opportunity to choose collaborators, consider this: The whole truly can be larger than the sum of its parts. Through collaboration, we can produce documents that we alone could not imagine.  Collaborators can inspire us, keep us on task, and help us overcome blind spots. At the same time, collaborators can become obstacles, requiring constant supervision. In...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  8. Annotated Bibliography

    Organize your research efforts and extend your thinking on a research topic by creating an annotated bibliography. An annotated bibliography is a list of reference sources and critical summaries/evaluations of the citations. Typically, researchers will: Provide the citation information for each source following the rules of a particular bibliography style (e.g., MLA Style, APA Style, Chicago Style). Logically, you want...

    Published on Mar 20th 2010

  9. Apostrophes

    Use an apostrophe to denote ownership to a singular or plural noun and indefinite pronoun by adding an -'s if the word doesn't end in -s. Of all forms of punctuation, the apostrophe appears to be in greatest peril of extinction. For proof that the apostrophe should be placed on an endangered species list in some grammarian's office, one needs...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  10. Archaism

    An archaism refers to an out-of-style word or phrase, such as “whilst,” “thusly,” or “thou.” When cultivating your own personal writing style, it’s important that you avoid sounding artificial. And one surefire way to sound artificial is to produce stilted writing by loading your paper with old theatrical-sounding words. Here are some archaisms commonly found in student writing (ones to avoid): Thusly:...

    Published on Mar 07th 2012

  11. Argument

    Support your arguments with reasoning, library and Internet research, and original research, including questionnaires, interviews, and ethnographies. Employ emotional, ethical, and logical appeals to sway readers' opinions. Arguments are persuasive texts. Writers make specific claims and support these claims with reasoning; library and Internet research; and original research, including questionnaires, interviews, and ethnographers. There are three main types: Classical/Traditional Rogerian Why...

    Published on Oct 21st 2009

  12. Argument

    Understand how to make and refute arguments. Learn how to analyze a Web site from a rhetorical perspective. Identify a place to publish your work online. Appeals to persona, appeals to emotions, and appeals to logic--these three appeals, as outlined by Aristotle and described below, are used with varying degrees of success and emphasis to persuade people. Persuasive arguments targeting...

    Published on Dec 28th 2009

  13. Arrange Access

    Secure access to the community without poisoning the waters. Experts typically agree that the way you are introduced into the community plays a crucial role in the overall success of your study. If the people in charge introduce you to the community and ask participants to do what they can to help you, you may be perceived as a spy...

    Published on Mar 15th 2010

  14. Articles

    English has three articles: a, an, and the. These little words are used to introduce certain nouns, but there are specific rules regarding the use of each one. When do I use an article? "A" is used before a general noun that has not been introduced to the reader. A cat walked by my door. (Note: I don't know this...

    Published on Feb 20th 2020

  15. Asking Questions: Heuristics

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  16. Attribution, Citation, References

    Attribution refers to the act of citation--i.e., the act of identifying the original source for a summary, paraphrase, or quote.Citation refers to a reference to textual research. Synonyms include cite, citation, quote, quotation References, Works Cited, Bibliography refers to the bibliographical information authors provide so readers can follow up and read more about a subject. Bibliographical Information: the author names;...

    Published on Dec 15th 2019

  17. Audience

    Audience is the individual who receives a messagea discourse community or community of practicea methodological community. "An audience is never wrong. An individual of it may be an imbecile, but a thousand imbeciles in the dark - that is critical genius." Billy Wilder To be an effective writer, you must use language that is audience-centered, not writer-centered. In other words, transcend your own...

    Published on Nov 11th 2009

  18. Authority is Constructed & Contextual

    Authority is Constructed and Contextual, an Information Literacy Framework proposed by the Association of College and Research Libraries, highlights the rhetoricity of language practices: Authority is Constructed concerns ways an expert's research methods or personal and professional qualifications provides ethos.an expert engages in textual research to forage ideas across disciplines, debate/dispute/extend ideas, or develop knowledge claims over time.Authority is Contextual...

    Published on Aug 07th 2019

  19. Autobiography

    Who are you? How have your experiences shaped your sense of what is important or possible? Realize the benefits of using writing to reflect on your life. Read exemplary autobiographies and write about a significant, unusual, or dramatic event in your life. Autobiographies are stories that people write about themselves. These stories can be factual accounts of significant, unusual, or...

    Published on Oct 21st 2009

  20. Avoid Procrastination

    Avoid procrastination and gain some control over how you manage your time while developing documents. One of the most important lessons writers must learn is to handle the language of time. Judging from the multitude of books dedicated to time management--indeed whole forests have given way to time-managementspecialists--many of us have difficulties overcoming procrastination, knowing when to research, when to...

    Published on Oct 16th 2009

  21. Avoid the Use of Unsupported Opinions as Evidence

    Why is it important to avoid the use of unsupported opinions as evidence?* Unsupported opinions can weaken the credibility of the writer because the reader may lose their trust in the writer. Strong opinions may offend the reader, who may feel differently about the issue or have a personal connection to the opposing view. Opinions without supporting evidence can compromise...

    Published on Apr 13th 2012

  22. Awkward Sentences

    AWK (Awkward) is an abbreviation some copy editors use to tell writers that they they find a sentence, phrase, and word to be confusing. This confusion can be attributable to Ambiguous pronouns Clarify who or what you are referring to when you use pronouns like “he” or “it.” Awkward Word Order Brevity, Concision Missing words or phrases: A missing word...

    Published on Jan 31st 2020

  23. Balance Believing with Doubting

    Just about everyone has moments of despair and doubt about their writing. After countless hours and the feeling that your work has been futile, that you have not clearly expressed an important concept or relationship, you may feel the urge to give up, to abandon the project. But you can't give up. To be a successful writer (or really, to...

    Published on May 20th 2011

  24. Beware of “Oh, that makes sense”: Ethos in Context

    There is also, however, the credibility that comes from saying or writing something that the audience already believes or that reinforces the audience's experience. We should treat this kind of ethos with a healthy dose of suspicion. Just because something sounds right to you or makes you feel good about what you believe does not mean that it is true....

    Published on Apr 16th 2012

  25. Blogging

    What is blogging? How is blogging "academic"? Most importantly, why is my teacher asking me to blog? It’s likely that some, if not all, of these questions come to mind as your first-year composition professor introduces blogging as a form of academic writing. Yes, blogging can be academic. But how? More importantly, how is blogging a way of connecting lofty,...

    Published on May 16th 2012

  26. Brevity, Clutter, Concision

    Brevity, Clutter, Concision are synonyms used to contrast wordy writing with concise writing. Note: concise writing should be distinguished from equivalent with simplistic prose or a primer-like style. What distinguishes the presence of these stylistic attributes is not necessarily the length of a sentence. In fact, extremely long sentences--sentences with many words--maybe considered concise. In a world where everyone is...

    Published on Sep 10th 2019

  27. Burke’s Pentad

    Use Burke's Pentad to interpret human events, stories, and movies. In A Grammar of Motives, philosopher and critic Kenneth Burke presents a model for analyzing written and spoken language to better understand and even predict human behavior. His model, the pentad, can be used to understand or interpret human behavior and to develop ideas for stories. The pentad assumes people can...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  28. Business Proposal

    Learning Objectives Describe the basic elements of a business proposal. Discuss the main goals of a business proposal. Identify effective strategies to use in a business proposal. An effective business proposal informs and persuades efficiently. It features many of the common elements of a report, but its emphasis on persuasion guides the overall presentation. Let’s say you work in a...

    Published on Dec 17th 2019

  29. Causes & Effects

    "Why are things like this? What is the effect, or result, of this?" and " What causes this?" These questions guide authors as they analyze or argue about causal relationships, such as "What is the effect of a college education on income?" Unlike explanations of processes, which follow a chronological order of events, cause and effect texts are deeply speculative...

    Published on Oct 21st 2009

  30. Charts and Graphs

    Understand how and when to use charts and graphs. Interact Tables and graphs enable you to reach visual learners. When you select information for graphical representation, you are highlighting its significance. In some disciplines, particularly the sciences, readers expect authors to condense complicated information into charts and graphs. Many readers will scan a document's charts, tables, and graphs before reading...

    Published on Nov 01st 2009

  31. Clarity, Simplicity

    These terms--Clarity, Simplicity--are used to describe texts that convey information as simply as possible. That said, this does not mean that the information being conveyed is necessarily simple. A topic may be extremely complicated, yet still presented as simply as possible. Clarity and Simplicity are highly prized attributes of 21st century discourse. Many global, rhetorical issues play a supersized role...

    Published on Jan 31st 2020

  32. Classification

    Organize information into logical groups. As with describing, narrating, defining, and comparing, classifying is a component of all writing genres. Just as writers pause to describe ideas and events or define new concepts in most documents, they routinely classify information--that is, show or tell readers how information can be grouped into categories. Occasionally, an entire document focuses on explaining a...

    Published on Nov 01st 2009

  33. Clustering: Spider Maps

    Use visual brainstorming to develop and organize your ideas. Cluster diagrams, spider maps, mind maps--these terms are used interchangeably to describe the practice of visually brainstorming about a topic. Modern readers love cluster diagrams and spider maps because they enable readers to discern your purpose and organization in a moment. When Is Clustering/Spider Mapping Useful? As depicted below, writers use...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  34. Collaboration Introduction

    Thanks to ever emerging new technologies, writers can collaborate in exciting new ways. Using tools such as Google Docs, writers can work on texts synchronously even when they are separated by continents and oceans. Using discussion forums, musicians can exchange and remix chords with other artists from around the world. Via Skype, writers can talk with one another as they...

    Published on Dec 09th 2009

  35. Comparison and Contrast

    Define content by comparing and contrasting categories or classes of objects. Comparing and contrasting issues can be a powerful way to organize and understand knowledge. Typically, comparing and contrasting require you to define a class or category of objects and then define their similarities and differences. Comparing and contrasting are very natural processes, a strategy we employ in our everyday...

    Published on Nov 01st 2009

  36. Composition

    Composition, from the perspective of Writing Studies--is the study of Composing, Drafting, or Writing The Creative ProcessThe Writing Process. The Composing Process, most generally, refers to how a writer writes--whatever actions or intellectual processes a writer does to get the work done, such as Invention, Writing with Sources, Collaboration, Design, Organization, Revision, Editing. At times composing seems to be fairly...

    Published on Dec 28th 2019

  37. Consider Feedback

    Save time by resolving substantive rhetorical questions before editorial ones. View revision as a creative, questioning process. When professional writers are asked to describe their writing process, many emphasize the importance of revision. For many writers, writing is revision. We know from countless studies of writers at work that professional writers may revise a document twenty, thirty, even fifty times...

    Published on Nov 01st 2009

  38. Consider Your Context

    Identify the circumstances surrounding the writing project. What is going on in the world at large that relates to how you develop and present your project? Context refers to the occasion, or situation, that informs the reader about why a document was written and how it was written. The way writers shape their texts is dramatically influenced by their context. Writers...

    Published on Oct 28th 2009

  39. Consider Your Media

    Learn how to be more creative about the effective use of media. Media can refer to how meaning is conveyed. For example, people speak of TV and radio as a kind of media--the mass media. They refer to printed documents distributed by newspapers, magazines, and books as print media. Texts such as databases or multimedia published on the Internet are...

    Published on Oct 28th 2009

  40. Consider Your Voice, Tone, and Persona

    Enhance the likelihood that readers will respond favorably to your document by projecting an effective voice, tone, and persona.Voice, Tone, and Persona are slippery terms/concepts. In some instances, these terms can be used interchangeably, yet important differences do exist. Tone When writers and English instructors talk about tone, they are typically referring to the author's stance toward his or her...

    Published on Nov 07th 2009

  41. Contrary to Arguments by Hardcore Open Education Advocates, Creative Commons NC ND is a Valid License for Academic Authors

    Various talented folks and communities (e.g., the Open Knowledge Foundation and QuestionCopyright.org) believe Creative Commons should retire its NC ND clauses.  Students for Free Culture argue the NC clause is “completely antithetical to free culture (it retains a commercial monopoly on the work).”   Timothy Vollmer  asserts the NC ND clauses should be renamed ““Commercial Rights Reserved” because this license fails to “provide for all of [these] freedoms: the...

    Published on Mar 21st 2013

  42. Creating Flow via Repetition

    Writers enhance flow by repeating key words or phrases in a text to invoke recall and pathos. Repetition is key to improving a paragraph’s flow, connecting related ideas and keeping the reader on track. Still, there is a difference between obvious and boring repetition and intriguing and effective repetition. Consider this paragraph: My brother is older and he has always...

    Published on Jan 31st 2020

  43. Creative Writing Introduction

    What is Creative Writing? Creative Writing tends to be expressive, imaginative, and literary. Readers of creative writing texts seek pleasure, entertainment, and insight into human struggles and behavior. A rather loosely defined genre, there are many forms of creative expression, including poetry, fiction, drama, screenwriting, creative, memoir, and travel writing. Thanks to emerging technologies, new creative writing genres are emerging, such as...

    Published on Oct 29th 2010

  44. Crisis Communication Plan

    Learning Objective Understand how to prepare a crisis communication plan. A rumor that the CEO is ill pulls down the stock price. A plant explosion kills several workers and requires evacuating residents on several surrounding city blocks. Risk management seeks to address these many risks, including prevention as well as liability, but emergency and crisis situations happen nevertheless. In addition,...

    Published on Jan 08th 2013

  45. Critical Literacy

    Critical literacy concerns critical readingis concerned with rhetorical analysis of power relationships. engages students in metacognition and self reflection about the Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, Purpose of knowledge claims.

    Published on Mar 10th 2020

  46. Dangling Modifiers

    A modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that describes, strengthens, or clarifies another word (or group of words) in a sentence.  A modifier may be considered dangling when the word that is meant to be modified is missing from the sentence. A dangling modifier can weaken or twist the intended meaning of the sentence, thus creating a sense of...

    Published on Mar 30th 2012

  47. Dashes

    A dash (—) is a punctuation mark used to set off an idea within a sentence and may be used alone or in pairs. Dashes interrupt a thought in a more dramatic way than a phrase enclosed in commas, but less theatrically than parentheses. To form a dash, type two hyphens—without a space before, after, or between them—and your word...

    Published on Sep 11th 2019

  48. Dashes and Parentheses

    Create emphasis and define terms by interrupting the flow of a sentence by using a dash; know when the dash must be used as opposed to the comma. Some stylists view the dash with great suspicion--the sort of suspicion that a man in the 1990s who wears a plaid leisure suit to work would arouse. Some people erroneously believe that...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  49. Deductive Order, Deductive Reasoning, Deductive Writing

    Deductive Order and Deductive Reasoning refer to the practice of reasoning and organizing information from general premises to the specifics that prove/disprove the premisefrom a theoretical model to observations that confirm/disconfirm the modelfrom abstractions to specifics. Deductive Writing is a style of prose wherein the rhetor presents a claim/thesis/hypothesis in introductory sentences/paragraphs and then uses subsequent paragraphs to explicate, question,...

    Published on Nov 01st 2009

  50. Delivering a Negative News Message

    List and discuss seven goals of a negative news message. Write an effective negative news message. The negative news message delivers news that the audience does not want to hear, read, or receive. Delivering negative news is never easy. Whether you are informing someone they are being laid off or providing constructive criticism on their job performance, how you choose...

    Published on Jan 07th 2013

  51. Demystify Research Methods

    Critique research myths that may be impairing your ability to locate, evaluate, and use information. If you are like most people, you have some definite ideas about what research is. You may envision a pale figure in a white lab coat bent over a microscope or a beaker of bubbling liquid. Perhaps you imagine this isolated and humorless figure engaged...

    Published on Oct 04th 2010

  52. Demystify Writing Misconceptions

    Learn the beliefs that empower successful academic authors. To become a competent, confident writer, you may find it useful to analyze your attitudes about writing. After all, your assumptions about how writers work can limit your imagination and the quality of your finished product. You can debunk a truckload of myths about writing by analyzing how you write, how your...

    Published on Oct 28th 2009

  53. Description

    Enable readers to visualize your message by appealing to the five senses and using specific details. Description is an important feature of all writing genres. Writers use description to support arguments and illustrate concepts and theories. They try to invoke mental pictures of a place so readers can imagine it in their minds. Occasionally writers organize an entire document according...

    Published on Nov 01st 2009

  54. Despair in the Open Education World

    Thus far, 2013 has been a tough year for open-education advocates. As Flat World Knowledge promised at the tail-end of 2012, the publisher no longer provides a CC 3.0 NC SA version of its textbooks for students.  In response, Leslie Scott endeavored to defend the commons by crowd-sourcing an effort to harvest Flat World Knowledge’s catalog (see  “All I want for Christmas”)....

    Published on Mar 21st 2013

  55. Develop Effective Writing Habits

    Although individual writing processes are vastly different, composition scholarship provides evidence of patterns across disparate writing methodologies. This section identifies and explains some of the most notable patterns of successful compositionists. We suggest that successful compositionist practice some of the following strategies: Return, Revise, Risk, Reject. Researchers in the field of composition and rhetoric have uncovered important insights regarding effective...

    Published on Nov 11th 2009

  56. Digital Literacy

    Literacy practices are undergoing major transformations. Thanks to new writing spaces, today's college students are redefining reading, research, collaboration, writing, and publishing practices. In addition to altering writing processes, new writing spaces are stretching the boundaries of academic writing, creating new genres and new conventions for structuring texts. Everyone has an opportunity to be a Gutenberg or a Thomas Paine, to...

    Published on Oct 29th 2010

  57. Double-Entry Response Format

    The double-entry format is a useful technique to help you extend your thinking about a source or to critique an rhetor's text. One very effective technique for avoiding note-bound prose is to respond to powerful quotations in what  Ann Berthoff calls the double-entry notebook form. The double-entry form shows the direct quotation on the left side of the page and...

    Published on Mar 20th 2010

  58. Edit for Diction

    Words that are missing, misplaced, or out of order reduce readability. Look for missing words or phrases: A missing word or phrase can obscure meaning and cause confusion. Insert missing words or phrases to complete the intended thought. Look at word order after revising: Minor revision of a portion of a sentence can cause a major problem with word order....

    Published on Apr 13th 2012

  59. Edit for Point of View

    To identify ineffective uses of point of view, 1) identify the various points of view in your writing; and 2) decide if the points of view achieve their purpose and will not inadvertently alienate the reader. 1. Identify the various points of view in a piece of writing. Ex: The American public is underinformed about important news from other countries....

    Published on Feb 20th 2020

  60. Edit for Pronoun Agreement

    To successfully edit your usage of pronouns in a document, you first may find it useful to review our article on Pronouns. Subsequently, below is an outline of different ways you can read your document to check for pronoun problems. How can vague pronoun references be clarified? Search the document for the words it, this, which, and that, and circle...

    Published on Feb 20th 2020

  61. Edit for Subject Verb Agreement

    First, double check that you understand how Subject Verb Agreement works in Standard English There are two main options for revising subject-verb agreement issues: Revise the subject and verb to both be singular.The houses on the next block over is less expensive.Revised: Each house on the next block over is less expensive.Revise the subject and verb to both be plural.The...

    Published on Feb 24th 2020

  62. Edit for Unclear Modifiers

    Unclear Modifiers are either dangling modifiers or misplaced modifierscaused when a modifier--a word, phrase, or clause that describes, strengthens, or clarifies another word (or group of words) in a sentence--is missing or unclear. In Standard American English, unclear modifiers are typically considered to be errors. However, unclear modifiers do have their uses. For example, a classic Groucho Marx joke relies...

    Published on Feb 24th 2020

  63. Edit Paragraphs

    First, to edit your texts at the paragraph level, refresh your understanding about paragraph conventions. Check out these articles at Writing Commons: Flow, Transitions, Coherence @ Paragraph LevelParagraph TransitionsQuoting, Paraphrasing, and Citing Sources within ParagraphsSentence Order within ParagraphsTopic SentenceUnity @ Paragraph Level Second, look individually and critically at each paragraph from the perspective of Paragraph UnityParagraph CoherenceParagraph Concision Evaluate Paragraph...

    Published on May 09th 2011

  64. Edit Primer Sentences

    How can short sentences be effectively combined? Use Coordinating Conjunctions Simple sentences about a single topic may also be combined by using coordinating conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) and/or modifying clauses. Series of related sentences: Central Park is an urban park that is 843 acres. It is located in New York City. The park has several attractions...

    Published on Feb 08th 2020

  65. Edit Strings of Prepositional Phrases

    Eliminate choppy writing by avoiding unnecessary prepositions. When used in moderation, prepositions are invaluable: they work as connecting words, linking the object of the preposition to a word that appears earlier in the sentence. Like linking verbs, however, prepositions do not convey action, nor do they subordinate one thought to another. Instead, they merely link chunks of meaning that readers...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  66. Editing

    Editing refers to the processes rhetors engage in to refine their texts prior to publication or submission to clients, teachers, and other readers. For instance, editing may involve reorganizing a document so it is more informative and persuasive;making diction changes to adjust the tone changing the sentence structure or organization of sentences in a paragraph; andproofreading a document to eliminate...

    Published on Dec 16th 2019

  67. Effective Business Writing

    However great…natural talent may be, the art of writing cannot be learned all at once. --Jean-Jacques Rousseau Read, read, read…Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. --William Faulkner You only learn to be a better writer by actually writing.--Doris Lessing Getting Started Introductory Exercises Take a moment to write three words that describe your success in...

    Published on Dec 21st 2012

  68. Eliciting Negative News

    Learning Objectives Understand the importance of feedback, even if it is negative. Describe and demonstrate the effective use of open- and closed-ended questions. How do you know when you are doing a good job? How do you know when, where, and how you could do a better job? What makes the difference between business or organization that is stagnant and...

    Published on Jan 08th 2013

  69. Eliminate “to be” Verbs

    Make your sentences pack a punch. Eliminate unnecessary "to be" verbs. In our daily speech and in rough drafts, we tend to rely heavily on the various forms of the verb to be. The verb to be is unlike any other verb because it is inert--that is, it doesn't show any action. For example, in the sentence "The researcher is a professor at...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  70. Establish a Comfortable Place to Write

    Ideally, you should find a quiet place where all your needed writing resources—such as a personal computer, dictionary, and paper—are set up. To help you focus on the work at hand, you may need a place that is reasonably free of distractions. Determine Your Most Energetic Time of Day "In fact I think the best regimen is to get up...

    Published on May 23rd 2011

  71. Ethngraphic Research Tools

    Broaden your understanding of ethnographic research tools. The ethnographer's eyes and ears are two very important tools for collecting information, but documentation is key. Any instrument that can record, store, or sort information is of primary use to the ethnographer. Tape recorders, cameras, and note pads are some of the most commonly used tools for ethnographic research.Recording interviews with key...

    Published on Mar 15th 2010

  72. Examples of Effective Summaries and Paraphrases (MLA Style)

    Sample Contextualizing for the Source Being Fluent with Information Technology explores why people need to understand and utilize information technology. Published by The National Academies in 1997, the book is written by the Committee on Information Technology and Literacy, including Lawrence Snyder, University of Washington, Chair; Alfred V. Aho, Lucent Technologies, Inc.; Marcia Linn, University of California at Berkeley; Arnold Packer,...

    Published on Mar 20th 2010

  73. Exercise: Figurative Language

    "Exercise: Figurative Language" was contributed by Allison Wise. Examine a famous speech or essay (political pieces and sermons work particularly well, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” would make a good choice). Make note of all the examples of figurative language, identifying which type of figurative language they are. Next take a few of these examples and try...

    Published on Apr 09th 2012

  74. Exposition

    Published on Jan 03rd 2020

  75. Flow: Integrate Textual Evidence (Quotes, Paraphrases, Summaries)

    Integrate Textual Evidence (Quotes, Paraphrases, Summaries) concerns your ability to weave citations into a text, to synthesize all available information, in ways that support and substantiate the text--its thesis/research question, rhetorical stance, tone.your ability to introduce and clarify the ethos of the quoted, paraphrased, or summarized information your professionalism in terms of providing the details others need to locate the...

    Published on Feb 25th 2020

  76. Focus

    The focus refers to the main idea of the text. One way to determine this main idea is to figure out the purpose of your essay. An essay should do more than give you a grade; for example, it can persuade an audience, argue a point, or inform a reader. The assignment sheet is a great place to look for...

    Published on Jun 21st 2012

  77. Formatting Styles

    Understand conventions for citing information. Different academic disciplines and journals have unique formatting guidelines for citing sources and formatting research reports. Remarkably, there are hundreds of different formatting guidelines for referencing sources. This section briefly summarizes the most popular citation styles used in colleges and universities: 1. MLA Humanities professors commonly require citations to be formatted according to MLA (Modern...

    Published on Mar 20th 2010

  78. Foundational Matters

    William Stafford: A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as he is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things he would not have thought of if he had not started to say them. That is, he does not draw on a reservoir; instead, he engages in an activity that brings...

    Published on Jan 22nd 2012

  79. Freewrite

    Use freewriting to avoid writer's block, stimulate your thinking on a subject, and find your voice. Freewriting involves writing without stopping. Your goal is to write whatever ideas occur to you, using a pen or pencil and paper or using a computer with the monitor turned off. When freewriting, your focus is to generate ideas as opposed to writing grammatically...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  80. General Guidelines for Using the First Person

    Understand when the first person is preferable to second or third person. "Do not use the first person" is perhaps the most unfortunate writing myth that handicaps inexperienced writers. After all, how can we think without using our experience? Why must we drive a stake through our cerebral cortex before writing? Can we logically assume that we are more objective...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  81. Genres Introduction

    Broadly speaking, the term genre refers to a classification scheme for texts. For example, Netflix, the popular streaming video service, classifies movies by "Action & Adventure, Children & Family Movies, Comedies, Documentaries, Dramas"—and so on. Genres are largely defined by shared textual expectations, such as the voice of the writer (first person or third person) or the need to cite sources (MLA,...

    Published on Oct 05th 2010

  82. Good Business Writing

    Learning Objectives Identify six basic qualities that characterize good business writing. Identify and explain the rhetorical elements and cognate strategies that contribute to good writing. One common concern is to simply address the question, what is good writing? As we progress through our study of written business communication we’ll try to answer it. But recognize that while the question may...

    Published on Dec 18th 2019

  83. Government Publications

    Review research reports, pamphlets, or statistics published by the Government Printing Office (GPO). You may find it useful to discover whether the United States Government Printing Office (GPO) has published any research reports, pamphlets, or statistics on your subject. The GPO, along with the United Nations organizations, prints countless essays, pamphlets and research studies on the law, history, and such...

    Published on Mar 05th 2010

  84. Grammar

    Grammar refers to the conventions or rules that govern the communicative practices of a group of speakers or writers. is a field of study across multiple disciplines: Linguistics, Grammar Studies, Semiotics, Literacy Theory, Critical Theory.is a curriculum taught at all levels of education. People communicate information via a variety of semiotic systems, including language, mathematics, music, computer coding. People are...

    Published on Sep 10th 2019

  85. Group Brainstorming, Online Conversations, and Dictating

    Use talk-and-then-write strategies to jump-start writing projects. Dialoguing, dictating, and group brainstorming all rely on talking to generate writing. Many people get their best ideas discussing issues and ideas with people. Lawyers, doctors, and business leaders have frequently used dictation to draft documents. Now, as a student, you can also dictate, thanks to voice recognition software. IBM Via Voice and Dragon,...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  86. Growth Mindset

    Growth Mindset refers to a personality construct theorized by Carol S. Dweck. People with a Growth Mindset assume traits such as intelligence and talent are a product of hard work, grit, determination. Have you ever heard anyone say or have you thought yourself, “I’m just not good at math,” or “I’m just not any good at writing?” Statements like these...

    Published on Nov 20th 2019

  87. Hierarchical Maps

    Use visual brainstorming to develop and organize your ideas. Like cluster/spider maps, hierarchical maps involve drawing a graphical representation of ideas. Unlike clustering, cluster/spider maps are chiefly concerned with analyzing relationships among ideas. When Are Hierarchical Maps Useful? Mapping is a useful organizing and revising tool when you want to see if you've made connections clear among ideas or if...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  88. Homonym Usage

    How might you choose a homonym that is spelled correctly and communicates your meaning accurately? Consult a dictionary or thesaurus: If you experience a niggling feeling that you haven’t used the correct word, consult a dictionary or thesaurus. Make cautious use of your computer’s word processor: Correct errors that are indicated by the grammar and spell check function. However, keep...

    Published on Apr 02nd 2012

  89. Hyphens

    A hyphen (-) is used in the middle of a multi-word idea or joins two related words together. (The hyphen key is next to the +/= key on your keyboard (the same key with the underscore _ ) Use hyphens to join compound words and avoid awkward or confusing word combinations. A hyphen (-) is used in the middle of...

    Published on Sep 11th 2019

  90. Identify When the Active Voice is Preferable to the Passive Voice

    In general, you can make your writing more persuasive, clear, and concise by using the active voice rather than the passive voice. There are instances, however, when the passive voice is preferable to the active voice, as discussed below. https://youtu.be/73_4VdS6LTU What are the Active and Passive Voices? Essentially, a verb is active when its subject performs the action. A verb...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  91. Infographics

    Infographics are texts that rely primarily on visual language rather than alphabetical language to convey a messagea visual representation of information, typically quantitative data but at times qualitative data, that tells a single story or argument in a visually appealing and interesting way clarifies and highlights logical relationships, trends, patterns in data, comparisons of data, and knowledge conceptsa medium for...

    Published on Apr 03rd 2020

  92. Information Creation as a Process

    Information Creation as a Process Framework is an Framework as conceptualized by the Association of College and Research Libraries. How information is developed and presented reflects how well developed the information is as well as how it is likely to be used. Discussion forums, tweets, podcasts, blogs, animations, white papers, peer-reviewed publications--the genres and media used to develop and disseminate...

    Published on Aug 07th 2019

  93. Information Has Value

    Information is a commodity. It has value. So, if you publish personal information via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you should understand those companies are benefiting financially from your disclosures.if you are a scholar who spent three years researching a book, you might be unhappy if someone lifts your story line and sells it as an action movie.if you are a...

    Published on Aug 07th 2019

  94. Information Literacy

    Information Literacy is a critical perspective, point of view, or framework that guides how people consume, evaluate, produce, use, and archive informationa cluster of core, interconnected competencies that people possess that are associated with their ability to identify, find, evaluate, apply, and acknowledge information. a theoretical construct developed to map "a cluster of interconnected core concepts" that constitute information ecosystems...

    Published on Sep 24th 2019

  95. Information Literacy Introduction

    During your college career, you will probably take a variety of classes in the humanities, social sciences, sciences, and other fields. Although the demands for these courses will vary widely, in each of the classes you will need to determine the information required, evaluate the credibility of primary and secondary resources, communicate complex ideas in simple and clear ways, research...

    Published on Oct 20th 2011

  96. Information Literacy Perspectives & Practices

    Information Literacy Perspectives & Practices are critical points of view, theoretical lenses, that shape one's perceptions about consuming and producing information.core competencies associated with identifying, finding, evaluating, applying, and acknowledging information. The ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries) has identified six perspectives, which it calls Frameworks (and, at times Threshold Concepts): Authority is Constructed & ContextualInformation Creation as a...

    Published on Mar 06th 2020

  97. Information Literacy Tools

    At Writing Commons, we believe tools like Zoltero and RefWorks can simplify and professionalize citation practices. That said, we also understand these tools require a commitment on the part of the writer. Presently, we seek summaries, reviews, and critiques of Information Literacy Tools. Please see Contribute for details on our peer review processes.

    Published on Nov 10th 2019

  98. Instructions & Process Reports

    "How is this done? How can I do this?"-- These questions guide authors as they describe processes. Learn how to write instructions and processes so that readers know how to do something or understand how something is done. By viewing sample process texts, note the focus on the objective voice, numbered steps, visual rhetoric, and clever animations or video. Write...

    Published on Oct 21st 2009

  99. Instructions & Processes

    "How is this done? How can I do this?"-- These questions guide authors as they describe processes. Learn how to write instructions and processes so that readers know how to do something or understand how something is done. By viewing sample process texts, note the focus on the objective voice, numbered steps, visual rhetoric, and clever animations or video. Write...

    Published on Oct 01st 2019

  100. Intellectual Property

    Identify the ethical responsibilities of authors. Understand intellectual property and copyright. In order to avoid inadvertent plagiarism or academic dishonesty, you must understand intellectual property and copyright. In our digital age, where users can easily download information, we must consider these issues from an ethical perspective as well. Intellectual Property "The ease of saving images off of the web has...

    Published on Oct 21st 2009

  101. Invent

    Use a variety of invention strategies to stimulate your creative abilities. Many people do not perceive themselves as creative. They reserve the terms "creative" or "innovative" for people who write literature, create art work, invent products, or lead scientific breakthroughs. People who develop new theories, products, and ideas certainly deserve to be called "creative" or"innovative," yet the vast majority of us...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  102. Journaling: Writer’s Journal

    Understand how writers organize their commitments by organizing work under development into a notebook. Although the thought of maintaining a notebook may at first appear intimidating, you will probably be surprised to find that it is actually quite easy to keep one on a day-to-day basis. Indeed, the following comments are fairly representative of how most students feel after keeping...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  103. Journalistic Questions

    Question     Who? Who is doing this? Who will do this? What? What did they do? What was it for? Where? Where did they do it? Where is it going to happen? Why? Why are they doing this? Why are they doing it? When? When is it happening? When is it going to happen? How? How did they do...

    Published on Nov 11th 2009

  104. Kairos

    Kairos is timeliness, appropriateness, decorum, symmetry, balance—awareness of the rhetorical situation or "the circumstances that open moments of opportunity" (Kinneavy; Sipiora; Vatz; Bitzer; Hill 217). Kairos is crafting serendipity, like when the sun comes out at the end of a romantic comedy after all the conflicts have been resolved. In Greek, both kairos and chronos literally mean "time," but kairos...

    Published on Jun 25th 2019

  105. Letter Explaining Procedure

      Letter Explaining Procedure Thank you for considering submitting to Writing Commons. Below is a description of the procedure for publication. Please review this as you begin the process of composing. I: Start Dialogue with Editors: We recommend that you consult with the editors to ensure your idea, organization, and format of your article is appropriate for our needs. Though...

    Published on Oct 21st 2011

  106. Library and Internet Research

    Become proficient at quickly locating useful information via the library and Internet. As repositories of our collective knowledge, libraries and the Internet host our cultural heritage, the memory of our present and past civilizations. Admittedly, though, the cornucopia of information accessible via the Internet and archived in libraries can be overwhelming, particularly if you are just becoming accustomed to the...

    Published on Oct 21st 2009

  107. Log Your Work

    Realize your creative potential and avoid procrastination by logging your work. You can be more productive and make writing less adverse if you write in brief daily sessions. By keeping a log of your writing efforts, you can: Motivate yourself. By tracking your accomplishments on a daily basis, you can develop a better sense of how research efforts and invention...

    Published on Oct 28th 2009

  108. Managing Group Projects

    Follow these tips for nurturing teamwork in group situations. Business leaders commonly complain that college graduate students have not learned how to work productively in groups. In American classrooms, we tend to prize individual accomplishment, yet in professional careers we need to work well with others.Unfortunately, the terms "group work," "team work," or "committee work" can appear to be oxymorons--like...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  109. Misplaced Modifiers

    A modifier is called misplaced modifier (or separated) when it has been separated in a sentence from the word it modifies. This separation causes confusion, leaving readers unsure what work the word, phrase, or clause is intended to be modified. Misplaced modifiers can be fixed by placing the modifying word/phrase/clause near the word it modifies. A modifier is a word,...

    Published on Mar 30th 2012

  110. Mix Quotes with Paraphrasing

    As with most other skills, practice is the best way to become effective at paraphrasing. Also, you may need to write several drafts before developing one that accurately reports the author's intentions in your own words. Note also that if you cite three or more words from the original or even one word that was coined by the author, you...

    Published on May 25th 2011

  111. Modeling/Theory Maps

    Use visual brainstorming to develop and organize your ideas. Do you have a grand theory or an explanation for a fundamental question such as, "Do computers think?" or "How long have human beings existed?" If so, you may want to use visual language to reveal the complex details, interactions, and processes embedded within your theory. When Are Model/Theory Maps Useful?...

    Published on Nov 22nd 2009

  112. Modifiers

    A modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that describes, strengthens, or clarifies another word (or group of words) in a sentence. When a modifier is placed in its proper position in a sentence, a sense of clarity is established for the reader. Generally, English places modifiers as close to the word (or group of words) they modify as possible....

    Published on Feb 21st 2020

  113. Narration

    Organize according to time. Reveal the logical or chronological steps one conducts to complete something or the cause-and-effect relationship between events. Writers frequently use chronological order or reverse chronological order to organize a document. Narratives, resumes, family histories, historical narratives, process reports--these common genres typically employ a narrative order. In college and your career, you will write two kinds of narratives:...

    Published on Nov 01st 2009

  114. Navigate Feedback

    Develop a "thick skin" and learn how to distinguish between useful and useless criticism. Responding to your own or someone else's writing is a complex, subjective process. Evaluating your work, your peers' work, and published writing can be extraordinarily difficult. Unlike a math question that has a single correct answer, the criteria for excellence in writing vary according to your...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  115. Nominalizations

    In English, a nominalization refers to the grammatical construct whereby a verb, adjective, or adverb functions as a noun. Examples: Noun/Nominalization Verb, adjective, or adverb ActionActAdministrationAdministerCessationCeaseInventionInventexplorationexplorejustificationjustify To avoid nominalizations, make sure to use more action verbs in your sentences. To do this, you should: Find the nouns in the sentence.Look for a verb form of that noun.Try to reduce the...

    Published on Jan 31st 2020

  116. OER Webinar: Save the Date 2/28/12, 12:00 p.m. EST

    Please join Writing Commons and the Open College Textbook Community for a Webinar on Open Education Resources. Host: Una DalyDate/Time:  2/28/2012 at 12:00 p.m.  Joe Moxley, (who directs First-Year Composition Program at the University of South Florida, which was awarded the 2011/12 Certificate of Excellence by NCTE) founder and "Chief Executive of Openness," on the mission of Writing Commons Karen Langbehn, Social...

    Published on Jan 29th 2012

  117. Organization

    Organization, for writers, is a mode of thinking, reasoningessential for communication. The human mind craves order. We look into the sky and we give names to the stars. Order permeates our perceptions, logical reasoning, and conversations with others. Organization is a mode of thinking, a tool of logic. To think, we name the world. We engage in logic to identify...

    Published on Sep 24th 2019

  118. Overcome Discouragement

    Give yourself positive messages when revising, understanding it's easier to critique than to invent. Understandably, you can become discouraged during writing, particularly when undertaking a challenging project. Even so, you cannot give in to negative thinking. Six Tips to Avoid Being Discouraged Be realistic. Remember it's much easier to criticize than invent. Every manuscript can be critiqued, even ones authored...

    Published on Nov 01st 2009

  119. Page Design

    Design pages to facilitate scanning by using headings, subheadings, columns; learn special page design considerations for the Web. You can enhance readability by giving some thought to the design of your documents. By using headers, lists, bullets, and other design elements, you can reveal your organization to the reader and emphasize key points. Below are page design guidelines you should...

    Published on Nov 01st 2009

  120. Paragraphs Are Influenced by the Media of Writing

    As much as any of the above guidelines, you should consider the media and genre where your text will appear. For as much as paragraphs are shaped by the ideas being expressed, they are also influenced by the genre of the discourse. For instance, newspapers and magazines produced for high-school educated readers tend to require much shorter paragraphs than those...

    Published on May 09th 2011

  121. Parallelism (Parallel Structure)

    Parallelism (Parallel Structure) is a grammatical concept refers to repetition of two or more parts of a sentence take the same grammatical form. Parallelism fosters reading comprehension because it enables readers to chunk information -- elements of a sentence (e.g., words, phrase, sentence) -- as coequal and related. Errors in Parallelism errors are serious because then impede communication, resulting in...

    Published on Apr 02nd 2012

  122. Paraphrasing

    Paraphrasing is the act of expressing a text using different words yet retaining the original meaning of the source text. When paraphrasing, a writer uses his or her own words to restate someone else’s ideas. accurately represents the message of the original text. does not introduce new ideas not in the original text. Paraphrasing does not mean simply changing a...

    Published on Jan 18th 2020

  123. Peer Review

    Learn important collaborative and team-building skills and provide useful critiques of your peers' documents. Contrary to the myth of the isolated author in the garret, successful writers do not work in isolation. Writers collaborate extensively. Writers develop their best ideas by discussing issues with colleagues, by researching others' ideas, and by exchanging comments about one another's documents. Peer review has...

    Published on Nov 07th 2009

  124. Pictures and Photographs

    Use pictures and photographs to catch the eye of your audience. The expression "a picture is worth a thousand words" is more than a truism. Images can convey powerful emotion. Images can illustrate a process or capture a moment with precision (such as a tight end catching the football on the goal line). People who shun principles of design, who...

    Published on Nov 01st 2009

  125. Plagiarism

    Addresses the ethical responsibilities of authors. Avoid plagiarism and academic dishonesty. Plagiarism Plagiarism can be deliberate or the result of carelessness. Individual colleges have unique policies for addressing plagiarism. Some colleges, for example, expel students after their first offense; others place an "FF" on the student's transcript, creating a permanent blemish on the student's academic record. Plagiarism involves The theft...

    Published on Oct 21st 2009

  126. Plagiarism

    Plagiarism involves The theft of someone else's wordsThe theft of someone else's ideasThe failure to properly cite someone's ideas, either directly or in a paraphrase. Plagiarism can be deliberate or the result of carelessness. When incorporating outside sources, it’s important to be conscious of what constitutes plagiarism and to avoid plagiarizing material. Ignorance of plagiarism and intellectual property is a serious...

    Published on Feb 26th 2020

  127. Plan Your Writing

    As children many of us heard the classic fable about the tortoise and the hare. A not-so-subtle effort at parent brainwashing, this story reiforces the importance of grit, determination, persistence. And, it hints at the importance of planning. Rather than rush into a new writing situation, rather than rushing straight from point A to point B, sometimes it makes sense...

    Published on May 23rd 2011

  128. Play the Believing Game

    Writing, thinking, creating — these acts are bounded by two contrary processes: believing and doubting. For many student writers — for many people, in fact — being critical and judgmental can come easily. Hence, the truism "it's easier to critique them to create" (Alcott). Yet it is especially important, especially in the early stages of a writing project, for writers to...

    Published on Oct 05th 2010

  129. Primer-Style Sentences

    A primer-style sentence is a short and simple sentence that usually includes a single subject and verb. While short and simplistic sentences can be used effectively to emphasize a point or clarify a confusing statement, frequent use of them can make a paper sound choppy and interrupt the flow of the paper. Primer-style sentences require readers to infer logical relationships....

    Published on Apr 02nd 2012

  130. Principles of Design

    Understand design principles that are important for both paper and web documents. Contrast, repetition, alignment, proximity--these are the basic cornerstones of design according to Robin Williams, author of the frequently cited Non-Designers Design Book. Minimalism and visuals are equally fundamental design concerns. These design principles apply to both paper and online documents, as suggested by Edward Barrett, Deborah A. Levinson, and...

    Published on Nov 01st 2009

  131. Professional Writing

    The term "professional writing" commonly refers broadly to texts written for business purposes such as business letters, reviews and recommendations, feasibility studies, progress reports, and application materials.  In turn, "technical writing" refers to documents that often explain technical processes or explain how to do something, such as technical descriptions and instructions and process reports. Professional and Technical Writing texts share many similarities with...

    Published on Oct 29th 2010

  132. Project 1: Critical Review

    How do we become experts? I will ask you to draft and revise a critical review to an article about expertise by Daniel Coyle. You will draw on your selected area of expertise to respond to Coyle's arguments. Specifically, we will focus on how to: Note from Writing Commons: Below we have included helpful content links related to each major...

    Published on Feb 26th 2013

  133. Project 2: Explicating a Visual Image

    What does expertise look like? How do we define it? I will ask you to select a visual image depicting your selected area of expertise and then explicate that image in order to make an argument about what expertise looks like and how it can be defined. Specifically, we will continue to work with the elements we learned in Project...

    Published on Feb 26th 2013

  134. Project 3: Case Study

    What can we learn about expertise in a particular area? What does it take to succeed? I will ask you to research a particular example of expert achievement in your selected area and, drawing on multiple resources, make an argument about expertise. Specifically, we will continue to work with the elements we learned in Projects 1 and 2, as well...

    Published on Mar 05th 2013

  135. Project 4: Writing an Op-Ed

    What do you think people need to know about expertise in your selected area? In this fourth and final unit, we will turn to a more public form of writing as I ask you to write an op-ed (opposite the editorial page) about your selected area of expertise for a publication of your choosing (you do not actually have to...

    Published on Mar 05th 2013

  136. Pronoun

    Pronouns are words that replace nouns. People use pronouns to avoid repeating the same noun over and over again (which can become cumbersome). Thus, pronouns allow for a more interesting and concise paper as long as pronouns and antecedents (i.e., the word pronoun refers to) agree in person, number, and gender. Pronouns are an important part of speech because you...

    Published on Feb 14th 2020

  137. Proposals

    Learn how to improve your problem-solving and persuasive skills. Employ your writing and reasoning skills to make a difference in the world. View samples and write a proposal to conduct research, develop a Web site, solve a problem, or provide a service. Proposals are persuasive texts that articulate ways to solve a problem, conduct needed research, or provide a service....

    Published on Oct 21st 2009

  138. Provide Background Information About the Researcher’s Methods

    By definition, critical readers are skeptical. They do not take the results of research as the final word on the subject, but instead look for flaws in the reasoning; or if it is an empirical study, critical readers look for flaws in the research design. As a result, when you introduce an outside source, be sure to spend a moment...

    Published on May 25th 2011

  139. Provide Feedback in Group Situations

    Consider these suggestions when critiquing documents in group situations. In a writing course you have an excellent opportunity to have your work read and evaluated by your peers. Rather than merely imagine how a potential audience might respond to your work, you can meet with classmates and discuss your ideas for writing projects or evaluate drafts. Ten Tips for Providing...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  140. Provide Feedback to Others

    Follow these recommendations for providing useful feedback on peers' writing. People are often shy about responding to others' writing. Because they are not professional writers or English professors, some people aren't sure of how to provide helpful feedback. This seems particularly true of inexperienced writers, who sometimes equate writing well with grammatically correct writing. Indeed, many assume that writers primarily...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  141. Purpose

    Until you know your primary purpose for writing, you cannot know what information to leave in or leave out or even how to best organize a document. Of course, some academic documents have multiple purposes.     How can you organize the document to emphasize key information that suits your purpose?

    Published on Oct 28th 2009

  142. Questions to Evaluate the Authority of the Researcher’s Methods

    Here are some of the standard questions that academic readers ask when reviewing research reports: Is the source a first-hand or second-hand account? That is, are the authors reporting results of their own research or reviewing someone else's work? Is the source of publication credible? (For example, an essay in the New England Journal of Medicine would influence most physicians'...

    Published on May 25th 2011

  143. Read Your Paper Aloud to Check Cohesiveness

    Why is it valuable for writers to read their own work aloud? Reading their own work aloud gives writers the opportunity to take on the role of the reader. When “writers as readers” add hearing to seeing, another of the five senses is put to work in the critical evaluation process. Words and ideas that seemed to flow smoothly and...

    Published on Apr 13th 2012

  144. Reflect on Your Writing

    Learn how to use self-reflection and responses from readers to improve your writing. Historians and philosophers are fond of saying that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. This observation is equally valid in regard to your development as a writer. Rather than putting yourself down for making errors, remember that you are in school...

    Published on Oct 28th 2009

  145. Relate Paragraphs Logically to the Previous Paragraph(s)

    Readers also expect paragraphs to relate to each other as well as to the overall purpose of a text. Establishing transitional sentences for paragraphs can be one of the most difficult challenges you face as a writer because you need to guide the reader with a light hand. When you are too blatant about your transitions, your readers may feel...

    Published on May 09th 2011

  146. Report

    What Is a Report? Reports are documents designed to record and convey information to the reader. Reports are part of any business or organization; from credit reports to police reports, they serve to document specific information for specific audiences, goals, or functions. The type of report is often identified by its primary purpose or function, as in an accident report,...

    Published on Oct 01st 2019

  147. Research as Inquiry

    Researchers are driven by a desire to solve personal, professional, and societal problems. These problems may be simple everyday problems like the best restaurant in town for Greek food or they may be major problems that require vast teams of researchers working in well funded labs. "The spectrum of inquiry ranges from asking simple questions that depend upon basic recapitulation...

    Published on Aug 07th 2019

  148. Research Methods

    Research Methods are the tools and techniques (aka protocols, processes, strategies) that investigators and methodological communities use to conduct research. Research methods may be empirical (aka the scientific method), informal, or textual. Key Terms: Methodological Community; Research Methodology Research Methods vs. Research MethodologiesResearchers distinguish between research methods and methodologies: (1) research methods are tools and techniques used to collect and...

    Published on Aug 07th 2019

  149. Research Primer

    If you are doing more than writing an essay that relies on sources, then you can benefit from understanding why there are different research methods.  Learn more about how academic and professional researchers employ diverse research methods.  Understand the philosophical assumptions that inform researchers in different disciplines. Academic disciplines—for example, mathematics, psychology, physics, engineering, or business—have different ways of conducting...

    Published on Oct 04th 2010

  150. Reviews and Recommendations

    Learn to write convincing evaluations and improve your critical thinking abilities. Evaluate a performance (such as a movie, speech, or play), a visual (such as an ad or artwork), or a text (such as a Web site). Read exemplary evaluative texts, define appropriate assessment criteria, and write a convincing and well-researched evaluation. Reviews present an author's opinion or interpretation. Writing...

    Published on Oct 21st 2009

  151. Reviews and Recommendations*

    Learn to write convincing evaluations and improve your critical thinking abilities. Evaluate a performance (such as a movie, speech, or play), a visual (such as an ad or artwork), or a text (such as a Web site). Read exemplary evaluative texts, define appropriate assessment criteria, and write a convincing and well-researched evaluation. Reviews present an author's opinion or interpretation. Writing...

    Published on Jun 26th 2014

  152. Revise for Thesis or Research Question

    First, make sure that the paper actually has a thesis that predicts what the rest of the paragraphs will be about. Once your thesis is clear, read each paragraph; this would be an ideal time to consider topic sentences (those sentences that control the focus of the paragraph) and ask yourself if those points are introduced or referenced in the...

    Published on Feb 20th 2020

  153. Revision Questions

    Understand the fundamentals of page and Web design; use visual language to convey meaning; use design to assert authority and organize work for readers. Writers use critical questions to find cracks and crannies, places where they need to develop or clarify their thinking. In their relentless pursuit of clearly expressed, well-developed ideas, they find soft spots—that is, passages that need...

    Published on Nov 01st 2009

  154. Revision: Questions to Consider

    Writers use critical questions to find cracks and crannies, places where they need to develop or clarify their thinking. In their relentless pursuit of clearly expressed, well-developed ideas, they find soft spots—that is, passages that need to be developed or discarded and sections that just don't feel right—that feel mushy like cereal that has been sitting for too long in...

    Published on Jan 13th 2012

  155. Rhetoric

    Rhetoric is a lens for understanding human communication.an academic field that studies how people use symbols, particularly language, to understand the world, to communicate, and to persuade. a theoretical perspective that provides people with a critical lens to analyze rhetorical situations. Rhetorical Analysis helps writers plan how to best respond to an exigency, an issue or problem in the world.a...

    Published on Aug 07th 2019

  156. Rhetorical Analysis

    Rhetorical Analysis is the practice of analyzing a rhetorical situationto understand human decision makingto guide efforts to communicate and composeto interpret the texts of others.a mode of reasoning that informs composing and interpretation:a heuristic, an invention practice, that helps writers go beyond their perspectives and embrace the perspective of the audience and produces rhetorical knowledgea method of analysis used to...

    Published on May 03rd 2020

  157. Rogerian Argument

    Solving Problems by Negotiating Differences  How many times have you been in an argument that you knew you couldn't win? Are you reluctant to change your mind about certain social, political, or personal issues? Do you have an unshakable faith in a particular religion or philosophy? For example, are you absolutely certain that abortion is immoral under all circumstances? Are...

    Published on Dec 17th 2010

  158. Run-on Sentences

    A run-on sentence is an error that occurs when two independent clauses are joined without any punctuation or conjunctions. These two clauses have been run into each other end-to-end without being linked grammatically, thus the term "run-on." What is a run-on sentence? A run-on (or fused) sentence consists of two or more independent clauses that have been joined without appropriate...

    Published on Mar 30th 2012

  159. Sales Message

    Learning Objectives Discuss a basic sales message and identify its central purposeDetail the main parts of a sales message and understand strategies for success A sales message is the central persuasive message that intrigues, informs, persuades, calls to action, and closes the sale. Not every sales message will make a direct sale, but the goal remains. Whether your sales message is...

    Published on Jan 21st 2020

  160. Sample Process Questions

    What types of questions do writers need to ask themselves and reflect upon to create stronger content? What assumptions about writing and research do you hold that intrude on regular writing? For example, do you assume that you first need to do the research and then the writing? Are you uncomfortable writing without having thoroughly completed the research? What social...

    Published on Nov 11th 2009

  161. Scheduling Writing

    Overcome procrastination by establishing an appropriate schedule. Schedules are extremely important to writers. Documents can almost always be improved with additional revisions, so some writers need deadlines, a line in the sand, to say "Enough is enough!" For writers who tend to procrastinate, schedules can provide an incentive to get started and keep writing. Tips for Establishing Effective Schedules The...

    Published on Oct 28th 2009

  162. Scholarship as a Conversation

    We are social animals. We learn from imitation and dialog. Hence, it's no surprise that people develop new ideas by talking with others or reading the works of other people. In its Information Literacy Framework, the Association of College and Research Libraries conceptualizes Scholarship as a Conversation as a robust process by which users consider multiple perspectives on a topic:...

    Published on Aug 07th 2019

  163. Search Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

    Use encyclopedias and dictionaries to research and develop a focused analysis about your question or topic. The first step in any writing project is determining a specific topic. To help narrow your topic, you may find it useful to gather some general background information. This process can help you locate some valuable sources to consult. To obtain a few essential...

    Published on Mar 05th 2010

  164. Search the Library Catalog

    Understand how to search for books, journals, government documents, and media that you can access through your college or university library. You can hunt for information on your topic by consulting the library catalog. In many modern libraries, the bulky file drawers containing 3 x 5-inch cards have been replaced by computer terminals. Regardless of how the information is stored,...

    Published on Mar 05th 2010

  165. Searching as a Strategic Exploration

    The Association of Colleges and Research Libraries has wisely suggested that you apply strategy to your search for information. This is not surprising because without a strategy, a game plan, searching for information can feel aimless. Strategy foregrounds the importance of conscious consideration of a number of concepts, such as Scope, Rhetoric & Context; Serendipity & Flexibility; and Knowledge of...

    Published on Aug 07th 2019

  166. Seek Help from Librarians

    Consult librarians when in doubt about where to obtain information. Sometimes people are embarrassed about asking for help in using the library; they feel as if they should know how to use the library once they get into college. However, librarians are information technology specialists who are employed by colleges and universities to serve as research mentors. Information technologies are...

    Published on Mar 05th 2010

  167. Select a Culture

    Identify a culture to study, one that you are relatively unfamiliar with. An important aspect of ethnography involves the types of questions that a researcher tries to answer. Some ethnographers begin their research with a central question that guides their exploration. Others prefer to find their research question after they've been in the community for a while, or even after...

    Published on Mar 15th 2010

  168. Select Key Informants

    Wisely choose key informants and triangulate the informants' perspectives. When conducting an ethnography, the researcher closely observes the key informants in a particular culture because they tend to define the qualities of their group. Every culture includes leaders and followers. When choosing key informants, you may not necessarily want to select group leaders. Other members of the community may serve...

    Published on Mar 15th 2010

  169. Sentence Patterns

    Explore the effects of different sentence patterns on reading comprehension. When assessing whether your sentences are too long or complex, consider your audience: Educated readers have a greater tolerance for longer sentences. Younger and less experienced writers prefer shorter sentences. When writing for an international audience or addressing a very complex topic, sentences may need to be shorter. Long sentences...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  170. Sentence-Level Exercise

    Experiment with these strategies to use your editing time more productively. Once you believe a draft conveys the basic information you want your readers to understand, you can begin attacking it at the sentence level. After working hard to develop the substance of a message, you may be weary of it and eager to turn it over to your instructor. If...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  171. Spelling

    Why does correct spelling matter? When a word is misspelled or is mistakenly substituted for a word with a meaning that is inconsistent with the ideas surrounding it, the inaccuracy can create confusion in the mind of the reader. The flow of the passage is temporarily interrupted; frequent spelling and meaning errors can compromise the credibility of the writer. How...

    Published on Apr 02nd 2012

  172. Strategic Sentence Structure

    The structure of a sentence affects comprehension. Somewhat surprisingly, short, simple sentences may win you a 6th grade reading score, yet they can be just as confusing as long-winded sentences. And sentences, which keep you hanging, which take forever to get to the point (like this sentence), which remind you it may be time to check the score on your...

    Published on Sep 10th 2019

  173. Style

    Although characterized as a "local concern," style is an incredibly important aspect of writing. In this section, you will learn how to craft engaging, dynamic prose and how to best communicate your information and purpose as a writer. For a brief introduction to this topic, see Style: An Introduction. Voice Learn how to negotiate between formal academic writing and conversational prose...

    Published on Jan 31st 2012

  174. Style

    Style refers to how something is written or spoken as opposed to what the rhetor (writer or speaker) is saying. how a rhetor communicates as opposed to the gist of the message. Style matters. When a writer employs turgid, abstract, polysyllabic prose, readers click to a new text. All communicative acts are imbued with style. Even the bot that answers...

    Published on Sep 09th 2019

  175. Styles of Writing

    Learning Objectives Describe and identify three styles of writing. Demonstrate the appropriate use of colloquial, casual, and formal writing in at least one document of each style. One way to examine written communication is from a structural perspective. Words are a series of symbols that communicate meaning, strung together in specific patterns that are combined to communicate complex and compound...

    Published on Oct 01st 2019

  176. Subject-Verb Agreement

    Subject-verb agreement happens when the subject and verb of a clause agree in number. For the subject and verb to agree, both must be either singular or plural. A single relationship lies at the heart of every sentence in the English language. Like an indivisible nucleus at the center of an atom, the subject-verb pair unifies the sentence. It can...

    Published on Jul 17th 2012

  177. Subjects & Concepts

    Understand why analytical and explanatory writing is one of the most important genres of writing in school and professional careers. Read a variety of analytical and explanatory reports, noting the diversity of audiences, purposes, contexts, media, voices, tone, and personas. Understand the defining characteristics of texts that analyze or explain concepts. Why Write About Subjects and Concepts? Writers within disciplines...

    Published on Dec 28th 2009

  178. Summarize & Paraphrase Sources

    Learn how to integrate the words and ideas of others into your documents without losing your voice and focus. Over the years, conventions have evolved regarding how writers should acknowledge and integrate the ideas and works of others. This section on annotating, summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting sources explains how to develop an annotated bibliography, and it explains how this effort...

    Published on Mar 20th 2010

  179. Summary

    Summaries tend to be interpretive. They give the author's critical evaluation of the source. Would your summary differ, for example, from the following summary of The Wizard of Oz? Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first woman she meets and then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again. Like paraphrasing, summarizing involves reporting someone else's ideas...

    Published on May 25th 2011

  180. Survey Academic Research Communities

    Analyze research practices from a community perspective, and learn about the methodological assumptions of scholars, surveyors, scientists, formalists, clinicians, and ethnographers. Researchers in workplace and academic settings have diverse and sometimes opposing ways of researching and making knowledge claims. In general, researchers in the natural sciences tend to prefer positivistic methodologies and researchers in social and behavioral sciences have increasingly...

    Published on Oct 02nd 2010

  181. The Common Topoi and Tagmemic Questions

    Use the common topoi and tagmemic questions to stimulate your creative abilities. Particle What is it? What are the unique features of the subject? Example: What were the unique achievements of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission? Contrast How is the subject similar to or different from other members of its class? Example: What did the Apollo 11 mission accomplish...

    Published on Nov 11th 2009

  182. The University of South Florida

    The University of South Florida uses Writing Commons as a resource for its ENC 1101 (Composition 1) and ENC 1102 (Composition 2) courses.  The FYC Program at USF was awarded the 2011-2012 CCCC Writing Program Certificate of Excellence for its dedication to teaching and technological innovation. For more information, head over to the CCCC website. Composition I (ENC 1101) introduces students to the conventions and...

    Published on Mar 18th 2013

  183. The Writing Log

    Rather than waiting for that illusive large block of time and rather than procrastinating until the last minute to begin researching and writing, you can ensure your success by using small blocks of time to accomplish your research and writing goals. There are serious disadvantages to binge writing as opposed to regular writing as research has demonstrated. First, binge writing...

    Published on Sep 10th 2014

  184. Thesis, Research Question, Hypothesis, Title

    Thesis, Research Question, and Title are expressions of focus: The Thesis Statement expresses the gist of the author's message: the primary reason for writing, the core argumentThe Research Question expresses the question the author is exploring.The Hypothesis is the educated guess or insight the researcher is testingThe Title is an abbreviated expression of the thesis, research question, or hypothesis. The...

    Published on Feb 10th 2020

  185. Think Rhetorically

    Write more effective documents and save time by considering the audience, purpose, context, and media for a document. Adjust your voice, tone, and persona to accommodate your communication situation. For every writing project, you can best determine what you want to say and how you want to say it by analyzing the components of your rhetorical situation (which is sometimes...

    Published on Oct 16th 2009

  186. Timelines: Flow Chart Maps

    Use visual brainstorming to develop and organize your ideas. In 1765, Joseph Priestly created the now commonplace timeline. Priestly's timeline depicted the lifespan of 2000 inventors whom he considered the "most distinguished in the annals of fame." In technical documents as well as magazine articles, timeline flow charts are exceedingly popular. Readers love chronological timelines, which graphically chart the emergence...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  187. Tips for Realizing Your Creative Potential

    Realize your creative potential by adopting the work habits of successful writers, artists, and scientists.  "Even the most energetic and original mind, in order to reorganize or extend human insight in any valuable way, must have attained more than ordinary mastery of the field in which it is to act, a strong sense of what needs to be done, and...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  188. Title

    Where is the paper’s title? Choose an original title for the paper Center the title Present the title in plain type Use standard capitalization in the title

    Published on Mar 30th 2012

  189. Topic Sentences

    A topic sentence summarizes the main idea or the purpose of a paragraph. In an essay, topic sentences serve an organizational purpose similar to a thesis statement but on a smaller scale; a topic sentence helps guide the organization of a single paragraph while a thesis statement guides the organization of the entire essay. A topic sentence may be placed...

    Published on Jun 29th 2012

  190. Transitional Language, Metalanguage, Seques

    Transitional language, Metalanguage, and Seques refer to words, phrases, and sentences that people use to illustrate relationships among specific ideas and the overall thesis: Transitional language includes words, phrases, and sentences that writers use to help their readers make connections across ideas. Writers use transitional words like for example, as a result, and therefore to help readers understand how new...

    Published on Nov 16th 2019

  191. Transmit the Survey

    Learn the techniques to get as many responses as possible to your survey. For the mailed survey there are several tactics you can employ to increase the response rate. Write a letter of transmittal stating the purpose and importance of the study, the reason why the individual was selected to participate, insurance of confidentiality, and an offer of thanks for...

    Published on Mar 08th 2010

  192. Typography

    Understand design principles that are important for both paper and Web documents. Font selection matters. Even the font you display your documents in can have powerful consequences. Some fonts can distract readers from your message while others draw in the reader's eye, bringing the reader's focus to your text. What are the Font Families? What is the Difference between Serif...

    Published on Nov 01st 2009

  193. Undergraduate Publishing Websites

    Allegheny Review: dedicated exclusively to undergraduate works of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and art Analecta: accepts poetry, fiction, drama, and personal essay and open to undergraduate and graduate university students at any university American Journal of Undergraduate Research: refereed journal for undergraduate research in the pure and applied sciences, mathematics, engineering, technology, and related areas in education Aporia: accepts undergraduate...

    Published on Apr 24th 2013

  194. Understanding How Conversations Change Over Time

    For example, you arrive somewhere to meet two friends and discover that they are discussing where to go to dinner or what movie to see. Each friend presents his or her argument, setting out evidence for why this restaurant or movie is a good choice, and each friend pokes holes in the other person’s argument, pointing out why you would...

    Published on Oct 01st 2019

  195. Unity @ the Paragraph Level

    Readers can generally follow the logic of a discussion better when a paragraph is unified by a single purpose. Paragraphs that lack a central idea and that wander from subject to subject are apt to confuse readers, making them wonder what they should pay attention to and why. Paragraphs need to stay focused on one topic. A good way to...

    Published on May 09th 2011

  196. Using Academic Language

    In what ways have you fulfilled the assignment requirements as they relate to audience, appropriate persona/tone, and rhetorical stance? Why is this word choice/diction inappropriate (conversational) for your audience? What might be more appropriate? For students and teachers alike, most writing occurs in non-academic settings—notes, e-mails, Facebook posts, blogs, shopping lists, etc. In these writing settings, it is perfectly fine...

    Published on Jan 30th 2012

  197. Using Databases: Periodical Indexes and Abstracts

    Search magazine articles, research reports, journal articles, and abstracts published in magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals. Magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals provide contemporary material that is often on very narrow topics. Magazines are written in a more popular style and aimed at a general audience. The term "journals" is used for scholarly research publications. (Librarians use the term "periodicals" to...

    Published on Mar 05th 2010

  198. Vague Language, Generalizations

    Vague Language refers to language that is underdeveloped, lacks substance, and is needlessly abstracthas an excessive number of non-specific adjectives like good, bad, okay, pretty, happy, and sad. These can give a reader only a superficial and general sense of emotion or description.lacks concrete and sensory languageuses qualifiers like sort of, kind of, and generally without further explanation. Vague Generalizations...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  199. Verb Tense Shift

    A verb tense shift occurs when a writer changes tense within a single piece of writing. Tense is the term for what time frame verbs refer to. Standard American English has a number of tenses, each of which is a variation on past, present, or future. Any switching of tense within a sentence, paragraph, or longer piece of writing is...

    Published on Feb 24th 2020

  200. Video

    Add video to enrich or supplant printed texts. New communication technologies enable authors to incorporate streaming multimedia into their webs.  Writers may provide video to: Underscore the content of the print text, illustrating key concepts.  For example, an agency hoping to secure funds for hungry people could show video of their living conditions. Illustrate the content of the printed text. ...

    Published on Nov 01st 2009

  201. Visual Brainstorming

    Use visuals to develop and organize your ideas. Understand and explore the value of diagramming and mapping strategies. Visuals present a powerful and thought-provoking way to develop and organize ideas. Some neuroscientists "estimate that we get up to 80 percent of our information by visual means" (Horn 21). Images convey meaning just as words do. In fact, images are saturated...

    Published on Oct 31st 2009

  202. Visual Literacy

    Why is it that when you’re flipping through the pages of a magazine, walking through an art gallery, or browsing on the Internet, some images capture your attention more than others? Why are you drawn to particular photographs, advertisements, political cartoons, or protest posters? You might think that an image you’re drawn to just “works.” But if pressed for more...

    Published on Oct 23rd 2011

  203. Weekly Progress Report

    Use the Weekly Progress Report to keep your instructor apprised of your efforts and to help you focus on completing a project in a timely manner. Writers often find it useful to log their work and to provide regular progress reports to themselves and those they are accountable to--such as supervisors or editors or teachers (see Log Your Work). Date:...

    Published on Oct 28th 2009

  204. When Should I Quote? When Should I Paraphrase?

    When Should I Quote? When is it appropriate to rely on a direct quote? You might want to directly quote a source If the quoted material goes to the heart of your discussion or argument. If it is so well-written that it cannot be condensed further. If it contains a dramatic eyewitness account of an event. If it is written...

    Published on May 25th 2011

  205. When to Quote

    Summary: Learn how to introduce and correctly summarize, paraphrase, and cite sources. Clarify the research methods employed by your sources. Your instructors do not want to read miscellaneous quotations that are thrown together one after another. The problem with essays that use extensive direct quotations is that they tend to lack voice, continuity, or authority. If you offer quotations every few...

    Published on Mar 20th 2010

  206. Writing Cover Letters

    When reading cover letters, the key benchmark I use is simple: Do I get to know both the person and the professional? As we read a cover letter, we should have a sense that no other candidate could have written this particular document in this particular way. Hence, we respect and honor the individual. In conversation, the term “cover letter”...

    Published on Oct 31st 2013

  207. Writing Studies

    Writing Studies is an umbrella term that refers to discourse communities (or communities of practice) that are concerned with the study of writing, especially Composing Processes, Creative Processesan interdisciplinary, academic field in the U.S. that boasts undergraduate writing departments, Masters programs, and doctoral programs. Dear Colleagues,The draft below of Writing Studies is still a bit rough. We would like to...

    Published on Sep 28th 2019