Welcome to the Writing Center Resources Page. Here you will find regularly updated links related to the writing process.
Do you have a specific question about your paper? Check out our Common Writing Questions below. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, take a look at the reference materials from Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL)—it’s an excellent resource for student writers.
Writing Process Guides
Prewriting Techniques: Taking the First Steps—Walden University Writing Center.
This hour-long webinar is your prewriting one-stop shop. It shares strategies for each step of the prewriting process, including critical reading, taking notes, paper planning, generating ideas, and outlining. A transcript is available, in case you want to use it to target your video viewing
Research Paper Planner—Baylor University
This online calculator uses your start date and paper due date to create a basic schedule, with suggested deadlines for each step of the research and writing process.
Rocking a Paper with Scissors—UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center Blog
This 1-minute video demonstrates how you can start shaping your paper by printing out your notes, cutting them up into strips, and organizing them in different ways.
How To Write An Essay: Structure–Ariel Bissett
In this 6-minute video, Ariel Bissett gives a quick overview of how essay structure is commonly understood
Outlining—UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center
This 2-minute video covers how to get started on an outline and describes different outlining strategies
Printable Graphic Organizers and Outlines—Frederick Community College
This page hosts several worksheets you can use to visually organize your paper.
Thesis Statements—Walden University Writing Center
This resource offers thesis statement guidance in several forms, including a podcast, webinars, and even fill-in-the-blank “Thesis Mad Libs” that can help you get started
Writing as Decision-Making—UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center
This 2-minute video explains how thinking of writing as decision-making can help you effectively convey your ideas to your reader.
How to Get to the Point—Grammar Girl Podcast
How do you turn a list of information into a paper that makes a clear, meaningful argument? In this podcast, Mignon Fogarty (a.k.a. Grammar Girl) talks with author Joel Schwartzberg about strategies for getting to the point. Schwartzberg draws his examples from public speaking, but the strategies he describes in the first 15 minutes apply to writing as well.
Academic Writing Norms in the United States—Walden University Writing Center
This resource explains how academic writing norms vary depending on language and culture. It includes videos and blog posts on academic writing expectations in the United States. Multilingual students are the primary audience, but this resource could be helpful for any writer looking for guidance on scholarly voice and argument.
Using Citation Generators Responsibly—Purdue OWL
Some students like to use citation tracking software and/or citation generators—online tools that turn information into citations that a writer can use in a project. This article offers a simple guiding principle: Although citation generators can be helpful tools, they “cannot (and should not) do any of your thinking for you.” It suggests several best practices for using citation generators.
Common Writing Questions
Have a specific question about the writing process? We guarantee you are not the only one! These are some of the conversations that come up frequently in our Writing Center consultations.How do I make sure I answered the essay prompt effectively?
Before you do a final round of edits on your essay, read through the essay prompt again. Did you answer all the questions it requires you to answer?
How Do I Make Sure I Understand an Assignment? – Article from University of Michigan Sweetland Center for Writing
Understanding Assignments – This video (2 minutes) from UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center
demonstrates color-coding an essay prompt to break it into manageable chunks.
Essay Introductions – Article and Worksheet from The Nature of Writing. In addition, the “Essay Introduction Questionnaire” may help you get your ideas flowing, especially if you are writing a research or position paper.
Introductions– This handout from UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center contains a helpful list of hooks, as well as examples of less-effective introductions.
Admitting you don’t know everything is the mark of a strong academic writer. It can feel weird to make specific claims in response to the types of big questions Seattle School essay prompts often pose, but remember: All you’re doing is saying what you think today based on what you know so far. You can name this in your paper, if that’s helpful.
You can also use techniques like hedging (using cautious or equivocal language) and engaging opposing arguments.
Hedging and Boosting in Academic Writing – Video (7 minutes) from Griffith University on YouTube
Anticipating Opposition – Blog Post from Paradigm Writing Online Assistant by Chuck Guilford
Should I use “I”? – Handout from UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center
Can I Use “‘I” and “We” in Academic Writing? – Video (6 minutes) from The Nature of Writing
Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing – Article from Purdue Online Writing Center (OWL)
Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Quoting: A Guide to Doing it Right! – Video (15 minutes) from Genesee Community College Library on YouTube. Highly recommended if you like Star Wars – the examples are drawn from the opening titles!
The Quotation Sandwich (a.k.a. Effective Quote Integration) – Handout from The University of Washington Odegaard Center
Chicago: See CMOS 14.217 (“Lectures and papers or posters presented at meetings”) and this link from Purdue Online Writing Center (OWL)
APA: See Section 8.9 of the APA Publication Manual, Seventh Edition, and the APA Online Style Guide page on Personal Communications
See Sections 9.8 through 9.11 in the APA Publication Manual, Seventh Edition, and this online guide from Purdue Online Writing Center (OWL)
How to Write A Great Essay Conclusion – Video (12 minutes) from The Nature of Writing
Writing a Conclusion – Handout from Highline College Writing Center
Run-on Sentences – Grammar Girl Podcast on YouTube. The discussion on how to revise run-ons starts at 7:49. (But the discussion of the word “myriad” that comes before is also interesting!)
Writing Concisely – Video (2 minutes) from UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center
Reverse Outlining – Video (2 minutes) from UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center. Once you have a draft, Reverse Outlining can be an effective way to make sure your paper doesn’t contain excess material.
Here are three simple editing techniques that may help you cut excess material:
- Print your essay out and edit it on paper. Sometimes typing can make it too easy to add more words.
- Put some distance between you and the page. Let your essay rest for at least 24 hours, then come back and evaluate where you might cut.
- Read your essay out loud, preferably from a printed hard copy. You might be surprised at the things you notice!