students and tutors working at tables in the fort steilacoom writing center

Resources on Academic Writing

Online Resources

  • Features of Academic Writing. From the useful website: Using English for Academic Purposes: A Guide for Students in Higher Education.
  • Texas A&M University Writing Center. A thorough resource describing many genres of academic writing.
  • Aims Community College Online Writing Lab. A good “online writing lab” (OWL) resource from a community college in Colorado.
  • EasyBib. Citation-generator online (free for MLA only) as well as guidelines for citing in different referencing styles such as MLA and APA. Also has a step-by-step guide to the writing process.
  • Academic Phrasebank. A site from the University of Manchester, but a helpful resource for the stylistic features and vocabulary of academic writing, particularly for research papers. Has examples of common phrases in academic writing.
  • Lextutor Online Concordance. A databank of corpora for searching common collocations in writing. Includes various academic writing databases. Helpful for illustrating/explaining to English language learners about academic collocations, for example, noun phrases and correct preposition use.
  • Reading Tools for Information Literacy. This website was developed by one of our own Pierce College librarians to “provide strategies and reading tools for students working on research projects."
  • The MLA Style Center. Resources on MLA style, including a question submission facility and sample MLA-formatted papers - from the folks who brought you MLA!

Books (Pierce College Library Holdings)

Williams, Joseph M. Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace. 8th ed. New York: Pearson Longman, 2005. [PE1421.W545 1997]

A classic book on stripping away the superfluous in one's writing. Hemingway would have loved it; Melville, not so much.

Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. [PE1431.G73 2014]

This book is for someone who wants to understand what academic writing is all about, with practical examples to boot. As the authors say in the preface, the aim of the book is "to demystify academic writing by isolating its basic moves, explaining them clearly, and representing them in the form of templates. In this way, we hope to help students become active participants in the important conversations of the academic world and the wider public sphere" (p. xvii).

Mauk, John, Jayme Stayer, and Karen Mauk. Think about It: Critical Skills for Academic Writing. Boston: Wadsworth, 2014. [P301.5.A27M38 2012]

This little book has several useful examples of annotated short essays illustrating how the writers develop an argument throughout the essay. It also discusses and analyzes the "moves" academic writers make through their papers in order to guide the reader through an argument - an important concept for any academic writer to grasp.

Rectenwald, Michael, and Lisa Carl. Academic Writing, Real World Topics. Petersborough: Broadview, 2016. [LB2369.R43 2015]

This is an excellent book on academic writing. It is current and fairly thorough, with annotated and real examples across the disciplines.

Bailey, Stephen. Academic Writing: A Handbook for International Students. 4th ed. London: Routledge, 2015. [PE1413.B28 2015]

A workbook that covers a lot of ground: grammar, academic vocabulary, academic style, and genre. Recommended for students who want to hone their skills with academic writing.