The websites below are useful online writing resources covering such topics as style, grammar, formatting, essay structure, citations and research methods.
Developing Your Argument
Tightening Your Essay
A list of Simple Words and Phrases
Avoiding Pompous Words
Avoid Legal, Foreign, and Technical Jargon
Keep it Jargon-free, by Nick Wright
Zotero is a free, easy-to-use tool to help collect, organize, cite and share research sources.
EndNote is an alternative bibliographic management system. A 30-day free demo is available.
Research and Citation Resources can be found at the Purdue Online Writing Lab
A step-by-step process for brainstorming your topic:
(topic search "brainstorming")
Hints for getting started:
Visual concept mapping (for background on concept mapping, go to:
Useful for brainstorming and group projects
– Creates instant outlines
– 30-day free demo available
Brainstorming & Getting Started
Writing a Case
Harvard Kennedy School has published very clear guidelines regarding the need to cite words and ideas you have borrowed from other sources. Please review the HKS Academic Integrity information regarding citations.
The Harvard Kennedy School Library's Citation Style Guides & Tools links to style and citation guides, including the American Psychological Association (APA) format, and information on citing web resources.
Developing Your Argument
Great tips for analyzing the arguments and ways of thinking in other written sources so that you can develop your own argument:
For a quick search to look up a definition or find synonyms and antonyms:
http://www.dictionary.com (you can also subscribe to the free Word of the Day mailing list to build your vocabulary)
Substantial list of dictionary links in fields from Business/Government to Religion to Science; plus foreign languages and slang dictionaries. Fantastic.
Guidelines for editing your own work, editing a colleague’s work, or having a colleague edit your work:
Recording an Elevator Pitch - What? Why?
Brief and to the point:
Mediabistro's How to Pitch series
Thinking Like Your Editor by Susan Rabiner
Guidelines for Internet research including how to cite Internet sources:
Critical Questions to Ask Before Pitching Media, by Rachel Hanfling, Executive Presentation and Media Trainer
How to paraphrase others without plagiarizing:
To distinguish between quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing (includes a short sample essay):
Finding Your Voice: Understanding Academic Integrity and Graduate Writing at Harvard
Excellent guidelines for avoiding plagiarism:
"Is it Original? An Editor's Guide to Identifying Plagiarism"
Publish your Article or Other Non-Fiction Work
Roget's thesaurus (searchable) and several links for locating quotes:
Strunk's Elements of Style is online and searchable:
Recognize potential problems in your writing style and learn to correct them:
A good resource on style, usage, and commonly misspelled words:
Tightening Your Essay
Lists the most common problems in writing essays with links to address them:
The Harvard Guide to Using Sources (http://usingsources.fas.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do) is a useful and up-to-date guide for students about how to effectively use sources from material in print or on the Internet in academic papers. It includes sections on "Why Use Sources," "Locating Sources," "Evaluating Sources," "Avoiding Plagiarism," "Integrating Sources," and "Citing Sources."
Concise Writing: Sentence Structure and Wording, by Mary Westervelt
Conciseness, from Purdue Online Writing Lab
Conciseness, from the Writing Center at UNC-Chapel Hill
Illustrates the writing process and provides related links:
Paradigm Online Writing Assistant. Steps and exercises for each phase of the writing process, from figuring out what to write to writing a thesis essay, an informal essay, an argumentative essay, or an exploratory essay:
Index of handouts available for writing papers, writing for specific fields, and grammatical issues (e.g., using gender-sensitive language):
Here are some other useful sites:
- Harvard University: The Writing Center
- Purdue University: Online Writing Lab (OWL)
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: The Writers Workshop
- Capital Community Technical College: Guide to Grammar and Writing
- University of Richmond: Writing Center
- Hanover College: Writing Manuals and Guides
- Hudson Valley Community College: Grant Writing Resources
- Medianet: Presentation Skills
"How to Write a Compelling Book Review," by Edwin Battistella, Oxford University Press
Rober's "Little Rule Book," by Roger Ebert
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