Writing Guides

About the Writing Guides

These guides are the result of a joint effort of the WAC Clearinghouse, the Writing@CSU project, and the Colorado State University Writing Center. Development of these guides began in 1993, when the original Online Writing Center was developed for campus use at Colorado State University. Several guides were developed in Asymmetrix Multimedia Toolbook and then migrated to the Web in 1996. Over the years, additional guides were developed and revised, reflecting the efforts of many writers and writing teachers. We thank them for their generosity. You can learn who developed a particular guide by clicking on the "contributors" link in that guide.

In 2012, the guides were moved into a content management system developed for the Writing@CSU site. Members of the staff in the Colorado State University Writing Center were among the group that migrated the guides to the new system. We are particularly grateful to Carrie Lamanna, Patricia Lincoln, Aubrey Johnson, Christina Shane, Jennifer Lawson, Karen Buntinas, and Ellen Palmquist for their efforts in migrating, editing, and updating the guides.

In 2018, these guides were made available on the WAC Clearinghouse as part of its redesign and expansion.

To view writing guides, click on the plus or minus icons next to a category. To expand or collapse all categories, click on the following buttons.

   

Writing and Speaking

Composing Processes: Planning and Organizing

Composing Processes: Drafting, Designing, and Revising

Common Assignments in Composition & Writing Courses

Writing Arguments

Writing for the Web

Making Speeches & Presentations

Publishing

These guides help writers better understand the issues involved when publishing their writing.

Publishing Your Writing: This guide offers information on the most basic aspects of publishing your writing, from defining what it is, how to go about submitting, to offering advice about what to do once you've been published.
Online vs. Print Publishing: Online and print publishing are significantly different. Choosing what medium to publish in depends on such factors as your publishing goals, the amount of money you have to spend, and the kinds of resources that are available to you. This guide is meant to give the novice publisher an idea of the differences that lie between the two publishing media. It also details a number of considerations for the online publisher to keep in mind.
Desktop Publishing: Desktop publishing is the process of laying out and designing pages with your desktop computer. With software programs such as PageMaker and Quark Xpress, you can assemble anything from a one-page document to a full-length book. Understanding how the software works, however, is only the beginning, and often the easiest part of the whole process. This guide is designed for the novice page designer who wants to learn the fundamentals of effective page layout. So whether you need to design a brochure, advertisement, or an entire newsletter read on!

Research Writing & Documentation

Collecting Information

Working with Sources

Documenting Sources

Writing in Specific Disciplines

Writing about Literature

Writing in Business

These guides help writers who are writing for business.

Business Writing: An Introduction: This guide provides an introduction to business writing.
Business Memos: When you write a memo in a business, government, or class setting, it is important to have your audience and purpose clearly defined, because this will help you determine what information to include. Generally memos follow a particular format, although your instructor or company may require you to use alternative formats. Read more about writing effective memos in this guide.
Business Letters: An Overview: When you write business letters in industry or for a class, knowing your purpose and audience will help determine what information to include. Generally, business letters follow a particular format, although your instructor or company may require you to use alternative formats. This guide provides writers with an introduction to writing business letters.
Formatting Business Letters: Learn more about how to correctly format a business letter.
Business Email: In this guide you will read about writing business emails, helpful tips on formatting business email, the law and business email, and business netiquette (yes folks, Internet etiquette). Each section provides useful information and samples to assist you in becoming more proficient at using email to communicate in the business world.
Press Releases: Typically, a press release is formulated to meet the standard journalistic model used by all media organizations. The information it contains should be organized and structured in the same manner as a news article. This guide provides you with information about writing press releases.
Executive Summaries: Executive Summaries are much like any other summary in that their main goal is to provide a condensed version of the content of a longer report. Learn more in this guide.
Resumés: Writing a resumé is more than just listing a set of credentials or special talents in reverse chronological order. It is very much like planning to write a persuasive essay. These documents begin with a rhetorical context. Every resumé has a target audience (the employer(s) who will use it to evaluate you as a job candidate) and a purpose (to convince an employer that you are worth interviewing for a specific job). Read this guide for a further discussion of these issues.
Objection, Relevance: In this writing guide, we will use the legal rules of evidence to help writers focus on what is helpful, necessary, and to the point.

Writing in Engineering

Writing in the Sciences

Writing in Your Career

Conducting Qualitative & Quantitative Research

General Research Issues

Qualitative Research Methods

Quantitative Research Methods

Scholarly Publishing