Writing & Speaking Guides

Whatever you're preparing, the UWC is here to lead you through the writing process. We've developed hundreds of guides to take you from brainstorming to revision. If you'd rather see guides organized alphabetically, click here.

Academic Writing

In this section, you'll find guides to cover many commonly encountered academic writing tasks.

Academic Phrasebank
Analysis Annotated Bibliographies
Arguments Critical Reflection: Journals, Opinions, & Reactions
Dissertation Defense
The Perfect Defense
Dissertation Proposals
Essay Exams
Executive Summaries
History Papers
Lab Reports
Literature Reviews
Literary Terms
Poetic Forms
Research Papers (Overview)
Research Papers (Step-by-Step Guide) Research Posters
Research Posters: What Makes a Good Research Poster?
Rhetorical Analysis
Rhetorical Terms
Scientific Writing
Scientific Writing: Practice Makes It (Almost) Perfect
Writing Accessibly About Science
Writing for Publication

Professional Writing

The handouts and links below cover writing you may encounter as a professional, either while job-hunting or in the workplace.

Business Letters
Business Plans
Cover Letters
Cover Letters (Audio)
Curricula Vitae (CVs)
Email Writing (Audio)
Engineering Writing Executive Summaries
Journalism Interviews with Dale Rice Memos
Memos (Audio)
Op Eds
Personal Statements
Personal Statements (Audio)
Podcasting or Audio Broadcasting 
Progress Reports
Resume Writing (Audio)
Resume References (Audio)
Web Pages

Creative Writing

If you have a creative streak, the advice from the resources listed here may inspire you.

Character Development
Finding Ideas
Literary Terms
Memoirs, Autobiographies, & Biographies
Plot Development
Poetic Forms
Poetry: Interviews with Dr. Paul Christensen Quotation Marks in Dialogue


This section focuses on oral presentations in different forms, from research posters to conference presentations, and also gives some general tips.
Podcasting or Audio Broadcasts

Grammar & Mechanics

You'll need to think about grammar and mechanics while you draft and while you edit. The resources below can help you strengthen your weak spots.

Articles: AAn,  & The
Articles: Part 1 (Video)
Articles: Part 2 (Video)
The Article Scale (Video)


If your draft was reviewed and you were told your commas or semi-colons are not in order, the handouts below may be what you need.

Brainstorming & Planning

Don't skip the pre-writing step. Spend at least a little time reading your assignment, thinking about your topic, and planning how you'll present the information.

Audience Awareness
Brainstorming (Video)
Organizing a Presentation
Outlining a Presentation
Reverse Outlining (Video)
Selecting a Topic
Thesis Statements
Thesis Statements (Audio)
Understanding Your Writing Assignment
Understanding the Writing Prompt (Audio)


For help with finding sources, keeping track of your research, and avoiding plagiarism, check below.

Academic Integrity (also, Plagiarism)
End Note
Evaluating Scholarly Sources
Find Articles
Find Books
Finding Literary Criticism
Information Literacy
Plagiarism (also, Academic Integrity)
Tracking Qualitative Data
Library Resources (Undergraduate)  
Library Resources (Graduate) 


Whether you are writing a speech, a paper, or a poster, the following resources will help you create a first draft.

Active & Passive Voice
Active & Passive Voice (Video)
Affect vs. Effect
Avoid Boring Writing
Commonly Confused Words
Clear and Concise Writing
Managing Group Writing Projects
Paragraph Construction
Paragraph Organization (Video)
Sentences: Simple, Compound & Complex
Sentence Variation
Transition Words & Phrases

Revising & Editing

Revision starts when you re-read the draft and think about its content and flow. Make big changes that make your ideas clearer and your arguments stronger. You might need to go back to the sections on Grammar & Mechanics and on Punctuation for more detailed assistance.

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