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Grammar, Structure, the Writing Process, and Policy Documents

Online Writing Lab (OWL)  — Purdue University
This lab offers resources for all stages of drafting and revising. Purdue OWL is particularly good for issues of grammar/mechanics, structure, ESL, research, and citation.

The Elements of Style — William Strunk, Jr.

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation — Jane Straus

Oxford English Dictionary — This dictionary is the definitive resource for the English language. It will allow you to track the first usage of a word and the development of its meaning over time. Merriam-Webster is a good basic online dictionary and thesaurus. 

Passive Voice — Great handout from the UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center

How to Write Op-Eds — Tips from Duke University's Office if News and Communications

Tips for writing policy memos from the East-West Center, Susan Doyle (here and here), the University of Michigan (here and here), and the Duke Writing Studio

Research and Citations

A resource guide for policy students (especially PR writers) compiled by UT librarian Pedro G. Moreno

Comparison of Citation Styles — In addition to providing resources for a wide range of citation styles, this Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation website gives a brief overview of each style. The website also identifies the format preference for various disciplines.

Tools for particular citation styles:

Citations for Electronic Sources — Library of Congress

Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity — The University of Texas at Austin Office of Graduate Studies
Features a brief ethics training presentation offering guidelines for academic integrity.

The Standard of Academic Integrity — Student Judicial Services
Discusses scholastic honesty policies at the University of Texas at Austin.

Bibliographic Software

Bibliographic software applications allow writers to import references and create bibliographies according to particular style guides.

Zotero is a free 2.0 Firefox extension whose functionality allows writers to import references from online databases, organize references and create bibliographies. The UT General Libraries offers classes throughout the year.

EndNote is a citation management software program that imports references from online databases, maintains personalized databases, organizes references, and creates bibliographies. EndNote is available for purchase at the Campus Computer Store at a student price.

NoodleBib 6 — “Generate, edit, and publish an MLA Works Cited list, an APA References list, or a Chicago/Turabian Bibliography that complies with the rules of the current handbooks and manuals for each style.”

UT Comparison of Citation Tools — This UT library site allows you to compare Zotero, NoodleBib, and two versions of EndNote. In addition to detailed information on each tool, the site lists schedules for training classes.

Writers Who Are Non-Native English Speakers

Graduate Courses in Academic Writing for International Students — These are offered through UT's International Office/ESL Services.

The Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL) has a useful section on English as a Second Language, including worksheets and exercises that address common grammar issues.

Recommended Reading

Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace by Joseph Williams and Gregory Colomb, Pearson/Longman (any edition)

The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker, Viking, 2014

Writing Public Policy: A Practical Guide to Communicating in the Policy Making Process by Catherine Smith, Oxford, 2013

"Tense Present: Democracy, English, and the Wars Over Usage" — David Foster Wallace (link to a simple text version; original is from Harper’s Magazine April 2001)


To request additional resources, email the Writing Instructor.