Feature Article

Resources for academic writing

Suffering from writer's block? Check out these helpful resources.

By Kellye S. Carver

Spending time on research this summer? We often think of academic writing as the style in which we write a dreaded thesis or dissertation. However, academic writing also extends to essays, research papers, journal articles, book/journal reviews, reaction papers, literature reviews and other writing assignments throughout graduate school. Check out these resources for advice and inspiration next time you feel stuck in your writing.

Formatting and Proofreading
  • Check out Purdue's Online Writing Lab (OWL) for an entire page devoted to academic writing. The site includes resources for becoming more concise, varying sentences, active versus passive voice, even email etiquette for students!
  • Dartmouth's Institute for Writing and Rhetoric maintains an extensive website about academic writing, including help with common grammatical errors, developing a thesis statement and considering structure and organization. The “Researching Your Topic” page is particularly helpful in learning how to summarize, cite and organize your sources. The “Revision: Cultivating a Critical Eye” page may be especially useful if you feel bogged down in revisions.
  • Visit the APA style website for additional help with APA style.
What to Do and What Not to Do
  • The University of New England has excellent how-tos for avoiding common pitfalls, such as using emotional language, using personal language, expressing an opinion too strongly and eliminating unnecessary words.
  • APA's Monitor on Psychology regularly features helpful psychology-specific articles on a variety of topics, including general writing skills, getting published and reviewing.
  • The gradPsych Blog can be another helpful source of inspiration, such as tips for completing your dissertation and writing for publications.
  • The University of Washington has a great PDF on the ins and outs of writing a psychology literature review.
  • Reviewing a journal article? Besides the Monitor and gradPsych articles previously mentioned, check out this handout from the University of Alberta.
  • Lastly, suffering from writer's block? Empire State College has tips and tricks for you! Visit the site and scroll down to “Writer's Block.”