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Academic Writing


Welcome to the Research Guide for Academic Writing. If you have an essay assignment and are feeling stuck, we encourage you to look around this research guide to find some advice that might help you.

This research guide can help you with any stage of the writing process, from coming up with ideas to citing sources, to writing conclusions. Feel free to check out our different categories!

We also welcome any questions or comments.

~Profs. Megan Titus and Melissa A. Hofmann

Unlearn to Write

In Write to Learn, Donald Murray questions the rules for writing he was taught in school. He says, “They were absolute, unquestioned, always followed by the writers we studied.”  He says they were “guaranteed to produce ineffective and graceless writing,” and he advocates “unlearning” those rules (12).

These are some of the things Murray says we have to UNLEARN to become writers. They are RULES he was taught that he had to let go of to discover his true writing voice: Remember as you read—these are rules he says must be discarded.

1. Know what you want to say before you say it

2. Form comes before content

3. Correct spelling, grammar, mechanics are essential in the first draft

4. Long is better than short

5. Don’t write as you speak

6. Always outline first

7. The first draft should be the last draft

8. There is one right way

9. Revision and editing are the same

10. Say what you are going to say, say it then say what you’ve said

11. Write in generalities for a general audience

12. Easy writing is bad writing

13. Study what is published and imitate it

14. Don’t make mistakes

15. You can’t teach writing

Murray claims, “THERE IS NOT ONE WRITING PROCESS.” In fact, there are as many writing processes as there are writers.