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Resources for Student Writers

Here at the UWC, we have noticed that writers who come in for assistance with their writing usually ask for help with similar Higher Order Concerns (HOCs) and Lower Order Concerns (LOCs). We have compiled a list of recommended resources, along with explanations of each, addressing the most common HOCs and LOCs we see at the UWC. This list serves as a resource for writers, so share this page with fellow writers you know!

Higher Order Concerns

Assignment Fulfillment

Feedback focuses on how well the paper addresses the questions or parts of the assignment, making comparisons to the prompt/rubric if it is available. This HOC will address where/how/if the requirements of a prompt or assignment have been met.

Overall Organization

Feedback focuses on if there are logical progression and transition between ideas. This HOC will address how the paper as a whole is organized.

  • Patterns of Organization by Monterey Peninsula College Reading Center
    This resource provides a list of different organizational patterns, along characteristics, signals, and a sample thesis/topic sentence for each.
  • Writing a Paper: Organizing your Thoughts by Walden University Writing Center
    This resource provides detailed information about how to begin and how to organize a research essay. It is especially helpful for those writing a research essay in STEM.
  • Academic Phrasebank: Signaling Transition by University of Manchester
    This resource provides examples of previewing and transitioning statements that can be used to signal to readers where the paper is going or when it is moving from one topic to another.

Overall Argument and Supporting Points

Feedback focuses on examination of the topic, relevant research/evidence, and interpretations, specifically looking for multiple perspectives including counterarguments (if applicable). Feedback also focuses on how the supporting points address the main topic and how examples are used to support the main argument. This HOC will address whether there is a cohesive, main argument and if that argument is well supported.

  • Topics, Main Ideas, and Support by Cuesta College Student Success Center
    This resource provides the definition for a topic, main idea, and details. It also provides different strategies to help writers identify these components, as well as a small exercise at the end.
  • Supporting your Ideas by Indiana University of Pennsylvania Writing Center
    This resource provides a list of various ways to support the ideas in your paper. It also includes different strategies to evaluate your support to ensure it is clear and relevant.
  • Argument by University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Writing Center
    This resource provides information on what arguments (claims) are, how to support them with evidence, how to anticipate counterarguments, and how to address an audience. It also discusses the importance of critical reading to understand an argument.

Lower Order Concerns

Word Choice and Phrasing

Feedback focuses on examining word choice and phrasing to determine where ideas are confusing or ambiguous.

  • Tone: Academic versus Colloquial by University of South Florida Writing Studio
    This resource provides examples of conversational language, tips on how to make the sentences sound “academic”, and examples of academic language.
  • We vs. They: Using the First and Third Person in Research Papers by Enago Academy
    This resource discusses where and how to appropriately use first and third person in research papers by providing examples.
  • Visuwords
    Visuwords is a visual and interactive dictionary and thesaurus. The graphs generated can be used to associate words and expand on concepts. This resource may be particularly helpful for a student trying to improve their word choice and phrasing.

Sentence Structure

Feedback focuses on ensuring sentences follow clear organizational patterns and that component parts of speech (e.g. nouns, verbs) are effectively used. Feedback also reflects how sentence structure choices affect the clarity of the writing.

  • Sentence Structure by Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University
    This resource offers information and exercises on how to clarify sentences and specifically discuss sentence clauses, sentence fragments, sentence structure, and subject-verb agreement.
  • Grammar: Sentence Structure and Types of Sentences by Walden University Writing Center
    This resource provides information and examples of sentence elements, sentence structure, and sentence types.
  • One-on-one Help with Grammar by UC Merced English Language Institute
    This resource provides individual help for all UC Merced international and local undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff, visiting scholars, post-docs, and international family members.

In-text Citations and Works Cited/References

Feedback focuses on reviewing in-text citations and the works cited/references section for accuracy and formatting based on the publication/citation style being used (e.g., APA, MLA, etc.)

  • AMA
    AMA Formatting and Style Guide 11th Edition by School of Pharmacy at Concordia University Wisconsin
    This resource provides guidelines for creating AMA citations and a reference list.
  • APA
    APA Formatting and Style Guide 7th Edition by Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University
    This resource provides guidelines for creating APA citations and a reference list.
  • Chicago
    Chicago Manual of Style 17th Edition by Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University
    This resource provides guidelines for creating Chicago citations.
  • MLA
    MLA Formatting and Style Guide 8th Edition by Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University
    This resource provides guidelines for creating APA citations and a reference list.
  • Additional Citation Guides
    Citation Styles by University of Nevada, Reno University Writing & Speaking Center
    This resource provides links for additional information about APA, Chicago, MLA as well as guides for ACS, AMA, and CSE.