I compiled the information on this page as a collection of resources to aid you in developing your academic writing skills. Excepting the texts indicated as required, none of the resources here are required for the course. I endorse these texts, web references, and products because they greatly aided me in my writing career. As the semester progresses, I will add to this page resources endorsed by students in the class.


Bacon, Nora. The Well Crafted Sentence. (2nd ed.)

Booth, Wayne C., et al. The Craft of Research. (4th ed.) Required

Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say, I Say. Required 

Williams, Joseph M. and Joseph Bizup. Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace. (12th ed.)

Writing Software

Scrivener I wrote my dissertation in Scrivener, and I’ve written every academic article since in Scrivener. No software–at least no reasonably priced software–manages writing projects like Scrivener. If you browse through the features illustrated on their website, you can see the amazing versatility. You can also try it yourself free for 30 days (not calendar days, but 30 days of opening the software).

Dropbox Let’s be honest. At some point, your computer will crash. Whether the people who work on your computer can recover all your files or not, you want to have a backup copy. At some point, you will forget to send yourself a copy of the file or leave your flash drive at home.  If you take 10 minutes to sign up for a free Dropbox account and set up the folder on your computer, you can store all your files in Dropbox (acting as though it is your hard drive), and never have to worry about having your materials available on any computer.

Web Resources

Rhetorically Accurate Verbs is a 2-page PDF of accurate verbs that I highly recommend you print and keep in your writing space. We often get hung up on one verb (mine is asserts) without realizing we are 1) overusing the verb and 2) not thinking about the best verb for the sentence. This PDF will help, whether as you are writing a draft or while you are revising your work.

They Say, I Say Quick Reference Templates is another handy PDF to have when you are writing and revising. This is a quick reference for the templates in They Say, I Say (though they can never replace the information in the text).

Scimago Journal and Country Rank provides information on journal ranking and citations for academic journals. This information can be useful in understanding the reach and coverage of the journal you are considering for publication.

Humanities Journals Wiki is much like the Rate My Professor of academic journals, with academic scholars discussing their submission experiences with various journals. Use this site with caution, remembering that you want to be informed of the experiences of others–for better or for worse, but you also must take into account that just as some angry students leave professors bad reviews angry researchers leave bad reviews. Read these reviews to inform your decision, and look for consistent remarks among all the reviews for a single journal.

Academic Phrasebank is a nice complement to They Say, I Say. This resource organizes some common rhetorical moves for academic writing into targeted areas of writing. These are not templates as those presented by Graff & Birkenstein, but rather sentence starters. You can use the two sources together for more variety in your writing.

Transitions at Purdue OWL includes a quick listing of specific transitions and how they work in a sentence.

Transition Handout is a PDF you may use as part of your writing resources. Like the rhetorically accurate verbs, this brief handout is readily accessible near your writing space and stores well in a digital format.