Online resources for academic writing

Although many websites exist for tips on essay-writing, these online writing centers, many of which were developed through university funding and by qualified staff, are among the highest quality. They include handouts and video demonstrations for the many skills needed to write effective essays in university. You can rely on them as resources for how to begin thinking about your essay, how to create outlines, how to use sources, how to edit, and how to cite correctly. Students looking for detailed instruction on specific topics should search the following websites for that subject. When in doubt about the validity of certain information, check with your instructor.  

  • Writing Skills, an online course from Brandon University that covers the basics of writing academic essays. It includes slides accompanied by narration for visual and audio learners. Like most universities, BU's library also had a number of LibGuides that are valuable for citing and documentation, including how to cite government documents and other citation guides.
  • Handouts from the University of Manitoba's Academic Learning Centre, organized by topic. The list includes handouts on grammar, structure, referencing, style, and more.
  • Handout on writing skills from the University of Winnipeg, covering all aspects of the writing process. 
  • Online Writing Lab from Purdue University, which "houses writing resources and instructional material" and is organized by topic and stages of the writing process. Knowledgeable contributors submit handouts for grammar, structure, style, content, and documentation. 
  • Handouts by the University of North Carolina's Writing Center focus on the fundamentals of academic writing that can be used across the disciplines. Their handouts are useful for questions about essay content -- depth, argumentation, analysis, and more. They also house advice for writing within specific disciplines. 
  • Writing Resources from Harvard College Writing Center include "Strategies for Essay Writing," which include the steps involved from beginning to end. They also offer brief guides on writing for specific disciplines. 
  • Advice on Academic Writing, a database of articles written by University of Toronto instructors who are familiar with U of T expectations. 
  • Writer’s Web from the University of Richmond's Writing Center, a handbook maintained by qualified staff and students that can be consulted at any stage of the writing process.

  • The Institute for Writing & Rhetoric at Dartmouth University is home to a number of thorough articles that help students of all capabilities, but especially first-year writers who are new to the academic writing process. The articles include clear instructions, questions, and guidelines on how to think and write in a university context. 

  •  Grammar & Composition resources from address common language problems in a blog format written for the broader public. 

  • SPARK from York University (Student Papers and Academic Research Kit).
  • The University of Guelph Learning Commons has resources for writing assistance on improving grammar & style. In particular, their guide to improving your style presents basic tips on how to communicate as an educated, conscientious writer. 
  • Questia's 9-Step Writing Guide for research essays is short and accurate. Although it doesn't offer many specifics, the guide is useful as a quick reference for students who are new to essays and want a general direction.