There are really
only two major divisions in this online
textbook: "Basics" and "College Papers."
Almost everything you will need as a beginning
college writer will be in these sections.
In addition, there is a link--at the top of each
page and also on the left of each page--to an extensive
online directory of grammar resources, called
the Online Grammar Handbook at
www.OnlineGrammar.org, which can help
you find millions of readings and resources on
writing, grammar, punctuation, and related
If you are a student
in a introductory college-level writing course,
you may be taking one of two different types of
courses designed to introduce you to writing.
In the U.S., a majority of public colleges and
universities offer a "composition," "rhetoric,"
or "college writing" course with a variety of
lessons on how to write and research in college.
A majority of private colleges and private
universities offer an introduction-to-literature
course that includes a large amount of writing
on literature as a way of introducing college
writing. Many colleges and universities of
all kinds offer discipline- or major-centered
courses (e.g., science, sociology, history, or
psychology) with considerable writing within
them as a beginning or additional way for you to
improve your writing and research skills.
Whichever of these types of courses you have,
chapters in this "College Papers" division can
Each chapter in this
division is, primarily, about a specific type of
paper. If you feel you still need to know
some of the basics about writing or you want to
review them, please consult the earlier chapters
in Division I, about how to focus and revise
your writing. However, when you have an
assignment for a specific type of paper named in
this Division II, the chapter usually will take
you through the entire process of writing the
has its own special methods. If you are
expected to write a research paper, then you
should read both the research section in this
division and the individual chapter having to do
with the type of paper you are expected to
write. Most (but not all!) general
research papers in introductory composition or
rhetoric courses are either analyses or thesis
papers. So, reading both the research
section and the individual chapter on analysis
or thesis papers will help.
If, however, you are
writing a paper on or about literature, you
should carefully choose the appropriate chapter
in the writing-to-literature section. And
if research is required, then read the research
section as well.