Academic Writing: The Old Way

This online writing guide is more than ten years old, and not all of it is as useful as it once was. Thanks to modern technology, source cards and note cards are a thing of the past. The idea of a "research paper" has evolved, and current core standards call for inquiry and logic-based argument. Whereas it used to be common (in schools) to begin with a thesis and develop a piece of writing from there -- more for the sake of teaching students the format than for teaching critical thinking and writing -- it is now expected that students will begin with a problem or essential question, examine data or evidence, and develop a thesis based on their critical conclusions, judgments, and inferences. So, why keep this online? Say what you will about the dreaded "five-paragraph essay," it is a format that students are expected to know, and it is a good pattern to fall back on in a pinch. The standard format for academic writing hasn't changed: Introduction, Body, Conclusion. Say what you are going to say; say it; then say what you said. This organization, hated though it is by some, is the gold standard for much of what is written in schools. It is the one thing that all the students need to be familiar with, even though some of them are clever and inventive enough to do more outside of such a restrictive expectation. The links in this old online writing guide illustrate the organization of the "five-paragraph academic essay." They may still be useful for many students, so here they remain.

Part I: Academic Writing
The Writing Process
What does an essay look like?
Sample Essay
Essay Format: Visual Example
Essay Outline Format
Six-Trait Writing Review
Sample Resumé (for junior high school students)
Sample Application (for junior high school students)

Part II: Research
The Big Six (Research Process)
The Research Paper: Steps to Success
Taking Notes
Source Cards
Note Cards
Works Cited Formats 1
Works Cited Formats 2
Sample Works Cited Page
Parenthetical (in-text) Documentation
Response/Revision Guide

Part I: PDF
Part II: PDF

Despite the absence of any support from the school district, I have made every reasonable attempt to insure that this website is educationally sound and does not contain direct links to inappropriate material.
2012 M. Wolfman Thompson - All rights reserved.