A Guide to College Writing

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2/1/2016
  • Publisher: Pearson

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For courses in first-year composition and rhetoric.


A refreshing new choice that addresses writing in all college-level courses

A Guide to College Writing is both an excellent introduction to college writing for composition courses that emphasize writing across the curriculum (WAC), and a writing guide for use in any college course.  The text does not teach any one form, but rather how to observe, analyze, and reproduce the forms and intellectual strategies of whatever the students might be asked to read and write. Students are walked through the writing process, beginning with shorter, lower-stakes “microtheme” assignments and scaffolding toward longer, sustained formal projects typical of their discipline. Throughout, students learn how to use writing as a learning tool.


Also available with Pearson Writer

Pearson Writer is a revolutionary digital tool for writers at all levels. Built for mobile devices, it streamlines the tedious and time-consuming aspects of writing, so that students can focus on developing their ideas.


Pearson Writer makes it easy to stay organized, track tasks, and stay on top of writing projects. Students can set milestones prior to the due date, manage their sources, organize their notes visually in the Notebook, and even get automatic feedback on their prose. Pearson Writer is now available with Noteclipper, which allows students to save online sources quickly and easily.

Note: You are purchasing a standalone product; Pearson Writer does not come packaged with this content. Students, if interested in purchasing this title with Pearson Writer, ask your instructor for the correct package ISBN and Course ID. Instructors, contact your Pearson representative for more information.

If you would like to purchase both the physical text and Pearson Writer, search for:

0134266439 / 9780134266435  A Guide to Writing in College Plus Pearson Writer — Access Card Package

Package consists of:

  • 0134186443 / 9780134186443 A Guide to Writing in College
  • 032197235X / 9780321972354  Pearson Writer — Valuepack Access Card

Table of Contents


Writing to Learn, Learning to Write

Why This Book?

What’s In This Book


1.  Writing Across the Curriculum—and Why You Should Care

Writing in College

Writing Across the Curriculum and in the Disciplines

Encountering New Writing Contexts


Working in Different Communities of Practice

Teachers’ Use of the Instructional Design Model

Putting It into Practice


2.  Low-Stakes Writing and Why Should You Take It Seriously

What Is Writing to Learn?

Low Stakes and High Stakes Writing

Academic Journals or Learning Blogs

How to Use Academic Journals or Learning Blogs

Forums and Dialogues

Putting It into Practice


3. Microthemes and Why They’re So Powerful as Tools for Learning

What’s a Microtheme?

Unpacking the Microtheme and Other Short Assignments

What’s the Form?

What’s the Purpose or Goal?

What’s the Level of Formality?

Who’s the Audience?

The “Structure of Activity”

Critical Thinking

It All Starts with Facts: The Power of Description

Taking Things Apart: Analysis

Putting It All Together: Synthesis

Reaching Informed Judgments: Evaluation

What Does It Mean?:  Interpretation

Varieties of Microthemes

Putting It into Practice


4. Higher-Stakes Projects: Getting from Ideas to Text

What Changes with Larger and Higher-Stakes Projects?

What’s Transfer, and Why Practice It?

What About Far-Transfer Situations?

Exploring Your Subject

Finding the Heart of the Matter: The Thesis

Looking for Organizational Patterns

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: Creating a Rough Draft

Putting It Into Practice


5. It’s All About Revision

What Does Revision Really Mean?

Revising Using Yourself as Reader

Top-Down Revision: Content


Introductions and Conclusions

Spit and Polish

A Grain of Salt

Revising Using Your Peers as Readers

What’s Peer Review?

How to Get and Give Feedback Face to Face

How to Get and Give Feedback Digitally

Oral Response

Revising Using your Teacher as Reader

Revising with the Help of a Tutor

Getting the Most from Evaluation Criteria

Getting the Most from Online Resources

Putting It into Practice


6. In Search of Research

It All Starts With a Question

Finding the Best Sources and Getting the Most From Them

The Promise and Perils of Research

Background Reading (Learning the Waters)

Locating the Most Useful Sources (the Treacheries of the Internet)

Thinking About Your Subject Headings (Deciding Where to Fish)

From Subject Headings to Working Bibliography (Casting Your Net)

Reading Like a Researcher (Examining What You’ve Netted)

Primary vs. Secondary Research

Defining Your Question

Keeping a Log

Reflecting and Analyzing

Writing the Research-Based Paper

The “Default” Audience

Using Your Sources in Your Paper

Summary, Paraphrase, and Quotation

A Few Matters of Form

Documentation (Another Exciting Page or Two)

Putting It into Practice


7. The Comparative Anatomy of Texts and Contexts

Species of Writing

Basic Anatomy: A Guide

Rhetorical Environments

Dissecting a Text

Two Rhetorical Dissections

Putting It into Practice


Appendix: Definitions of Key Concepts


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