Resources to Improve Writing

The mission of HEP is guided by the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL).  An important aspect of SoTL is the public sharing of one's ideas and research findings for their critique through public scrutiny.  Writing and publishing is one way for this sharing and critique to occur.  In preparing our graduates for this vital task, we have offered here useful writing resources.    


Writing Guides

The following Writing Guides are available. To view guides, click on the list of catgories on the list below. You may view or hide descriptions of the guides.

About the Writing@CSU Guides

These guides are the result of a joint effort of the Writing@CSU project and the Colorado State University Writing Center. Development of these guides began in 1993, when the original Online Writing Center was developed for campus use at Colorado State University. Several guides were developed in Asymmetrix Multimedia Toolbook and then migrated to the Web in 1996. Over the years, additional guides were developed and revised, reflecting the efforts of many writers and writing teachers. We thank them for their generosity. You can learn who developed a particular guide by clicking on the "contributors" link in that guide.

In 2012, the guides were moved into a content management system developed for the Writing@CSU site. Members of the staff in the Colorado State University Writing Center were among the group that migrated the guides to the new system. We are particularly grateful to Carrie Lamanna, Patricia Lincoln, Aubrey Johnson, Christina Shane, Jennifer Lawson, Karen Buntinas, and Ellen Palmquist for their efforts in migrating, editing, and updating the guides.

The Writing Center at Mason offers free writing support to students. Services provided included the following:

  • Supportive, invested, and well-trained graduate and undergraduate tutors who are invested in the writing process, as they are experienced writers themselves
  • ESL specialist tutors with a linguistics background
  • An administrative staff well versed in current teaching and tutoring writing research and practice
  • The opportunity to meet with tutors face-to-face or to receive email-based tutoring through our Online Writing Lab
  • A collaborative relationship with Mason libraries to support writers in their research and research integration
  • Writing workshops specifically designed to address the needs of student writers
  • A wealth of resources in the form of guides, handbooks, and handouts available in hardcopy or electronically at our website
  • A quiet space to write, read, study, and think


Taking it “Bird by Bird”

Tips for Writing Academic Papers in Graduate School

By Claire Kathleen Robbins (

Clcik here for the article.


Types of Feedback and Responses from Reviewers  

Elbow, P. & Belanoff, P. (2010).  Summary of kinds of responses.  In W. Luttrell (Ed.), Qualitative educational research: Readings in reflexive methodology and transformative practice (pp. 481-484).  New York: Routledge. 

A vital part of the writing process is gaining feedback from others who will offer honest feedback.  When asking others for feedback, writers should specify what type of feedback is desired.  Below is a succinct listing of the types of feedback Elbow and Belanoff (2010) describe to be used with a reviewing partner.

 Click here for the complete article.


Online Grammar Checking Tools Comparison

Points out passive sentences, attempts to highlight wordiness (but does not do a great job of this)
Does not catch a lot of the grammatical errors, nominalized word forms category picked up some strange examples
Offers more specialization upfront (enter grade, type of writing, etc), catches many more grammatical errors, offers evaluation on amount of diversity in vocab
Still misses some grammatical errors, does not offer much for suggestions in writing style (like wordiness)
Is very good at pointing out convoluted sentences and overall wordiness. Recommend for students who mainly just need to work on style.
Does not check for grammar
Highlights some grammatical errors, but does not offer very useful suggestions on how to fix them
Not very good at checking grammar
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