Academic Writing Sites
If there’s one thing that students can agree on, it’s that writing academic papers is difficult. Consequently, many students consider this to be the bane of their collegiate experience. The reason behind this is that they’re so unprepared. Think about it, did you take a high school class on how to write a research paper? Of course not. Students must be self-motivated to find the best resources for academic writing sites to round out their knowledge.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the best academic writing sites to help you become a better writer.
Academic Writing Sites: College-based Websites
Believe it or not, your college wants you to write well! And that’s why most universities will put out a webpage dedicated to stylistic concerns. These websites typically mirror the coursework and what’s demanded for each class. Additionally, college-based websites point curious writers towards resources that go beyond academia and into the “real world”.
For instance, Amherst College has an entire section of academic writing sites grouped under the heading “Online Resources for Writers” as a supplement to their Writing Center. This includes a wide variety of topics, including the writing process, proper citation, scientific writing, and so forth. Similarly, Harvard College and Purdue University both have a list of resources that relate to the respective majors.
If you’re not sure of where to start to find academic writing sites, start with the website that your tuition is probably paying for!
Common Style Guides
For every discipline in academia, there tends to be a unique form in which new works are presented to be reviewed by peers and colleagues. In order to further your career and have your work reviewed, it is necessary to write according to specific guidelines.
Luckily, there’s a few common style guides online. All of these academic writing sites contain a multitude of links on every topic imaginable (i.e. how to properly cite a blog). The most common of these academic style guides include:
For other less-common style guides, visit this Wikipedia page here.
Ever wonder if you’re mixing up affect and effect? (If so, you might want to read our guide on Common Writing Mistakes).
As an affiliate of QuickandDirtyTips.com, Grammar Girl can help you put all your grammatical ducks in a row. If you’ve ever had a question pertaining to grammar, chances are it has been addressed here. Not only are the correct tips given, but there’s also a lengthy explanation for each, including tips for deeper learning and related topics. And if that’s not enough for you, there’s an accompanying podcast to round out your grammar knowledge.
Not only must your grammar be precise, but the words you use should mean what you intended them to mean. Dictionary.com may seem like too obvious of a inclusion in this list of academic writing sites. But it serves beyond its function of providing definitions. If you want to reduce redundancy in your writing, dictionary.com has a handy link to thesaurus.com [www.thesaurus.com] that’s invaluable as you write and edit your work.
Ever have a question that you wanted to ask someone but didn’t know who to turn to? This is where Stack Exchanges comes in handy. For just about any topic imaginable, you can receive crowd-sourced answers that offer only multiple opinions on topics, as well as feedback from notable experts and those that may have personal knowledge of your search query. The best answers are ranked in order and it’s free to join. You’d be surprised how often complete strangers take the time to selflessly provide you with information.
If you’re looking for a more specific website pertaining to all things academic, there’s the Academia Stack Exchange. In this part of the Stack Exchange, you can find answers (or provide answers) to nearly any topic that cover academic writing, as well as esoteric concerns.
If you’re a cash-strapped college student that has to decide on ramen noodles or buying books, Project Gutenberg may become your one-stop shop for almost all of your academic writing website needs. At this website, you can download nearly half-a-million books in almost every format out there. Not only does it contain every writer’s required reading material, located here, but you can find original documents spanning nearly every topic (i.e. fiction, non-fiction, research material, etc.).
Best of all, it’s all FREE.
Okay, okay. I know what you’re thinking—just about anyone can create an entry on Wikipedia and therefore it is useless as valid academic writing site. And you’re correct in that opinion. However, what Wikipedia (and related wiki’s) does is conglomerates a bunch of possible sources, saving you time tracking down documents. Think of it as an untrustworthy compass towards your destination.
The fact of the matter is that someone out there deemed these websites cited in the “References” section worthy of mention; it is up to you to determine if the sources are valid. What you’re looking for each search query could be buried underneath ad-copy and articles that manipulated the SEO rankings. Wikipedia helps you cut to the chase so you can spend more time writing and less time researching.
Wikipedia can also act as a researching tool, as well. The “See Also” lists at the end of Wikipedia entries can help you find topics that can strengthen your arguments or contain correlated topics to expand the scope of your paper. As an example, searching for “existentialism” yields not only a thorough entry on just about everything about the topic, but also provides a list of philosophers that were renowned proponents of the philosophy.
* * *
Academic writing is challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s where having an arsenal of academic writing sites can come in handy. Be sure to bookmark them on your web browser to have when crunch time looms or to just make your life easier.