Brief Guide to Writing from Readings, A, 7th edition

Published by Pearson (July 14, 2021) © 2016

  • Stephen Wilhoit The University of Dayton

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ISBN-13: 9780137504565
Brief Guide to Writing from Readings, A
Published 2021

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For college courses in Writing Across the Curriculum (Composition) and Research Writing (Composition).

This version of A Brief Guide to Writing from Readings has been updated the reflect the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook (April 2016). * 

Mastering the art of critical essay writing

A Brief Guide to Writing from Readings is a clear, process-oriented guide to academic writing. The guide covers the subtleties of rhetorical analysis and argumentation strategies as well as the technical aspects of writing with sources. Students will learn first to examine texts critically and then to clearly, accurately and creatively respond in essay form. In-text tools including summary charts and revision checklists help students tackle source-based essays step by step. Instructors will rely on the guide as a one-stop reference tool; students can apply their learning to any discipline, whether for class work or independent study.

In the Seventh Edition, in response to student and faculty feedback, Wilhoit includes a new chapter on analyzing readings and composing analytical essays; more coverage of literary analysis and a new short story; eight academic readings; and expanded coverage of how to cite electronic sources in APA and MLA style.


*The 8th edition introduces sweeping changes to the philosophy and details of MLA works cited entries. Responding to the “increasing mobility of texts,” MLA now encourages writers to focus on the process of crafting the citation, beginning with the same questions for any source. These changes, then, align with current best practices in the teaching of writing which privilege inquiry and critical thinking over rote recall and rule-following.

Table of Contents

  1. Critical Reading
    • Definition and Purpose
    • Asking Questions about What You Read
      • Questions to Ask Before You Begin a Close Reading of a Text
      • Questions to Ask While You Read and Reread Material
    • Marking Texts
      • Highlighting Texts
      • Annotating Texts
    • Sample Annotated Reading: “Hard Choices,” by Patrick Moore
    • Note Taking
      • Before Jotting Down Any Notes, Always Write Down the Source Text’s Full Bibliographic Information
      • In Your Notes, Carefully Distinguish between Material You Quote and Material You Paraphrase
      • Carefully List Page Numbers
      • Pay Attention to the Punctuation in the Source Text
      • In Your Notes, Clearly Differentiate between the Author’s Ideas and Your Own
      • Be Consistent with Your Note-Taking System
    • Additional Reading: “Getting Serious about Eradicating Binge Drinking,” by Henry Wechsler
    • Summary Chart: Critical Reading: Asking Questions
    • Summary Chart: Critical Reading: Marking Texts
    • Summary Chart: Critical Reading: Note Taking
  2. Quotation
    • Definition and Purpose
    • Guidelines on When to Quote Material
      • Quote Passages When the Author Has Written Something in a Distinctive or Especially Insightful or Interesting Way
      • Quote Material That Lends Support to a Position You Are Trying to Make in Your Paper
      • Quote Authorities Who Disagree with a Position You Are Advocating or Who Offer Alternative Explanations or Contradictory Data
    • Guidelines on When Not to Quote Material
      • Do Not Quote Passages Merely to Fill Space
      • Do Not Quote Passages as a Substitute for Thinking
      • Do Not Quote Passages Because You Do Not Understand the Author’s Ideas Well Enough to Paraphrase Them
    • Integrating Quotations into Your Writing
      • Two Basic Types of Quotations
    • Reading: “Generation Text,” by Mark Bauerlein
      • The Block Quotation
      • The Integrated Quotation
    • Altering Quoted Material and Avoiding Misquotations
    • Leaving Words Out of a Quotation
    • Adding Words to a Quotation
    • Noting Emphasis Added to a Quotation
    • Summary Chart: Guidelines on Quotations
    • Summary Chart: Integrating Quotations into Your Writing
    • Quotation Revision Checklist
  3. Paraphrase
    • Definition and Purpose
    • Qualities of a Good Paraphrase
      • Thorough
      • Accurate
      • Fair
      • Objective
    • How to Paraphrase Material
      • Changing Words
      • Changing Sentence Structure
      • Combining Sentences
      • “Unpacking” Sentences
      • Combining Strategies: Paraphrasing Longer Passages in Source Texts
      • Blending Your Writing with Paraphrased Material
  4. Documentation
    • Summary Chart: How to Paraphrase Material
    • Paraphrase Revision Checklist
  5. Summary
    • Definition and Purpose
    • Types of Summaries
    • Qualities of a Good Summary
      • Comprehensive
      • Brief
      • Accurate
      • Neutral
      • Independent
    • How to Summarize a Text
      • Read, Reread, and Annotate the Source Text
      • Summarize Each Section of the Source Text
      • Check the Section Summaries against the Source Text
    • How to Write an Abstract
    • How to Write an Informative Summary Essay
    • How to Write an Explanatory Summary Essay
    • Documentation
    • Reading: “From Animal House to Big Brother: Student Privacy and Campus Safety in an Age of Accountability,” by Ron Chesbrough
      • Sample Abstract
      • Sample Informative Summary Essay
      • Sample Explanatory Summary Essay
    • Summary Chart: How to Summarize Texts
    • Summary Revision Checklist
  6. Analysis
    • Definition and Purpose
    • Reading: “The Story of an Hour,” by Kate Chopin
    • How to Analyze a Text
      • Read the Source Text Carefully
      • Identify or Choose Which Analytical Criteria to Employ
      • Apply the Analytical Criteria to the Text
      • Interpret the Text
      • Explain and Support Your Interpretation
    • Qualities of a Good Analysis Essay
      • Comprehensive
      • Clear
      • Consistent
      • Tied to the Source Text
      • Informative
    • How to Write an Analysis Essay
      • Opening Section
      • Body
      • Concluding Section
    • Revising Your Essay
      • Accuracy
      • Development
      • Clarity
      • Balance
    • Documentation
    • Sample Analysis Essay
    • Summary Chart: How to Analyze Texts
    • Summary Chart: How to Write an Analysis Essay
    • Analysis Essay Checklist
  7. Response Essays
    • Definition and Purpose
    • Qualities of a Good Response Essay
      • Honest
      • Informed
      • Clear
      • Well Supported
    • Writing the Response Essay
      • Carefully Read the Material
      • Compose Your Rough Draft
      • Write Your Conclusion
      • Revise Your Rough Draft
    • Sample Response Essay
    • A Response to “From Animal House to Big Brother: Student Privacy and Campus Safety in an Age of Accountability”
    • Summary Chart: How to Write a Response Essay
    • Response Essay Revision Checklist
  8. Critique
    • Definition and Purpose
    • The Film Review as Critique
    • Writing a Critique
      • Step 1 -- Carefully Read and Annotate the Source Text
      • Step 2 -- Analyze and Evaluate the Reading
      • Step 3 -- Write Your Thesis and Decide Which Aspects of the Reading Will Be the Focus of Your Essay
      • Step 4 -- Write Your Rough Draft
      • Step 5 -- Rewrite Your Critique
    • Reading: “The Doctrine of Academic Freedom,” by Sandra Y. L. Korn
    • Reading: “Academic Freedom vs. Academic Justice,” by Michael LaBossiere
    • Sample Critique
    • “An Unconvincing Argument Concerning Academic Freedom”
    • Summary Chart: How to Write a Critique
    • Critique Revision Checklist
  9. Rhetorical Analysis of Written Texts
    • Definition and Purpose
    • The Rhetorical Situation
      • Elements of the Rhetorical Situation
    • Rhetorical Strategies
      • Content
      • Structure
      • Style
    • Analyzing a Text’s Rhetorical Strategies -- An Example
      • Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address
      • A Rhetorical Analysis of Lincoln’s Speech
    • Writing a Rhetorical Analysis Essay
      • Step 1 -- Carefully Read the Assignment
      • Step 2 -- Establish the Source Text’s Rhetorical Situation
      • Step 3 -- Determine the Author’s Goal
      • Step 4 -- Identify and Evaluate the Text’s Rhetorical Strategies
      • Step 5 -- Determine Your Thesis
      • Step 6 -- Write Your Rough Draft
      • Step 7 -- Revise Your Essay
    • Sample Rhetorical Analysis Essay
      • Rhetorical Analysis of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address
    • Summary Chart: How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay
    • Rhetorical Analysis of Written Texts Revision Checklist
  10. Rhetorical Analysis of Visual Texts
    • Definition and Purpose
    • Reading Visual Texts Critically
      • Questions Concerning the Visual Text Itself
      • Questions Concerning the Visual Text’s Creator or Source
      • Questions Concerning the Visual Text’s Purpose
      • Questions Concerning the Visual Text’s Audience
      • Questions Concerning Your Response to the Visual Text
    • Reading a Visual Text -- An Example
      • Questions Concerning the Visual Text
      • Questions Concerning the Visual Text’s Creator or Source
      • Questions Concerning the Visual Text’s Purpose
      • Questions Concerning the Visual Text’s Audience
      • Questions Concerning Your Response to the Visual Text
    • Writing a Rhetorical Analysis of a Visual Text
      • Step 1 -- Carefully Read the Assignment
      • Step 2 -- Analyze and Describe the Text
      • Step 3 -- Establish the Text’s Rhetorical Situation
      • Step 4 -- Determine How the Text Attempts to Achieve Its Rhetorical Goals
      • Step 5 -- Determine Your Thesis
      • Step 6 -- Write a Rough Draft
      • Step 7 -- Revise Your Essay
    • Sample Rhetorical Analysis of a Visual Text
    • An Effective Advertisment for Literacy Support
    • Summary Chart: How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis of a Visual Text
    • Rhetorical Analysis of a Visual Text Revision Checklist
  11. Informative Synthesis
    • Definition and Purpose
    • Types of Synthesis Essays
    • Reading: “Humanity 2.? Enhancement, Evolution and the Possible Futures of Humanity,” by Sarah Chan
    • Reading: “On Designer Babies: Genetic Enhancement of Human Embryos Is Not a Practice for Civil Societies,” by Sheldon Krimsky
    • Reading: “A Moderate Approach to Enhancement,” by Michael Selgelid
    • Informative Synthesis
      • Definition
      • Writing an Informative Synthesis
    • Sample Informative Synthesis
    • The Ethical Debate over Human Enhancement and Designer Babies
    • Summary Chart: How to Write an Informative Synthesis
    • Informative Synthesis Revision Checklist
  12. Argumentative Synthesis
    • Definition and Purpose
    • The Elements of Argument
      • Claims
      • Grounds
      • Warrants
    • Argument and Persuasion
      • Appeals Based on Reason
      • Appeals Based on Emotion
      • Appeals Based on Character and Credibility
    • Writing an Argumentative Synthesis
      • Step 1 -- Analyze the Assignment
      • Step 2 -- Annotate and Critique the Readings
      • Step 3 -- Formulate a Thesis
      • Step 4 -- Choose an Organizational Plan
      • Step 5 -- Write Your Rough Draft
      • Step 6 -- Revise Your Draft
      • Step 7 -- Check Quotations and Documentation
    • Sample Argumentative Synthesis
    • Make Human Enhancement Available to All
    • Additional Reading: “A New Definition of Leadership,” by Josh Misner
    • Additional Reading: “Understanding Your Leadership Balance,” by Lee Ellis
    • Additional Reading: “A Question of Leadership,” by Gene Klann and Talula Cartwright
    • Summary Chart: How to Write an Argumentative Synthesis
    • Argumentative Synthesis Revision Checklist
  13. Plagiarism
    • Definition
    • Forms of Plagiarism
      • Purchasing a Paper
      • Turning in a Paper Someone Else Has Written for You
      • Turning in Another Student’s Work without That Student’s Knowledge
      • Improper Collaboration
      • Copying a Paper from a Source Text without Proper Acknowledgment
      • Cutting and Pasting Material from Sources
      • Lifting Images from the Web or Other Sources
      • Copying Statistics
      • Copying Material from a Source Text, Supplying Proper Documentation, but Leaving Out Quotation Marks
      • Paraphrasing Material from a Reading without Proper Documentation
      • Self-Plagiarism
    • Why Students Plagiarize Work
    • How to Avoid Plagiarism
      • Do Your Own Work
      • Take Good Notes
      • Paraphrase Properly
      • Supply Proper Documentation
      • Online Plagiarism Check
      • Clarify Collaboration Guidelines
    • Summary Chart: Plagiarism
    • Plagiarism Checklist
  14. Documentation
    • Definition and Purpose
    • Types of Documentation
    • Primary Academic Style Manuals
    • APA Guidelines
      • In-Text Documentation
      • Footnotes and Endnotes
    • MLA Guidelines
      • In-Text Documentation
      • Footnotes and Endnotes
  15. Reference Lists and Works Cited Entries
    • Definition and Purpose
    • APA Format
      • Sample Reference List Entries
      • Sample APA-Style Reference List
    • MLA Format
      • Sample Works Cited Entries
      • Sample MLA-Style Works Cited List

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