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About Writing: A Guide

(53 reviews)

Robin Jeffrey, Klamath Community College

Copyright Year: 2016

Publisher: Open Oregon Educational Resources

Language: English

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Reviewed by Ignacio Mendez, Director of Library Services, Red Lake Nation College on 11/29/22

It covers the basics, which helps students who might be new to the subject. It could expand on its topics since it's a bit brief in some areas, which could use more expanding upon. read more

Reviewed by Kayla Rapet, Instructor, Southern Oregon University on 11/28/22

While the text covers an array of topics within the genre of writing, the information is presented in brief soundbytes. This would be a great text to pair with in-class activities where more scaffolding and more support is provided (such as... read more

Reviewed by Rachel Casey, Assistant Professor, University of Southern Maine on 3/24/21

The book seems imbalanced in its combination of presenting basic concepts and assuming the reader's previous knowledge of such concepts. For example, the book does not explain what a thesis statement is, but highlights very basic grammar concepts.... read more

Reviewed by Marina del Sol, Master Instructor, Howard University on 2/26/21

About Writing: A Guide by Robin Jeffery includes information related to the major content areas for first year writing at the college level (e.g., composing, researching, citation, grammar, etc.). The book is organized by themes and is formatted... read more

Reviewed by Karen Pleasant, Adjunct Instructor, Rogue Community College on 8/23/20

The book covers the basics for either WR 121 or WR 122 and uses many illustrations and charts to simplify key concepts. It addresses both MLA and APA and opposing arguments in an understandable manner. read more

Reviewed by Anna Erwert, Lecturer, Portland Community College on 6/7/20

The lack of introductions to the sections is a bit unfortunate, I think. For research, for example, a short blurb on what academic research is for (as in, not to copy ideas, but to study them and make one's own position in conversation with those... read more

Reviewed by Cheryl McKearin, Lecturer, University of Illinois at Chicago on 1/7/20

This textbook covers a lot of the basics of writing, but this is a short handbook meant to be referenced. It is as the title suggests: a guide to writing, not an in-depth how-to of thesis creation, analysis, and the art of persuasion. read more

Reviewed by Christine Zabala, Graduate Student, CU Boulder on 6/5/19, updated 7/1/19

The book definitely introduces a lot of content. In that sense, I think that the book is trying to be comprehensive in terms of what it takes to write a college level paper -- how to read sources critically, how to understand a prompt, how to... read more

Reviewed by Jessica Parker, Director of First Year Writing/Associate Professor, Metropolitan State University of Denver on 5/13/19

This is a basic handbook. It has brief coverage of MLA, APA, and CMS citation, but would need to be supplemented with more material on citation style for a class focused on research writing. The coverage of typical issues with things like... read more

Reviewed by James Gapinski, Instructional Specialist, Chemeketa Community College on 3/13/19

ABOUT WRITING is a handbook, pure and simple. It is concise and pointed. It gives the nuts and bolts of essay writing. If you’re looking for an intertextual reader that includes a lot of fully fleshed out examples, look elsewhere. If you want a... read more

Reviewed by Colleen Boardman, Adjunct Faculty, Linn-Benton Community College on 3/5/19

The chapters in this book concerned with the values of academic writing, composition, and basic research were reasonably comprehensive while remaining short and to the point. However, I felt as if the chapter on basic grammar was an afterthought,... read more

Reviewed by Randi Ploszaj, English Instructor, Morton College on 1/14/19

Overall, the text provides a good introduction to basic academic writing principles and skills. Some sections would benefit from extended examples to model skills for novice writers. For example, "How to: Write a Summary" succinctly presents the... read more

Reviewed by Jenn Kamrar, English Faculty, Columbia Gorge Community College on 11/8/18

The book is comprehensive, yes, but where it has breadth, it lacks depth. Indeed, this text could not be used as a stand alone teaching option; it is, primarily, a guide — and rough one at that. The first part of the book, “Composition” is clear,... read more

Reviewed by Erica Braverman, Part-time English Composition Instructor, Portland Community College on 8/2/18

The text offers a comprehensive range of areas and ideas for writing students and teachers. The table of contents is well organized and easy to navigate. read more

Reviewed by Jacinta Galea'i, Adjunct Instructor, Portland Community College on 8/2/18

At first glance, the contents do offer instructors a comprehensive list of key writing areas that should be covered in a college writing class. For example, it includes topics like writing styles, active reading, and assessing writing situations... read more

Reviewed by Jeffrey Baluch, Adjunct Professor, Rhode Island College on 6/19/18

The text is user friendly and offers a cornucopia of quick references whether it be for grammar usage, proper citation rules, revision strategies or getting started. read more

Reviewed by Jamie Daugherty, Assistant Professor, Fontbonne University on 5/21/18

Writing is a large topic and I like how the guide breaks this subject matter down into sections highlighting composition, academic writing, researching and even grammar and editing in general. This guide focuses on the broadness of different... read more

Reviewed by Sharon Burns, Associate Professor of English, University of Cincinnati Clermont College on 3/27/18

Basic in both form and format, this book takes a simplistic approach to college-level writing that is relatively straightforward in its attention to the composing process. The book is definitely accessible and user-friendly for students and... read more

Reviewed by Zdenko Juskuv, Adjunct Professor, Rhode Island College on 2/1/18

Jeffrey's text is quite comprehensive, covering all the basics of writing, including composing, revising, researching and grammar. However, the text does fall short in a few areas. First, it doesn't offer a lot of information/advice on... read more

Reviewed by James Rajotte, Adjunct Professor, Rhode Island College on 2/1/18

This book provides a very robust discussion of the main components of writing while not being too detailed and lengthy. Adequate coverage of the concepts listed within the table of contents. A few more examples could be included with the questions... read more

Reviewed by F. Daniel Rzicznek, Senior Lecturer, Bowling Green State University on 2/1/18

The text seems very comprehensive and I liked how it was organized. This organization was reflected in the table of contents. The fact that various subjects related to writing have been compartmentalized will help students find what they're... read more

Reviewed by VINCENT LASNIK, Adjunct Professor, Rogue Community College on 8/15/17

A reasonable comprehensiveness for introductory college-level composition courses (WR121) is a strength of About Writing: A Guide. Many of the basic boilerplate concepts in a Composition I (freshman level) course are included and credibly,... read more

Reviewed by Sara Atwood, Adjunct instructor, Portland Community College on 8/15/17

This book is an effective primer in grammar for students who are in need of a review, or those who have not had a sound foundation in grammar. It is not comprehensive, in that it is not intended as a course in English grammar; rather, it addresses... read more

Reviewed by Nancy Rowe, Instructor, Loyola University New Orleans on 6/20/17

The text feels more like an outline or a powerpoint presentation than a comprehensive guide to writing. This text might work as a general overview, but it lacks specific examples to help guide the writer. At times, the text provides examples but... read more

Reviewed by Timothy Francisco, Professor, Youngstown State University on 6/20/17

In important places where students often need practice and further guidance, such as with Point of View, tense, etc., the selections aren't terribly comprehensive. There are some brief explanations of what the terms/concepts are, but I would fine... read more

Reviewed by Jim Cooper, Adjunct English Instructor, Chemeketa Community College on 6/20/17

This guide, though not a handbook, covers all of the essentials of college writing and the writing process. It is easy to navigate, with a drop down menu and links to the various sections. However, within the sections, much that I would like to... read more

Reviewed by JoAnne Knowles, Instructor, Portland Community College on 6/20/17

I was attracted to About Writing at first because the preview said that the book "covers everything the beginning writing student needs." Unfortunately, About Writing doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. I teach English Composition and... read more

Reviewed by Amy Flessert, Assistant Professor, Northern Virginia Community College on 6/20/17

Comprehensiveness is one of the weaker aspects of this text. While there are sections for much of what I teach in this book, they are not particularly comprehensive. Often they are a bullet list of questions or points for the students to "check."... read more

Reviewed by Tridha Chatterjee, Lecturer, Boston University on 6/20/17

The book covers a wide range of topics relevant for students who are beginning to learn the conventions of academic writing. But, the engagement with these topics is at a superficial level. There are quite a few chapters in the book where the... read more

Reviewed by Pary Fassihi, Lecturer of Academic Writing, Boston University on 6/20/17

Although the book seems to be touching on the most problematic areas of academic writing for undergraduate students, it could not necessarily be considered a comprehensive text, covering all areas of academic writing. Many of the “chapters” are... read more

Reviewed by Derrian Goebel, Part-Time Credit Instructor, Lane Community College on 6/20/17

This online resource covers many of the mainstream writing class needs, such as having writing styles (MLA, APA, and CMS), research writing, academic writing and basic composition writing. However, this resource has no glossary; students taking... read more

Reviewed by Heather Botsford, Instructor, Southeastern Louisiana University on 6/20/17

About Writing: A Guide covers all of the basic areas of writing including composing, revising, academic writing, research, citation styles, basic grarmmar, and common challenges for ESL students. The table of contents is easy to use with links to... read more

Reviewed by Phyllis Nissila, Instructor, Lane Community College, Eugene, Oregon on 6/20/17

The text reflects the title: it is a guide about writing. Used that way, it provides basic information, if a bit brief in several places, for anyone looking for a reference guide or a place to start lesson planning. There are also several useful... read more

Reviewed by Andrea Wood, Associate Professor, Winona State University on 6/20/17

The text provides a broad overview but does not go into great depth on many of the issues it covers. Consequently, it lacks the level of substantive detail to be deeply comprehensive but could be a nice accompanying text to give students an... read more

Reviewed by Laura Beadling, Associate Professor, Youngstown State University on 6/20/17

The book covers the relevant aspects of college writing. The major sections of the book - Composing, Academic Writing, Researching, MLA/APA./CMS, Basic Grammar, Grammatical Sentences, Multilingual Writers and ESL Challenges, and Revising -... read more

Reviewed by Tracy Henninger-Willey, Contracted Faculty, Lane Community College on 6/20/17

At first glance I thought the text was not comprehensive because of how short each section was. However, the more time I spent with the text, the more I feel that for the most part it strikes the right balance between conciseness and... read more

Reviewed by Rita Dandridge, Professor, Virginia State University on 6/20/17

The book lacks comprehensiveness. For instance, the author fails to discuss the eight parts of speech in any detail. The pronoun is missing, and the discussion of conjunctions is limited to subordinating conjunctions. The coordinating conjunction... read more

Reviewed by Claudia Hutchison, Adjunct Professor, Portland Community College on 6/20/17

About Writing: A Guide introduces the basic concepts that one would expect in a first year college writing class. It delineates four types of writing styles, giving concise explanations of each. The components of academic writing discussed include... read more

Reviewed by Susan Iversen, DE instructor, Portland Community College on 6/20/17

The book asks writers questions for self-reflection but does not explain and delve deeply into explanation or give examples. read more

Reviewed by Laurie Trybom, Adjunct Instructor, Portland Community College on 6/20/17

About Writing :A Guide: is a text that could really be utilized with a group of Adult Basic Skills Students. The book is a basic that can be used accordingly with students who are at different academic levels within the same setting. The text... read more

Reviewed by Amanda Jacob, English Instructor, Northshore Technical Community College on 6/20/17

While the book covers many fantastic topics, some topics would benefit from fuller attention. While the inclusion of questions to guide students is helpful, at times more explanation would make the book more effective. The index is helpful, yet a... read more

Reviewed by Jennie Englund, Instructor, Composition I & II, Rogue Community College, Oregon on 4/11/17

This review examines Open Oregon Educational Resources’ “About Writing: A Guide,” by Robin Jeffrey (2016), of Klamath Community College. Its nature as a guide stays true to that; it is about 132 pages in length, with 50 chapters arranged into... read more

Reviewed by Kathryn Boylan, Assistant Professor, Virginia Western Community College on 4/11/17

The text basically covers most of the information needed about the writing process. Part One on Composition is lacking in some areas though. Brainstorming techniques for those who are struggling to come up with a writing topic should be covered,... read more

Reviewed by Kelli Hallsten Erickson, English Faculty, Lake Superior College on 4/11/17

There is a table of contents, but no index or glossary. It contains brushstrokes covering major concepts and gets more nuanced with some topics-- specifically analyzing texts and revision--a bit inexplicably—why these and not others? Audience is... read more

Reviewed by Jean Mittelstaedt, Adjunct writing teacher, Chemeketa Community College on 4/11/17

The text is divided into 8 parts, each a broad area within the field of student writing. Parts range from “Composing” and “Researching” to citation, grammar, and revising. The first part opens with “types of writing styles,” which works well... read more

Reviewed by Kate Maurer, Assistant Professor, Anoka-Ramsey Community College on 4/11/17

_About Writing: A Guide_ appears to be intended as a tool which can take the place of needing a handbook AND a rhetoric or reader in classes such as a basic entry-level college writing class. The scope of the work is appropriate for novice... read more

Reviewed by Lucille Minuto, Adjunct Instructor, Rhode Island College on 4/11/17

Comprehensiveness The text covers a great deal of materials without overwhelming the writing and grammar adverse students. A student can easily find the section/chapter that they need to work on and start there. Each part is comprehensive enough... read more

Reviewed by Nancy Easterlin, Research Professor of English and Professor of Women's and Gender Studies, University of New Orleans on 2/15/17

In the range of material covered, this text is comprehensive for an introductory-level college composition course, but it is extremely superficial, and thus not truly comprehensive. Many important concepts or aspects of writing are not explained... read more

Reviewed by Lucia Carminati, PhD Candidate, University of Arizona on 2/8/17

The text exhaustively covers a wide range of different materials and strives to, and indeed succeeds, to do so effectively. Unfortunately there are no index or glossary: they would have been extremely useful tools for readers. read more

Reviewed by Joshua Watson, Instructor, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College on 2/8/17

Content areas are brief, but thorough, leaving more time for students to gain greater insight by actually attempting concepts as opposed to just reading about them. read more

Reviewed by Kayla Forrest, Graduate Teaching Assistant, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro on 12/5/16

Overall, the text does a nice job addressing many aspects of writing, with a specific focus on academic writing. In particular, I found that the grammar sections were helpful in breaking down grammatical concepts that often confuse and frustrate... read more

Reviewed by Kole Matheson, Affiliate Instructor , Old Dominion University on 12/5/16

Determining if a book about writing is comprehensive, saying that all areas and ideas of the subject are covered, is not possible without first defining the context for such a determination. I have chosen to assess About Writing: A Guide by Robin... read more

Reviewed by Holly DeGrow, Instructor, Mt Hood Community College on 12/5/16

The text has good coverage of many aspects of writing. The divisions and discussion of types of writing are useful for beginning students who are trying to get a grasp on purpose. Maybe that preliminary section could finish off with a brief... read more

Table of Contents

  • About the Author
  • Composing
  • Academic writing
  • Researching
  • Basic Grammar
  • Grammatical Sentences
  • Multilingual Writers and ESL Challenges
  • Revising

Ancillary Material

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  • About the Book

    This writer's reference condenses and covers everything a beginning writing student should need to successfully compose college-level work. The book covers the basics of composition and revising, including how to build a strong thesis, how to peer review a fellow student's work, and a handy checklist for revision, before moving on to a broad overview of academic writing. Included for those students who need writing help at the most basic level are comprehensive sections on sentence style and grammar, verbs, nouns and other tenets of basic grammar. Finally, the sections on research and citation should help any student find solid evidence for their school work and cite it correctly, as well as encouraging an understanding of why citation is so important in the first place. This is a guide that is useful to writing students of all levels, either as a direct teaching tool or a simple reference.

    About the Contributors


    This guide was created by Robin Jeffrey, LRC Director at Klamath Community College, in Spring of 2015. The Revised Edition was created by Robin Jeffrey, LRC Director at Klamath Community College, in Summer of 2016. 

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