Strategies for Successful Writing: A Rhetoric, Research Guide, and Reader, Brief Edition

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9780130413772: Strategies for Successful Writing: A Rhetoric, Research Guide, and Reader, Brief Edition
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Written in a clear, engaging style, this 3-in-1 volume combines three books—a rhetoric, a research guide, and a reader—into one convenient learning/reference tool. The Rhetoric section presents a full range of writing strategies, along with chapters on paragraphs, sentences, style, and three specialized types of writing, and in-depth chapters on planning and drafting, as well as revising and editing a paper. The Research Guide section includes three comprehensive chapters on the research process. The Reader section contains forty-four essays that illustrate the different writing strategies and display a wide variety of styles, tones, and themes. (The book is available in an alternate version—with a convenient Handbook section.) For anyone wanting an all-in-one resource for learning or reviewing rhetorical writing strategies.

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Written in a clear, engaging style, this text combines three books -- a rhetoric, a research guide, and a reader -- into one convenient teaching tool. The rhetoric section presents a full range of writing strategies, along with chapters in paragraphs, sentences, style, and three specialized types of writing. The research guide section includes three comprehensive chapters on the research paper making supplemental handouts or guides unnecessary. The reader section contains forty-two essays that illustrate the different writing strategies and display a wide variety of styles, tones, and themes.

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The sixth edition of Strategies for Successful Writing: A Rhetoric, Research Guide, and Reader is a comprehensive textbook that offers ample material for a full-year composition course. Instructors teaching a one-term course can make selections from Chapters 1-16, from whatever types of specialized writing suit the needs of their students, and from appropriate essays in the reader.

Because we strongly believe that an effective composition textbook should address the student directly, we have aimed for a style that is conversational yet clear and concise. We believe that our style invites students into the book, lessens their apprehensions about writing, and provides a model ,for their own prose. This style complements our strong student-based approach to writing, and together they help create a text that genuinely meets student needs.

Changes in the Sixth Edition

The enthusiastic response to the five previous editions both by teachers and students has been most gratifying. The sixth edition retains the many popular features of the previous ones and incorporates a number of improvements, suggested by users and reviewers, that should considerably enhance the utility of the text. Among these changes the following are noteworthy.

  • Twelve of the essays in the Reader, over one-fourth of the total, are new. These additions significantly broaden the Reader's scope, increase its coverage of contemporary subjects, and expand its discussion potential.
  • Discussions of writing and ethics now accompany Chapter 1, the chapters that explain the individual writing strategies, and the chapters on writing about literature, the library research paper, and primary research papers. These discussions address ethical issues pertinent to writing each type of paper.
  • The writing strategy chapters now include updated and expanded suggestions for writing.
  • The library research chapters now include guidelines for evaluating Internet material and also expanded and updated guidelines for online documentation.
  • The Business Letters and Résumés chapter now includes sections on memorandums and e-mail, along with an updated form of the résumé.
  • Assorted updates and additions throughout the text, too numerous to mention individually, should help make the text even more effective.

The Rhetoric

In addition to these improvements, the text offers many other noteworthy features. The Rhetoric consists of nineteen chapters, grouped into four parts. The first part includes three chapters. Chapter 1 introduces students to the purposes of writing; the need for audience awareness, which includes a discussion of discourse communities; and the qualities of good writing. Chapter 2 looks at the planning and drafting stages. Chapter 3 takes students through the various revision stages, starting with a systematic procedure for revising the whole essay and then moving to pointers for revising its component parts. Sets of checklists pose key questions for students to consider. Chapters 2 and 3 are unified by an unfolding case history that includes the first draft of a student paper, the initial revision marked with changes, and the final version. Notes in the margin highlight key features of the finished paper. Students can relate the sequence of events to their own projects as they work through the various stages. Both chapters offer suggestions for using a word processor, and Chapter 3 explains peer evaluation of drafts, collaborative writing, and maintaining and reviewing a portfolio.

The ten chapters in the second part (Chapters 4-13) feature the various strategies, or modes, used to develop papers. These strategies, which follow a general progression from less to more complex, are presented as natural ways of thinking, as problem-solving strategies, and therefore as effective ways of organizing writing. A separate chapter is devoted to each strategy. This part concludes with a chapter on mixing the writing strategies, which explains and shows that writers frequently use these patterns in assorted combinations for various purposes. Planning and writing guidelines are presented for problem/solution and evaluation reports, two common types that rely on a combination of strategies.

Except for Chapter 13, the discussion in each chapter follows a similar approach, first explaining the key elements of the strategy; next pointing out typical classroom and on-the job applications to show students its practicality; and then providing specific planning, drafting, and revising guidelines. Practical heuristic questions are also posed. A complete student essay, accompanied by questions, follows the discussion section. These essays represent realistic, achievable goals and spur student confidence, while the questions reinforce the general principles of good writing and underscore the points we make in our discussions. Twenty carefully chosen writing suggestions follow the questions in most chapters. All chapters conclude with a section entitled "The Critical Edge." These sections, intended for above-average students, explain and illustrate how they can advance their writing purpose by synthesizing material from various sources. Synthesis, of course, helps students develop and hone their critical reading and thinking skills. Furthermore, the Annotated Instructor's Edition includes suggestions for using the Reader essays and writing strategies to build assignments around themes.

In the third part, we shift from full-length essays to the elements that make them up. Chapter 14 first discusses paragraph unity; it then takes up the topic sentence, adequate development, organization, coherence, and finally introductory, transitional, and concluding paragraphs. Throughout this chapter, as elsewhere, carefully selected examples and exercises form an integral part of the instruction.

Chapter 15 focuses on various strategies for creating effective sentences. Such strategies as coordinating and subordinating ideas and using parallelism help students to increase the versatility of their writing. The concluding section offers practical advice on crafting and arranging sentences so that they work together harmoniously. Some instructors may wish to discuss the chapters on paragraphs and sentences in connection with revision.

Chapter 16, designed to help students improve their writing style, deals with words and their effects. We distinguish between abstract and concrete words as well as between specific and general terms, and we also discuss the dictionary and thesaurus. Levels of diction—formal, informal, and technical—and how to use them are explained, as are tone, various types of figurative language, and irony. The chapter concludes by pointing out how to recognize and avoid wordiness, euphemisms, cliches, mixed metaphors, and sexist language.

The fourth and final part of the Rhetoric concentrates on three specialized types of college and on-the job writing. Chapter 17 offers practical advice on studying for exams, assessing test questions, and writing essay answers. To facilitate student comprehension, we analyze both good and poor answers to the same exam question and provide an exercise that requires students to perform similar analyses.

Chapter 18 uses Stephen Crane's "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky" as a springboard for its discussion. The chapter focuses on plot, point of view, character, setting, symbols, irony, and theme—the elements students will most likely be asked to write about. For each element, we first present basic features and then offer writing guidelines. Diverse examples illustrate these elements. The chapter ends with sections that detail the development of a student paper and explain how to include the views of others when writing about literature.

Like other parts of the text, Chapter 19 speaks to a practical reality by reminding students that the value of writing extends beyond the English classroom. Example letters address a variety of practical situations-for example, applying for a summer job.

The Research Guide

The Research Guide consists of three chapters. Chapter 20 is a thorough and practical guide to writing library research papers. A sample pacing schedule not only encourages students to plan their work and meet their deadlines but also enables them to track their progress. As in Chapters 2 and 3, a progressive case history gradually evolves into an annotated student paper, which includes the results of a personal interview, thus demonstrating that primary research can reinforce secondary research.

Chapter 21 details and illustrates the correct formats for bibliographical references and in-text citations for both the MLA and APA systems of documentation. Guidelines are based on the 1994 edition of the Publication Manual of the APA and current online updates as well as the 1999 edition of The MLA Style Manual. The chapter also explains how to handle the various types of quotations and how to avoid plagiarism. Our detailed treatment in Chapters 20 and 21 should make supplemental handouts or a separate research paper guide unnecessary.

Chapter 22 offers an in-depth discussion of interview, questionnaire, and direct-observation reports. After pointing out the nature, usefulness, and requirements of primary research, we explain how to plan and write each report, concluding with an annotated student model that illustrates the guidelines.

The Reader

The Reader, sequenced to follow the order of the strategies as presented in the Rhetoric, expands the utility of the text by providing a collection of forty-four carefully selected professional models that illustrate the various writing strategies and display a wide variety of styles, tones, and subject matter. These essays, together with the nine student models that accompany the various strategy chapters, should make a separate reader unnecessary.

The Reader section opens with a unit entitled "Strategies for Successful Reading." In it, we discuss how to read for different purposes—for information/evaluation, to critique—and explain how students can use their reading to improve their writing as well as how they can synthesize information from various sources. Several of the guidelines are applied to a professional essay. Instructors can, of course, assign this unit at any point during the term.

Each of the essays clearly illustrates the designated pattern, each has been thoroughly class tested for student interest, and each provides a springboard for a stimulating discussion. In making our selections we have aimed for balance and variety:

  1. Some are popular classics by acknowledged prose masters; some, anthologized for the first time, are by fresh, new writers.
  2. Some are straightforward and simple, some challenging and complex.
  3. Some adopt a humorous, lighthearted approach; some a serious, thoughtful one.
  4. Some take a liberal stance, some a conservative one; and some address ethnic, gender, and cultural diversity.
  5. A few are rather lengthy; most are relatively brief.

The first essay in each strategy section is annotated in the margin to show which features of the strategy are included. These annotations not only facilitate student understanding but also help link the Rhetoric and Reader into an organic whole. A brief biographical note about the author and a photograph, when available, precede each selection, and stimulating questions designed to enhance student understanding of structure and strategy follow it. In addition, a segment entitled "Toward Key Insights" poses one or more broadbased questions prompted by the essay's content. Answering these questions, either in discussion or writing, should help students gain a deeper understanding of important issues. Finally, we include a writing assignment suggested by the essay's topic.

Supplementary Material for Instructors and Students

The Annotated Instructor's Edition (0-13-041734-3) consists of the entire student edition as well as strong instructional support. The material in the margins of the text consists of background information on particular aspects of writing; key insights into how students view writing projects and why they experience difficulties; case studies that raise ethical issues for student discussion; answers to all discussion questions and to appropriate exercises in the text; supplementary exercises; teaching strategies and classroom activities that instructors may want to consider; and Reader/Theme strategies that show how to use the Reader to build writing assignments based on themes.

The Teaching Composition with Strategies for Successful Writing, Sixth Edition, (0-13-041731-9) supplement offers various suggestions for teaching first year composition, a sample syllabus for a sequence of two fifteen-week semesters, numerous guidelines for responding to student writing, and a detailed set of grading standards. In addition, it contains an extra set of twenty-item exercises that parallel those in the Handbook section of Strategies, which appears in the complete version of the text. The exercises can be used either in the classroom or as assignments.

The companion Web site for Strategies for Successful Writing, Sixth Edition, can be accessed at The site includes lecture notes, self-check quizzes, additional writing models, bulletin board/chat topics, critical thinking questions, and essay questions. WEB CT and Blackboard courses for Strategies are complete online courses that include all of the content from the Web site as well as additional material for students and instructors. These courses are available at a discounted price for instructors who adopt Strategies.

The online service allows teachers to check if students are copying their assignments from the Internet and is now free to professors using Strategies, for Successful Writing, Sixth Edition. In addition to helping teachers easily identify instances of Web-based student plagiarism, also offers a digital archiving system and an online peer review service. Professors set up a "drop box" at the Web site where their students submit papers. This online service then cross-references each submission with millions of possible online sources. Within 24 hours, teachers receive a customized color-coded "Originality Report," complete with live links to suspect Internet locations, for each submitted paper. Professors can access the site free through the faculty resources section of the Reinking Web site at

The following supplements are free when instructors order any Prentice Hall English textbook. Contact your local representative for details.

  • The New American Webster Handy College Dictionary, Third Edition
    This dictionary provides more than 115,000 definitions. It includes phrases, slang, scientific terms, advice on usage and grammar, notes on etymology, foreign words and phrases, and a word gazetteer. ISBN: 0-13-032870-7
  • English on the Internet 2001: Evaluating Online Sources

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