Writing Resources

Scholarly or academic writing is an important skill for graduate students and scholars. As a graduate school professor, it is evident that many students who are good critical thinkers and good writers still struggle in scholarly writing. Often the struggle is simply adjusting to writing a doctorate level. Below are a number of resources that I recommend regularly to students and scholars who are trying to master academic writing. Tip for my students: I keep this page open when grading papers so I can quickly cut and paste the links from this page into students papers. If you are familiar with these sources, you may be able to save both of us quite a bit of time!

Writing Videos by Louis Hoffman, PhD
I developed a number of writing videos to aid in providing feedback to students and helping students succeed in courses that I teach. A list of these videos with links is provided on this page.

Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL) 
The link here is to the section of Purdue’s writing lab on APA style; however, they have many other valuable resources you may want to peruse and bookmark. Below are some links to specific OWL pages I refer students to often.

APA Style Essentials by Dr. Douglas Degelman
This is a great quick cheat sheet for many APA style basics.

Grammar Girl
Grammar Girl is a great resource for grammar questions. Below is my most common Grammar Girl referral:

APA Style
This is the American Psychological Association’s site for APA style. While obviously they would like everyone to buy the APA Style Manual, they do have many nice resources here as well. Below are some of my most common referalls to APAstyle.org:

Welcome, singular “they” (APA Style Blog)
The use of “she or he” is out, “they” is in. This has been debated in academic writing circles for a while; however, in 2019 more dictionaries and academic writing styles have begun endorsing the use of the singular they to be more inclusive of non-binary individuals and others who identify with other gender pronouns besides she or he.

Gendered Language and the Historical Context
This is a link to an article on the APA Style Blog on how to handle gendered language in quotes. Because it can potentially change the meaning, as of now APA style requires to leave gendered language in the quotes that would now be written in gender-inclusive language.

Determining and Using Scholarly Resources
This is a webpage that I developed pertaining to a common problem I encounter when grading papers.

Internet Resources and Scholarly Writing
This is a webpage that I developed to assist students in thinking through how to use internet resources in an appropriate manner in scholarly writing.

The First Person Plural in Scholarly Writing
This is a very common error, and I give feedback on this to student quite regularly. While the first person plural is acceptable and commonplace in some form of writing, there are good reasons to avoid it in scholarly writing. This webpage helps detail this.

Correctly Using Hyphens, En Dashes, Em Dashes and More
Distinguishing between hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes can be confusing. Understanding when to use each can reduce errors and improve the quality of your writing. In particular, correct use of the em dash can clarify your writing, especially in sentences that already require a several commas.

Hanging Phrases and Fragments
This is an error I see frequently, especially among people accustomed to writing in poetic styles or engaging in certain forms of public speaking.

Using Stories and Examples in Scholarly Writing
Many students and professionals like to include some stories and examples, including clinical vignettes, in papers. While this can be appropriate and even helpful, these often are not done in a scholarly manner. This page provides some brief guides to help use these more effectively.

Purdue Writing Lab: Independent and Dependent Clauses

Plagiarism, Self-Plagiarism and Fair Use
This resource is written for scholars publishing their work; however, it applies to students as well. In most academic programs there are clear policies prohibiting self-plagiarism as well as plagiarism. Most colleges and universities now use resources such as TurnItIn.com that readily identify plagiarism and self-plagiarism. The consequences for violating these policies vary, but can be quite strict, including some schools having a zero tolerance policy. You are investing large amounts of money and time in your education; it is best to make sure that every paper you write is an original piece of your own work. Do not risk your professional future by recycling papers.

Critical Thinking in Scholarly Writing (Video) by Louis Hoffman
This video was originally created for a class I designed; however, it covers many important basics of scholarly writing and critical thinking, including information on how to reference in APA style. If taking a class with me I highly recommend you view this video. It gives you some tips on my approach to grading papers as well.

Critical Thinking in Online Classroom Participation (Video) by Louis Hoffman
Discussion in online classrooms is increasingly a common component of college and graduate school education. This is a form of scholarly writing/communication; however, it is different than writing an essay or scholarly paper. Although there is great variability in what professors expect in online classroom discussion, this video provides an overview of some important aspects of online classroom discussion. If taking a course with me it will be particularly relevant.


There are many problems, but I think there is a solution to all these problems; it’s just one, and it’s education.

— Malala Yousafzai