Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

The Essentials of Writing: Ten Core Concepts, 2nd Edition

  • Robert P. Yagelski
  • ISBN-10: 1337091731
  • ISBN-13: 9781337091732
  • 352 Pages | Paperback
  • Previous Editions: 2015
  • COPYRIGHT: 2018 Published
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About the Product

Robert P. Yagelski's THE ESSENTIALS OF WRITING: TEN CORE CONCEPTS is designed for instructors who want a short, flexible writing guide using the core concepts as a framework. These ten fundamental lessons that students need to learn to become sophisticated writers are covered thoroughly in Chapters 2 through 4. The essentials version also offers practical advice about features of analytical and argument writing, developing an academic writing style, synthesizing ideas, designing documents, conducting research, and evaluating and documenting sources. The second edition includes new chapters on analytical and argumentative writing, updated guidance on finding digital resources, thoroughly revised coverage of MLA documentation to reflect the new 2016 MLA guidelines, and more.


  • Ten Core Concepts: The ten core concepts represent the ten most important moves and habits of effective writers. As presented in this guide, they function as a set of principles and processes that students can apply to any writing project. The core concepts serve as a framework for understanding writing and as a practical, step-by-step guide for negotiating the demands of college writing assignments.

  • Visual, Interactive Guide: Chapter 3 presents a visual, interactive guide that students can use to apply the core concepts to any piece of writing. Students who use the questions and flow charts in this chapter can be assured that they will do the critical thinking and make the decisions necessary for creating an effective writing project.

  • Detailed Case Study: Chapter 4 presents a detailed case study of a first-year student writer as she applies the concepts. For students who like to see a model in action, this chapter demonstrates Chloe Charles's process of discovery and learning. Students see the evolution of her guiding thesis statement, draft with peer and instructor comments, and final draft.

  • Fundamentals of Academic Writing: Students learn how to work with ideas and information in Chapter 7. Through instruction and example, they learn about the principles of academic inquiry and how to write like a scholar; how to write well-developed, coherent, and cohesive paragraphs; how to summarize, paraphrase, and synthesize ideas; how to frame an argument; and how to introduce a writing project and guide readers through it by effectively using transitions.

  • Using Sources: Four chapters on using and documenting sources (Chapters 9-12) provide all the research information students need to find, evaluate, integrate, and document sources in MLA style. The rhetorical context is emphasized throughout to help students make choices that will resonate with their readers.

  • Document Design: The rhetorical usefulness and the principles of document design are covered in a separate chapter that also discusses three design projects in different media: print documents, Prezi presentations, and website design. Advice about working with visual elements such as tables, charts, graphs, and images is also included.

About the Author

Robert P. Yagelski

Robert P. Yagelski is Associate Vice Provost and Director of the Program in Writing and Critical Inquiry and Professor of English Education in the Department of Educational Theory and Practice at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany. He also teaches courses at SUNY-Albany in writing, composition theory and pedagogy, critical pedagogy, and qualitative research methods and helps prepare secondary school teachers. Considered a leading voice in composition theory, Professor Yagelski is widely published in the major journals in the field. He is also director of the Capital District Writing Project, a site of the National Writing Project, and former director of the SUNY-Albany Writing Center. He earned his Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition from The Ohio State University.

Table of Contents

1. Why We Write.
Understanding Writing. Writing in College. Writing in the Workplace. Writing as a Citizen. Writing to Understand Ourselves.
2. Ten Core Concepts for Effective Writing.
Core Concept 1: Writing Is a Process of Discovery and Learning. Core Concept 2: Good Writing Fits the Context. Core Concept 3: The Medium Is Part of the Message. Core Concept 4: A Writer Must Have Something to Say. Core Concept 5: A Writer Must Support Claims and Assertions. Core Concept 6: Purpose Determines Form, Style, and Organization in Writing. Core Concept 7: Writing Is a Social Activity. Core Concept 8: Revision Is an Essential Part of Writing. Core Concept 9: There Is Always a Voice in Writing, Even When There Isn't an I. Core Concept 10: Good Writing Means More Than Good Grammar.
3. The Core Concepts in Action.
Step 1: Discover and Explore a Topic. Step 2: Examine the Rhetorical Context. Step 3: Select an Appropriate Medium. Step 4: Have Something to Say. Step 5: Back Up What You Say. Step 6: Establish a Form and Structure for Your Project. Step 7: Get Feedback. Step 8: Revise. Step 9: Strengthen Your Voice. Step 10: Make It Correct.
4. A Student Writer Applies the Core Concepts.
Step 1: Discover and Explore a Topic. Step 2: Examine the Rhetorical Context. Step 3: Select an Appropriate Medium. Step 4: Have Something to Say. Step 5: Back Up What You Say. Step 6: Establish a Form and Structure for Your Project. Step 7: Get Feedback. Step 8: Revise. Step 9: Strengthen Your Voice. Step 10: Make It Correct. Chloe Charles' Final Draft: "Why Is College So Important in the United States?"
5. Understanding Analytical Writing.
Occasions for Analytical Writing. Understanding Analytical Writing in College. Doing Analysis. Features of Analytical Writing. "Why Mothers and Daughters Tangle Over Hair," by Deborah Tannen. Writing Projects.
6. Understanding Argument.
Occasions for Argument. Understanding Argument in College. Making Arguments. Developing a Main Argument. Considering the Rhetorical Situation. Making a Persuasive Appeal. Appraising and Using Evidence. Structuring an Argument. Features of Argument. "Why N.C.A.A. Athletes Shouldn't Be Paid," by Ekow N. Yankah. Writing Projects.
7. Working with Ideas and Information.
Understanding Academic Writing as Conversation. Developing an Academic Writing Style. Writing Paragraphs. Summarizing and Paraphrasing. Synthesizing. Framing. Introductions. Transitions.8. Designing Documents.
Understanding Document Design as a Rhetorical Tool. Principles of Document Design. Working with Visual Elements. Designing Documents: Three Sample Projects.
9. Finding Source Material.
Understanding Research. Determining What You Need. Understanding Sources. Locating the Right Sources. Developing a Search Strategy.
10. Evaluating Sources.
Determining Whether a Source Is Trustworthy. Credibility. Reliability. Understanding Bias. Evaluating Source Material for Your Rhetorical Purposes.
11. Using Source Material.
Quoting from Sources. Additional Guidelines for Quoting from Sources. Avoiding Plagiarism.
12. Citing Sources Using MLA Style.
Two Main Components in MLA Style. Creating In-Text Citations in MLA Style. Creating a Works Cited List in MLA Style. Sample MLA-Style Research Paper. "Anxieties Over Electracy," by Matt Searle.

New to this edition

  • New Introductions to Analysis and Argument: New chapters on "Understanding Analytical Writing" (Chapter 5) and "Understanding Argument" (Chapter 6) introduce students to the key features of these two important forms of academic writing. The chapters also include annotated professional readings, and offer Writing Project assignments that provide ideas for students' own compositions.
  • New Student Case Study: Chapter 4 features a new student project and allows students to see how Chloe Charles applied the ten core concepts to a real writing assignment. The chapter follows Chloe's composing process and shows her work at many stages, from developing a guiding thesis statement, to responding to peer and instructor feedback to a draft, to her final submitted essay.
  • New “Talking About This Reading” Dialogue with Students: The professional readings in Chapters 5 and 6 are accompanied by a unique, new "Talking About This Reading" feature in which real students comment on challenging elements or inspiring ideas in the reading. Author Bob Yagelski replies to each student comment with specific reading strategies or advice on how to use an idea as a starting point for a writing project.
  • Updated Guidance for Finding and Using Sources: Chapters 9, 10, and 11 have been carefully revised to provide students with up-to-date guidance for finding, evaluating, and using relevant and reliable source materials for their research projects. This revised discussion will help students navigate the rapidly changing nature of digital technologies, which can improve the availability of source material but also complicate the process of locating and evaluating that material.
  • Updated MLA Guidelines: Chapter 12 has been extensively revised to reflect the new 2016 MLA guidelines for documenting sources. The chapter also includes many new model citations and new digital examples to help students cite sources accurately.
  • Expanded Discussion of Plagiarism and How to Avoid It: Chapter 11 includes new material that helps students understand plagiarism in the context of the rapidly expanding availability of materials on the Internet. This expanded discussion includes specific strategies that students can use to avoid plagiarism and basic principles for using intellectual property.