Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

Writing in the Works, 2016 MLA Update, 4th Edition

  • Susan Blau
  • Kathryn Burak
  • ISBN-10: 1337281034
  • ISBN-13: 9781337281034
  • 688 Pages | Paperback
  • Previous Editions: 2017, 2013, 2010
  • COPYRIGHT: 2017 Published
Request a Copy for Review


About the Product

In this fourth edition of WRITING IN THE WORKS, the authors have maintained their dual focus on writing as both an academic and practical tool. At the same time, they have updated the content and the spirit of the book for the contemporary writing environment. Students learn to write for the digital world—where visual and verbal messages are inseparable—and do so by exploring serious ideas that will engage a real-world audience. Throughout the book, and in three new chapters, the authors emphasize the skills of synthesizing, defining, and evaluating—skills central to the development of good academic writing and good real-world writing. Students are encouraged to take chances, think big thoughts, and practice skills which will prepare them to ride the global communications wave as more confident, capable writers. This edition has been updated to reflect guidelines from the 2016 MLA HANDBOOK, Eighth Edition.


  • The book helps improve student motivation and student writing with assignments on writing to explore, inform, analyze, and argue that have a clear application to communication in the world outside college. These assignments include a variety of genres, such as essays of ideas, memoirs, profiles, short articles, news stories, research articles, reviews, editorials, public service messages, and proposals.

  • Assignments intended for the real world and potential publication help students understand the importance of audience. Meaningful contextualized writing assignments help students see themselves as writers in communication with a real audience.

  • The book helps students connect the writing skills they learn in college to the writing they will do for their careers and community.

  • The book's extensive art program illustrates the importance of visual literacy and pays special attention to the role of the image—how to analyze, use, design, and incorporate the image into the written text. The "Visual Literacy" feature in each chapter encourages students to look at and analyze a variety of visual images: photographs, drawings, paintings, posters, websites, and cartoons.

  • Enhanced emphasis on technology and media includes coverage of social media (Chapter 9), blogs (Chapter 12), and visual arguments (Chapter 13).


WRITING IN THE WORKS helps students understand that all writers, whether they are professionals or students, have choices they must make during the writing process in regard to rhetorical situation: genre, purpose, audience, voice, and media and design. The text addresses a variety of different types of writing, many that might interest students, including: writing for social media platforms, writing reviews, and writing for the community. The text also provides students with information on conducting research and a grammar review."
— Melissa Vosen Callens, North Dakota State University

About the Author

Susan Blau

Susan Blau was a professor and director of the Undergraduate Writing program and the Writing Center at Boston University's College of Communication. She received her BS in Education from the University of Vermont and her MA in English from the University of Connecticut, and was a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow. Her background is in linguistics, composition and rhetoric, and American Literature. She has taught writing in both English and Communication Departments and has published articles, conducted workshops, and presented papers at national conferences on the topics of teaching writing, writing across the curriculum, and writing center research and practice.

Kathryn Burak

Kathryn Burak has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a BA in English from Kutztown University. She has taught writing at North Carolina State University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Boston University. She is the author of a novel, EMILY'S DRESS AND OTHER MISSING THINGS, and her poetry, fiction, and essays have been published in such journals and magazines as Fiction, Missouri Review, Western Humanities Review, Gettysburg Review, Belt, and Seventeen. Her interests include teaching English to speakers of other languages.

Table of Contents

1. The Rhetorical Situation: Writers’ Choices.
2. The Writer's Process.
3. Collaboration, Peer Review, and Writing as a Public Act.
4. Reading, Thinking, and Writing Critically.
5. Writing a Narrative: Memoirs.
6. Writing about Others: Profiles.
7. Synthesizing Information: The Essay of Ideas.
8. Writing Short Articles: The Explainer.
9. Writing a Report: News for Print, Web, and Social Media.
10. Writing an Evaluation: Reviews.
11. Writing a Causal Analysis: Long Researched Articles.
12. Writing an Argument: Editorials, Commentaries, and Blogs.
13. Creating a Visual Argument: Public Service Messages.
14. Writing for Your Community: Proposals.
15. Research.
16. Documentation (MLA and APA Guidelines).
17. Grammar Refresher.
18. Punctuation.
19. Common Errors.
MindTap Online Chapter. Trouble Spots for Nonnative Speakers.

New to this edition

  • The MLA documentation reflects significant changes in the new MLA HANDBOOK Eighth Edition, published in April 2016.
  • ENHANCED Emphasis on critical thinking: Critical thinking and critical reading are introduced in a stand-alone chapter (4). Each assignment chapter that follows includes critical thinking questions based on the readings as well as a prompt for students to "imitate" some aspect of the style or technique used in the reading.
  • NEW Chapter on the Explainer (8): Students learn how to write short articles (popularized by Slate Magazine) that provide answers to questions such as: Why were animals so big in the past? How do you fake your own death? They also learn to incorporate into their answers the larger implications that reveal patterns in behavior, historical context, or scientific phenomenon.
  • NEW Focus on the spoken word and social media: In each assignment chapter, an updated "DIY (Do It Yourself) Media and Design" feature—which highlights the application of each writing genre in an alternate media—now includes such micro genres as the graphic memoir, a spoken word project, the speech and the podcast, and PechaKucha, the art of concise presentations.
  • EXPANDED Chapter on Reviews: Chapter 10, "Writing an Evaluation: Reviews," now includes guidance on writing film reviews as well as restaurant, music album, and video game reviews.
  • EXPANDED Coverage of visual literacy: Many of the practice exercises focus on deconstructing and analyzing the bold images that are featured in each chapter. Each assignment chapter features a visual literacy exercise, honing students' ability to create as well as analyze images. The causal analysis chapter (11) introduces data storytelling through infographics.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the Main title.
Please see Main title page for new to this edition information.

Instructor Supplements

Instructor's Companion Website  (ISBN-10: 1305092112 | ISBN-13: 9781305092112)

For additional instructor support materials, including PowerPoint slides and the instructor’s manual, go to The instructor’s manual provides teaching suggestions, suggested answers to exercises, and a sample course syllabus to assist instructors in teaching the course.

MindTap English, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access for Blau/Burak's Writing in the Works  (ISBN-10: 1305674693 | ISBN-13: 9781305674691)

MindTap English for Writing in the Works, 4th Edition is the digital learning solution that powers students from memorization to mastery. It gives you complete control of your course—to provide engaging content, to challenge every individual, and to build their confidence. Empower students to accelerate their progress with MindTap. MindTap: Powered by You. MindTap engages students to become better thinkers, communicators, and writers as they review every aspect of the writing process. Interactive activities emphasize grammar and mechanics. A paper management system allows electronic submission, grading, and peer review while tracking potential plagiarism. Video tutorials and examples support research and professional tutoring guides students from rough drafts to polished writing. Analytics track student progress as MindTap works with existing learning management systems.

Student Supplements

MindTap English, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access for Blau/Burak's Writing in the Works  (ISBN-10: 1305674693 | ISBN-13: 9781305674691)

MindTap English for Blau/Burak’s Writing in the Works, 4th Edition helps you learn on your terms. INSTANT ACCESS IN YOUR POCKET. Take advantage of the MindTap Mobile App. Read or listen to the book and study with flashcards and practice quizzes. MINDTAP HELPS YOU GEAR UP FOR ULTIMATE SUCCESS. Track your scores and stay motivated. Improve college writing and research skills with built-in tools, such as professional tutoring, a database of scholarly sources and interactive videos to support research papers. A dictionary and other tools keep you organized and on track. You’ll know where to focus your efforts. And the MindTap Green Dot will charge your confidence along the way. MINDTAP HELPS YOU MAKE THE TEXT YOURS. No one knows what works for you better than you. Highlight key text, add notes, and create custom flashcards. When it’s time to study, gather everything you’ve flagged into a guide organize.