Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

The Essentials of Writing: Ten Core Concepts, 1st Edition

  • Robert P. Yagelski
  • ISBN-10: 1285442997
  • ISBN-13: 9781285442990
  • 352 Pages | Paperback
  • COPYRIGHT: 2015 Published
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About the Product

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 2-4. The essentials version also offers practical advice about developing an academic writing style, synthesizing ideas, designing documents, conducting research, evaluating and documenting sources, and applying the conventions of written English.


  • Ten Core Concepts. The ten core concepts give students insight into how to harness the variety, complexity, and power of writing. By boiling down the most essential attitudes and habits of effective writers into ten core concepts, The Essentials of Writing gives students a set of principles and processes for tackling any writing project

  • 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 Elizabeth Parisi’s process of discovery and learning. Students see the evolution of her discovery draft, guiding thesis statement, draft with instructor comments, and final draft.

  • Academic Writing. Students learn how to work with ideas and information in Chapter 5. 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 using by effectively using transitions.

  • Using Sources. Five chapters on using and documenting sources provide all the research information students need to find, evaluate, integrate, and document sources in MLA or APA 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.

  • Style, Grammar, and Usage. Brief treatment of common problems of style, grammar, and usage comprise the final chapter. The chapter begins with strategies students can use to avoid making errors and then covers five major categories of the conventions of written English.


“[This book has] incredibly clear explanations of concepts about how writing works; very engaging readings based on current, high-interest topics; and examples and scenarios that students will often relate to.”
— Karin Evans, College of DuPage

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.
5. Working with Ideas and Information.
Developing an Academic Writing Style. Writing Effective Paragraphs. Summarizing and Paraphrasing. Synthesizing. Framing. Introductions. Making Transitions.
6. Designing Documents.
Understanding Document Design as a Rhetorical Tool. Principles of Document Design. Working with Visual Elements. Designing Effective Documents: Three Sample Projects.
7. Finding Source Material.
Understanding Research. Determining What You Need. Understanding Sources. Developing a Search Strategy. Finding Appropriate Sources.
8. Evaluating Sources.
Determining Whether a Source Is Trustworthy. Evaluating Source Material for Your Rhetorical Purposes.
9. Using Source Material.
Quoting from Sources. Additional Guidelines. Avoiding Plagiarism.
10. Citing Sources Using MLA Style.
Two Main Components in MLA Style. Creating In-Text Citations in MLA Style. Creating a Works Cited Page in MLA Style. Sample MLA-Style Research Paper.
11. Citing Sources Using APA Style.
Two Main Components in APA Style. Creating In-Text Citations in APA Style. Creating a Bibliography in APA Style. Sample APA-Style Research Paper.
12. Avoiding Common Problems in Style, Grammar, and Usage.
Strategies for Avoiding Errors. Coordination, Subordination, and Parallelism. Common Sentence-Level Problems. Common Pronoun Errors. Word Choice and Style. Common Punctuation Errors.


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 Edition  (ISBN-10: 1285770854 | ISBN-13: 9781285770857)
Online Instructor's Resource Manual  (ISBN-10: 0618919538 | ISBN-13: 9780618919536)

Available for download on the book companion website, this manual contains valuable resources to help you maximize your class preparation efforts.