The web sites below are useful online writing resources covering such topics as style, grammar, formatting, essay structure, citations and research methods.
Developing Your Argument
Tightening Your Essay
Harvard Kennedy School has published very clear guidelines regarding the need to cite words and ideas you have borrowed from other sources. Please review the HKS Academic Integrity information regarding citations for longer papers and memos.
The Harvard Kennedy School Library's Citation Style Guides & Tools links to style and citation guides, including the American Psychological Association (APA) format, and information on citing web resources.
HKS affiliates have free access to RefWorks, a web-based system for managing bibliographies.
EndNote is an alternative bibliographic management system. A 30-day free demo is available.
Zotero is a free, easy-to-use tool to help collect, organize, cite and share research sources.
A step-by-step process for brainstorming your topic:
(topic search "brainstorming")
Hints for getting started:
Visual concept mapping (for background on concept mapping, go to:
Useful for brainstorming and group projects
- Creates instant outlines
- 30-day free demo available
Guidelines for choosing your topic:
Great tips for analyzing the arguments and ways of thinking in other written sources so that you can develop your own argument:
For a quick search to look up a definition or find synonyms and antonyms:
http://www.dictionary.com (you can also subscribe to the free Word of the Day mailing list to build your vocabulary)
Substantial list of dictionary links in fields from Business/Government to Religion to Science; plus foreign languages and slang dictionaries. Fantastic.
Guidelines for editing your own work, editing a colleague's work, or having a colleague edit your work:
Brief and to the point:
Guidelines for Internet research including how to cite Internet sources:
How to paraphrase others without plagiarizing:
To distinguish between quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing (includes a short sample essay):
Excellent guidelines for avoiding plagiarism:
Roget's thesaurus (searchable) and several links for locating quotes:
Strunk's Elements of Style is online and searchable:
Recognize potential problems in your writing style and learn to correct them:
Lists the most common problems in writing essays with links to address them:
The Harvard Guide to Using Sources (http://usingsources.fas.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do) is a useful and up-to-date guide for students about how to effectively use sources from material in print or on the Internet in academic papers. It includes sections on "Why Use Sources," "Locating Sources," "Evaluating Sources," "Avoiding Plagiarism," "Integrating Sources," and "Citing Sources."
Illustrates the writing process and provides related links:
Paradigm Online Writing Assistant. Steps and exercises for each phase of the writing process, from figuring out what to write to writing a thesis essay, an informal essay, an argumentative essay, or an exploratory essay:
Index of handouts available for writing papers, writing for specific fields, and grammatical issues (e.g., using gender-sensitive language):
Here are some other useful sites:
- Harvard University: The Writing Center
- Purdue University: Online Writing Lab (OWL)
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: The Writers' Workshop
- Capital Community Technical College: Guide to Grammar and Writing
- University of Richmond: Writing Center
- Hanover College: Writing Manuals and Guides
- Hudson Valley Community College: Grant Writing Resources
- Medianet: Presentation Skills