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Writing for the Reader

Books and websites on essay writing very often give you a list of dos and don'ts, but without making much attempt to explain why you're being asked to write in this way. Although this website does offer a few basic rules to follow when you're writing an essay, its emphasis is on explaining the expectations which surround university essays, and academic writing more generally, since if you understand the reasons why you need to provide referencing, for example, you're much more likely to remember actually to do it.

You can navigate your way through the site by just clicking on the links in the text, by using the linked series of mindmaps which provide an overview of the content, or by using the hierarchically structured tree menu on the left of the screen. These three navigation methods will each give you a slightly different experience of what's on the site, and are intended to imitate the different phases of writing an essay, from the fairly unstructured mass of material amassed through note-taking, through the stage of mind-mapping when you will start to organize your ideas, and on to the construction of a hierarchical outline, which you can use as a road-map when writing your essay.

The approach taken towards the writing process in this site is indebted to the "cognitive rhetoric" of Linda Flower, whose book Problem-Solving Strategies for Writing (4th ed, Harcourt Brace Jordanovitch 1993) I would recommend if you're looking for a more detailed approach than can be taken on a website. Work on this website was made possible by a grant from the English Subject Centre in the UK, to whom I express my thanks.

Dr Gavin Budge

School of English

UCE Birmingham