Essays & Term Papers is part of Career Press's series
called "Homework Helpers." The book is organized in a way that
makes it a valuable instructional tool and a great reference resource.
As a basic primer on research writing, the book has taken its place
on our bookshelf next to Elements of Style and Writers'
Michelle McLean makes a solid case for use of examples in her
introduction to the book. She explains she "searched the bookstores
for a guidebook that would teach students and writers how to write
essays, one that would explain the rules without using fancy language
and hard to understand terms." Having found no such book, she decided
to write one herself. Essays & Term Papers, which
retails for $14.99, is a collection of easy-to-understand guidelines
supported by thoroughly annotated examples.
McLean lays a foundation of pre-writing with a simple model for
topic selection, note taking, thesis statements, and building your
outline. From there, she progresses to the "basic essay" -- a format
that covers the features almost all essays and term papers have
in common. The remainder of the essay part of the book gives clear
and readable guidelines for developing 10 more essay types.
After giving the student a good understanding of how effective
essays are written, McLean moves on to research writing and proofreading.
There are great pointers for surviving the SAT essay and for creating
lean and logical prose. Each chapter is treated as a lesson, with
check questions at the end. In keeping with her simple, jargon-free
approach to research writing, the author doesn't create long and
complex assessments. The student can self-grade using the answer
key at the end of the book and go back to review points he or she
may have missed.
If you are teaching your students that writing is a process and
that a good paper is a result of gathering and carefully placing
building blocks, you will like this simple yet thorough approach
to research writing.