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Writing Resources

Your Identity as a Writer

Woman reading in a chair

Inclusive and Antiracist Writing

Inclusive Writing Guide
Learn to incorporate inclusive and antiracist practices in your writing process.

Tips for Writing in North American Colleges: The Basics
Writing style changes based on the audience. This resource will help you understand the academic audience for Douglas College.

Four Feathers Writing Guide
The Four Feathers Writing Guide respectfully presents traditional Coast Salish teachings and approaches to learning to support Indigenous students develop as academic writers.

Transitioning from High School to College Writing 
Writing expectations often change from high school to college. This resource outlines some of the characteristics that may be different.

Understanding Plagiarism in North America

Using Singular "they"

The Learning Centre supports the use of the generic singular "they" in academic writing. 

From the position statement of the International Writing Centers Association:

Singular ​they in academic writing acknowledges and affirms the lived realities of writers who themselves use singular ​they, as well as for writers who wish to affirm the reality of transgender and gender non-conforming people. Along with ​other gender neutral pronouns​, the singular they helps validate the identities and stories of people who identify beyond the gender binary. 

We recognize that using ​they as a singular pronoun may meet with resistance among readers of student work. Therefore, we offer to students the following footnote that they may elect to include in their writing. IWCA offers this footnote text to be shared, used, or built upon for personal and academic use:

In this paper, I deliberately use the generic singular “they.” This usage has historical precedence for the last 400 years, and it is grammatical. Further, it includes people whose gender identity is not represented by the he/she binary, which erases many members of our community. This impulse toward inclusive linguistic representation is already seen in style guidelines by professional organizations such as the American Psychological Association (APA). The use of singular “they” is endorsed by the International Writing Centers Association, a conference of the National Council of Teachers of English.

More information about using the singular they from the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) 

Writing Tutors' Favorite Writing Resources

Purdue Online Writing Lab (The OWL)
Memorial University of Newfoundland Writing Centre
University of North Carolina Writing Centre
University of New York Writing Tutorials
The Poetry Foundation

Dalhousie University Writing Centre: The Dalhousie University Writing Centre Resources Guide has an extensive bank of writing handouts, guides and slideshows that cover many things that you, or a student, might find useful.  (this site has very good “writing in the disciplines” guides for students who need more specific help about how to write in their particular class)

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Book a tutoring session to review your understanding and skills for avoiding plagiarism. Choose the following appointments from the drop-down menu when making an appointment


  • To increase awareness of the principles and concepts behind academic integrity, plagiarism, and intellectual property. 
  • In this appointment, you’ll build on your understanding of academic integrity. The tutor will also introduce you to Douglas College resources available, as well as help you come up with a plan to keep learning the skills needed.


  • To learn how to paraphrase and quote effectively, without plagiarizing. 
  • In this appointment, you’ll focus on developing your paraphrasing and ability to use sources as evidence in your writing assignments. The tutor will introduce you to Douglas College Learning Centre resources available.  
  • If you have a writing assignment you are currently working on where you are integrating sources as evidence, please bring it to this session.  A graded assignment will also work to review concepts with the tutor.


  • To learn how to access and follow guides and manuals in order to use APA, MLA and other citation styles to format your writing assignments, as well as how to connect with a librarian for support with citation formatting.   
  • In this appointment, you’ll learn how to find the formatting and style rules needed for your assignments, as well as what aspects of the style and formatting are important in most college assignments. The tutor will introduce you to resources available, as well as help you come up with a plan to keep learning the skills needed.

Learn more about academic integrity resources at Douglas College. 

Overview of the Writing Process

Handwriting with pen and paper

The Writing Process: a checklist
To do your best writing, work on your writing assignments in stages. Use this checklist to understand the process.

What is Prewriting?
Prewriting refers to the all the ways you begin your writing project: coming up with ideas, organizing those ideas, and planning your paper.

Questions to Focus Your Writing Topic
Have you ever been stuck for what to write in a paper? These questions will help you consider other angles to take, or some fresh ways to develop ideas you already have.

Organizing Your Ideas
Spending time during your prewriting stage to organize ideas can help you improve the flow of your writing and keep your writing focused on your thesis statement.

The Thesis Statement
The thesis statement tells your reader about the paper’s focus. This resource will describe characteristics of two general types of thesis statements.

Creating an Outline
This resource describes a process you can use to create an essay outline starting with a topic for your essay and then building in the supporting ideas below it.

Outlining a Multi-point Paragraph
There are many ways to organize academic paragraphs. This resource is about one of the most basic, the multi-point paragraph.


Revising and Editing Your Writing
This resource provides a guide for revising and self-editing using a process called AFOSEP.

Editing Your Essay in 7 Steps
Once you have drafted your essay, use this series of steps to revise and edit a writing assignment.

Using Bias-free language
Just as you have learned to check what you write for spelling, grammar, and wordiness, practice reading your work for bias with these guidelines from APA

Common Writing Assignments

The Basic Essay
This resource discusses a basic essay format and the three main parts: the introductory, body and concluding paragraphs.

The Research Paper
This resource takes you through the stages of developing a typical research paper: getting started, doing research and taking notes, planning and drafting, and revising and proofreading.

Comparison & Contrast Writing (Brief)

Comparison & Contrast Writing (extended)

Writing a Reflection Paper
Note: Students writing reflective papers in the BSN program should use the materials provided by their instructor.

Writing a Literary Analysis Paper

The History Research Essay: Getting Started

Elements for Analyzing Fiction

Discovering Themes in Literature

Reflective Writing: How to Begin
These questions will help you generate ideas that you could include in assignments asking you to reflect on or critique something (such as a clinical experience, a scholarly article, a theatre performance, or a case study).

Group Writing Assignments
Tips on how to organize group writing assignments.

Writing with Sources

Creating an Annotated Bibliography
An annotated bibliography is a bibliography that provides descriptive and/or evaluative comments after each citation.

Writing Summaries
A summary is a shortened or condensed version of a reading.

Plagiarism: How to Avoid It
This resource describes strategies to acknowledge the sources you are using.

Paraphrasing without Plagiarizing
This resource explains the differences between proper and improper paraphrasing and shows you the steps to paraphrase a complicated quotation using APA style.

Building Paragraphs around Quotations
A quotation usually needs to appear somewhere in the middle of a paragraph, sandwiched between an introduction and an explanation.

Introducing Quotations Using Reporting Words
Use reporting words to provide additional information about how you are using evidence in your argument.

In-text Citation using APA Style (7th ed.)
This resource provides a brief introduction to using APA Style for acknowledging sources inside the text of your paper.

In-text Citation using MLA style (9th ed.)
This resource provides a brief introduction to using MLA Style for acknowledging sources inside the text of your paper.

Citations and Formatting 

Cite Your Sources
Resources from the Douglas College Library for APA, MLA, Chicago and more

APA Citation Style Guide (7th edition)
Resource from the Douglas College Library

APA Style and Grammar Guidelines

Formatting an APA Title Page
Guidelines for a title page for student papers

Sample APA Paper
This sample paper from the APA style guide can be used to format your own assignment.

Introduction to APA Style
This resource from the Douglas Psychology department will help you understand expected formatting for Psychology papers.

MLA Citation Style Guide
Resource from the Douglas College Library

Presenting your Essay - MLA style
Resource developed by a Douglas College English Instructor

Sentence Structure and Punctuation

Constructing Sentences
Understanding the basics of how to construct and punctuate a sentence can help you become a better editor of your own writing.

Types of Sentences
Understanding sentence types will help you construct clear sentences.

Punctuation for Connecting Words
Connecting words help you show how ideas are linked. These words need to be used correctly and have correct punctuation.

Correcting Fragments and Run-ons
Learn how to edit for two of the most common punctuation errors that students make in their writing.

Two or more items listed together in a sentence need to be parallel in both grammar and function. Learn to recognize faulty parallelism and how to correct it in your own writing.

Using Commas, Semicolons and Colons
Knowing which punctuation to apply within sentences can be confusing. Learn how to use commas, semicolons, and colons correctly.

Recognizing Wordiness
Wordiness can seriously affect the clarity of your writing and confuse your reader. Use the following handout to help you reduce the wordiness in your writing.

Identifying Passive Voice
Learning how to identify passive verbs and change them into active verbs can help you improve clarity in your writing.

Language-Related Grammar and Other English Language Resources

The resources page for our English Language Tutoring services also contains a collection of resources to support student writing, including using a learning dictionary, understanding language -related grammar issues and practicing skills for listening, reading and speaking.