Essential Actions for Academic Writing is a writing textbook for all beginning academic students, undergraduate or graduate, to help them understand how to write effectively throughout their academic and professional careers. Essential Actions combines genre research, proven pedagogical practices, and short readings to help students writing in their first, second, or additional languages to develop their rhetorical flexibility by exploring and practicing the key actions that will appear in academic assignments, such as explaining, summarizing, synthesizing, and arguing.
Introduces students to rhetorical situation, genre, register, source use, and a framework for understanding how to approach any new writing task.
Demonstrates that all writing responds to a context that includes the writer’s identity, the reader’s expectations, the purpose of the text, and the conventions that shape it.
Explores the essential actions of academic writing (explain, summarize, synthesize, report and interpret data, argue, respond, and analyze).
Provides examples of the genres and language that support each action.
Offers four extended projects that combine the essential actions in different genres and contexts.
Nigel A. Caplan is an Associate Professor of English as Second Language (ESL) at the University of Delaware English Language Institute. Ann M. Johns is Professor Emerita of Rhetoric and Writing Studies and Linguistics at San Diego State University.