Research and Essay Writing Guides

I. Writing Handbook

This booklet will be invaluable as a quick source of information if you are unsure about how to cite a footnote or in doubt about your grammar. It will help you develop your writing, research and study skills. More such guides are in our stacks under the same or similar call numbers. The booklet is online:

Concise Rules of APA Style
American Psychological Association
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
5th Ed.

Guidelines for authors preparing manuscripts. Form and style accepted by readership in psychology.

BF76.7 .P83 2010

Reference and Stacks

American Sociological Association Style Guide
5th Ed.

(Also available in Stacks)

HM45 .A37 2014


Chicago Manual of Style
17th Ed.

Intended for authors and editors, but is cited for documenting data from electronic sources.

Z253 .U69 2017

Reference and Stacks

Available Online
UPI Stylebook and Guide to Newswriting
4th Ed. Cook, Bruce and Harold Martin

An authoritative, easy-to-use and comprehensive guide to print and broadcast writing.

Have Questions about MLA Style?

Send an e-mail to bibliography [at] mla [dot] org and they will give you the answer.

MLA Handbook
8th Ed. Gibaldi, Joseph

LB2369 .G53 2016

Reference and Stacks

MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing
3rd Ed. Gibaldi, Joseph

The MLA Style Manual is aimed at graduate students, scholars, and professional writers and treats scholarly publishing practices, with chapters on theses and dissertations.

PN147 G54 2008

Reference and Stacks

Cite them Right: The Essential Referencing Guide
5th Ed. Pears, Richard and Graham Shields

(Also available in Stacks)
Offers clear advice on how to avoid plagiarism and provide correct references.

The Elements of Style
4th Ed. Strunk, William Jr

The rules of usage and principles of composition commonly violated. Effective writing.

PE1408 .S772 2005

Reference and Stacks

Available Online
A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses and Dissertations.
9th Ed. Turabian, Kate. Rev. by Wayne C. Booth, Greg G. Colomb, Jos. Williams et al.

Presentation of typed essays: quotations, footnotes and bibliographies.

LB2369 .T8 2018

Reference and Stacks

Citing Sources, Guide to Library Research.
Duke University.

Quick "how do I cite..." menu makes navigation easy.

II. Writing the University Essay

Research Strategies: Finding Your Way through the Information Fog
6th Ed. Badke, William
Tricks of the Trade: How to Think about Your Research While You're Doing It
Becker, Howard Saul

Provides a variety of techniques for social science research: methods of sampling; development of concepts; and systematic exploration of the implication of what is found.

The Craft of Research
4th Ed. Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams

Introduction to the aims of research and its reporting. Guides researchers through planning and drafting a report.

Q 180.55 .M4 B66 2016

Reference and Stacks

Fit to Print: the Canadian Student's Guide to Essay Writing
8th Ed. Buckley, Joanne

Guides the student through developing, designing, drafting, and ultimately, writing the essay, as well as reviewing the results.

They Say /I Say: the moves that matter in academic writing
3rd Ed. Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein

Showing students how to frame their arguments in the larger context of what others have said and providing templates to help them make those moves. The book includes chapters on writing in the sciences, writing in the social sciences, and writing about literature.

PE1431 .G73 2017

Reference and Stacks

The Canadian Writer's Handbook
Messenger, William E. and Jan De Bruyn

(Also available in Stacks)

Making Sense: A Student's Guide to Research and Writing
8th Ed. Northey, Margot with Joan McKibbin

Covers the main types of student writing. Sections on common errors and on documentation styles in the humanities and sciences.

LB2369 .N67 2015

Reference and Stacks

Stylish Academic Writing
Sword, Helen

Deals clearly with titles and headings, chapter openings, and structure, with examples.

Simon & Schuster Handbook for Writers
6th Canadian Ed. Troyka, Lynn Quitman

(Also available in Stacks)
Planning, research, drafting MLA and APA styles, revising, writing paragraphs, writing argument, grammar and punctuation.

Writing at the University of Toronto

Over 140 files on academic writing, links to other Web resources, and all about writing instruction at UofT.

III. Authorship [Writing Skills]

Writing tools: 55 essential strategies for every writer
Clark Roy Peter
The Little Brown Handbook
4th Canadian Ed. Fowler, H. Ramsey, and Jane E. Aaron

Deals widely with how to get ideas, writer's block, punctuation, citing sources, and more.

PE1112 .F64 2005

Reference and Stacks

Academic Writing: an introduction
3rd Ed. Giltrow, Janet Lesley
How to Write Better Essays
2nd Ed. Greetham, Bryan

Comprehensive writing guide.."from interpreting the question to the research, planning, writing and revision.

Handbook for Academic Authors
5th Ed. Luey, Beth

(Also available in Stacks)
Publishing practices: the use of computers for composition and desktop typesetting. Deals with electronic publishing and scholarly publishing.

PN146 .L84 2010


Strategies for Successful Writing: a Rhetoric, Research Guide, Reader, and Handbook
Reinking, James A

Combines four books—a rhetoric, a research guide, reader, and handbook—into one convenient teaching tool.

Writing analytically: with readings
Rosenwasser, David, Jill Stephen, Doug Babington
Stylish Academic Writing
Sword, Helen

The author has found that a conversational yet authoritative tone coupled with attention-getting titles, compelling openings, anecdotes and illustrations is the key to accessible, interesting academic work.

A Student's Writing Guide: How to Plan and Write Successful Essays
Taylor, Gordon

Gives practical examples of all the stages necessary to produce a good piece of academic work.

Style: the basics of clarity and grace
Williams, Joseph M
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
30th anniv., 7th Ed., Rev. and updated. Zinsser William

Chapters on usage, audience, interviews, science and technical writing and business writing.

IV. English Language Grammar and Usage

Canadian A - Z of Grammar, Spelling, & Punctuation
Barber, Katherine
Write Tight: How to Keep your Prose Sharp, Focused and Concise
Brohaugh, William

Shows how to get rid of wordiness and "flabby" writing.

Between You and I: a Little Book of Bad English.
Cochrane, James.

Covers roughly two hundred words, phrases, and expressions that are frequently misused or misspelled.

English Vocabulary Elements
2nd Ed. Denning, Keith and William R. Leben

Provides the student with a larger, more expressive vocabulary and a better grasp of the English language.

Do I make myself clear? : why writing well matters
Evans, Harold
How to write a sentence and how to read one
Fish, Stanley
Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage
4th Ed. Fowler, H.W

Classic problems in English language, eg. the which/that dilemma, the split infinitive, ending sentences with a preposition. Also a modern perspective in notes, showing how English has changed since the 1920s.

The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation
Garner, Bryan A

Sections define and explain parts of speech, syntax, word formation, usage and punctuation.

PE1106 .G27 2016


Grammar, Usage and Style

electronic sources on

A Canadian Writer's Reference
6th Ed. Hacker, Diana

(Also available in Stacks)
Covers composition and revision, grammar and word choice, and documentation of sources.

PE1408 .H3 2016


Quite Literally: Problem Words and How to Use Them
Hicks, Wynford

Useful and non-pedantic guide to good English

Harbrace Handbook for Canadians
6th Ed. Hodges, John C. and Mary E. Whitten

(Also available in Stacks)
Guide to grammar, including spelling, punctuation and sentence structure.

PE1112 .H6 2003


The McGraw-Hill Handbook of English Grammar and Usage
Lester, Mark and Larry Beason

Shows how to fix everyday English language mistakes. Features incorrect and correct grammatical examples.

PE1112 .L463 2005


Woe Is I: The Grammaphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English
Updated & exp. 3rd Ed. O'Conner, Patricia

Basic grammar in an entertaining format.

PE1112 .O28 2010


The Cambridge Guide to English Usage
Peters, Pam

Over four thousand entries teach the dos and don’ts of effective language use, grammatical terms and concepts.

May I quote you on that?: a guide to grammar and usage
Spector, Stephen
Academic Writing for Graduate Students: essential tasks and skills
3rd Ed. Swales, John M. and Christine B. Feak
EATS SHOOTS & LEAVES: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation
Truss, Lynn

Examines the characteristics and uses of various punctuation marks.

V. Writing Essays in Specific Disciplines/Fields

V. -- Art

A Short Guide to Writing about Art
11th Ed. Barnet, Sylvan

Uses sample essays to assist in the writing of art criticism and analysis.

V. -- Biology

A Short Guide to Writing about Biology
9th Ed. Pechenik, Jan

(Also available in Stacks)
Covers the types of biology undergraduate writing assignments. Also instructs students in locating research articles and in using computers to prepare written work.

QH304 .P43 2016


V. -- Book Reviewing

A Short Guide to Writing about Literature
12th Ed. Barnet, Sylvan

Promotes critical reading as well as how to write essays about fiction, poetry, drama and film.

PN81 .B35 2012

Reference and Stacks

Writing Literature Reviews: A Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences
3rd Ed. Galvan, Jose L

H61.8 .G348 2006

Reference and Stacks

Book Reviews -Humanities & Social Sciences Research Guide
Robarts Library, Reference & Research Services.

V. -- Business Writing

The business writer’s handbook
Alred, Gerald J
AMA Style Guide for Business Writing.

Collection of guidelines designed specifically for business managers. Teaches clarity in communication through reports, memos, letters or speeches.

The Business Writer's Handbook
7th Rev. Ed. Brusaw, Charles T. et al

(Also available in Stacks)
Includes examples of formal reports and advice on literature reviews and library research.

V. -- Economics

Economical Writing
McCloskey Deirdre N

McCloskey provides advice on style, grammar, usage and on the writing process.

PE1479 .E35 M333 2000

Reference and Stacks

The Economist Style Guide
10th Ed.

How to use of clear, concise, correct usage, common business abbreviations, the Beaufort Scale, and more.

PE1421 .E46 2010


Student’s Guide to Writing Economics

V. -- Fiction

The Lie that Tells a Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction
Dufresne, John

Tools, processes, and techniques of writing: inventing compelling characters, developing a voice, creating a sense of place.

V. -- Film Criticism

A Short Guide to Writing about Literature
12th Ed. Barnet, Sylvan

(Also available in Stacks)
Teaches critical reading and how to write essays about fiction, poetry, drama and film.

PN81 .B35 2012


A Short Guide to Writing about Film
9th Ed. Corrigan, Timothy

(Also available in Stacks)
Writing lessons as they apply specifically to film criticism. Analytical writing done in most film courses.

Writing about movies
Gocsik, Karen M

V. -- Geography

Making Sense: a Student's Guide to Research and Writing: Geography and Environmental Sciences
6th Ed. Northey, Margot and David B. Knight

(Also available in Stacks)

G74 .N67 2015


V. -- History

History Research Libguide

Comprehensive guide to research resources in History at the University of Toronto, emphasizing primary sources.

A Student's Guide to History
10th Ed. Benjamin, Jules R

Introduction to the study of history and history courses. A model term paper shows how to apply the techniques.

Going to the Sources: A Guide to Historical Research and Writing
Brundage, Anthony

Research methods, critical reading, using visual media: methods of writing the historiographic essay and the

D16 .B893 2013


Term Paper Resource Guide to Medieval History
Hamm, Jean S

D118 .H235 2010


Writing History Essays: A Student's Guide
2nd Ed. Mabett, I. W

(Also available in Stacks)
The author shows how history differs from other disciplines, outlines the methods of historical research and writing, and illustrates their application to writing assignments, essays and dissertations in history.

D16 .M1185 2016


A Short Guide to Writing about History
8th Ed. Marius, Richard

(Also available in Stacks)
Discusses the different modes of historical writing and provides a sample research paper in history.

D13 .M294 2012


The Routledge Companion to Historical Studies
2nd Ed. Munslow, Alun

Key ideas, issues, and concepts: class, empiricism, hermeneutics, inference, metanarrative, relativism teleology.

Writing History: a guide for students
5th Ed. Storey, William Kelleher
Writing about History
The Historian's Toolbox: A Student's Guide to the Theory and Craft of History
Williams, Robert C

Researching primary and secondary sources, writing, providing documentation. Glossary of historical terms.

V. -- Law

Legal Research and Writing
4th Ed. Tjaden, Ted

Practical skills needed for print and online legal research, as well as for legal writing.

V. -- Literature

Writing essays about literature: a brief guide for university and college students
Acheson, Katherine O
A Short Guide to Writing about Literature
12th Ed. Barnet, Sylvan, Reid Gilbert and William E. Cain

Promotes the practice of critical reading as well as how to write essays about fiction, poetry, drama and film.

PN81 .B35 2012

Reference and Stacks

Writing Literature Reviews: A Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences
3rd Ed. Galvan, Jose L

(Also available in Stacks)

Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature
6th Ed. Guerin, Wilfred et al

Definitions and examples of psychological, feminist, structuralist and post-structuralist readings of literature.

Writing Essays about Literature: A Guide and Style Sheet
9th. Griffith, Kelley Jr

(Also available in Stacks)
Provides help in how to read literature. Detailed guidance for writing about literature. Stylistic guidance in the final steps of revising and editing.

PN83 .G72 2014


Upgrade Your English Essay
Myers, Tony

Focus on 3 key strategies for upgrading an English essay: answering the question and making a strong argument, analyzing language and examining literary technique, and discussing genre and considering context.

Succeeding with your Literature Review: a Handbook for Students
Oliver, Paul

Develop a strong review and outline and analyse the key ideas for your essay.

Writing about Literature
12th Ed. Roberts, Edgar V

Concentrates on literary problems as they bear on writing themes. Provides specific directions on how to handle the various types of literary themes, with excellent examples.

PE1408 .R593 2012

Reference and Stacks

The Clear Path: a Guide to Writing English Essays
3rd Ed. Rooke, Constance

Generate ideas for a literary essay, create a thesis, organize ideas, and improve style.

PE1471 .R65 2004

Reference and Stacks

Student's Guide to Writing College Papers
4th Ed. Turabian, Kate

Step-by-step directions for all aspects of paper writing.

V. -- News

UPI Stylebook and Guide to Newswriting
4th Ed. Cook, Bruce and Harold Martin

An authoritative, easy-to-use and comprehensive guide to print and broadcast writing.

PN4783 .M47 2004


V. -- Philosophy

Thinking and Writing about Philosophy 2nd Ed.
Bedau, Hugh Adam

Discusses every stage of reading, analyzing, and responding to philosophical texts and arguments and offers thorough coverage of research and documentation.

Philosophical Writing: An Introduction
4th Ed. Martinich, A.P

How to pick a topic and how to argue and structure a philosophy paper.Tactics for analytical writing.

B52.7 .M37 2016

Reference and Stacks

Writing Philosophy Papers 5th Ed.
Seech, Zachary

(Also available in Stacks)
The 5 kinds of papers often assigned in philosophy. A chapter is devoted to the traditional philosophy paper: thesis defence paper. How to use specific philosophical resources.

B52.7 .S44 2009


Writing Philosophy: a Guide for Canadian Students 2nd Ed.
Vaughan, Lewis

"..brief, self-guided manual that coners the basics of argumentative essay writing..." Preface

B52.7 .V38 2013

Reference and Stacks

Writing philosophy: a student's guide to reading and writing philosophy eassays. 2nd ed.
Louis Vaughan

This manual teaches how to read philosophy evaluate arguments, research topics and issues, detect fallacies, along with fundamental skills of essay writing.

V. -- Political Science

Thomson Nelson Guide to Research and Writing in Political Science
2nd Ed. Charlton, Lucille and Mark Charlton
Writing in Political Science: A practical guide
4th Ed. Schmidt, Diane E

JA86 .S36 2010

Reference and Stacks

The Political Science Student Writer’s Manual
8th ED. Scott M. and Stephen M. Garrison

"...practical writer's manual... specifically for political science students... to help students attain two goals: 1. improve their writing skills and strategies and 2. learn political science." (From the back cover.)

V. -- Proposals

Proposals that Work: A Guide for Planning Dissertations and Grant Proposals
5th Ed. Locke, Lawrence

All aspects of the proposal process, from basic questions about form and style to the task of seeking funding.

Proposal Planning and Writing
5th Ed. Miner, Jeremy T

(Also available in Stacks)
Specific advice to help nonprofits to seek more money than before from foundations and government agencies.

HG177.5 .U6 M56


V. -- Psychology

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
6th Ed. American Psychological Association (APA)

Guidelines for authors preparing manuscripts. Form and style accepted by readership in psychology.

BF 76.7 .P83 2010

Reference and Stacks

Critical thinking about research: psychology and related fields
Meltzoff, Julian and Harris Cooper

How to design your research and the important skill of critiquing research.

V. -- Religious Studies

Making sense: a student's guide to research and writing; religious studies
2nd Ed. Northey, Margot, Bradford A. Anderson, Joel N. Lohr

BL41 .N67 2015


V. -- Science and Technology

The Craft of Research
4th Ed. Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams

(Also available in Stacks)
Introduction to the aims of research and its reporting. Guides researchers through planning and drafting a report.

Scientific Style and Format: the CSC Manual for Authors, Editors and Publishers
8th Ed. Council of Science Editors

T11 .S386 2014


Lab reports: How to write
Gerstein Science Information Centre
Writing Science in Plain English
Greene, Anne E

T11.G6814 2013


From Research to Manuscript: A Guide to Scientific Writing.
Katz, Michael J.
The Chicago Guide to Writing about Numbers
2nd Ed. Miller, Jane E

Basic principles for writing about numbers and tools for displaying figures. Guidelines for writing an introduction, data collection methodology and analysis, results interpretation, conclusion and graphics.

T11 .M485 2015

Reference and Stacks

How to write and present technical information
Sides, Charles S.

T11 .S528


V. -- Social Sciences

Tricks of the Trade: How to Think about Your Research while you're doing it
Becker, Howard Saul

Variety of techniques for social science research: methods of sampling; development of concepts; and more.

Handbook of Applied Social Research Methods
2nd Ed. Bick man, Leonard and Debra J. Rog, Eds
The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research
Denzin, Norman K
The Good Research Guide: for Small-scale Social Research Projects
5th Ed. Denscombe, Martyn

Overview of a range of research methods useful in social science, including qualitative and quantitative analysis.

The A-Z of Social Research: A Dictionary of Key Social Science Research Concepts
Miller, Robert L. & John Brewer
Making Sense: a student's guide to research and writing: Social Sciences
6th Ed. Northey, Margot

Examines the particular requirements of writing papers in the social sciences.

H91 .N67 2015

Reference and Stacks

Good Essay Writing: a social science guide
5th Ed. Redman , Peter
Sage Research Methods Online

This research tool provides the most comprehensive picture available today of research methods (quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods) across the social and behavioral sciences.

Research Methods in the Social Sciences
Somekh, Bridget and Cathy Lewin

Introduction to the key qualitative and quantitative research methodologies and methods.

Social Sciences Research: Research, Writing, and Presentation Strategies for Students
Staines, Gail and Katherine Johnson

H62 .S736 2008


Social Research Methods.
2006. Walliman, Nicholas.

V. -- Sociology

(ASA) Style Guide
5th Ed. American Sociological Association

(Also available in Stacks)

HM 45 .A37 2014


Queer methods and methodologies: intersecting queer theories and social science research
Brown, Kath, Nash Catherine J
Social research methods
Fourth Candian Edition. Bryman, Alan

H62 B787 2016


Writing in Sociology
Second Edition. Edwards, Mark Evan

(Also available in Stacks)
"(A)ims to teach new sociological students how to think and write like sociologists."

HM569 .E39 2015


Analysing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research
Fairclough, Norman
A Guide to Writing Sociology Papers
6th Ed. Giarrusso, Roseann

A guide to help beginning and continuing students write effective sociology papers.

HM 73 .G78 2013

Reference and Stacks

Methods: Doing Social Research
4th Ed. Jackson, Winston and Norine Verberg

H62 .J29 2007


Writing in sociology: a brief guide
Moskovitz, Cary and Lynn Smith-Lovin

HM569 .M67 2017


VI. Study and Research Skills

The Assignment Calculator
from University of Minnesota

This online resource will help you plan your time and the order in which you choose resources. Please keep in mind that you cannot use their databases, but you can use U of T’s  (

College Success Guide: Top 12 Secrets for Student Success
Blackett, Karine

LB2395 .B573 2005


Essential Study Skills: the Complete Guide to Success at University
Burns, Tom
Great big Book of How to Study
1999. Fry, Ronald W.
Brilliant Study Skills
Kirton, Bill
How to succeed at University (and Get a Great Job!): mastering the critical skills you need for school, work, and life
Klassen, Thomas R and John A. Dwyer

Will help you master the critical skills and strategies you need for success at school, work and life.

The Oxford Guide to Library Research
4th Ed. Mann, Thomas

Research resources and techniques of subject searching

Z710 .M23 2015


Exam Success
McIlRoy, David

'Sound advice for students to develop a systematic approach to their exam preparation, from motivation and   confidence building to learning principles and memory techniques'. Careerscope, Autumn 2005  

Getting straight 'A's: a Students' Guide to Success.
Palmer, Richard.
How to Study in College
11th Ed. Pauk, Walter
Study Smarter, Not Harder
4th Ed. Paul, Kevin
How to Study: Practical Tips for Students
Race, Phil

Organising studying efficiently and preparing systematically for assignments and (most importantly) exams.

Digital paper: a manual for research and writing with writing and internet materials
Abbott Edward Delano

Know how to find the most promising information, and use it effectively.