Welcome to thewriterstoolkit.com!

The exercises at this site supplement your textbook. Work through the punctuation and grammar exercises first and then work on writing style. The more you practice, the stronger your skills will become. However, the most important step is applying the principles that you are learning to your own writing.

All the best,    

Dona Young    

 

The Writer's Handbook - A Guide for Social Workers, 2e

To purchase this book, contact us, call 219-763-9794 or write dona.young@thewriterstoolkit.com.

The Writer's Handbook, 2e

THE WRITER’S HANDBOOK

A Guide for Social Workers, 2e

Paperback: 534 pages | 7.5 x 9.25 inches
ISBN: 978-1-695-13149-1
Retail Price: $39.95
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Updated for APA, 7th edition:
See chapters 1, 4, 6, 13, 18, 19, 20, and 21

New Features
  • Chapter 1, Purpose, Voice, and Viewpoint, helps writers develop their academic, professional, and reflective voices, focusing on the third-person academic voice.
  • Chapter 4, Literature Review, covers more on the research question and annotated bibliographies.
  • Chapter 6, APA Style, 7th Edition, explains and illustrates APA citation and style, highlighting changes in the 7th edition
  • Chapter 13, Pronouns and Viewpoint, covers APA requirements for gender-neutral pronouns, including the use of they as a singular third-person pronoun.
  • Chapter 19, Unbiased Language and Word Usage, updates writers on unbiased and gender-neutral terms and develops word usage skills.
Brief Contents

Part 1: Academic and Professional Writing

Chapter 1 Purpose, Voice, and Viewpoint
Chapter 2 Documentation and Forms
Chapter 3 Research and Evidence-Based Practice
Chapter 4 Literature Review
Chapter 5 Critical Thinking and Reflective Practice
Chapter 6 APA Style, 7th Edition

Part 2: Process and Structure

Chapter 7 Writing: Process and Strategy
Chapter 8 The Sentence Core, Style, and Tone
Chapter 9 Cohesive Paragraphs and Transitions

Part 3: Mechanics of Writing

Chapter 10 Comma Rules Not Pauses
Chapter 11 Semicolon Rules

Part 4: Grammar for Writing

Chapter 12 Verbs
Chapter 13 Pronouns and Viewpoint
Chapter 14 Modifiers

Part 5: Editing for Clarity 259

Chapter 15 Active Voice
Chapter 16 Parallel Structure
Chapter 17 Conciseness
Chapter 18 Formatting

Part 6: More Mechanics

Chapter 19 Unbiased Language and Word Usage
Chapter 20 Citation and Quotation
Chapter 21 Capitalization and Number Usage
Chapter 22 Quotation Marks, Apostrophes, and Hyphens

Quick Guide: Getting a Job in Social Work

Contents

Brief Contents vii
Note to Students ix
Note to Instructors xi
Note about APA Style xiii
Online Learning xv

  • Best Practices Online xv
  • Online Classes xvi

Part 1: Academic Writing and Professional Writing 1

Chapter 1: Purpose, Voice, and Viewpoint 3

Purpose 4
Your Voice and Viewpoint 8
Voice and Viewpoint 13
Verb Tense 14
Purpose Statements and Theses 15
Introduction 18
Academic Papers 20
Structure for Academic Papers 19
Voice and Plagiarism 21
Recap 23
Writing Workshop 23

Chapter 2: Documentation and Forms 27

National Association of Social Work 28
Court Summary 29
Social History 32

  • New Client Intake 34
  • Treatment Plan 36
  • Case Notes 37

Use Gender-Neutral and Unbiased Language 39
DEAL Model 40
Recap 41
Writing Workshop 41

Chapter 3: Research and Evidenced-Based Practice 45

Research and social work 46
Evidence-Based Writing 47

  • Evidence: Data and Theory Versus Beliefs and Opinions 47

Data, Facts, and Interpretation 49
  • Assumptions 48
  • Primary and Secondary Sources 49

Collecting and Conducting Research 50
Reasoning and Research 51
Quantitative Research 52
Qualitative Research 54
Mixed Method 54
  • Reliability and Validity 55
  • Credible Sources 56
  • Research and Bias 58

Action Research 60
Interviews 61
Displaying Research 61
  • Graphics: Charts, Graphs, and Tables 62

Recap 65
Writing Workshop 65

Chapter 4: Literature Review 69

Literature Review: The Process 70

  • Getting Started 71
  • What Is Your Topic? 71
  • What Is the Problem? 72
  • What Is Your Question? 72
  • Why Is Your Question Important? 73

Finding the Right Resources 74
  • What Makes a Journal Article Scholarly? 74

Literature Review Preparation 75
  • What Is Your Selection Strategy? 76
  • What Is an Annotated Bibliography? 76

Journal Article Review 79
  • Step 1: Select an Article 79
  • Step 2: Summarize the Article 80
  • Step 3: Analyze the Literature Review 80
  • Step 4: Analyze the Research 80
  • Step 5. Define the Outcomes 81
  • Step 6: Recap or Reflection 82

Critique of the Literature 83
  • Abstract 85

Sample Literature Review 86
Project-Based Learning 96
Recap 96
Writing Workshop 96
Writing a Grant or Proposal 102

Chapter 5: Critical Thinking and Reflective Practice 105

Critical, Creative, and Reflective Thinking 106
The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives 106

  • Critical Thinking and Evidence-Based Writing 110
  • Deductive, Inductive, and Abductive Reasoning 111

Using Critical Thinking and Evidence-Based Research 112
Standards for Critical Thinking 114
  • Critical Thinking: An Open Mind and Paradigm Shifts 115

Reflective Practice 116
Recap 117
Writing Workshop 118

Chapter 6: APA Style, 7th Edition 121

Plagiarism 122
What to Cite 123
APA Citation System 124
Headings 126
Working List of References 127
References 129
APA Checklist - 7th Edition 130
Quick Guide to APA Style 131
Recap 143
Writing Workshop 143
Writing Tip: Page Breaks 144

Part 2: Process and Structure 145

Chapter 7 Writing: Process and Strategy 147

Managing the Process 148

  • Writing Blocks 148
  • Phases of Writing 149
  • The Centipede Syndrome 150
  • Composing and Prewriting 150
  • Planning Tools 152
  • Purpose: Content and Context 157

Developing a Strategy 158
  • Effective Response 159
  • Transitions 160
  • Signal Verbs 161
  • The PEER Model 162
  • Introductory Paragraph—Research Papers 162

Recap 164
Writing Workshop 164

The Sentence Core, Style, and Tone 167

Controlling the Sentence Core 168

  • Sentence Structure 168
  • Grammatical Subjects Versus Real Subjects 170
  • Verbs 171
  • Compound Subjects 171
  • Compound Verbs 172
  • Gerund and Infinitive Phrases 172
  • Dependent Clauses 174
  • Correcting Sentence Fragments 175

Simplifying Your Style 177
  • Control Sentence Structure 177
  • Control Sentence Length 178
  • Use the Active Voice 178
  • Use Real Subjects and Strong Verbs 179
  • Build Old to New Information Flow 180
  • Cut Empty Information 182
  • Use Parallel Structure 182

Clarifying Your Tone 183
  • Be Concise 183
  • Shift to the “You” Viewpoint 184
  • Focus on the Positive 184
  • Choose Simple Language 185

Recap 186
Writing Workshop 186

Chapter 9: Cohesive Paragraphs and Transitions 189

Paragraphing: Process and Length 190
Cohesive and Coherent Paragraphs 191
Information Flow 194

  • Paragraphs: Topic Sentences and Topic Strings 197
  • Paragraphs and Viewpoint 298
  • Transitional Sentences 199
  • Transitional Paragraphs 200

Connectors as Transitions 201
  • Coordinating Conjunctions 202
  • Subordinating Conjunctions 202
  • Adverbial Conjunctions 203

Recap 205
Writing Workshop 205

Part 3: The Mechanics of Writing 207

Chapter 10: Comma Rules Not Pauses 209

Rule 1: The Sentence Core Rules (SCR) 210
Rule 2: Conjunction (CONJ) 211
Rule 3: Series (SER) 213
Rule 4: Introductory (INTRO) 215
Rule 5: Nonrestrictive (NR) 216
Rule 6: Parenthetical (PAR) 218
Rule 7: Direct Address (DA) 220
Rule 8: Appositive (AP) 221
Rule 9: Addresses and Dates (AD) 223
Rule 10: Word Omitted (WO) 224
Rule 11: Direct Quotation (DQ) 225
Rule 12: Contrasting Expression or Afterthought (CEA) 227
Recap 228
Writing Workshop 229

Chapter 11: Semicolons, Colons, and Dashes 231

The Semicolon 232
Rule 1: Semicolon No Conjunction (NC) 233
Rule 2: Semicolon Transition (TR) 234
Rule 3: Semicolon Because of Comma (BC) 236
The Colon 237
The Dash 240
Writing Style: Punctuation and Flow 242
Recap 242
Writing Workshop 243

Part 4: Grammar for Writing 245

English and Its Varieties 246
Language Use and Context 247
Global Communication and Formal English 247

Chapter 12: Verbs 249

Action Verbs 250
Verbs in Past Time 251
Regular Verbs in Past Time 252
Irregular Verbs in Past Time 253
The –S Form: Third Person Singular 255
Verb Tense and Consistency 256
Active Voice 256
Parallel Structure 258
Mood 260
Past Subjunctive 261
Present Subjunctive 262
Recap 263
Writing Workshop 264
Irregular Verb Chart 266
Standard Verb Tenses 267

Chapter 13: Pronouns and Viewpoint 269

Pronoun Viewpoint 269

  • Viewpoint and Consistency 270
  • APA Style and Gender-Neutral Pronouns 272

APA and Gender Reference 274
APA Style and Viewpoint 275
  • Academic Writing and Third Person Viewpoint 275
  • I Viewpoint 276
  • We Viewpoint 277

Professional Writing and the You Viewpoint 278
Pronoun Basics 280
Subjects Versus Objects 282
  • Pronouns Following Between and Than 284
  • Relative Pronouns: Who, Whom, and That 286
  • Relative Pronouns: That and Which 287

Indefinite Pronouns 288
Colllective Nouns 290
Recap 291
Writing Workshop 292

Chapter 14: Modifiers 293

Modifiers: The Basics 294
Modifiers and Verbs 294
Comparative and Superlative Modifiers 296
Implied Words in Comparisons 297
Modifiers and Their Placement 298
More on Correct Placement 300
Double Negatives 301
Hedges and Emphatics 302
Fillers and Tag-ons 303
Quantifiers 304
Recap 304
Writing Workshop 305

Part 5: Editing for Clarity 307

Chapter 15: Active Voice 309

Grammatical Subjects Versus Real Subjects 310
Active Voice 311
Passive Voice, the Tactful Voice 313
Nominalization 314
APA Style, Active Voice, and Tone 317
Style and Process 318
Recap 319
Writing Workshop 319

Chapter 16: Parallel Structure 321

Nouns 322
Adjectives 322
Phrases 323
Clauses 323
Tenses 324
Lists and the Imperative Voice 325
Bulleted Lists on Resumes 328
Correlative Conjunctions 329
Recap 330
Writing Workshop 330

Chapter 17: Conciseness 331

Put Purpose First 332
Be Indirect for "Bad News" 333
Eliminate Redundant Pairings 335
Cut Redundant Modifiers 336
Cut Vague Nouns 337
Eliminate the Obvious 338
Update Outdated Phrases 338
Use Simple Language 341
Modify Sparingly 342
Edit Out Background Thinking 344
Leave Out Opinions and Beliefs 345
Recap 346
Writing Workshop 346

Chapter 18: Formatting 347

Special Features and White Space 348
Bullet Points and Numbering 349
Formatting Features and Marks 351
Font Size and Color 353
White Space and Balance 354
Manual Spacing Versus Automatic Spacing 354
Parts of a Business Letter 358
E-Mail Messages 360
Memo or E-memo 386
Fax Cover Sheet 363
Business Letters: Connect - Tell - Act 364
The Direct Message 364
The Indirect Message 364
Grant Letter Proposal 365
Recap 369
Writing Workshop 369
Sample Letter Proposal 371
APA Checklist 374

Part 6: More Mechanics 377

Chapter 19: Unbiased Language and Word Usage 379

Unbiased and Gender-Neutral Language 380
Gender-Neutral Language 381

  • Reducing Bias 383
  • Gender Versus Sex 384
  • Race and Ethnicity 386
  • Disability: Unbiased Language and Labels 387

Similar Words and Tricky Combos 389
Spelling Tips 397
Writing Workshop 399

Chapter 20: Quotations and Citation 403

Quotation Marks, Ellipses, and Parentheses 404
Ellipses 408
Parentheses 409
Citation 411
Reference Page 413
Recap 414
Writing Workshop 414

Chapter 21: Capitalization and Number Usage 415

Capitalization 416

  • Proper Nouns Versus Common Nouns 416
  • Articles, Conjunctions, and Prepositions in titles 417
  • First Words 418
  • Professional Titles 418
  • Titles Versus Occupations 419
  • Organizational Terms 420
  • Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Initialisms 420
  • Hyphenated Words 421
  • Apa Style: Title Case and Sentence Case 421
  • Two Common Capitalization Errors 422

Number Usage 423
  • Number Usage in APA Style 423
  • Address on Documents for Deliveries 425
  • Phone Numbers 426

Recap 427
Writing Workshop 427

Chapter 22: Apostrophes and Hyphens 429

The Apostrophe 430

  • Contractions 430
  • Possessives 431
  • Academic Degrees 435
  • Abbreviations 436

The Hyphen 437
  • Word Division and Page Division 437
  • Compound Modifiers 437
  • Compound Numbers 438
  • Prefixes 439

Recap 440
Writing Workshop 440

Quick Guide: Getting a Job in Social Work 443

Networking 444
Career Portfolio 445
Skills, Not Titles or Degrees 446
Transferable Skills 447
Work Experience 451
Business Cards 453
Job-Search Letters 454

  • Cover Letters 454
  • Follow-Up Letters and Thank-You Notes 456

The Résumé 458
  • Chronological Formatting 458
  • Electronic Formatting (E-Résumés) 460

Quick Introductory Pitch 462
Recap 463
Writing Workshop 463
Résumé Worksheet 465

Keys to Activities 467
Glossary 485
Index 499

 

The Writer's Handbook - 12 Workshops for Effective Writing

Use The Writer’s Handbook: 12 Workshops for Effective Writing as a supplement to The Writer’s Handbook: A Guide for Social Workers: Together they provide an excellent foundation for a writing class dedicated to social work majors.

For those professors who have adopted the workbook for a class, contact us for the teacher’s manual.

The Writer's Handbook
Brief Contents

About the method ix
Process Messages xi
Contents xiii

Workshop

Chapter 1 Get Started Quickly 1
Chapter 2 Put Purpose First 17
Chapter 3 Punctuate for Purpose, Not Pauses 37
Chapter 4 Keep Verbs Active 55
Chapter 5 Use Pronouns Correctly 71
Chapter 6 Be Concise 85
Chapter 7 Control Your Tone 95
Chapter 8 Use Words Effectively 103
Chapter 9 Avoid Writing Traps 119
Chapter 10 Write Effective Grants and Proposals 135
Chapter 11 Develop a Task-Group Charter 157
Chapter 12 Create Engaging Presentations 183

Best Practices for E-Communication 193

Quick Editing Tips 201

Keys to Activities 207

About the Method

As a supplement to The Writer’s Handbook, this book presents 12 workshops that develop editing skills needed to produce effective writing.

Each workshop can be completed in about an hour. The workshops are sequenced so that one concept leads to the next, simplifying the learning process. The workshops are designed to present a minimum of theory followed by practice. For more detailed explanations, refer to The Writer’s Handbook: A Guide for Social Workers.

  • The first step is gaining control of the writing process. Once you compose as a separate activity from editing, you are ready to build editing skills step by step. This first step is critical to the entire process.
  • The next step is working on the mechanics of writing. Punctuation is the key to effective editing because you focus on the sentence core: the most basic and powerful unit of editing.
  • Though you can work on your own, you gain more value by working with a partner or in a small group. By discussing principles, you are more likely to apply them.

Once you can compose freely, each editing principle that you apply improves your results. By gaining control of the sentence core, you gain control of the quality of your writing. By working in teams, you view solutions from several different perspectives, gaining insight and learning principles at a deeper level.

Principles of one topic are linked to principles of another topic—that is why it sometimes feels difficult to make progress. This book helps you focus on the sentence core so that you readily learn to make decisions that lead to accurate, clear, and concise writing. As you learn each new principle, your editing skills improve and, thus, the quality of your writing improves.

These workshops organize essential topics to expedite learning so that you develop proficiency. This approach simplifies the learning process, but your ultimate challenge is to apply what you are learning in your own writing. Only you can do that.

Write to Learn—Edit to Clarify

Contents

Brief Contents vii
About the method ix
Process Messages xi

Workshop 1: Get Started Quickly 1

Workshop 1 Inventory   1
Activity 1.1, What is difficult about writing?   2
Activity 1.2, Do you have a writing block?   3
Writing Tools   4
Activity 1.3: Mind Map   5
Activity 1.4: Freewriting   5
Activity 1.5: Fishbone Diagram 6
Templates 7
Academic Writing: Summaries and Arguments 7
Sentence Prompts 8
Activity 1.6: Sentence Prompts 9
Activity 1.7: Process Message 9
Workshop Assignments 9

Application 1.1: What Is Difficult about Writing? 9
Application 1.2: Goals and Objectives 10
Application 1.3: Journaling 11
Application 1.4: Work Journal 11
Pre-Assessment 12

Time Management Tips for Writing 13

Workshop 2: Put Purpose First 17

Workshop 2 Inventory 17
Purpose: Problem and Plan 18
Purpose and Process 19
Activity 2.1: Analyze the Revision 20
Activity 2.2: Revise for Purpose 20
Information Flow 21
Cohesive and Coherent Paragraphs 23
Cohesive Paragraphs 24
Activity 2.3: Revise for Cohesion 24
Coherent Paragraphs 25
Activity 2.4: Revise Information Flow 27
Your Voice 28
Summarizing and Paraphrasing 29
Activity 2.5: Summarizing and Paraphrasing 30
Revising Sentences 31
Activity 2.6: Revising Sentences 32
Workshop Assignments 33

Application 2.1: Editing E-Mail 33
Application 2.2: Editing Paragraphs 33
Application 2.3: E-Mail Etiquette 34
Pre-Work for Workshop 3: Conjunctions as Signals 34

Workshop 3: Punctuate for Purpose, Not Pauses 37

The Plan 37
Pretest 38
Workshop 3 Inventory 39
Part 1: Comma Rules 40
Conjunctions as Comma Signals (chart) 41
Comma Rules (list) 46
Activity 3.1: Comma Practice 47
Part 2: Semicolon Rules 48
The Comma Versus the Semicolon 50
Activity 3.2: Commas and Semicolons 51
Posttest 52

Workshop 4: Keep Verbs Active 55

The Plan 55
Pretest 56
Workshop 4 Inventory 56
Part 1, Verbs—Tense and Mood 57
Irregular Verb Inventory 58
Regular Verbs in Past Time 59
Third Person Singular: The –S Form 59
Verb Tense and Consistency 60
Subjunctive Mood 60
Statements Following “Wish” or “If” 60
Present Subjunctive 61
Activity 4.1: Tense, Agreement, Consistency, and Mood 62
Activity 4.2: Subjunctive Mood 63
Activity 4.3: Consistent Tense 63
Activity 4.4: Past Tense 63
Part 2, Active Voice 64
Activity 4.5: Active Voice 65
Nominalization 66
Activity 4.6: Nominalization 67
Posttest 68
Irregular Verb Chart 69

Workshop 5: Use Pronouns Correctly 71

The Plan 71
Pretest 72
Workshop 5 Inventory 72
Part 1: Pronoun Case 73
Pronouns Following Than 75
Activity 5.1: Pronoun Case 76
Part 2: Point of View 77
Point of View and Voice 77
Pronoun and Antecedent Agreement 78
Activity 5.2: Pronoun and Antecedent Agreement 79
Viewpoint and Consistency 80
Activity 5.3: Consistent Point of View 81
Activity 5.4: Pronoun Consistency 82
Activity 5.5: Pronoun and Antecedent Agreement 82
Posttest 83

Workshop 6: Be Concise 85

Workshop 6 Inventory 85
Eliminate Redundant and Outdated Expressions 86
Choose Simple Language 86
Activity 6.1: Avoid Redundancy—Eliminate Unnecessary Words 87
Activity 6.2: Replace Wordy and Outdated Language 88
Activity 6.3: Remove Redundancy from Paired Expressions and Modifiers 88
Replace Formal Words with More Common Words 89
Avoid Dated Expressions 89
6.4: Get Rid of Empty, Redundant, and Outdated Language 90
Edit Out Background Thinking, Feelings, and Opinions 91

Activity 6.5: Editing for Background Thinking 91
Activity 6.6: Editing to Get to the Point 91
Activity 6.7: Editing to Stay on Point 92

Workshop 7: Control Your Tone   95

Workshop 7 Inventory   95
The You Point of View   96
Activity 7.1 and 7.2: The You Viewpoint   97
A Positive Focus   98
Writing in the Affirmative   98
Activity 7.3: A Positive Focus   99
A Thinker or Feeler Approach 100

Workshop 8: Use Words Effectively   103 

Pretest: Similar Words   103
Tricky Combos   104
Tricky Verbs   106
Tricky Pronouns   107
Tricky Prepositions   109
More Similar Words   110
Activity 8.1: Similar Words   112
Gender-Neutral Language   113
Unbiased Language   113
Activity 8.2: Gender-Neutral and Unbiased Language   114
Posttest   116

Workshop 9: Avoid Writing Traps 119

The Plan 119
Workshop 9 Inventory 120
Pretest 120
Part 1: Plurals and Possessives 121
Nouns as Possessions 121
Singular Possessives 121
Activity 9.1: Possession and Word Order 122
Singular Nouns Ending in S 122
Regular Plural Possessives 123
Irregular Plural Possessives 123
Activity 9.2: Singular and Plural Possessives 124
Academic Degrees—Showing Possession 124
Group Words 125
Nouns in Series 125
Abbreviations 125
Possessives Standing Alone 125
Activity 9.3: Possessives Standing Alone 126
Activity 9.4: Possessive Review 126
Part 2: Capitalization 127
Proper and Common Nouns 127
Academic Degrees and Capitalization 128
Organizational Titles and Terms 128
Hyphenated Terms 129
Activity 9.5: Capitalization Review 129
Articles, Conjunctions, and Prepositions in Titles 130
APA Style: Title Case and Sentence Case 130
Activity 9.6: Capitalizing Book and Article Titles in APA Style 131
Posttest 132

Workshop 10: Write Effective Grants and Proposals 135

Grant Proposals 135
Request for Proposal (RFP) 136
Formal Proposals 137
Table 10.1. The Foundation Center – Components of a Proposal 137
Basic Parts of a Proposal 138

Statement of Need 138
Project Description 138
Organization Information 138
Budget 139
Evaluation 139
Authorization 139

Community Relationships 139
Cover Letter 140
Letter Proposal 140

Statement of Need 140
Description of Project 141

Proposal Details 141

What Is Your Vision? 142
What Is Your Project? 142
Who Will Do the Work? 143

Figure 10.2. Cover Letter for Grant Proposal 144
Figure 10.3. Grant Proposal 146
Letter of Inquiry 149
Executive Summary 150
Workshop Assignments 151

Application 10.1: Writing a Proposal, Part 1 151
Application 10.2: Writing an Executive Summary 151
Application 10.3: Identifying Resources for Grant Proposal Writing 152

Grant Proposal and Presentation Rubric 153
Informal Proposals 154

Workshop 11: Develop a Task-Group Charter 157

Exploring Group Dynamics 158
Forming a Group 159
Answering Core Questions 159

Purpose 160
Processes 160
Participation 161
Feedback 161
Diversity 161

Averting Groupthink 162
Writing a Task-Group Charter 162
Developing Purpose, Plan, and Results 163

Defining Purpose 163
Forming an Action Plan 165
Planning Logistics or Group Operations 165
Determining Results 166

Identifying Roles 167
Plus-Delta Feedback 168
Establishing Ground Rules 168
Giving Feedback 169
Constructive Feedback and Requests 172
Receiving Feedback 174
Writing in a Group 175
Workshop Assignments 176

Application 11.1: Writing a Proposal, Part 2 176
Application 11.2: Task Group Meeting 176
Application 11.3: Warm-Up Activities or Check In 177
Application 11.4: Developing Ground Rules 177
Application 11.5: Understanding How Groups Function 178
Application 11.6: Analyzing Group Dynamics 179

Template for Task-Group Charter 180

Workshop 12: Create Engaging Presentations 183

Workshop 12 Inventory 183
Respect the Purpose 184
Prepare 185

Determine the Purpose 185
Identify the Audience 186
Develop Your Topic: Map It Out 186
Choose a Design for Your Slides 186
Sketch Your Plan 187
Compose with Text and Graphics 187
Format Each Slide 187
Edit Text and Graphics 188
Prepare Your Handouts 188

Practice 189
Present 189
Let It Flow 190
Use Signal Anxiety to Your Benefit 190
Workshop Assignments 191

Application 12.1: Develop a PowerPoint for Your Proposal 191
Application 12.2: Analyze Presentation Tools 191

Best Practices for E-Communication 193

E-Mail Inventory 193
Professional Communication 194
E-Mail Facts 194
Best Practices for E-Mail 195
Social Media 198
E-Time Management 198
Voicemail Messages 200
Audiovisual Connections 200
Communication and Relationships 200

Quick Editing Tips 201

Keys to Activities 207

 

 

The Writer's Handbook - A Guide for Social Workers

To purchase this book, contact us.

The Writer's Handbook
Brief Contents

Introduction ix
Note to Students xi
Note to Instructors xiii
Note about APA Style xv
Online Learning xvii
Contents xxiii

Part 1: Academic and Professional Writing 1

Chapter 1 Academic Writing 3
Chapter 2 Documentation and Forms 19
Chapter 3 Research and Evidence-Based Practice 33
Chapter 4 Literature Review 51
Chapter 5 Critical Thinking and Reflective Practice 77
Chapter 6 APA Citation Style 89

Part 2: Process and Structure 109

Chapter 7 Writing as Process 111
Chapter 8 Dynamic Sentences 131
Chapter 9 Cohesive Paragraphs and Transitions 155

Part 3: Mechanics of Writing 169

Chapter 10 Comma Rules 171
Chapter 11 Semicolon Rules 193

Part 4: Grammar for Writing 203

Chapter 12 Verbs 207
Chapter 13 Pronouns 227
Chapter 14 Modifiers 245

Part 5: Editing for Clarity 259

Chapter 15 Active Voice 261
Chapter 16 Parallel Structure 273
Chapter 17 Conciseness 283
Chapter 18 Formatting 299

Part 6: More Mechanics 319

Chapter 19 Word Usage 321
Chapter 20 Colons, Dashes, and Ellipses 341
Chapter 21 Capitalization and Number Usage 351
Chapter 22 Quotation Marks, Apostrophes, and Hyphens 367

Quick Guide for Job Search Tools 379
Keys to Activities 403
Glossary 419

Introduction

Clear and effective writing is an essential communication skill for social workers. We often share our practice experiences with other professionals through publishing our research, submitting reports to supervisors, judges and doctors, and documenting the experiences of our clients. When a research article or a court report demonstrates critical thinking and is clear, concise, and accurate the reader is more likely to consider the outcomes and recommendations. As a result, our writing impacts countless lives.

Writing is not a gift but a skill that is developed with effort over time. Some people write well because they learned from early training. Others develop those skills later in life. The writing courses required for social work education can help build those skills. Writing, critical thinking, and research are essential skills in the profession.

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), which accredits social work programs, has identified several core competencies that support the use of effective writing. The first core competency is that students will “identify as a professional social worker and conduct [themselves] accordingly” (2.1.1), including demonstrating “professional demeanor in behavior, appearance, and communication” (CSWE, 2010, p. 3). Communication includes spoken and written communiqués. The ability to write is a necessary skill and part of our professional identity as social workers.

Critical thinking is an essential skill in the profession. Clarifying the importance of critical thinking, the CSWE core competency states that students will achieve the following:

Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments (2.1.3) . . . distinguish, appraise, and integrate multiple sources of knowledge, including research-based knowledge, and practice wisdom [and] demonstrate effective oral and written communication in working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and colleagues (CSWE, 2010, p.4)

This competency clearly identifies the importance of written communication in all aspects of service provision.

Academic research leads to evidence-based practice, which is crucial for effective social services. The sixth CSWE core competency directly relates to research. How do we find, understand, and evaluate the evidence that does or does not support a particular policy or treatment approach? This competency states that students will “[e]ngage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research (2.1.6)” including the use of “practice experience to inform scientific inquiry [and] . . . research evidence to inform practice (CSWE, 2010, p. 5). Academic and professional writing requires an effective argument supported by evidence and explaining counter-arguments.

Practitioners must be able to explain to clients and supervisors the reasons one strategy or approach is encouraged over another. Research can support these recommendations and further our ability to be effective practitioners. However, literature reviews demonstrate gaps in the research, and these need to be filled by social work practitioners. The only way social work practitioners will be considered credible by scholarly journals is by conducting ethical research, guided by sound research principles. There are many important discoveries in the field that must be reported through clear scholarly writing. This text will guide you through the principles of scholarly and professional writing.

Remember, no one starts out being able to write well. Many students struggle to develop writing skills just as they struggle with other skills, such as learning math or using a computer effectively. Do not let your struggles hold you back. Writing is a skill that can be learned and developed, and writing skills are essential to the social work professional.

 

Andrea Tamburro, MSW, Ed.D., ACSW              
BSW Program Director              
Indiana University – Northwest Campus              

A Note to Students

Different Voices

As you go through your academic and professional career, you must adapt each piece of your writing for your audience. One aim of this textbook is to assist you in developing your voice—or rather, your various voices. For example, for academic papers, your audience expects a formal style, and that style may include passive voice; in contrast, for your daily professional writing, such as e-mail messages and letters to clients, a less formal, direct style of writing is more effective.

An element of voice is formatting: formatting speaks to your audience at a glance. Each document that you produce, from a simple e-mail message to an academic paper, must be formatted according to guidelines and protocol. Only by developing expert formatting skills will you be able to adapt each piece of your writing for purpose and audience.

Since your academic papers in social work are formatted in the American Psychological Association (APA) style, Chapter 6, “APA Citation Style,” provides information to get you started formatting papers in APA style. (Also note that references at the end of each chapter of this book are formatted in APA citation style.) Moreover, Chapter 18, “Formatting” gives you additional details about APA formatting as well as the guidelines that you need to produce professional letters, memos, and e-mail messages.

Textbook Focus

The Writer’s Handbook: A Guide for Social Workers first gives you an overview of the kind of writing that you will do in your field. Then the remainder of the book focuses on principles that lead to correct and credible writing.

     Part 1, Academic and Professional Writing, examines the qualities of academic writing as well as the expectations of professional writing in the field. In Chapter 2, you become familiar with forms used in the day-to-day operations of social work, preparing you to document your practice. Chapters 3 and 4 provide the basics of how to evaluate, conduct, and present research, including a literature review. Chapter 5 gives insight into critical thinking; chapter 6 covers APA citation style, the required style of documentation in your chosen profession.

     Part 2, Process and Structure, reviews core principles for composing and revising. Chapter 7 covers the writing process; chapter 8, the sentence core; and chapter 9, cohesive, coherent paragraphs.

     Part 3, Mechanics of Writing, presents comma and semicolon rules, taking the guessing out of punctuating and reinforcing the sentence core.

     Part 4, Grammar for Writing, covers core elements of structure such as verbs, pronouns, and modifiers.

     Part 5, Editing for Clarity, presents principles that lead to a clear and concise writing style.

     Part 6, More Mechanics, provides correct use of the minor marks of punctuation as well as capitalization and number usage.

Finally, the Quick Guide for Job Search Tools gives a step-by-step process so that you can prepare your career portfolio.

Each chapter builds on the previous, so do not take any shortcuts. By learning foundational principles first, complex topics become easy. This book applies the method of principle and practice: As you learn each principle, practice it until you integrate it into your writing.

In Part 2, you tune into the process of writing, learning first to push through editor’s block. Then in Parts 3 through 6, you learn expert editing skills. Here is your first goal when it comes to the process of writing:

Compose freely and then edit ruthlessly.

By working through each chapter and doing the activities as prescribed, you build your skills, filling knowledge gaps that may keep you from doing your best. To give yourself immediate reinforcement for practice on exercises, refer to Keys to Activities located at the back of the book. For additional practice, visit the book’s website at www.thewriterstoolkit.com.

Learning involves change, and change is challenging, even painful at times. Commit yourself to the learning process as well as the writing process, and you will become an expert editor. Do the work, and you will see the results! Good luck on your journey.

Write to Learn—Edit to Clarify

A Note to Instructors

The Writer’s Handbook: A Guide for Social Workers is designed to prepare social work professionals for all types of writing required in their field. In addition to social work content, The Writer’s Handbook covers essential writing topics in a user-friendly format: principles are sequenced from the simple to the complex, using a narrative style to engage learners.

While writing is a core activity in all professions, in the field of social work correct and credible writing is critical: at times, people’s lives depend on it. Therefore, even those who are challenged by writing must become proficient writers to be effective in the field.

A traditional approach to improving writing skills has been to work with learners individually, giving feedback and coaching. Though time-consuming, this approach is powerful; however, significant accountability seems to remain in the hands of the instructor rather than in the hands of the learner.

As an alternative, The Writer’s Handbook quickly gives learners a set of principles on which to base writing decisions. Learners also acquire a common vocabulary to discuss editing, making peer editing activities productive and even fun. The Writer’s Handbook can be used effectively for group instruction or individual study:

  • Present chapters in workshop format.
  • Encourage learners to work on learning activities on their own or with a peer, using the keys at the back of the book or completing the practice exercises at the book’s website, www.thewriterstoolkit.com.

The Writer’s Handbook charts an instructional design that is in tune with the taxonomy of educational objectives. As a result, learners readily fill knowledge gaps that may have been hindering their progress. For example, the taxonomy reveals why learners have a more difficult time with higher-order principles of writing (such as analysis and synthesis) when they do not first understand lower-order principles (such as summarization). The taxonomy also gives insight into how a graduate student can write an insightful analysis of a complex theory but still have difficulty with run-on sentences or subject-verb agreement.

The Writer’s Handbook: A Guide for Social Workers aims to provide writers at all levels the tools that they need to succeed in their academic studies as well as their professional careers.

  • Part 1, Academic and Professional Writing, sets the tone by giving learners a clear understanding of the types of writing and the quality that is expected in the field of social work.
  • Part 2, Process and Structure, provides a foundation for composing and editing, from controlling the sentence core to developing cohesive paragraphs.
  • Part 3, Mechanics of Writing, teaches commas and semicolons while further reinforcing the sentence core, ensuring that fragments and run-ons are no longer issues.
  • Part 4, Grammar for Writing, fills knowledge gaps, giving learners insights into their own language patterns and control over them.
  • Part 5, Editing for Clarity, reinforces expert editing skills by having learners apply active voice and parallel structure. Students also learn how to format business documents such as letters, memos, and reports.
  • Part 6, More Mechanics, covers the fine details of editing, such as word usage, colons, apostrophes, capitalization, number usage, and so on.

The Writer’s Handbook also provides instructors and learners with a common vocabulary for punctuation. This approach makes it easier to learn the rules and to provide feedback efficiently. The methodology integrates principles of structure with principles of style so that a learner’s writing becomes clear and concise as well as correct.

Another critical element of all writing is formatting, which speaks to readers at a glance. To help your students gain control of formatting early on, have them review Chapter 18, “Formatting,” and then Chapter 6, “APA Citation Style.”

Experiment using individual chapters as workshops or use them for activity-based learning. If your students need additional practice, have them visit the website, www.thewriterstoolkit.com, for a full range of interactive activities.

To contact me for additional assessments and other supplemental materials, go to www.youngcommunication.com, where you will find a contact form. I look forward to hearing your feedback and suggestions.

All the best,              

Dona Young              

Note about APA Style

The Writer’s Handbook: A Guide for Social Workers aims to assist writers at all levels build their skills so that they produce correct, clear, and concise writing. Those aims align naturally with the American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines for writing. Therefore, principles presented in the book’s chapters on grammar, punctuation, style, and tone all support guidelines presented in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

This book also presents and illustrates basic elements of APA formatting to get learners started. Though covering all elements of APA style is beyond the scope and mission of this book, APA guidelines are noted in various chapters throughout the book. In addition, the following chapters have specific parts dedicated to helping students learn APA formatting and citation:

  • Chapter 4, Literature Review, walks learners through a step-by-step process to write a literature review, providing an example of a student’s paper formatted in APA style.
  • Chapter 6, APA Citation Style, covers basic elements of the style, giving learners another example of APA formatting in which the elements of APA citation style are discussed and illustrated.
  • Chapter 18, Formatting, includes information about APA formatting that writers struggle with, such as setting paragraph controls and creating a running head. In addition, this chapter provides support in creating other professionally written communications, such as e-mail and business letters.
  • Chapter 21, Capitalization and Number Usage, reviews the differences between title case and sentence case as well as provides basic points about how to display numbers in APA documents.
  • The student website, www.thewriterstoolkit.com, provides additional resources.

In addition to basics of APA style, this book aims to assist writers in improving their writing skills in a full spectrum of professional documents, including case documentation as well as daily writing activities, such as e-mail. By improving their writing skills as well as becoming well versed in various styles of formatting, social work graduates will enter the field well equipped for any kind of writing.

In fact, social workers rank at the top of professions in which correct and credible writing is critical. Their clients’ lives depend on it. When a case goes to court, a judge depends on documentation the social worker provides so that a fair decision can be made.

Many books and websites are dedicated to APA style, some of which are published by the American Psychological Association. This book recommends that writers use those primary sources as their ultimate guide for making decisions about details in APA style and formatting.

Online Learning

Online Classes

Communicating effectively online is a critical element of most professions today, and online classes give you an exceptional opportunity to hone your skills to prepare for your career. The following information gives you a general idea of how to participate in online classes.

When you arrive to your online class, review the tabs for the various pages at your online learning site. For example, here are some of the tabs for a typical online class:

  • Home
  • Syllabus
  • Announcements
  • Forums
  • Learning Modules
  • Messages
  • Gradebook
  • Chat Room

Experiment by navigating to each of the tabs that your instructor has included for your class.

Many online classes work in teams, and an important component of online classes is forum discussions. In forums, students post responses to questions and develop dialogues with their teammates.

Forums

By clicking on the tab marked Forums, you will see the current forums that your instructor has posted. Each week or so, your instructor will add new forums for your class. If a forum is locked, it means that your instructor has not yet opened that forum for your class, or the forum is completed and thus closed.

In general, forum consists of two types of activities: substantial postings and discussion responses.

  • A substantial posting is a response to a forum question in which the writer starts a new thread for the posting.
  • A discussion response is a comment in response to a substantial posting.

For each forum, read the full description by clicking on View Full Description so that you clearly understand how to compose your substantial response. Your teammates or classmates will post discussion responses so that together you can develop a dialogue about the topic in that forum.

For substantial postings, summarize key points from your readings. For all postings, use your own words, sharing your insights and giving examples about how you are applying new principles. In other words, do not paraphrase from your readings. By summarizing your own understanding, you are learning principles as well as reinforcing your teammates’ understanding of the readings.

Learning online is a team effort, and when all team members participate fully, the outcomes are outstanding.

  • What is an effective substantial posting?

To write a substantial response, summarize principles from your readings along with your insights and how you are applying what you are learning. Your teammates will respond to your posting by validating your points and adding new information.

P
=    Principle, explain principles and key points from readings
E
=    Evidence, support main points with facts and details
E
=    Examples, give examples and share insights
R
=    Recap, summarize and recommend outcomes or next steps

 

The following is the start of a substantial response:

Chapter 1 covered principles about academic writing, which is also known as scholastic writing because of the stringent requirements for using research effectively and writing in the correct style. For example, in the field of social work, writers must use the American Psychological Association (APA) citation style. Also, when referring to an author, use the author’s last name. Never refer to an author by only his or her first name.

Before reading the next example, use the PEER model to analyze the above: can you find key points, facts, details, or examples?

The following is not a substantial response:

I liked reading the chapter about academic writing because I learned a lot about how to write a paper, which can really be hard at times. Academic writing is important because that’s the kind of writing that is expected in our classes, but I’ve never been really good at writing papers but now I feel more confident.

Can you see the difference between the two postings? In the first example, the writer explains a key principle. In the second posting, the writer does not tie his or her experience to a principle from the chapter.

Substantial postings are generally two to three paragraphs or longer. Effective substantial postings spark a discussion among teammates.

  • What is an effective dialogue posting or response?

As you respond to your teammates, validate points that resonate with your own experience. Add new information to extend the reader’s knowledge, and share how you are applying what you are learning.

S
=    Support, support teammates by making thoughtful postings
A
=    Apply, apply key points and explain your results
V
=    Validate, validate points by sharing your own experiences
E
=    Extend, extend learning by including new information that adds value
R
=    Respect, respect others and the learning environment: learn what is expected, follow best practices, and do the work on time

Support the learning environment by giving feedback without being critical. Be accepting and forgiving, and your teammates will respond in kind.

More about Forums

Even after reading the above, you may still be confused about what a forum is. Your instructor understands that you may feel confused and will patiently guide you through the process.

Do your part by reading course materials and thinking things through. Any new experience is difficult in the beginning—that is why you need to give your best until you understand what is expected. It may take as long as a week to feel comfortable at your class site: every time that you go back, you will feel more confident. The following is an example of a forum.

Here are some questions you might discuss in forum:

  • Forum 1: Introduction and Advocacy Interests
    Instructions: In this forum, you will get to know your classmates. Since supporting social and economic justice is an essential aspect of social work, in your response include information about an issue you advocate.

    1. Share general background information about yourself—what things would you like for us to know about you?
    2. What areas of social work practice interest you and why?
    3. What is an issue that you want to advocate for or against? Please explain the issue and describe how you might do this.
  • Forum 2: Creating a Safe and Respectful Environment

    In some ways, interacting on the Internet is different from interacting in person; however, all communication has some elements in common.

    How can we co-create a respectful and productive learning environment in class and online?

    1. What can classmates do to help you feel safe to express yourself?
    2. What can you do to provide feedback in a supportive and respectful way?
    3. What can classmates do to help you hear and understand their feedback?
    4. If you were to write a list of rules for online etiquette, or “netiquette,” what would be some of your rules?
    5. Finally, describe three ways to have a discussion online that enable members of the discussion to disagree respectfully.

    In each forum, for your substantial response, start a new thread. Please post one paragraph for each topic. Once you have posted your forum, respond to other postings.

Online Classroom Management

Though e-communication is different from face-to-face communication, keep the human elements of communication in mind: your online class is an interactive process among people who have feelings and expectations. Communication is about building relationships based on trust and respect.

Stay in tune with your teammates’ and professor’s expectations by respecting ground rules and following best practices. Manage deadlines by setting internal due dates in advance of the deadlines your professor establishes.

Best Practices Online

To support the context of building relationships based on trust and respect, here are some best practices for online classes.

  1. For all e-mail messages, use a salutation that includes the recipient’s name; also include a closing.
    Best Practices, Email
  2. Always follow standard rules of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and capitalization.
  3. Avoid using abbreviations and never use text message language in e-mail messages.
  4. When you reply to a message, do not delete the thread. By leaving the history, your reader understands the context in which to reply to your message.
  5. Update the subject line so that the recipient can file your message effectively.
  6. When you send assignments as e-mail attachments, label your work correctly.
  7. Respect all due dates: if you are not able to meet a due date, ask in advance for an extension.
  8. Before you ask for help, read your syllabus, reading schedule, assignments, e-mail messages, and forum descriptions two or three times.
  9. Read forum instructions before you read an assigned chapter. Then read the chapter thoroughly, highlighting key points, taking notes, and jotting down your insights.
  10. If you wish, compose your forum response in Word and then copy and paste it to your online forum. (If you compose in Word, always allow the site to clean up your work before pasting it.)
  11. When you save an assignment to Word, use the following format to label it: your last name and the specific assignment; separate each part with a dot (no spaces needed); for example:
    Jordan.APA Formatting
  12. Proofread and edit your writing carefully before you post.
  13. Proofread and edit your writing carefully again after you post.
  14. Work independently: try to figure things out on your own before asking questions. This approach prepares you for what will be expected in your profession.
  15. Build your expertise in formatting; review Chapter 18, “Formatting” early on, paying special attention to setting paragraph controls and learning spacing guidelines.
  16. Save and file all class communications; keep track of all of your assignments and grades.
  17. Finally, keep human elements of online communication alive by respecting your classmates and professor: following protocol is one way to show respect.

In summary, to adapt to what is expected:

  • Know best practices and follow them.
  • Use salutations and closings when you write an e-mail.
  • Never use text message language.
  • Label your assignments correctly.
  • Try to figure things out before you ask for help.
  • Post in advance of due dates.

Become confident in your ability to communicate effectively—the more you put into class, the more value you gain.

Contents

Brief Contents vii
Introduction ix
Note to Students xi
Note to Instructors xiii
Note about APA Style xv
Online Learning xvii

Part 1: Academic Writing and Professional Writing 1

Chapter 1: Academic Writing 3

Scholastic Writing 3
Academic Writing and Purpose 4
Response Strategy 5
Viewpoint and Voice 6
Verb Signals 8
Verb Tenses 8
Structure for Academic Papers 9
Thesis Statements 11
The PEER Model 12
Introductory Paragraph 13
Latin Terms for Academic Writing 14
Academic Writing Versus Professional Writing 15
Project-Based Learning Recap 15
Writing Workshop 16

Chapter 2: Documentation and Forms 19

National Association of Social Work (NASW) 20
NASW Standards 20

NASW Standard 1.01 Commitment to Clients 20
NASW Standard 1.07 Privacy and Confidentiality 22
NASW Standard 1.08 Access to Records 23
NASW Standard 3.04 Client Records 24

Social History 24
New Client Intake 26
Treatment Plan 28
Case Notes 29
Recap 31
Writing Workshop 31

Chapter 3: Research and Evidenced-Based Practice 33

Research 33
Collecting and Conducting Research 35
Quantitative Research 36
Qualitative Research 38
Reliability and Validity 38
Credible Research 39
Action Research 42
Interviews 43
Displaying Research 44
Graphics: Charts, Graphs, and Tables 44
Recap 48
Writing Workshop 48

Chapter 4: Literature Review 51

The Process 51
Journal Article Review 52
Critique of the Literature 53
Research and Thinking Skills 55
Project-Based Learning 69
Recap 69
Writing Workshop 70

Chapter 5: Critical Thinking and Reflective Practice 77

Critical, Creative, and Reflective Thinking 77
The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives 78
Reflective Practice 82
DEAL Model 84
Recap 86
Writing Workshop 86

Chapter 6: APA Citation Style 89

Plagiarism 90
What to Credit 90
Working Bibliography 91
APA Citation System 93
APA Style 94
Quotations 103
Recap 107
Writing Workshop 107

Part 2: Process and Structure 109

Chapter 7: Writing as Process 111

Process to Product 112
Pre-Writing and Composing 113
Problem, Purpose, and Plan 115
Planning Tools 117
Composing Tools 120
Proofreading and Editing 121
Revising 122
Voice and Audience 123
Critical Voices 125
Recap 126
Writing Workshop 127
Skills Workshop 129

Chapter 8: Dynamic Sentences 131

What Is a Sentence? 131
What Is the Sentence Core? 132
What Is a Subject? 134
What Is a Grammatical Subject? 134
What Is a Real Subject? 135
What Is a Verb? 136
What Is a Compound Subject? 139
What Is a Compound Verb? 140
What Is a Compound Sentence? 141
What Is a Phrase? 141
What Is a Dependent Clause? 144
How Do You Correct a Fragment? 145
Why Is the Sentence Core Important? 147
Does Sentence Length Affect Readability? 149
What Is Information Flow? 150
Recap 151
Writing Workshop 152

Chapter 9: Cohesive Paragraphs and Transitions 155

Cohesive and Coherent Paragraphs 155
Information Flow 158
Paragraphs and Viewpoint 161
Transitional Sentences 163
Transitional Paragraphs 163
Connectors as Transitions 164
Coordinating Conjunctions 165
Subordinating Conjunctions 165
Adverbial Conjunctions 166
Recap 167
Writing Workshop 168

Part 3: Mechanics of Writing 169

Chapter 10: Comma Rules 171

Rule 1: The Sentence Core Rules (SCR) 172
Rule 2: Conjunction (CONJ) 172
Rule 3: Series (SER) 174
Rule 4: Introductory (INTRO) 176
Rule 5: Nonrestrictive (NR) 177
Rule 6: Parenthetical (PAR) 179
Rule 7: Direct Address (DA) 181
Rule 8: Appositive (AP) 182
Rule 9: Addresses and Dates (AD) 184
Rule 10: Word Omitted (WO) 185
Rule 11: Direct Quotation (DQ) 186
Rule 12: Contrasting Expression or Afterthought (CEA) 188
Recap 189
Writing Workshop 190
Basic Comma Rules (chart) 191

Chapter 11: Semicolon Rules 193

Rule 1: Semicolon No Conjunction (NC) 195
Rule 2: Semicolon Bridge (TRANS) 197
Rule 3: Semicolon Because of Comma (BC) 198
Writing Style: Punctuation and Flow 200
Recap 201
Semicolon Rules (list) 201
Writing Workshop 201

Part 4: Grammar for Writing 203

English and Its Varieties 204
Language Use and Context 205
Global Communication and Formal English 205
Workshop Activity 206

Chapter 12: Verbs 207

Action Verbs (chart) 208
Verbs in Past Time 209
Regular Verbs in Past Time 210
Irregular Verbs in Past Time 211
The –S Form: Third Person Singular 213
Verb Tense and Consistency 214
Active Voice 215
Parallel Structure 217
Mood 219
Past Subjunctive 220
Present Subjunctive 221
Recap 221
Writing Workshop 222
Skills Workshop (Irregular Verb Inventory) 223
Irregular Verb Chart 224
Standard Verb Tenses 225

Chapter 13: Pronouns 227

Personal Pronouns: Four Cases (chart) 228
Subjects Versus Objects 228
Pronouns Following Between and Than 231
Pronoun and Antecedent Agreement 233
Point of View and Consistency 235
Relative Pronouns: Who, Whom, and That 237
Relative Pronouns: That and Which 239
Indefinite Pronouns 240
APA Style and Pronoun Usage 241
Recap 244
Writing Workshop 244

Chapter 14: Modifiers 245

Modifiers: The Basics 246
Modifiers and Verbs 247
Comparative and Superlative Modifiers 248
Implied Words in Comparisons 249
Modifiers and Their Placement 250
More on Correct Placement 252
Double Negatives 253
Hedges and Emphatics 254
Fillers and Tag-ons 255
Quantifiers 255
Recap 256
Adjectives and Adverbs (chart) 257
Writing Workshop 258

Part 5: Editing for Clarity 259

Chapter 15: Active Voice 261

Grammatical Subjects Versus Real Subjects 261
Active Voice 262
Passive Voice, the Tactful Voice 264
Nominals 266
APA Style, Active Voice, and Tone 269
Style and Process 270
Recap 270
Writing Workshop 271

Chapter 16: Parallel Structure 273

Nouns 274
Adjectives 274
Phrases 275
Clauses 275
Tenses 276
Lists 277
Correlative Conjunctions 280
Recap 280
Writing Workshop 281

Chapter 17: Conciseness 283

Put Purpose First 284
Eliminate Redundant Pairings 285
Cut Redundant Modifiers 287
Cut Vague Nouns 288
Eliminate the Obvious 289
Update Outdated Phrases 290
Avoid Legalese 291
Use Simple Language 292
Modify Sparingly 294
Edit Out Background Thinking 295
Leave Out Opinions and Beliefs 296
Recap 297
Writing Workshop 297

Chapter 18: Formatting 299

Special Features and White Space 299
Bullet Points and Numbering 300
Formatting Features and Marks 303
Font Size and Color 304
White Space and Balance 304
Paragraph Settings 306
Creating a Header for Letterhead or APA Running Head 307
Parts of a Business Letter 308
Blocked Letter Format 309
E-Mail Messages 310
E-Mail Format 311
Business Memorandum or Memo 312
Fax Cover Sheet 313
Business Letters: Connect - Tell - Act 314
The Direct Message 315
The Indirect Message 315
APA Formatting for Academic Papers and Reports 316
APA Checklist 316
Recap 318
Writing Workshop 318

Part 6: More Mechanics 319

Chapter 19: Word Usage 321

Pretest 322
Section 1: Similar Words: Tricky Combos 323
Section 2: Social Work Terms 330
Section 3: Spelling Tips 333
Section 4: A Sampling of Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes 334
Recap 336
Writing Workshop 336
Posttest 337
Spelling Lists 1 to 5 338

Chapter 20: Colons, Dashes, and Ellipses 341

The Colon 341
The Dash 345
The Ellipses 346
Recap 348
Writing Workshop 349

Chapter 21: Capitalization and Number Usage 351

Section 1: Capitalization 351
Proper Nouns and Common Nouns 352
Articles, Conjunctions, and Prepositions 353
First Words 354
Hyphenated Terms 354
APA Style: Title Case and Sentence Case 354
Organizational Titles and Terms 355
Two Common Capitalization Errors 355
Global Communication and the Rules 356
Section 2: Number Usage 357
Number Usage in APA Style 358
Dates and Time 360
Address and Phone Numbers 361
Two-Letter State Abbreviations 363
Recap 364
Writing Workshop 365

Chapter 22: Quotation Marks, Apostrophes, and Hyphens 367

Section 1: Quotation Marks 367
Quotation Marks with Periods and Commas 368
Quotation Marks with Semicolons and Colons 368
Quotation with Questions and Exclamation Marks 369
Short Quotes and Long Quotes 369
Quotation within a Quotation 369
Section 2: Apostrophes 370
Possessives 370
Inanimate Possessives 372
Contractions 372
Section 3: Hyphens 373
Word Division 373
Compound Modifiers 374
Compound Numbers 374
Prefixes 375
Recap 376
Writing Workshop 377

Quick Guide for Job-Search Tools 379

Career Portfolio 379
Skills, Not Titles or Degrees 380
Transferable Skills 381
Work Experience 387
Business Cards 389
Networking 389
Job-Search Letters 390
Cover Letters 390
Follow-Up Letters and Thank-You Notes 392
The Résumé 394
Chronological Formatting 394
Electronic Formatting (E-Résumés) 396
Quick Introductory Pitch 398
Recap 399
Writing Workshop 399
Résumé Worksheet 401

Keys to Activities 403
Glossary 419

Business Communication and Writing

Business Communication and Writing
Brief Contents

Unit 1 Writing Skills 1

1 Communication and the Writing Process 5
2 What is Good Business Writing? 43
3 Developing and Revising Short Business Messages 77

Unit 2 Professional Communication 105

4 Office Communications 111
5 Persuasive Communication 143
6 Verbal Communication Skills 179
7 Cultural Competence 223

Unit 3 Applications and Careers 223

8 Teamwork and Conflict Resolution 257
9 Getting a Job 301
10 Communicating on the Job 351

The Writer’s Handbook Quick Guides 389

Part 1: The Mechanics of Writing 391
Part 2: Grammar for Writing 409
Part 3: Similar Words 427
Part 4: Formatting Business Documents 437
Part 5: Research: Collecting, Conducting, and Displaying 447

Glossary 465

Index 481

Note to the Student

Welcome to Professional Writing. Here are some major elements about the design of this text:

  1. Orientation and Assessment. The text takes a diagnostic approach by pro-viding pretests that give you a realistic picture of your skills and learning gaps. After you complete the assessments, your skill profile will reveal the areas of grammar, punctuation, word usage, and writing style that you need to work on. The Orientation and Assessment is located on pages ix through xvi.
  2. The Writer’s Handbook Quick Guides. The Quick Guides are located at the last section of this text and are tied to skill development. The Quick Guides introduce you to The Writer’s Handbook, which is a separate text that walks you step by step through an effective process to improve grammar and punctuation skills as well as improve writing style. Without expertise in these areas, business writers can lose credibility.

    The Quick Guides are designed for you to use individually, as part of a team, or in whole-class instruction.

    1. Parts 1 and 2 contain materials to assist you with developmental gaps in punctuation and grammar.
    2. Parts 3 and 4 deal with formatting business messages and conducting research.
    By fully developing these topics and more, The Writer’s Handbook is an important supplement to Business Communications and Writing. To support learners in overcoming their learning gaps, The Writer’s Handbook includes numerous exercises along with keys, functioning as both a learning tool and a reference guide.
  3. Methodology. You will learn to make editing decisions based on structure, first at the sentence level and then at the paragraph level.

    1. Unit 1 of the text focuses on structure not on content. After you have developed an editing strategy, you will move from simple pieces to more complex activities.
    2. Units 2 and 3 of the text relate to composing, editing, and revising business correspondence, reports, presentations, proposals, and research projects (including newsletters and Web sites), among other applications.
  4. Coaching Tips. Throughout the text, you will find coaching tips that offer guidance to assist your understanding of topics.

One of the premises of this text is that you will feel more freedom to write by becoming competent with mechanics (grammar and punctuation) and then syntax (active voice, parallel structure, removing redundancy, and information flow). Decisions about style are easier when you can understand and manipulate core sentence elements. Then, after you are proficient with structure and style, you will be ready to compose, edit, and revise effective business documents.

Learning is a process, and you are encouraged to use mistakes as learning opportunities rather than moments of failure. In the first chapter, you may be asked to write about your past experiences with writing. Once you understand that writing is difficult for everyone at times, you may no longer feel isolated in your mistakes or fears about writing.

You also have access to various types of resources and instructional assistance online at the Web site, www.youngcommunication.com.

Thank you for giving this class your best and for using this text to its max. Set your goals high, and you will achieve career success.

Write to Learn—Edit to Clarify

 

Dona Young   

Online Classes

To tailor learning for classes that have an online component, the last activity in each chapter is devoted to online learning.

Many online classes work in teams, and an important component of online classes is forum discussions. In forums, students post responses to questions and develop dialogues with their teammates.

Regardless of whether your class meets on site or online, communicating online will be an important element of your class and your career. Thus, let’s take a look at what online learning entails.

Forum Discussions

In a forum discussion, you will respond to questions and discuss what you are learning with your teammates. When you participate in forum, include key points from the chapter so that your teammates can learn from your posting. Share your insights about what you are learning and how you will apply it.

  • What is an effective substantial response?

    To compose a substantial response, summarize key principles from the chapter along with your insights and how you are applying what you are learning. Your teammates will respond to your posting by validating your points and adding new information.

    P = Principle explain key principles from the chapter
    I = Insight share insights that result from your learning
    E = Example give examples to show how you are applying what you are learning

    The following is the start of a substantial response:
    Chapter 1 covered principles in effective communication. An important part communicating is listening, which is something that’s hard for me to do effectively. For example, I always start to think about a response before the other person is even finish talking. To be a good listener, I need to learn how to become actively engaged in what the other person is saying. One technique that can help is mirroring. Mirroring is when . . . .

    The following is not a substantial response:
    I liked reading the chapter because I learned a lot about communication, which can really be hard at times. Communication is important, but I’ve never been a very good communicator and need all the help I can get. I’ve noticed other people aren’t good at communicating either.


Can you see the difference between the two postings? In the first example, the writer shares his or her experience and then begins to explain a key principle. In the second posting, the writer does not tie his or her experience to a principle from the chapter.

Substantial postings are generally two to three paragraphs or longer. Effective substantial postings spark a discussion among teammates.

  • What is an effective dialogue posting?

    As you respond to your teammates, validate points that resonate with your own experience. Add new information from the chapter to extend the reader’s knowledge. Share how you are applying what you are learning.

    S = Support support teammates by making thoughtful postings
    A = Apply apply key points that you are learning and explain your results
    V = Validate validate points by sharing your own experiences
    E = Extend extend the learning by including new information that adds value to the discussion


Online Classroom Management: Ground Rules

Communication is about building relationships based on trust and respect. Though electronic communication is different from face-to-face communication, you achieve the best results when you keep the human elements of communication in mind. By respecting your readers, you will achieve success in professional environments.

In other words, your class is an interactive process among people, not simply computer screens.

Here are some ground rules to help support that context:

  1. For all e-mail messages, use a salutation that includes the recipient’s name; also include a closing.
  2. When you reply to a message, do not delete the thread. By leaving the history, your reader understands the context in which to reply to your message.
  3. Upgrade the subject line so that the recipient can file your message effectively.
  4. Send assignments as e-mail attachments.
  5. When you save your assignment to Word, use the following format to label it: your last name and the name of the assignment; separate each part with a dot (no spaces needed); for example:

    “Jordan.Week 6.Complaint Letter”
  6. Respect all due dates: if you are not able to meet a due date, ask in advance for an extension.
  7. Each week, post a substantial response to the forum question.
  8. Respond to your teammates’ in their forums by validating one of their key points and adding one of your own.
  9. Understand that the more you participate, the more value you will achieve. As a result, minimum standards are not spelled out in numbers.
  10. Think of an online class as a part-time job in which you have leadership responsibilities—try to figure things out on your own before asking for help.

Your questions are welcome, but read your syllabus, reading schedule, assignments, e-mail messages, and forum descriptions before you seek outside assistance.

For example, when your class begins, here are some questions you might discuss:

Question 1

Forum: What’s difficult about writing?
Everyone has challenges with writing. The first step in improving any skill is to get a realistic understanding of what works and what doesn’t work.
Description: This is your chance to be honest and “say it like it is” when it comes to writing—what’s difficult about writing for you?

Question 2

Forum: Welcome to Class
Get to know your classmates by sharing some information about your background, interests, and goals.
Instructions: Tell us about yourself. When you post your response, you will be expected to start a new thread and post a substantial response.

To be successful in an online class, you must develop special skills:

  1. Read all instructions two or three times so that you understand exactly what is expected.
  2. Work independently—try to figure things out on your own before asking questions. This is good preparation for what will be expected of you on the job.
  3. Adapt to what is expected: start using salutations and closings when you write an e-mail, label your assignments correctly, and so on.
  4. Read the assigned chapter before doing the weekly assignment. Each chapter contains valuable information for doing the assignment correctly.
  5. Become confident in your ability to communicate effectively—the more you put into class, the more value you will gain.
Contents

UNIT 1: WRITING SKILLS 1

Unit 1 Opener 3

The Writer’s Handbook 3
Paragraph Settings for Formatting 3

Chapter 1: Communication and the Writing Process 5

Objectives 6

Section A: Communicating on the Job 6

Communication and Diversity 7
What Is Communication? 8
The Communication Exchange 8
Communication and Relationships 9
Listening Skills 12
Micro-Messages 14
The Smallest Team Unit: Working with a Partner 15

Section B: Writing as Process 16

Phases (Not Stages) of Writing 17
Critical Voices: Yours and Theirs 17
The First Steps of Composing 20
Tools to Organize and Prioritize 20
Composing Tools: Freewriting and Focused Writing 22

Section C: Purpose and Audience 25

Purpose 23
Academic Versus Business Writing 24
Modes of Writing 24
The Journalist’s Questions 25
Purpose Statements and Thesis Statements 26
Purpose and Process 27
Audience: Your Reader and Client 28

Section D: Controlling Tone 29

An Objective Response 29
The “You” Point of View 31
A Positive Attitude 31
Gender-Neutral Language 32
Slang, Slanted Language, and Jargon 32
Text Messaging Language 33
A Thinker or Feeler Approach 34
Chapter 1 Summary 36
Chapter 1 Checklist 36
End-of-Chapter Activities 36

Chapter 2: What is Good Business Writing? 43

Objectives 44

Section A: Simple, Clear, and Concise Style 44

Control Sentence Structure 44
Control Sentence Length 45
Control Sentence Content 46
Use Active Voice 46
Be Concise 49
Build Old to New Information Flow 50
Use Parallel Structure 52
Avoid Misplaced Modifiers 53
Use Conjunctions to Show Relationships 54
Bridge Ideas Effectively 55

Section B: Effective Tone 58

Focus on the “You” Point of View 58
Turn Nominals into Active Verbs 60
Use Real Subjects and Strong Verbs 62
Use Voice to Control Level of Formality 64
Choose Simple Language 66
Focus on the Positive 67
Use Voice to Control Tone 68
Chapter 2 Summary 69
Editing Checklist 69
End-of-Chapter Activities 70

Chapter 3 Developing and Revising Short Business Messages 77

Objectives 78

Section A: Developing Paragraphs 78

Cohesive Paragraphs 79
Coherent Paragraphs 81
Composing and Editing Paragraphs 82

Section B: Eliminating Empty Information 82

Background Thinking 83
Your Opinions and Beliefs 83
Reader’s Perceptions 84
Hedges and Emphatics 85
Fillers and Tag-Ons 86

Section C: Revising 87

Basic Structure: The Beginning, Middle, and End 90
Process and Structure 91
The PEER Model 91

Section D: Transitions and Connectors 93

Conjunctions as Connectors 93
Adding Flow to Choppy Writing 95
Phrases as Transitions and Connectors 96
Transitional Sentences and Paragraphs 97
Chapter 3 Summary 98
Chapter 3 Checklist 99
End-of-Chapter Activities 99

UNIT 2: PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION 105

Unit 2 Opener 107

The Entrepreneurial Project 107

Chapter 4: Office Communications 111

Objectives 112

Section A: E-Mail 112

E-Mail Facts 114
Best Practices for E-Mail 115
Purpose: Why Send an E-Mail? 117
E-Mail Format and Structure 118
E-Mail Versus Text Messaging 120

Section B: Business Letters 121

Purpose: Why Send a Letter? 121
Structuring Your Message 122
The Direct Message 122
The Indirect Message 124
Business Letter Format 126

Section C: Memos, Faxes, and Voice Mail 129

Memos and E-Memos 129
Memos and E-Mail 130
Structuring the Message 131
Faxes 132
What is a Fax? 132
Formatting a Fax Cover Sheet 133
Voice Mail 135

Chapter 4 Summary 137
Chapter 4 Checklist 137
End-of-Chapter Activities 138

Chapter 5: Persuasive Communication 143

Objectives 144

Section A: What Is Persuasion? 145

The Process of Informal Persuasion 145
Guidelines for Informal Persuasion 146
Client Relationships 149

Section B: Formal Persuasion 150

Product, Service, System, or Idea 150
Purpose 151
Audience 151
Motivation 152
Resistance 153
Evidence 154
Benefits 154
Credibility 155
Action Plan 155
Customer Service: Building Customer Loyalty 155

Section C: Writing Persuasively 158

Visual Persuasion 158
Routine Requests and Favors 161
Feasibility Reports 162
Complaints or Claims 164
Apologies: Responding to a Complaint 167
Sales and Marketing Letters 170
Chapter 5 Summary 171
Chapter 5 Checklist 172
End-of-Chapter Activities 172

Chapter 6: Verbal Communication Skills 179

Objectives 180

Section A: Informal Speech 180

Language Patterns 180
Edited American English and Community Dialect 181
Vocal Elements 182
Body Language 184
Micro-Messages 185
Anxiety 186

Section B: Giving and Receiving Feedback 187

Feedback Versus Evaluation 188
Objective Feedback Versus Subjective Evaluation 189
Specific Feedback Versus General Comments 191
Negative Feedback Versus Constructive Feedback 192
Constructive Feedback 192
Positive Feedback 194
Guidelines for Receiving Feedback 195
Perfection 196

Section C: Meetings and Agendas 197

Meetings 197
Establishing Ground Rules 200
Agendas as Planning Tools 201

Section D: Presentations 204

Choosing a Topic 204
Organizing Your Message 204
Knowing Your Topic 205
Presenting 206
Establishing Ground Rules for Feedback 206
Using Technology for Visual Support 207
Preparing a PowerPoint Presentation 207
Chapter 6 Summary 212
Presentation Evaluation Checklist 212
End-of-Chapter Activities 213

UNIT 3: APPLICATIONS AND CAREERS 223

Unit 3 Opener 221

Project 1: The Insurance Project 221

Project 2: Training for Success 222

Chapter 7: Cultural Competence 223

Objectives 222

Section A: Cultural Diversity 224

Culture Determines Communication 225
Global Communication and Diversity 226
Succeeding Across Cultures 227

Section B: Communication Styles 228

The Role of Context 230
Individualist Versus Collectivist Thinking 232
Business Cards, Greetings, and Naming 235
Best Practices for Intercultural Communication 236
Global E-Mail 237
International Conference Calling 239

Section C: Generational Diversity 240

Micro-Messages 240
Generational Styles 240
Veterans 241
Boomers 242
Gen Xers 242
Nexters 243

Section D: Personality Differences 244

Extraverts and Introverts 243
Sensors and Intuitors 244
Thinkers and Feelers 247
Judgers and Perceivers 248
Global Learners and Analytic Learners 249
Chapter 7 Summary 250
Chapter 7 Checklist 251
End-of-Chapter Activities 251

Chapter 8: Teamwork and Conflict Resolution 257

Objectives 258

Section A: Working in Teams 258

Characteristics of Effective Teams 259
Leadership and Management Style 260
Decision Making 261
Active and Engaged Team Members 262
Team Process 262
Gender Differences in Team Communications 264
Cooperation Versus Competition 265
Resistance and Team Thinking 266
An Open Mind 266

Section B: Developing a Team Strategy 269

Developing a Common Understanding 269
Establishing Purpose, Plan, and Results 270
Assigning Team Roles 274

Section C: Resolving Conflict 275

Identifying Conflict 276
Establishing Ground Rules 277
Giving and Receiving Feedback 277

Section D:Writing a Proposal 283

Client Relationships 283
Cover Letter 284
Formal Proposals 284
Letter Proposals 287
Team Writing 290
Chapter 8 Summary 291
Team Communication Checklist 292
End-of-Chapter Activities 292

Chapter 9: Getting a Job 301

Objectives 302

Section A: Job Survival Skills 302

Skills, Not Titles or Degrees 302
Transferable Skills 303
People Skills 303
Knowledge Base 305
Job Duties 306
Personal Qualities 308
Others’ Perceptions 309
Work Experience 311

Section B: Networking 313

Building a Network 313
Nurturing Network Relationships 316

Section C: Job Search Letters and Résumés 317

Researching Companies 317
Basic Guidelines for Letters of Application 318
Cover Letter 319
Employment Ads 320
Contact Letter 322
Follow-Up Letters and Thank You Notes 323
The Résumé 324
Basic Parts of a Chronological Résumé 326
Basic Parts of a Functional Résumé 328
Electronic Résumés 330
Résumés Versus Curricula Vitae 333
Career Portfolios 334

Section D: The Interview 336

Dress for Career Success 336
Be Prompt 337
Be Prepared 338
The Traditional Interview 339
The Behavioral Interview 340
Salary Requirements 342
Follow-Up 342
Job Offer 343
Chapter 9 Summary 344
Chapter 9 Checklist 344
End-of-Chapter Activities 345

Chapter 10: Communicating on the Job 351

Objectives 352

Section A: Leadership 352

Aspects of Leadership 353
Collaborative Versus Heroic Leadership 357
Nature or Nurture? 357
The Leader in You 358
Your Heroes 362

Section B: Performance Feedback, Objectives, and Action Plans 364

Performance Feedback 364
Feedback Systems 367
Job Descriptions 369
Action Plans 370

Section C: Purpose Statements 372

What Is Purpose? 372
Purpose Guides Work Choices 374
Purpose Drives Companies 376

Section D: Web Writing and Design 378

Writing for the Web 378
Designing Web Sites 379
Chapter 10 Summary 382
Chapter 10 Checklist 382
End-of-Chapter Activities 383

The Writer’s Handbook Quick Guides 389

Part 1: The Mechanics of Writing 391

The Plan 391
Pretest 392
Learning Inventory 393
Section A: Basic Comma Rules 394
Section B: Basic Semicolon Rules 400
Punctuation Practice 404
Key to Learning Inventory 407

Part 2: Grammar for Writing 409

The Plan 409
Pretest 410
Learning Inventory 412
Grammar Essentials 412
Section A: Verb Basics 412
Section B: Pronoun Basics 414
Section C: Parallel Structure 417
Section D: Modifiers 418
Grammar Practice 420
Posttest 424
Key to Learning Inventory 426

Part 3: Similar Words 427

The Plan 427
Pretest 428
Similar Words: Tricky Combos 429
Posttest 436

Part 4: Formatting Business Documents 437

Paragraph Settings for Formatting 437
Print Preview 438
Hard Copy Versus Soft Copy 438
Bullet Points and Numbering 439
Basic Parts of a Letter 440
Basic Parts of an E-Mail Message 442
Basic Parts of a Memo 444
Formatting Features and Marks 445

Part 5: Research: Collecting, Conducting, Displaying, and Citing 447

Collecting and Conducting Research 447
A Review of the Literature 448
Action Research 449
Surveys, Focus Groups, and Interview 450
Displaying Research 452
Quotations 452
Graphics: Charts, Graphs, and Tables 455
Citing Research 459
Plagiarism 459
What to Credit 460
Develop a Working Bibliography 461
Some Common Elements 462
The Writing Interview 463

Glossary 465

Index 481