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Instruction in Composition, Writing Essays and Research

In addition to instructors' comments on marked papers and their advice through consultation, you can obtain much valuable assistance from the very inexpensive pamphlet recommended by the English Department, Writing Essays: A Short Guide, by Colin Norman, which can be obtained or ordered through the Bookstore (currently ISBN 0-88911-508-7). Norman provides a helpful bibliography of further such self-help texts. One that provides some clear advice on technical points of paragraphing and punctuation is Sheridan Baker, The Practical Stylist. As your studies progress, and especially if you enter the Honours program, you can obtain much excellent guidance on appropriate approaches, style, and technique by assessing those aspects of recent academic critical, scholarly, or theoretical work that you admire.

While the English Department does not offer writing and composition courses, these are provided by the English and French Language Centre in the Faculty of Arts, and by the Centre for Study and Teaching of Writing in the Faculty of Education. These courses are accepted for elective credit within B.A. programs by the Faculty of Arts, and, if interested in doing such work, you should assess the offerings of both Centres to determine which course best suits your needs.

The Centre for the Study of Teaching and Writing also provides a tutorial service free of charge. To obtain this assistance, call the Centre for information and an appointment; early in term tends to be best, before the mid-term and end-of-term rushes.

For help with research techniques and approaches for specific topics, consult the Reference Librarians in the McLennan Library. You can obtain more general guidance from a variety of McLennan publications available free of charge, such as the Library Guide: English Literature. More specialized guides are also available in diverse fields such as Canadian and children's literature, again at no charge; you need only inquire at the Reference Desk. The Library also provides free workshops on using various research services such as Peruse, Muse, CD Rom, and bibliographical indexes.