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Online Guide to Writing and Research Thinking Strategies and Writing Patterns


As a college student, you will do a lot of writing, and your writing will be varied. You will write essays about your personal beliefs. You will take stances on important issues and write more than a few research papers. There are many other possibilities, too. Examples include lab reports, marketing analyses, speeches, memos, feasibility studies, advertising scripts, and white papers. In addition to essays, you will also write essay exams and maybe even write a poem or two. 

Feel overwhelmed? We would, too.

However, uniting most writing assignments are sets of learning objectives, thinking strategies, and writing strategies. Familiarizing yourself with these will help you tackle even the most challenging assignment. Click on the tabs below to learn more.

As you move from course to course, you will notice that each course has certain learning objectives. Some of these may feel simple, like “remembering” and “understanding.” Others, like “analyzing” and “evaluating,” feel more complex. But each objective is a building block for an activity called critical thinking.

TAKE NOTE: When beginning an assignment, look for hints regarding the learning objective that is central to the assignment.

Some of the critical thinking building blocks are actually complex processes: thinking strategies you can apply to your assignments.

Thinking Strategies

  • Analysis

  • Synthesis

  • Evaluation

  • Persuasion 

Usually, the basic writing form you will follow is the classic essay structure, which you have read about in Chapter Two. This does not mean, however, that you will only be writing opinion pieces. Papers involve many writing patterns, related to the thinking strategies above.

Writing Patterns

  • General-to-Specific

  • Specific-to-General

  • Problem-Cause-solution

  • Discussion 

  • Summaries and Abstracts

  • Critiques


Key Takeaways

  • The scope and diversity of college writing can seem overwhelming, but the thinking strategies and writing patterns outlined above will help. 
  • The concepts outlined above will be explored in more detail ahead. 

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Table of Contents: Online Guide to Writing