Frank Communications Center

Writing Resources

These links may provide you with ideas, suggestions, and information that will help you improve your writing.

The American Psychological Association Style guidelines are the most commonly used for research and citation within the social sciences, including academic business writing.

Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) resources for business writers include guidelines for writing different types of business documents, help with research and revision methods, and information about correct grammar and usage.

This page from Empire State College's Writing Center offers detailed advice for using evidence in business writing and for evaluating arguments. Go to "Business Writing" under "Writing Center Reference Materials."

This page from the University of Houston-Victoria offers worksheets and checklists for resumes, cover letters, thank-you notes, and other types of business correspondence.

Merriam-Webster's dictionary and thesaurus can help you when spellcheck can't. You can use this dictionary not only to check your spelling, but also to find out what part of speech a word is ("funky" is an adjective, for instance). Many words are cross-referenced as jargon or slang, which will help you to avoid them in formal writing.

Roget's Thesaurus online lists synonyms for almost any word you can imagine; use it when you realize that you've used the word "change" five times in your third paragraph.

This tool is helpful when you are groping for the right word or you need to vary your word choice. Type in a word, and Lexipedia provides the word's synonyms, antonyms, and "fuzzynyms."

The OneLook Reverse Dictionary lets you name a concept, and the dictionary gives you a list of related terms. Great for when you can't think of the word for which you're looking.

The Writing Center at the University of Iowa offers online resources and is happy to help prebusiness students.

The University of Iowa library catalogs are the gateway to doing better research.

Two books that specifically address business writing are:

Cormier, Robin A. (1995). Error-Free Writing: A lifetime Guide to Flawless Business Writing. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

May, Claire B., May, Gordon S. (2012). Effective Writing: A Handbook for Accountants. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.