Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary
The text is designed to help new college and university students understand what is expected in academic writing or writing in the disciplines. Despite its volume of 85 pages, the text is fairly comprehensive in explaining the transition from secondary to post-secondary writing, professor expectations regarding assignments (for example, right arguments rather than right answers), source utilization, discourse style, and writing mechanics. The exercises and other resources at the end of each chapter are a great asset for the teacher. In this sense, the text serves well as a supplemental text for university writing. However, due to its conciseness, more could be desired if adopted as a sole text for a university composition or writing course that has a focus on writing processes, models, and rhetorical types. The text has no index or glossary.
Comprehensiveness Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased
The content is accurate and error-free. However, a note could be made toward the beginning for student readers regarding the quotes in boxes. These quotes from students contain colloquial expressions and should not be taken as models for academic writing (e.g., "voila, you have a perfectly cited resource!" p. 46; "Then, you ... EDIT (haha, made you flinch!)" p. 49).
Content Accuracy Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement
The content is relevant to teaching and learning how to create excellent writing in a university setting. Given that the text is an open book and that many students prefer to use Internet sources in academic writing, it would be desirable to have more guidance on the latest Internet citation. It is worth mentioning that the latest APA (7th ed) has introduced or confirmed some interesting language uses. For example: "A researcher's career depends on how often they [instead of he or she] are cited."
Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used
The language is accessible, conversational, and easy to read; it has a sense of humor, avoiding an otherwise potentially boring process. University students should have little difficulty comprehending the technical terms.
Clarity Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework
The text is consistent in the use of terminology within the book. Each chapter introduces a theme topic, explains the topic and offers advice and strategies to deal with the topic, and generally ends with some form of a conclusion. As well, each chapter has an appendix of further resources and exercises. Note that cohesion and coherence are interpreted somewhat differently in other writing textbooks and linguistic literature (e.g., Halliday & Hasan, 1976).
Consistency Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.
Although the chapters flow following the writing process, each chapter can easily stand on its own focusing on a specific theme. Students do not have to read previous chapters in order to understand a latter one. Similarly, the chapter has subheadings on sub-themes or subtopics that can be accessed independently. Thus the teacher can start or continue with any chapter deemed a priority for a particular class.
Modularity Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion
The topics in the chapters follow a clear, logical order consistent with concerns of the writing process, moving from understanding assignments and professor expectations, to presenting theses and arguments, to using sources, and to attending to style and language mechanics.
Organization Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader
No significant interface issues were found, except one problem: Some Internet links do not work. This can be fixed with updating. Using colors for headings and subheadings could help with online viewing.
Interface Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text contains no grammatical errors
The text does a good job in terms of language accuracy in general but a few minor language issues and errors are apparent.
1. p. 14 "But it is still seems..."
2. p. 15. "so many different ways that if often seems meaningless."
3. p. 55 "Williams' and Bizup's excellent lesson"
4. p. 72 "The balanced structure and contrasting language reinforces ...." (Cf. "The balanced structure adds ...")
5. p. 77 "one that simple adds extra information."
6. p. 79 "a dependent clause is serving as as an introductory element."
One can argue the omission of the hyphen in the following is a personal choice of style, not necessarily an error, but as a writing textbook that many new university students regard as language models, it would be better to keep the hyphen as there are professors who prefer the convention.
1. p. 6 "Good, well constructed writing..."
2. p. 52 "a thoughtful and well organized argument"
I recommend using checkers such as Grammarly and Microsoft Word Spelling and Grammar checkers to detect such errors and issues.
Grammar Rating: 4 out of 5
Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds
I do not see insensitive or offensive language in these areas although the variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds represented in the examples is limited.
Cultural Relevance Rating: 5 out of 5
Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?
I recommend this text as a supplemental writing manual. Updates might be considered in view of the 7th edition of APA