Alex Essay Writing Tool — Additional Resources

Essay Writing
Success in Academic Writing.
Day, T. (2013). London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Planning your Essay.
Godwin, J. (2014). 2nd edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

How to Write Better Essays.
Greetham, B. (2018). 4th edn. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

The Academic Phrasebank.
Morley, J. (2017). Manchester: University of Manchester.

Essay Planning Help
Two short videos by Jackie Wills, former RLF Writing Fellow at the University of Sussex.

Academic Writing Blogs
Patter is Pat Thomson, Professor of Education in the School of Education, University of Nottingham.

Explorations of Style.
Rachael Cayley is an associate professor (teaching stream) in the Graduate Centre for Academic Communication, which is part of the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto.

Reflective Writing

Reflective Writing: a basic introduction.
Hampton, M. University of Portsmouth—a-basic-introduction.pdf

Grammar and Punctuation

Grammar for Academic Writing.
Lynch, T. & Anderson, K. (revised and updated Elloway, A). (2013). English Language Teaching Centre: University of Edinburgh

Eats, Shoots and Leaves.
Truss, L. (2009). London: Fourth Estate.
A humorous look at the importance of punctuation.

Brilliant Writing Tips for Students.
Copus, J. (2009). London: Palgrave Pocket Study Guides.
A very short guide to the essentials of grammar and punctuation.


Stylish Academic Writing.
Sword, H. (2012). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press

The Elements of Style.
Strunk Jr, W. & White, E.B. (1999) Cambridge: Pearson.
A timeless (and short) guide to writing clearly.

Writing with Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process.
Elbow, P. (1989). Oxford: OUP.
How to apply freewriting and fast-drafting techniques. Useful for creative projects, getting ideas down and getting past the hurdle of the ‘blank page’.

Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking Skills: Effective Analysis, Argument and Reflection.
Cottrell, S. (2017). 3rd edn. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Questions to ask about your level of critical writing; what is critical analysis and how can I apply it?; what is critical analysis?; what is critical reading?
University of Leicester, Student Learning Development.

Writing your dissertation

Writing Your Dissertation: The bestselling guide to planning, preparing and presenting first-class work. Swetnam, D. & Swetnam, S. (2000). 3rd Edn. London: How to Books.

Writing English as a Second Language

‘Writing English as a Second Language.’
Zinsser, W. (2009). American Scholar, Winter 2010.


Do you have a resource you’d like to see added to this list? Email us:

The links and resources above have been chosen with the help of  RLF Consultant Fellows who are experienced in designing and facilitating group academic writing development activities for students.

Alex Essay Writing Tool

This is a step-by-step guide to writing an essay, developed by RLF Consultant Fellow Dr Anna Barker, with Dr Andrew Bingham. It takes you through all the stages of producing your essay from title through to the final draft. No more staring at the blank page not knowing how to begin — Alex will get you started and keep you on track. Click through to the website:

Alex Essay Tool

Ten steps cover: getting started, understanding your essay task; brainstorming points; parts of your essay; wide and close reading; reviewing sources; ordering your material order; writing; and editing.

Each step is supported by helpful video, tasks to perform, and useful tips.

Alex is also available as an app through Google Play and the App Store.