Writing Techniques and Formats

Class assignments at MSASS will vary depending on the instructor and course focus. Although all written assignments must adhere to APA publication guidelines, your writing may take on a variety of formats such as personal narrative, annotated bibliography, research paper or literature review. Here is more information on writing techniques as well as specific kinds of formats.

General Writing Resources

The following sites will provide you with tips on writing techniques, grammar and style.


Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a compilation of summaries of journal articles, book chapters or other published material. The annotation combines an objective summary (abstract) with personal opinion on the article’s focus, bias or relevance to a particular topic.


Literature Review

A literature review consolidates information on a particular topic or hypothesis. It compares and contrasts scholarly research findings – identifying similarities, discrepancies, trends and gaps in the literature. Websites with information on literature reviews include:


Critical Review/Book Review

  • Critical Reviews/Book Review – The Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison this site provides some helpful tips on how best to read a book in preparation for reviewing it, as well as techniques for evaluating the author’s main ideas.
  • Book Reviews – The Writing Center at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • Writing a Book Review – Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL)
  • Guidelines for a Critical Book Review – Writing Program at the Genesee Valley Center of Empire State College.


Books In The Harris Library