If you are searching online for an essay writing guide or help with your dissertation writing it can be hard to tell which resources are reliable.  How can you assess the usefulness of the online information that you find?

Essays advice?

There is so much academic writing available online, from sites offering free essay advice, through to help with writing exam essays and revision notes.  There are some first rate sites out there, but some writing blogs and websites can provide dubious advice.  Some sites are easy to discount.  These are the ones that are pure gibberish.  Sentences make no sense and may even be written by a software package that jumbles words together, rather than being written by a human being.  These are easy to spot!

Essay writing guides from universities

Some universities have their own writing departments and these can provide a wealth of information online, whether you need essay advice, dissertation help, or ideas for your revision notes.  Although there is always debate over whether to use British English or American English, many universities in the UK recommend essay writing sites based in the USA.  One of the most frequently recommended is the online writing guide at Purdue University in West Lafayette, USA.

Independent essay writing advice

Just because online essay guides or dissertation tips are produced by an independent person, doesn’t mean that you should ignore the site.  Some universities recommend essay writing sites like Kathy Livingston’s Guide to Writing a Basic Essay.  Others are produced by custom essay writers.

Writing Tips

If you need help with writing generally rather than purely focusing on essay topics, there are English language advice sites and study skills sites such as Study Skills Online, which provides a range of writing and studying advice.

Elsewhere on the Oxbridge Essays blog, we have further notes on how you can assess a website for your academic writing and research.  These skills are important whether you are working on your first undergraduate essay or your PhD thesis.

Please let us know if you find any other good resources that could help other students in their research.  Post a comment below.