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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $40.00
  • July 2009
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-93438-0
  • 624 pages
  • Territory Rights: USA and Dependencies, Philippines and Canada.

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  1. Writing

The Norton Field Guide to Writing

Second Edition with 2009 MLA Updates


Richard Bullock (Author, Wright State University)


Easy to use, flexible, and a great value—The Norton Field Guide to Writing is the most successful new rhetoric in a generation. Now in a second edition.

With just enough detail — and color-coded links that send students to more detail if they need it — this is the rhetoric that tells students what they need to know and resists the temptation to tell them everything there is to know. The first rhetoric for easy reference, like a handbook—with menus, directories, and a glossary/index that make it easy to use—in a format that’s as user-friendly as the best handbooks.


Endorsements & Reviews

The Norton Field Guide is one of the best rhetorics I’ve seen at achieving essential coverage and brevity. It gives guidance to new instructors and flexibility to others. …The readings are great.” — Nedra Reynolds, University of Rhode Island

“The level of detail is perfect. …It leaves room for the instructor to move about to add material, to pitch the content in his or her particular way. Writers, even student writers, want advice, not directives. In years of reviewing, I have seen few books that offer something new and valuable and interesting. The Norton Field Guide is one. The innovation it offers is long overdue.” — Paul Heilker, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

“The amount of detail is perfect. Students will find this book easy to understand—and will appreciate not being overloaded with information.” — Mitzi Walker Jones, University of Arkansas, Fort Smith

“The beauty of the Field Guide is that it can conform to any style of teaching and appeal to any pedagogical approach.”” — Tony Procell, El Paso Community College

“I would highly recommend the book to anyone new to the freshman composition classroom.” — DaRelle Rollins, Hampton University

User friendly, with just enough detail

Tells students what they need to know, but resists the urge to tell them everything there is to know. Chapters are short and to the point with color-coded links that send students to pages where they can find more detail if they need more. Menus, directories, and a unique glossary/index make it easy for students to find whatever information they’re looking for.


Uniquely flexible for teachers

With short chapters on every topic, this book supports any pedagogical approach. Teachers can choose from the menu of chapters and assign them in any order—and the color-coded links help draw from other chapters as needed.


Color-coded documentation guidelines for MLA and APA

Color-coded templates make documentation easy to do; MLA and APA guidelines reflect the 2009 update.


NEW chapters on synthesis, arguing, mixing genres, essay exams, and inquiry

The synthesizing ideas chapter helps students weave together ideas from several sources.

The arguing chapter shows students the moves they need to make, from writing a thesis, to providing good reasons and strong evidence to support their claim, to considering positions that differ from theirs, and more.

The mixing genres chapter explains how to combine a number of genres in a single text (as is done in much real-world writing).

The essay exams chapter helps students prepare for and do timed writing.

The writing as inquiry chapter encourages students to approach writing projects with curiosity and provides strategies to help them get beyond what they already know about their topic. 

Online resources for students

The Norton Field Guide has a rich suite of electronic resources for students, including:

The Norton Writer’s Help Window

A quick-reference version of the Field Guide downloads into Word to make writing help available when students most need it—as they write. Color-coded hyperlinks pop up more information if students need it. Includes model student papers, complete MLA and APA documentation models, and the complete Handbook.

Student Website

This free-and-open site includes complete MLA and APA documentation guidelines, model student essays, an optional e-portfolio space where students can submit and store their writing, worksheets to print out or use online, the complete Handbook, and 1,000+ exercises with feedback linked to the online Handbook.


Free and open to all readers of Norton composition books and to anyone who wants to be a better writer or researcher. The site includes a complete online Handbook, and three easy-to-navigate sections: Writing and Rhetoric, Research and Documentation, and Handbook and Exercises.


    How to Use This Book

    Part 1 Rhetorical Situations

    1 Purpose

    2 Audience

    3 Genre

    4 Stance

    5 Media / Design

    Part 2 Genres

    6 Writing a Literacy Narrative

    1. *Marjorie Agosín, Always Living in Spanish
    2. Richard Bullock, How I Learned about the Power of Writing
    3. Shannon Nichols, “Proficiency”

    7 Analyzing a Text

    1. *Ginia Bellafante, In the 24 World, Family Is the Main Casualty
    2. William Safire, A Spirit Reborn
    3. Doug Lantry, “Stay Sweet As You Are”

    8 Reporting Information

    1. *Susan Stellin, The Inevitability of Bumps
    2. *James Fallows, Throwing Like a Girl
    3. Jeffrey DeRoven, The Greatest Generation

    9 Arguing a Position

    1. *Gary Taubes, What If It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?
    2. Lawrence Lessig, Some Like It Hot
    3. *Joanna MacKay, Organ Sales Will Save Lives

    10 Abstracts

    11 Annotated Bibliographies

    1. Michael Benton, Mark Dolan, Rebecca Zisch, Teen Film$
    2. *Jessica Ann Olson, Global Warming

    12 Evaluations

    1. *Ali Heinekamp, Juno: Not Just Another Teen Movie

    13 Lab Reports

    1. Sarah Thomas, The Effect of Biofeedback Training

    14 Literary Analyses

    1. Stephanie Huff, Metaphor and Society in Shelley’s “Sonnet”

    15 Memoirs

    1. Rick Bragg, All Over But the Shoutin’

    16 Profiles

    1. *Laura M. Holson, Rural Idaho Town Seeks to Turn Film’s Cult Status into Prosperity

    17 Proposals

    1. *Michael Granof, Course Requirement: Extortion
    3. Jennifer Church, Biodiversity Loss and Its Effect on Medicine

    18 Reflections

    1. *Jonathan Safran Foer, My Life as a Dog

    19 Résumés and Job Letters

    20 Mixing Genres

    1. *Anna Quindlen, Write for Your Life

    Part 3 Processes

    21 Writing as Inquiry

    22 Collaborating

    23 Generating Ideas and Text

    24 Drafting

    25 Assessing Your Own Writing

    26 Getting Response and Revising

    27 Editing and Proofreading

    28 Compiling a Portfolio

    Part 4 Strategies

    29 Beginning and Ending

    30 Guiding Your Reader

    31 Analyzing Causes and Effects

    32 Arguing

    33 Classifying and Dividing

    34 Comparing and Contrasting

    35 Defining

    36 Describing

    37 Dialogue

    38 Explaining Processes

    39 Narrating

    40 Reading Strategies

    41 Taking Essay Exams

    Part 5 Doing Research

    42 Developing a Research Plan

    43 Finding Sources

    44 Evaluating Sources

    45 Synthesizing Ideas

    46 Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing

    47 Acknowledging Sources, Avoiding Plagiarism

    48 Documentation

    49 MLA Style

    50 APA Style

    Part 6 Media / Design

    51 Print Text

    52 Spoken Text

    53 Electronic Text

    *New Reading