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Writing in the Works, 2016 MLA Update 4th Edition

Susan Blau, Kathryn Burak

  • Published
  • 688 Pages
Starting At 50.00 See pricing and ISBN options


In this fourth edition of WRITING IN THE WORKS, the authors have maintained their dual focus on writing as both an academic and practical tool. At the same time, they have updated the content and the spirit of the book for the contemporary writing environment. Students learn to write for the digital world—where visual and verbal messages are inseparable—and do so by exploring serious ideas that will engage a real-world audience. Throughout the book, and in three new chapters, the authors emphasize the skills of synthesizing, defining, and evaluating—skills central to the development of good academic writing and good real-world writing. Students are encouraged to take chances, think big thoughts, and practice skills which will prepare them to ride the global communications wave as more confident, capable writers. This edition has been updated to reflect guidelines from the 2016 MLA HANDBOOK, Eighth Edition.

Susan Blau, Boston University

Susan Blau was a professor and director of the Undergraduate Writing program and the Writing Center at Boston University's College of Communication. She received her BS in Education from the University of Vermont and her MA in English from the University of Connecticut, and was a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow. Her background is in linguistics, composition and rhetoric, and American Literature. She has taught writing in both English and Communication Departments and has published articles, conducted workshops, and presented papers at national conferences on the topics of teaching writing, writing across the curriculum, and writing center research and practice.

Kathryn Burak, Boston University

Kathryn Burak has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a BA in English from Kutztown University. She has taught writing at North Carolina State University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Boston University. She is the author of a novel, EMILY'S DRESS AND OTHER MISSING THINGS, and her poetry, fiction, and essays have been published in such journals and magazines as Fiction, Missouri Review, Western Humanities Review, Gettysburg Review, Belt, and Seventeen. Her interests include teaching English to speakers of other languages.
  • The MLA documentation reflects significant changes in the new MLA HANDBOOK Eighth Edition, published in April 2016.
  • ENHANCED Emphasis on critical thinking: Critical thinking and critical reading are introduced in a stand-alone chapter (4). Each assignment chapter that follows includes critical thinking questions based on the readings as well as a prompt for students to "imitate" some aspect of the style or technique used in the reading.
  • NEW Chapter on the Explainer (8): Students learn how to write short articles (popularized by Slate Magazine) that provide answers to questions such as: Why were animals so big in the past? How do you fake your own death? They also learn to incorporate into their answers the larger implications that reveal patterns in behavior, historical context, or scientific phenomenon.
  • NEW Focus on the spoken word and social media: In each assignment chapter, an updated "DIY (Do It Yourself) Media and Design" feature—which highlights the application of each writing genre in an alternate media—now includes such micro genres as the graphic memoir, a spoken word project, the speech and the podcast, and PechaKucha, the art of concise presentations.
  • EXPANDED Chapter on Reviews: Chapter 10, "Writing an Evaluation: Reviews," now includes guidance on writing film reviews as well as restaurant, music album, and video game reviews.
  • EXPANDED Coverage of visual literacy: Many of the practice exercises focus on deconstructing and analyzing the bold images that are featured in each chapter. Each assignment chapter features a visual literacy exercise, honing students' ability to create as well as analyze images. The causal analysis chapter (11) introduces data storytelling through infographics.
  • The book's extensive art program illustrates the importance of visual literacy and pays special attention to the role of the image—how to analyze, use, design, and incorporate the image into the written text. The "Visual Literacy" feature in each chapter encourages students to look at and analyze a variety of visual images: photographs, drawings, paintings, posters, websites, and cartoons.
  • Enhanced emphasis on technology and media includes coverage of social media (Chapter 9), blogs (Chapter 12), and visual arguments (Chapter 13).
  • The book helps improve student motivation and student writing with assignments on writing to explore, inform, analyze, and argue that have a clear application to communication in the world outside college. These assignments include a variety of genres, such as essays of ideas, memoirs, profiles, short articles, news stories, research articles, reviews, editorials, public service messages, and proposals.
  • Assignments intended for the real world and potential publication help students understand the importance of audience. Meaningful contextualized writing assignments help students see themselves as writers in communication with a real audience.
  • The book helps students connect the writing skills they learn in college to the writing they will do for their careers and community.
1. The Rhetorical Situation: Writers’ Choices.
2. The Writer's Process.
3. Collaboration, Peer Review, and Writing as a Public Act.
4. Reading, Thinking, and Writing Critically.
5. Writing a Narrative: Memoirs.
6. Writing about Others: Profiles.
7. Synthesizing Information: The Essay of Ideas.
8. Writing Short Articles: The Explainer.
9. Writing a Report: News for Print, Web, and Social Media.
10. Writing an Evaluation: Reviews.
11. Writing a Causal Analysis: Long Researched Articles.
12. Writing an Argument: Editorials, Commentaries, and Blogs.
13. Creating a Visual Argument: Public Service Messages.
14. Writing for Your Community: Proposals.
15. Research.
16. Documentation (MLA and APA Guidelines).
17. Grammar Refresher.
18. Punctuation.
19. Common Errors.
MindTap Online Chapter. Trouble Spots for Nonnative Speakers.
Each MindTap product offers the full, mobile-ready textbook combined with superior and proven learning tools at one affordable price. Students who purchase digital access can add a print option at any time when a print option is available for their course.

This Cengage solution can be seamlessly integrated into most Learning Management Systems (Blackboard, Brightspace by D2L, Canvas, Moodle, and more) but does require a different ISBN for access codes. Please work with your Cengage Learning Consultant to ensure the proper course set up and ordering information. For additional information, please visit the LMS Integration site.

Standalone Digital Access — Ultimate Value

Recommended and most popular

  • ISBN-10: 1305674693
  • ISBN-13: 9781305674691
  • Bookstore Wholesale Price $50.00
  • RETAIL $50.00

Digital Access + Print — Flexible Value

Recommended and most popular

  • ISBN-10: 1337489654
  • ISBN-13: 9781337489652
  • Bookstore Wholesale Price $52.50
  • RETAIL $69.95

  • ISBN-10: 1337490458
  • ISBN-13: 9781337490450
  • Bookstore Wholesale Price $75.00
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Traditional eBook and Print Options

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  • STARTING AT $19.49

  • ISBN-10: 1337486191
  • ISBN-13: 9781337486194
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  • ISBN-10: 1337281034
  • ISBN-13: 9781337281034
  • Bookstore Wholesale Price $75.00
  • RETAIL $99.95

WRITING IN THE WORKS helps students understand that all writers, whether they are professionals or students, have choices they must make during the writing process in regard to rhetorical situation: genre, purpose, audience, voice, and media and design. The text addresses a variety of different types of writing, many that might interest students, including: writing for social media platforms, writing reviews, and writing for the community. The text also provides students with information on conducting research and a grammar review."

"I love the approach of WRITING IN THE WORKS because it focuses on real world writing. Coverage of important concepts such as the rhetorical situation and genre are thorough and clear. The writing is engaging, and there is a consistent focus on the 'big idea' and how that works with different kinds of writing. Students can clearly see a link between the writing they are asked to do for class and the writing they will engage with in their professional lives."

Cengage provides a range of supplements that are updated in coordination with the main title selection. For more information about these supplements, contact your Learning Consultant.


Instructor's Companion Website

ISBN: 9781305092112
For additional instructor support materials, including PowerPoint slides and the instructor’s manual, go to The instructor’s manual provides teaching suggestions, suggested answers to exercises, and a sample course syllabus to assist instructors in teaching the course.