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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Print Price: $44.99

272 pp.
7 figures; 7 tables, 5" x 7.75"


Copyright Year:

Imprint: OUP Canada

Academic Acts

Summary, Analysis, Synthesis

Eric Henderson and Sean Henry

Academic Acts provides a streamlined approach to academic writing by exploring three crucial acts - summary, analysis, and synthesis - while covering the basic skills that students need to read, write, and research effectively. Act I describes the conventions of academic and non-academic writing and the stages of writing. Act II provides step-by-step guidelines for writing different types of summaries and includes a chapter on how to write concisely. Act III focuses on critical thinking and rhetorical analysis. Act IV provides guidelines for integrating quotations and paraphrase, MLA and APA documentation style, and includes an annotated student research paper. The five readings at the end of the book illustrate different genres of writing across the disciplines, focusing on topics of interest to today's students.

Readership : Students taking introductory English composition and literature courses in colleges and universities, as well as any undergraduate student taking a course with a significant writing component.


  • "The organization and content of this book really make sense, and it includes excellent resources for students. It stands out for using very current Canadian readings."
    -Richa Dwor, Douglas College
  • "This textbook is tailor made for our course. It's like being handed a ready-made curriculum... This book is clearly written with first-year students in mind. I appreciate how it reassures weak writers that they can learn to improve."
    -Mike Perschon, MacEwan University

Introduction: On Academic Writing
Act I Foundations of Academic Writing
1. The Interrelated Skills of Thinking, Reading, and Writing
2. Purpose and Audience
3. The Conventions of Academic Writing
4. Stages of Writing
5. Research
6. Essay Writing
7. A Grammar Primer
Act II Summary
8. Summarizing: An Everyday Skill
9. Summary as Overview: The Abstract
10. The Complete Picture: Extended Summaries
11. A Broader Focus: Annotated Bibliographies
12. Summaries, Research, and Your Writing
13. Less Is More: Strategies for Concise Writing
Act III Analysis
14. What Is Critical Thinking?
15. Engaging with a Text
16. Rhetorical Analysis of an Argument
17. Analyzing Weak and Misleading Arguments
18. Examples of Arguments
Act IV Synthesis
19. To Quote or Not to Quote: How to Use Your Sources
20. An Introduction to Citation Styles
21. Getting Down to It: Outlining and Composing
22. A Case Study: A Student Research Paper
"Managing the Modern Infodemic" by Nancy Tomes
"Stop Whitewashing Our National History" by Tayo Bero
"The Case for Semicolons" by Lauren Oyler
"Cybervictimization among Pre-Adolescents in a Community-Based Sample in Canada: Prevalence & Predictors" (Excerpt) by Ahmad Mobin, Cindy Xin Feng, and Cory Neudorf
"The Social Price of Constant Connectivity: Smartphones Impose Subtle Costs on Well-Being" by Kostadin Kushlev, Ryan Dwyer, and Elizabeth W. Dunn

Instructor's Manual:
For each chapter:
· Chapter summary
· List of key terms
· 2-5 discussion topics
· 2-5 class assignments/activities
· 2-5 further resources (links to recommended videos, podcasts, articles, and websites)
PowerPoint Slides:
For each chapter:
- 5-15 slides

Eric Henderson is a lecturer in the Academic and Technical Writing Program at the University of Victoria. Dr. Henderson has taught at the University of Victoria for two decades, teaching courses in composition and rhetoric. He previously taught courses in American Literature at Simon Fraser University. He has published numerous articles and reviews in leading journals and is the author of the OUP Canada titles The Active Reader, 4e (2018); Becoming an Active Reader 3e (2020); The Empowered Writer, 4e (with Kathleen Moran, 2022); and Writing by Choice, 3e (2015) among other works.

Sean Henry is a continuing sessional lecturer in the Department of English and the Academic and Technical Writing Program at the University of Victoria, where he has taught since 2009. Dr. Henry was educated at the University of Victoria, Queen's University, and Western University, and specializes in the English Renaissance in addition to first-year literature and composition. He has previously taught at Western University and Camosun College.

The Active Reader - Eric Henderson
Becoming an Active Reader - Eric Henderson
The Empowered Writer - Kathleen Moran and Eric Henderson
The Canadian Writer's Handbook - The late William E. Messenger, Jan de Bruyn, The late Judy Brown and Ramona Montagnes
The Concise Canadian Writer's Handbook - William E. Messenger, Jan de Bruyn, Judy Brown and Ramona Montagnes
Essay Do's and Don'ts - Lucia Engkent and Garry Engkent
Making Sense - Margot Northey
Writing with Style - Heather Pyrcz
Practical Grammar - Maxine Ruvinsky

Special Features

  • An accessible format and incremental approach provide students with a manageable set of strategies and tools to develop their academic reading and writing skills.
  • Canadian readings, examples, and sample essays make this an ideal text for teaching post-secondary reading and writing in the Canadian context.
  • Extensive annotation of sample student writing helps students to analyze exemplary writing by their peers.
  • Informative tables and bulleted lists give students quick and easy access to step-by-step guidelines and complex material.
  • Well-structured activities provide students with opportunities to put key concepts into practice.