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​​​WRITING EXPLORATORY ESSAYS: From Personal to Persuasive, Second Edition
Steven M. Strang
Strang 2e Cover.png

Steven M, Strang, PhD​

Massachusetts Institute of Technology​

Pages: 490 Pages

Copyright Year: © 2015

Status: Available

Formats & Ordering ISBNs:


Paperback: 978-9823241-0-3

Online eTexbook: 978-0-9823242-0-3

For Student (Value Series):

Printed Text

(Paperback &

Loose-Leaf )


(Online-All Devices)

WRITING EXPLORATORY ESSAYS: From Personal to Persuasive is a composition rhetoric and reader is based on the concept of writers exploring subjects while at the same time examining their own beliefs and experiences. It is a comprehensive text for any first-year course. Students use self-exploration to develop a flexible academic style and foster meaningful analytical insights into such topics as relationships, texts, concepts, and controversies.

Students perform twofold exploration: They examine their own assumptions, beliefs, life experiences, and worldviews, while simultaneously analyzing topics beyond themselves (for example, texts and controversies).


Numerous classic readings, exercises, and assignments. The text has been updated and streamlined to reflect contemporary topics, strategies, and scholarship.


Flexible organization and format. The modular format offers students core material in digestible chunks. Each chapter includes writing assignments for analysis, persuasion, and personal essays.


Helpful and engaging tone combined with a unique narrative. A natural and relaxed writing style promotes a sense of a conversation between the author and reader.


Student-friendly pedagogy. The text emphasizes the difference between a diary entry (written for oneself) and an actual exploratory essay (written for others). In the latter, there is always a topic (something external to the student, such as a text or controversy) and a subtopic (such as the student writer’s beliefs and assumptions). This distinction helps students focus on the fact that every essay has two topics to be pursued, not simply one. Also, the repeated emphasis on writing to and for an audience keeps student writers aware of the necessity of establishing the “global significance” of their essays. If they can’t answer the “Why should readers read this essay?” question, then they know they have not succeeded.


Chapters 3–10 are followed by texts in a section entitled “Readings.” Each text is preceded by a brief note about the writer and an “Inward Exploration,” a pre-reading writing task to prime the pump and to get students thinking about issues raised in that text. (Often, these are good journal writing assignments.)


Each text is followed by “Outward Exploration: Suggestions for Discussion and Writing.” These writing suggestions include topics that emphasize personal exploration, analysis, and argument. Such assignments give instructors great flexibility to stress whatever kind of academic writing is preferred or to give students a variety of emphases in their writing.


In addition, most of the texts are followed by “Rhetoric and Style,” a consideration of a particular stylistic or rhetorical device illustrated by that text. This section employs the rhetorical teaching technique of imitation: Students use their own material and ideas to write a sentence that imitates the structure, tone, or approach of the passage singled out for consideration.


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