Mastering Academic Writing: A Guide to Owl Purdue’s Resources

Owl Purdue is an incredibly helpful online writing lab created and maintained by Purdue University. This comprehensive guide will provide all the key information you need to effectively utilize OWL Purdue to improve your writing.

Key Takeaways:

  • OWL Purdue offers over 200 free resources on writing, research, grammar, style guides, and more.
  • Resources include guides, examples, exercises, PowerPoints, videos, and tools.
  • OWL can help with brainstorming, structuring, citing, formatting papers, ESL writing, and avoiding plagiarism.
  • The site is completely free to use and accessible to writers of all levels.

What is OWL Purdue?

OWL Purdue stands for the Purdue University Online Writing Lab. It is a massive open-access website created and run by Purdue University with over 200 free resources on writing, research, grammar, style guides, and more.

OWL was created in 1994 by Purdue professors to help provide writing instruction for students. It started as a small lab on campus but quickly expanded into a public online resource used globally by millions of writers each year.

The goal of OWL is to provide free instructional content to help writers at any level improve their skills. The site contains guides, PowerPoints, videos, examples, exercises, tools, and more.

OWL Purdue’s offerings include:

  • Writing Guides – Guides on brainstorming, drafting, revising, proper structure, transitions, overcoming writer’s block, formatting specific paper types, and more.
  • Research Help – Tips for conducting research, evaluating sources, taking notes, synthesizing information, avoiding plagiarism, creating annotated bibliographies, etc.
  • ESL Writing – Resources to help non-native English speakers master grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, and composition skills.
  • Style Guides – Detailed style guides for APA, MLA, Chicago, and more. Includes templates, sample papers, examples, exercises, and formatting guides.
  • Grammar – Lessons, quizzes, and exercises on grammar, mechanics, punctuation, spelling, and more.
  • Multimedia – Videos, PowerPoints, visual examples, interactive exercises, and tools covering all aspects of writing.

Key Features of OWL Purdue

Completely free access

All OWL Purdue resources are 100% free to access and use. No login or account required. This makes it an invaluable resource for all writers looking to improve their skills.

Created and vetted by experts

OWL is created and updated by Purdue’s writing professors, ESL specialists, and subject-matter librarians. You can trust it as an authoritative source.

Organized and searchable

The site is organized into clear categories and all resources can be searched. This makes finding exactly what you need quick and easy.

Covers all aspects of writing

From brainstorming to revision, research to grammar, APA to MLA, OWL has guides to help improve every major aspect of writing.

Multiple formats

OWL offers more than just standard guides. It contains videos, PowerPoints, visual examples, interactive exercises, tools, and more – making it accessible to diverse learning styles.

For all writing levels

The instruction is designed to help new and experienced writers alike. OWL has resources suitable for middle school, high school, college, and professional writers.

How to Effectively Use OWL Purdue

Brainstorming and planning

Use OWL’s guides on brainstorming strategies, topic selection, outlines, and thesis statements to help plan and structure your paper from the start. Proper planning makes writing much easier.

Research and taking notes

OWL has many helpful guides on conducting research, evaluating sources, summarizing, paraphrasing, quoting properly, and creating annotated bibliographies. Mastering research skills will set you apart.

Writing and revising drafts

Use OWL’s comprehensive writing guides covering introductions, body paragraph structure, transitions, conclusions, revising, editing, and proofreading. Create strong drafts and polish your writing.

Formatting and citing sources

OWL is the top resource for formatting papers and citing sources properly in APA, MLA, Chicago, CSE, and more. Use OWL’s templates and sample papers to get formatting right.

Grammar and mechanics

Sharpen your grammar, punctuation, spelling, and mechanics skills with OWL’s grammar guides and interactive exercises. Fix your problem areas to improve clarity.

Interactive practice

Try OWL’s interactive tools and quizzes for writing, research, grammar, and style. Immediate feedback helps reinforce skills and identify weaknesses.

Multimedia resources

Access OWL’s videos, PowerPoints, visual examples, slide presentations, and more. These provide learning support for visual and auditory learners.


As this guide has shown, OWL Purdue is an invaluable free resource for any writer looking to improve their skills. With over 200 guides, tools, videos, examples, and exercises on all aspects of writing and research, it can help any writer take their skills to the next level.

Whether you are looking for help brainstorming ideas, structuring papers, formatting in APA/MLA style, citing sources, fixing grammar issues, conducting better research or improving ESL skills, OWL Purdue has the high-quality instructional content you need – all for free.

Refer back to this guide to maximize the value of this excellent writing resource. OWL can help any writer or student strengthen their writing and research abilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is OWL Purdue?

OWL Purdue stands for the Purdue University Online Writing Lab. It is a free, open-access website created and maintained by Purdue University containing over 200 instructional resources on writing, research, grammar, style guides, and more. The goal is to help writers at all levels improve their skills.

Is OWL Purdue free to use?

Yes, OWL Purdue is completely free to access and use. No login or account is required. All of the instructional content, guides, tools, examples, exercises, and multimedia resources are available for free.

Who is OWL Purdue for?

OWL Purdue is designed for writers of all levels and backgrounds. The instructional materials are created to help everyone from middle school students to advanced professional writers improve their skills. Both native and non-native English speakers can benefit.

What resources does OWL Purdue offer?

OWL offers guides, tools, videos, examples, exercises, slide presentations, and more covering brainstorming, research, drafting, revising, editing, formatting in major styles like APA and MLA, grammar, ESL writing skills, avoiding plagiarism, and much more.

How can OWL Purdue help me with research?

OWL has many research-focused guides covering evaluating sources, conducting research, taking notes properly, summarizing/paraphrasing, creating annotated bibliographies, incorporating and citing sources, and avoiding plagiarism.

Is OWL Purdue mobile friendly?

Yes, OWL Purdue’s website is mobile-responsive. All guides and resources are accessible and optimized for desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. No special mobile app is required.

Can I submit my writing to OWL for feedback?

No, OWL Purdue does not provide direct feedback on submitted writing. It only contains instructional guides and resources to aid you. For feedback, you must contact your instructor or a local writing center.

Does OWL Purdue write essays for you?

No, OWL does not write or edit papers directly. The site is meant only for instruction. However, using OWL’s many resources can indirectly help improve essays substantially.

Does OWL Purdue have citation generators?

Yes, OWL provides citation generators and tools that create properly formatted citations and references for you automatically in all major styles like MLA, APA and Chicago.

Can I use OWL Purdue for free as a student?

Yes, OWL Purdue is completely free for students and writers of all kinds to use. As an open education resource, no registration, fees, or login are required to access all instructional materials.

Is OWL Purdue updated regularly?

Yes, OWL Purdue is updated on a regular basis by Purdue professors and librarians to keep all resources, guides, tools, and multimedia up-to-date. This ensures the instructional content remains relevant.

What makes OWL Purdue a good resource?

OWL is highly regarded because the instructional materials are created and approved by writing experts, cover writing topics comprehensively, are well-organized and searchable, provide diverse learning formats, and are completely free to access for all.

How can OWL Purdue help with my grammar?

OWL has extensive resources to help improve grammar and mechanics. There are grammar guides, quizzes, exercises, proofreading practice, ESL instruction, and interactive tools covering punctuation, spelling, parts of speech, sentence structure, and more.

Is OWL Purdue only for Purdue students?

No. Although OWL is created and run by Purdue, it is a public resource designed to help all writers globally. Anyone from middle school students to business professionals can benefit from using OWL.

Is OWL Purdue only for English language learners?

No, OWL has instructional materials designed for both native English speakers and ESL writers. There are resources tailored specifically to help non-native speakers improve English writing skills as well.

Does OWL Purdue have a plagiarism checker?

No, OWL does not have a built-in plagiarism checker. However, it does provide comprehensive guides on properly summarizing, paraphrasing, quoting sources, citing sources, and avoiding plagiarism through ethical research and writing.

Can I use OWL Purdue on my iPad or iPhone?

Yes, OWL is fully accessible and optimized for iOS mobile devices like iPads and iPhones. All OWL resources are mobile-friendly without the need for any special app.

Is there an OWL Purdue app?

No, OWL does not currently offer a mobile app. The website is optimized for mobile use on all devices. All OWL instructional content can be easily accessed from any mobile browser without an app needed.

Does OWL Purdue help with MLA/APA style?

Yes. OWL provides extensive guides, sample papers, templates, tools, and exercises for properly formatting papers and styling citations/references using MLA, APA, Chicago, CSE, and other styles.

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