The Serious Student's Guide to Western Culture is an extraordinary series of reference works designed for students and readers at any level who want to learn more about the basic concepts of literature and understand the cultural background that has influenced works of great literature during the past 2,000 years. The reference series is conveniently arranged in separate volumes so the student can focus on one particular area of study or purchase all three volumes at a discount to obtain comprehensive coverage of all areas. Please see separate listing for the combined set of three volumes to obtain the discount.The first three volumes focus on ideas in Western culture needed to understand literature. Volumes 4 and 5 focus on related areas of English composition and vocabulary building. These texts examine most of the important ideas in Western culture to allow the reader to develop a deeper understanding of the world's great literature. Each volume presents a clear, concise explanation of important concepts in Western culture and provides many examples from specific texts. Although these texts are designed primarily for the study of literature, they can be read as stand-alone texts for the enjoyment of learning new ideas. Volume 4 in this series examines the basic concepts needed for students to improve their written and oral communication skills in academic discourse and in the business world. This volume presents a summary of important concepts taught in college composition and business communication courses and presents general information that can help students in any academic discipline write successful expository papers and present their ideas in accordance with conventions. The first section covers the basic elements of composition taught in high school so the reader can review fundamental concepts of writing. The next section includes a review of basic grammar and punctuation so the reader can compose papers which incorporate correct usage in accordance with the conventions of academia. The text also includes a diagnostic test in English composition so readers can determine the areas in which they need to improve, and this section includes cumulative exercises on punctuation so readers can practice the concepts they learned in earlier sections. Other sections examine the basic concepts of organization and structure for papers, the elements of proper citation and avoiding plagiarism, and the basic elements of revision and editing to help readers discover their weaknesses, revise the major problems, and rewrite papers.The next section includes basic elements for oral communication and preparing speeches and presentations for an audience. The following sections include an overview of logical argumentation and reasoning and methods to avoid common logical fallacies. The text also includes a section on proper word choice and usage so readers can use correct words to express their ideas. The following section presents an overview of academic research and reviews the concepts that readers need to integrate external evidence into their papers. The final section presents the basic concepts of business communication in today's world.