Books on Academic Writing
Graff, Gerald and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say / I Say: The Moves that Matter in Persuasive Writing. New York: W. W. Norton and company, 2007.
- If you are only going to read one book on academic writing, especially in first year, let it be this one. Why? It covers the main point about academic writing: establishing your argument (I Say) in a context of published research on your topic (They Say). In other words, you learn to think about academic writing in a way that can help you generate a clear organizational structure that integrates what others have said with your own views. This book focuses on the nature of academic writing and should be read cover to cover. Fortunately that is an easy task: It is short and hugely readable.
Bullock, Richard. The Norton Field guide to Writing. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2006.
- This book gives you specific guidelines on how to write 15 academic text types, such as abstracts, annotated bibliographies, lab reports, literature reviews, and research proposals. These text types are often assigned to students and the book helps you identify these texts and gives advice on taking a stance, organizing and drafting, and writing for an academic audience. This book is very useful as a reference book.
Writing And Critical Thinking
Rosenwasser, David, Jill Stephen and Doug Babington. Writing Analytically With Readings. 1st Canadian ed. Canada, Thomson Nelson, 2006.
- This book is for students who want to do more than just respond mechanically to assignments. Its aim is to take on the more complex aspects of academic writing to help students think analytically and critically about their topic and assist them in arriving at a strong argument that is the result of careful consideration of all the evidence. The chapter on the evolving thesis is exceptionally good.
Writing And Research
Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research. 3rd ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2008.
- This book is an analytical account of how researchers develop their arguments and communicate them in writing. In narrative form it goes through the entire research process: finding a research question, finding and a good research problem and structuring it, making good arguments, drafting and revising, and common structures for introductions and conclusions. It is interspersed with entertaining and instructive anecdotes about the authors’ own mistakes as budding researchers and the mistakes of their students. It is an excellent research guide that will assist both senior and graduate students.
Writing In The Disciplines
There are two good series of books on writing in specific disciplines, one by Oxford University Press and one by Longman. We have chosen to primarily to recommend books in the Longman series because they offer more detail about how students can learn to think and write the way practicing academics in the field do, but both series are excellent. However, please aware that these books generalize about discipline-specific writing and do not necessarily represent the writing requirements in your program, so always go to your professors with assignment related questions.
- Barnet, Sylvan and William E. Cain. A Short Guide to Writing about Literature. 10th ed.Toronto : Pearson Longman, 2006.
- Corrigan, Timothy. A Short Guide to Writing about Film. 5th ed. Toronto: Longman, 2003.
- Bellman, Jonathan. A Short Guide to Writing about Music. 2nd ed. Toronto: Longman, ? .
- Graybosch, Anthony J., Gregory M. Scott, and Stephen M. Garrison. The Philosophy Student Writer’s Manual. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall,2003.
- Vaughan, Lewis. Writing Philosophy: A Student’s Guide to Writing Philosophy Essays. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
- Cuba, Lee. A Short Guide to Writing about Social Science. Toronto: Longman, 2002.
- McCloskey, Deirdre N. 2nd ed. Economical Writing. Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press, 2000.
- Rampolla, Mary Lynn. A Pocket Guide to Writing in History. 5th. ed. Bedford/St.Martin’s: Boston, 2007.
- Kirszner, Laurier G. and Stephen R. Mandell. The Pocket Handbook for History. 2nd edition. Toronto: Thomson Wadsworth, 2004.
- Hellstern, Mark, Gregory M. Scott, and Stephen M. Garrison. The History Student Writer’s Manual. Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 1998.
- Scott, Gregory and Stephen M. Garrison. The Political Science Student Writer’s Manual. 5th ed. Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 2006.
- Johnson, William A. Jr., Richard P. Rettig, Gregory M. Scott, and Stephen M. Garrison. The Sociology Student Writer’s Manual. 5th. Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 2006.
- Porush, David. A Short Guide to Writing About Science. Toronto: Longman 1995.
- Pechenik, Jan A. A Short Guide to Writing about Biology. 5th ed. Toronto: Pearson Longman, 2004.
- McMillan, Victoria E. Writing Papers in the Biological Sciences. 4th ed. Boston: Bedford Books, 2006.
- Beall, Herbert and John Trimbur. 2nd ed. A Short Guide to Writing about Chemistry. Toronto: Longman, 2001.
- Dunn, Dana S. A Short Guide to Writing about Psychology. Toronto: Pearson Longman, 2004. Thaiss, Christopher and James F. Sanford. Writing for Psychology. Toronto: Allyn & Bacon, 2000.
- Northey, Margot and Joan McKibbin. Impact: A Guide to Business Communication. 6th ed. Toronto: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005.
- This is a brief but concise guide to business communication that covers all the fundamental principles of written communication in a business environment: an introduction to the theory of communication, writing with impact, good-news and bad-news correspondence, informal and formal reports, and oral presentations. Each chapter has exercises and an extensive list of recommended Web site.
Norton, Sarah and Brian Green. The Bare Essentials: Form A. Toronto: Harcourt Brace, 2009.
- This self-study grammar book is a classic by now. The major grammatical concepts are explained in simple, easy terms and then taught through a series of exercises for which all the answers are given in the back of the book. It is an ideal book for students who want to learn basic grammar on their own.
Norton, Sarah and Brian Green. The Bare Essentials Plus. Toronto: Harcourt Brace, 2009.
- The Plus edition includes a specific section for English language learners.
Kolln, Martha. Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects. 5th ed. Toronto: Pearson Education, 2007.
- This book is for students who want to understand the rhetorical impact of the different linguistic choices they make. Instead of focusing on rules of grammar, Kolln works from the inherent knowledge all native speakers of English have and uses rhetoric to explain why one version of a sentence is more readable than another. Kolln’s particular focus is to explain the rhetorical effects of grammatical choices. She does so in a very simple way without simplifying, and throughout the book the reader gets good pointers on all the sticky issues that come up in the revision process such as coherence and authorial voice.
Williams, Joseph M. Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace. 7th ed. New York: Longman.
- This book is for more advanced writers who want to make their academic writing engaging. Williams starts by problematizing the rules of traditional “school grammar” and lays out the rules that count. He then he goes into the aspects of sentence construction that can help a writer achieve clarity and coherence even in dense academic writing without sacrificing style. Williams co-authored The Craft of Research, and this book can well be considered its companion piece on language and style.
Dictionaries And Usage Guides
The Canadian Oxford Dictionary. 2nd ed. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2004.
The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press, 2002.
- This two-volume dictionary, particularly suitable for academic and/scientific vocabulary, is an abbreviated version of the 20-volume full Oxford English Dictionary available at the Laurier Library.
The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. 7th ed. Oxford University Press, 2005.
- This dictionary is recommended for all non-native speakers of English who want to extend their vocabulary and improve their understanding of idiomatic use of words and phrases. It is indispensable when it comes to choosing the correct prepositions with particular verbs.
Fee, Margery, and Janice McAlpine. Guide to Canadian English Usage. 2nd ed. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2007.
- A usage guide allows the reader to look up correct usage of particular words and also words that often cause grammatical difficulties such as "which" versus "that." It functions as a combined dictionary and grammar book and is therefore a very handy desk tool for any writer.
General Handbooks On Writing
Heffernan, A. W. James and John E. Lincoln. Writing: A College Handbook. 5th ed. New York: W. W. W. Norton, 2001.
- This handbook is a good choice if you want a standard reference book on writing. It covers in detail the writing process, the academic essay, argument, grammar, grammar for ESL students, the research essay, and the major documentation styles (MLA, CMS, APA, CSE). It has several sample essays that are very useful for university students as well as glossaries of usage and grammar.
Major Style Guides
MLA: Modern Language Association of America
- The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2009.
CMS: The Chicago Manual of Style
- Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. 7th ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2007.
APA: American Psychological Association
- Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 6th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2009.