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More copies of this ISBN

This title in other editions

Other titles in the Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, & Publishing series:

Writing for Social Scientists: How to Start and Finish Your Thesis, Book, or Article: Second Edition (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, & Publishing)

by

Writing for Social Scientists: How to Start and Finish Your Thesis, Book, or Article: Second Edition (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, & Publishing) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Social scientists, whether earnest graduate students or tenured faculty members, clearly know the rules that govern good writing. But for some reason they choose to ignore those guidelines and churn out turgid, pompous, and obscure prose. Distinguished sociologist Howard S. Becker, true to his calling, looks for an explanation for this bizarre behavior not in the psyches of his colleagues but in the structure of his profession. In this highly personal and inspirational volume he considers academic writing as a social activity.

Both the means and the reasons for writing a thesis or article or book are socially structured by the organization of graduate study, the requirements for publication, and the conditions for promotion, and the pressures arising from these situations create the writing style so often lampooned and lamented. Drawing on his thirty-five years' experience as a researcher, writer, and teacher, Becker exposes the foibles of the academic profession to the light of sociological analysis and gentle humor. He also offers eminently useful suggestions for ways to make social scientists better and more productive writers. Among the topics discussed are how to overcome the paralyzing fears of chaos and ridicule that lead to writer's block; how to rewrite and revise, again and again; how to adopt a persona compatible with lucid prose; how to deal with that academic bugaboo, the literature. There is also a chapter by Pamela Richards on the personal and professional risks involved in scholarly writing.

In recounting his own trials and errors Becker offers his readers not a model to be slavishly imitated but an example to inspire. Throughout, his focus is on the elusivework habits that contribute to good writing, not the more easily learned rules of grammar and punctuation. Although his examples are drawn from sociological literature, his conclusions apply to all fields of social science, and indeed to all areas of scholarly endeavor. The message is clear: you don't have to write like a social scientist to be one.

Synopsis:

Students and researchers all write under pressure, and those pressures—most lamentably, the desire to impress your audience rather than to communicate with them—often lead to pretentious prose, academic posturing, and, not infrequently, writers block.

Sociologist Howard S. Becker has written the classic book on how to conquer these pressures and simply write. First published nearly twenty years ago, Writing for Social Scientists has become a lifesaver for writers in all fields, from beginning students to published authors. Beckers message is clear: in order to learn how to write, take a deep breath and then begin writing. Revise. Repeat.

It is not always an easy process, as Becker wryly relates. Decades of teaching, researching, and writing have given him plenty of material, and Becker neatly exposes the foibles of academia and its “publish or perish” atmosphere. Wordiness, the passive voice, inserting a “the way in which” when a simple “how” will do—all these mechanisms are a part of the social structure of academic writing. By shrugging off such impediments—or at the very least, putting them aside for a few hours—we can reform our work habits and start writing lucidly without worrying about grades, peer approval, or the “literature.”

In this new edition, Becker takes account of major changes in the computer tools available to writers today, and also substantially expands his analysis of how academic institutions create problems for them. As competition in academia grows increasingly heated, Writing for Social Scientists will provide solace to a new generation of frazzled, would-be writers.

About the Author

Howard S. Becker is the author of several books, including

Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition  

1986 Preface   

Freshman English for Graduate Students       

Persona and Authority         

One Right Way        

Editing by Ear          

Learning to Write as a Professional  

Risk, by Pamela Richards    

Getting It out the Door         

Terrorized by the Literature  

Writing with Computers       

A Final Word        

References      

Index   

Product Details

ISBN:
9780226041308
Author:
Becker, Howard S.
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Contribution:
Richards, Pamela
Author:
Richards, Pamela
Author:
Becker, Howard Saul
Subject:
Reference
Subject:
Writing Skills
Subject:
Composition & Creative Writing - Academic
Subject:
Social sciences
Subject:
Academic writing
Subject:
Sociology -- Authorship.
Subject:
Reference-Student Writing Guides
Subject:
Reference/Writing
Copyright:
Edition Number:
2
Edition Description:
2
Series:
Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing
Publication Date:
20070931
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Sociology » Reference and Methodology
Reference » Science Reference » General
Reference » Writing » General

Writing for Social Scientists: How to Start and Finish Your Thesis, Book, or Article: Second Edition (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, & Publishing) New Hardcover
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$53.50 In Stock
Product details 208 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226041308 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Students and researchers all write under pressure, and those pressures—most lamentably, the desire to impress your audience rather than to communicate with them—often lead to pretentious prose, academic posturing, and, not infrequently, writers block.

Sociologist Howard S. Becker has written the classic book on how to conquer these pressures and simply write. First published nearly twenty years ago, Writing for Social Scientists has become a lifesaver for writers in all fields, from beginning students to published authors. Beckers message is clear: in order to learn how to write, take a deep breath and then begin writing. Revise. Repeat.

It is not always an easy process, as Becker wryly relates. Decades of teaching, researching, and writing have given him plenty of material, and Becker neatly exposes the foibles of academia and its “publish or perish” atmosphere. Wordiness, the passive voice, inserting a “the way in which” when a simple “how” will do—all these mechanisms are a part of the social structure of academic writing. By shrugging off such impediments—or at the very least, putting them aside for a few hours—we can reform our work habits and start writing lucidly without worrying about grades, peer approval, or the “literature.”

In this new edition, Becker takes account of major changes in the computer tools available to writers today, and also substantially expands his analysis of how academic institutions create problems for them. As competition in academia grows increasingly heated, Writing for Social Scientists will provide solace to a new generation of frazzled, would-be writers.

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