17 Excellent Writing Guides for Academics and Student Researchers

October 10, 2014
This post is born out of a writing assignment for my PhD course 'Focused Educational Studies". The assignment was a reflective piece on chapter 4 of Jesson et al.'s book " Doing A Literature Review". The argument I developed  in this essay revolves around  the difference between academic writing and free style writing . My point was that academic writing is usually messier and time-consuming. The kind of thinking and reflection that goes with this kind of writing makes it really a painfully time and energy-consuming task.

Academic writing is inherently critical in that the writer has to develop an argument, provides a logical path of reasoning , a body of facts, ideas theses and anti-thesis to defend or refute a claim. This process of argumentation is usually encompassed within a well-written language. The writing style here is an essential component that determines the validity and authority of the academic piece. Academic writing style is not something one can develop overnight. It requires a lot of reading and practice and this is probably why so many undergraduate and graduate students grapple with it.

For those of you keen on improving their writing style and developing a robust academic ( and non-academic) writing style, the book collection below is definitely a must read. These are books I have bought throughout the course of my graduate and PhD studies. I would highly recommend them for  student researchers. Enjoy

  1. On Writing Well by William Zensser
  2. The Elements of Style by William Strunkand E.B. White
  3. The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing by Calvani, Mayra; Anne K.
  4. Learn to Write Badly by Billig Michael
  5. Stylish Academic Writing by Sword, Helen
  6. Writing without Teachers by Elbow Peter
  7. The Philosophy of Style by Herbert Spencer
  8. How to Write a Lot by Paul J, Silvia
  9. Why I Write by George Orwell
  10. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.
  11. They Say I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing by Gerarld Graff and Cathy Birkenstein.