Writing for Social Scientists: How to Start and Finish Your Thesis, Book, or Article: Second Edition

Paperback | December 15, 2007

byHoward S. Becker

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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, writer’s 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. Becker’s 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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From the Publisher

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, writer’s block.Sociologist Howard S. Becker has written the classic book on how to conquer these pre...

From the Jacket

Both the means and the reasons for writing a thesis or article or book are socially structures 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.

Howard S. Becker lives and works in San Francisco. He is the author of several books, including Outsiders, Tricks of the Trade, and Telling About Society.     

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.8 inPublished:December 15, 2007Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226041328

ISBN - 13:9780226041322

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Extra Content

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