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

ISBN: 0226041085

ISBN13: 9780226041087

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

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Book Overview

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...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

The book is helpful

Having read a bunch of books on the topic of doing your thesis, I was a bit desperate since none of them seemed to offer really practical advices on how to tackle the problem of starting to write. I got lost in "how to read and write a literature review" and "how to talk to your committee members", and only when I start reading Becker's book I found this seemingly crazy but increadibly fine advice: sit down and write - just about everything that comes into your mind. If you get stuck, put it down. Your first draft will be much of a weird writing, but only through materializing it you will be able to make further steps forward. I've read this book in less than two days and have brightened my view of this huge task in front of me. The only redundant thing is the chapter on using the computer, since it became a usual stuff since this book was published. Everything else is a true confidence booster!

Becker gets you going

Starting Chapter 1 of my dissertation proposal scared the living daylights out of me. Where to start? How much do I need to research and read before I actually start writing? And then there is the never-ending "Here's just one more article/book/website I need to read/investigate before I can even start *thinking* about writing" refrain...Becker, in a very straight-forward and humorous manner, gets you going. He lets you know the absolute fear you are feeling is perfectly normal and that the first draft is just that - a first draft. It doesn't have to be perfect; in fact it *shouldn't* be perfect. After reading this book, I simply sat down and started writing. I didn't worry about punctuation or sentence structure, I just wrote. Some of it ended up in the trash, but much of what I wrote on the first go-around was molded into some very good work.Thanks to Howard Becker I think I might actual graduate!

Well done!

Becker's pragmatic approach has brought the fear of editing, the risks of perception by others who will read the paper, and the search for the One Right Way of writing into the open. He didn't just stop there. He shows the reader how to overcome these obstacles and get the job done. The thought I have after reading the book is: "Everything else is useless if you don't get your point across."I recommend this book to anyone who is serious about scholarly writing.

A must have!

Everyone of us, to include social scientists, have flaws. While reading this book, it is common to see yourself in some of Becker's examples - the relief comes when Becker explains how you can work through your faults and get to what is important - finishing your project.I did not find out about this book until after I started on my Master's Program. I wish this was made required reading when I was an undergrad, it would have helped me out greatly. This book should be on every college students' bookshelf, no matter what field they are in.

Becker is a master

I discovered this book in a methodology class for social scientists when our teacher demanded that we read it. The great thing about Becker is that what he writes is real life in its most intriguing details. This book won't teach you how to write but will teach you how to WORK. I recommend you read it, sociologist, anthropologist, political scientist, psycologist or whatever you are in the social sciences.
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