Jeromy Anglim's Blog: Psychology and Statistics


Friday, February 27, 2009

Books on Writing, Grammar, and Style in Psychology and Beyond

This post lists some books on academic writing, which I've found useful.

Thesis Writing
  • I found How to Write a Thesis by Rowena Murray a good first book to get started writing a thesis. It talks about the importance of free writing, brainstorming, and the writing process. 
Composition
  • Problem-solving strategies for writing by Linda Flower also provided a number of additional strategies within a framework grounded in cognitive psychology.
Grammar
  • In terms of general handbooks on writing, grammar, and style, there are many out there. I liked The ready reference handbook: writing, revising, editing by Jack Dodds. 
  • After re-acquainting myself with the grammar in Dodds’ book, I looked for a more rigorous treatment, and ended up going through books on linguistics that were of little practical benefit for someone who only wanted to improve their writing. I found Doing Grammar by Max Morenberg to be an excellent book for teaching a grammar that is actually useful for a writer.
Writing Style
  • In terms of writing style, I enjoyed the tips given in Make Your Words Work and 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing both by the late Gary Provost.
  • On Writing Well by William Zinsser is also a classic. 
  • Everyone talks about Strunk’s Elements of Style  and it is an important quick read available on the Internet. 
  • Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace by Joseph Williams was also quite good. 
  • The Publication Manual of the APA is essential in psychology, and also has some advice on writing style and content.
Writing for Psychology Academics
  • In terms of a good quick book written specifically for academic psychologists, How to Write a Lot by Paul J. Silvia has some good ideas. 

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