Academic Writing: An Introduction – Fourth Edition
  • Publication Date: June 3, 2021
  • ISBN: 9781554815234 / 1554815231
  • 400 pages; 6½" x 9"

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Academic Writing: An Introduction – Fourth Edition

  • Publication Date: June 3, 2021
  • ISBN: 9781554815234 / 1554815231
  • 400 pages; 6½" x 9"

Academic Writing has been widely acclaimed in all its editions as a superb textbook—and an important contribution to the pedagogy of introducing students to the conventions of academic writing. The book seeks to introduce student readers to the lively community of research and writing beyond the classroom, with its complex interactions, values, and goals. It presents writing from a range of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, cultivating students’ awareness of the subtle differences in genre.


Academic Writing: An Introduction draws on current research in writing studies to usher students (and teachers) into an accessible but sophisticated overview of how university readers and writers create knowledge. This textbook demystifies academic writing by showing students how and why experts make their rhetorical moves within specific situations. Grounded in genre theory, the text offers teachers specific disciplinary tools to use to help students learn to read as well as to write university genres. Packed with examples from genres produced inside and outside the academy, the text offers rich potential for class discussion, and for individual or collaborative writing projects that would prepare students to move into disciplinary research situations (and beyond). Academic Writing is unique because it goes beyond describing the ‘conventions’ of research writing to, instead, richly illustrate what motivates this writing: why scholars cite sources, conduct peer review, or prefer a nominal style. I highly recommend this text for teachers who seek to prepare students to conduct research in their fields and beyond their undergraduate educations.” — Mary Soliday, San Francisco State University

Praise for previous editions:

“Like any complex rhetorical art, good academic writing is less a matter of conforming to rules than of exercising judgment, informed by a sense of audience expectations and developed by disciplined practice. Academic Writing: An Introduction is one of those rare guides that knows this, and helps students help themselves. As students work through the book’s many imaginative exercises, they will find themselves developing a new level of rhetorical judgment. Not only will they be better equipped to deal with writing assignments in a variety of disciplines; they will likely go on improving as writers after their introductory course has been completed.” — Brian Turner, Centre for Academic Writing, University of Winnipeg


1 Introducing Genre

  • 1A Hearing Voices
  • 1B Hearing Genres
  • 1C High-School vs. University Writing
  • 1D The University as Research Institution

2 Citation and Summary

  • 2A Introducing Scholarly Citation
  • 2B Is Citation Unique to Scholarly Writing?
  • 2C Why Do Scholars Use Citation?

3 Summary

  • 3A Noting for Gist
  • 3B Recording Levels
  • 3C Using Gist and Levels of Generality to Write Summary
  • 3D Establishing the Summarizer’s Position
  • 3E Reporting Reporting
  • 3F Experts and Non-Experts

4 Challenging Situations for Summarizers

  • 4A High-Level Passages
  • 4B Low-Level Passages
  • 4C Summarizing Narrative

5 Think-Aloud Protocols in the Writing Classroom

  • 5A Who Do You Think You’re Talking To?
  • 5B Traditions of Commentary on Student Writing
  • 5C An Alternative to Traditional Commentary: The Think-Aloud Protocol
  • 5D Adapting the Think-Aloud Protocol in the Writing Classroom
  • 5E Reading on Behalf of Others
  • 5F Reliability of Readers
  • 5G Presupposing vs. Asserting

6 Orchestrating Voices

  • 6A Making Speakers Visible: Writing as Conversation
  • 6B Orchestrating Scholarly Voices
  • 6C The Challenges of Non-Scholarly Voices
  • 6D Orchestrating Academic Textbooks and Popular Writing
  • 6E Research Proposals

7 Definition

  • 7A Dictionaries
  • 7B Appositions
  • 7C Sustained Definitions
  • 7D The Social Profile of Abstractions and Their Different Roles in Different Disciplines

8 Introductions

  • 8A Generalization and Citation
  • 8B Reported Speech
  • 8C Documentation
  • 8D State of Knowledge and the Knowledge Deficit
  • 8E Student Versions of the Knowledge Deficit

9 Scholarly Readers

  • 9A Think-Aloud and Genre Theory
  • 9B The Mental Desktop

10 Scholarly Styles I: Nominal Style

  • 10A Common and Uncommon Sense
  • 10B Is Scholarly Writing Unnecessarily Complicated, Exclusionary, or Elitist?
  • 10C Nominal Style: Syntactic Density
  • 10D Nominal Style: Ambiguity
  • 10E Sentence Style and Textual Coherence

11 Scholarly Styles II: Messages about the Argument

  • 11A Messages about the Argument
  • 11B The Discursive I
  • 11C Forecasts
  • 11D Emphasis

12 Scholarly Styles III: Visual Rhetoric

  • 12A Figures
  • 12B Graphs
  • 12C Tables
  • 12D Research Posters

13 Making and Maintaining Knowledge I

  • 13A Peer Review
  • 13B Making Knowledge
  • 13C Methods Sections
  • 13D IMRD Structure
  • 13E Qualitative Method and Subject Position

14 Making and Maintaining Knowledge II

  • 14A Modality
  • 14B Other Markers of the Status of Knowledge
  • 14C Tense and the Story of Research

15 Conclusions and the Moral Compass of the Disciplines

  • 15A Conclusions
  • 15B The Moral Compass of the Disciplines: Research Ethics
  • 15C The Moral Compass of the Disciplines: Moral Statements



Subject Index

Index of Authors Cited

Janet Giltrow is Professor Emerita at the University of British Columbia. Richard Gooding is Assistant Professor of Teaching in the Department of English Language and Literatures at the University of British Columbia. Daniel Burgoyne is Professor in the Department of English at Vancouver Island University.

  • • chapter on visual rhetoric, with material on figures, graphs, and tables, and section on the genre of the research poster, is new to the second edition
  • • sections on the academic peer review system and IMRaD (Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion) are new to the fourth edition
  • • updated examples throughout, including timely passages from research on COVID
  • • expanded examples from the sciences
  • • new exercises throughout
  • • new glossary entries

The student companion site includes additional exercises, sample student essays, reading questions, and colour versions of images printed in black and white in the book.