Academic Writing: An Introduction – Third Edition
  • Publication Date: September 3, 2014
  • ISBN: 9781554811878 / 1554811872
  • 368 pages; 6½" x 9"

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Academic Writing: An Introduction – Third Edition

  • Publication Date: September 3, 2014
  • ISBN: 9781554811878 / 1554811872
  • 368 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.

This new edition has been revised throughout and contains many new exercises, updated examples, a new section on research proposals, and wider disciplinary coverage. The organization of the book has also been revised to better fit with the timeline of most teaching terms.


“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.” — Brian Turner, University of Winnipeg


  1. Introducing Genre
    1. Hearing Voices
    2. Hearing Genres
    3. High-School vs. University Writing
    4. The University as Research Institution

  2. Citation and Summary
    1. Introducing Scholarly Citation
    2. Is Citation Unique to Scholarly Writing?
    3. Why Do Scholars Use Citation?

  3. Summary
    1. Noting for Gist
    2. Recording Levels
    3. Using Gist and Levels of Generality to Write Summary
    4. Establishing the Summarizer’s Position
    5. Reporting Reporting
    6. Experts and Non-Experts

  4. Challenging Situations for Summarizers
    1. High-Level Passages
    2. Low-Level Passages
    3. Summarizing Narrative

  5. Readers Reading I
    1. Who Do You Think You’re Talking To?
    2. Traditions of Commentary on Student Writing
    3. An Alternative to Traditional Commentary:
      The Think-Aloud Protocol
    4. Adapting the Think-Aloud Protocol in the Writing Classroom
    5. Reading on Behalf of Others
    6. Reliability of Readers
    7. Presupposing vs. Asserting

  6. Orchestrating Voices
    1. Making Speakers Visible: Writing as Conversation
    2. Orchestrating Scholarly Voices
    3. The Challenges of Non-Scholarly Voices
    4. Orchestrating Academic Textbooks and Popular Writing
    5. The Internet
    6. Research Proposals

  7. Definition
    1. Dictionaries
    2. Appositions
    3. Sustained Definitions
    4. The Social Profile of Abstractions and Their Different Roles in Different Disciplines

  8. Introductions
    1. Generalization and Citation
    2. Reported Speech
    3. Documentation
    4. State of Knowledge and the Knowledge Deficit
    5. Student Versions of the Knowledge Deficit

  9. Readers Reading II
    1. Think-Aloud and Genre Theory
    2. The Mental Desktop

  10. Scholarly Styles I: Nominal Style
    1. Common and Uncommon Sense
    2. Is Scholarly Writing Unnecessarily Complicated, Exclusionary, or Elitist?
    3. Nominal Style: Syntactic Density
    4. Nominal Style: Ambiguity
    5. Sentence Style and Textual Coherence

  11. Scholarly Styles II: Messages about the Argument
    1. Messages about the Argument
    2. The Discursive I
    3. Forecasts
    4. Emphasis

  12. Making and Maintaining Knowledge I
    1. Making Knowledge
    2. Method Sections
    3. Qualitative Method and Subject Position

  13. Making and Maintaining Knowledge II
    1. Modality
    2. Other Markers of the Status of Knowledge
    3. Tense and the Story of Research

  14. Conclusions and the Moral Compass of the Disciplines
    1. Conclusions
    2. The Moral Compass of the Disciplines:
      Research Ethics
    3. The Moral Compass of the Disciplines:
      Moral Statements



    Subject Index

    Index of Researchers Cited

Janet Giltrow is a Professor of English and Associate Dean of Arts at the University of British Columbia.

Richard Gooding is an instructor in the Department of English at the University of British Columbia.

Daniel Burgoyne is Professor and Chair of the Department of English at Vancouver Island University.

Marlene Sawatsky is a Senior Lecturer and teaches courses in Writing and Rhetoric in the English Department at Simon Fraser University.

The student companion site includes additional exercises and sample student essays. An access code to the website is included with all new copies.

For a sample of Academic Writing: An Introduction, click here. (Opens as a PDF.)