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Suggested Books
Alphabetical list of Handouts & Guides

Words of Wisdom

I write down everything I want to remember. That way, instead of spending a lot of time trying to remember what it is I wrote down, I spend the time looking for the paper I wrote it down on. 

— Beryl Pfizer

Writing is an integral part of earning a graduate degree. The following references can help you master the kind of writing expected of you as a graduate student, particularly the thesis or dissertation. Many of the books listed are recommended by graduate student advisors, and most can be accessed through the Texas A&M University Library System.

Academic Discourse

Bailey, Stephen. Academic Writing: A Handbook for International Students.
By covering the writing process and key writing skills, Bailey provides help for both teachers and students who struggle with written English. He includes examples, writing models, and practice exercises.

Casanave, Christine and Xiaoming Li. Learning the Literacy Practices of Graduate School: Insiders’ Reflections on Academic Enculturation.
This book looks at many disciplines in order to examine the written and unwritten “rules” of graduate study in the areas of academic participation, relationships, and student/faculty identity.

Swales, John and Christine Feak. Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Essential Tasks and Skills.
This writing guide covers a variety of topics in a range of disciplines: discourse analysis, audience, academic genres, summaries, critiques, and methodology, to name a few.

Swales and Feak. English in Today’s Research World: A Writing Guide.
Intended for second language writers, each chapter focuses on practical writing projects and assignments students may have to undertake, such as writing for publication or job-related correspondence.

Writing a Thesis or Dissertation

Bolker, Joan. Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day.
While the author admits the title is more playful than literal, Bolker intends this book as practical help for overcoming writer’s block, dealing with distractions, and developing an addiction to writing.

Bryant, Miles. The Portable Dissertation Adviser.
Bryant’s chapters lead students through specific steps in the dissertation process, with the final chapter offering advice for successfully completing the journey.

Clark, Irene. Writing the Successful Thesis and Dissertation: Entering the Conversation.
Clark uses her experience as a graduate student advisor as the basis for the book, and she balances her advice with genre and writing theory in order to help students become scholars in their chosen field.

Evans, David. How to Write a Better Thesis.
Evans believes writing is an integral part of the thesis, rather than something that simply happens at the end of the process. His concise guide demystifies the thesis and helps students establish a timeline.

Foss, Sonja and William Waters. Destination Dissertation: A Traveler’s Guide to a Done Dissertation.
Using travel as a metaphor, the authors borrow from their successful Scholars’ Retreat to help graduate students take the “path” to being professional scholars and academics. Includes many examples.

Holtom, Daniel and Elizabeth Fisher. Enjoy Writing Your Science Thesis or Dissertation: A Step by Step Guide to Planning and Writing Dissertations and Theses for Undergraduate and Graduate Science Students.
Holtom and Fisher provide a user friendly book, which can be read straight through or used as a reference tool.  The book covers practical information on planning, organizing, writing, and presenting a science thesis or dissertation. Formatting and citations are also covered thoroughly.

Ogden, Evelyn Hunt. Complete Your Dissertation or Thesis in Two Semesters or Less.
Encouraging students to complete the graduation process in a timely manner, the author focuses on how to “effectively and efficiently” complete a dissertation or thesis.

Writing Problems and Solutions

Hjortshoj, Keith. Understanding Writing Blocks.
Hjortshoj speaks specifically to graduate student writers as he argues against the stigma often associated with writing blocks. He not only examines the causes of such blocks, but also discusses strategies for overcoming them.

Kaye, Sanford. Writing Under Pressure: The Quick Writing Process.
The Quick Writing Process is designed to help writers systematically produce work regardless of time and space constraints.

Pearlman, Daniel and Paula Pearlman. Guide to Rapid Revision.
Whether students have questions about grammar or problems with revision, the answer can be found in this book. The 8th edition is unique, as the content is alphabetized according to common correction symbols.

Peterson, Karen E. The Tomorrow Trap: Unlocking the Secrets of the Procrastination-Protection Syndrome.
As a former writing instructor, Peterson has developed a specific set of exercises that are designed to identify and work through an individual’s underlying reasons for procrastination.

Silvia, Paul. How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing.
Silvia argues that productive writing is not merely a talent, but also the result of specific strategies and actions. His advice covers a variety of topics such as how to write, how to improve the quality of writing, and how to revise and publish.

Strunk, William and E. B. White. The Elements of Style.
While not a new resource, this book is the most popular style manual in print, giving writers expert advice regarding the English language.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute The University Writing Center, Texas A&M University.

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