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The Craft of Research

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  3,321 ratings  ·  268 reviews
With more than 400,000 copies now in print, The Craft of Research is the unrivaled resource for researchers at every level, from first-year undergraduates to research reporters at corporations and government offices.

Seasoned researchers and educators Gregory G. Colomb and Joseph M. Williams present an updated third edition of their classic handbook, whose first and second
Kindle Edition, Third Edition, 336 pages
Published (first published 1995)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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Aug 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever faced a blank computer screen and were at a complete loss of what you should write about for a 10-page research paper due the next week? Or maybe you knew what you wanted to write about but didn't know how to start? Or maybe you had all your sources, wrote out a draft and realized that no one cares if The Great Gatsby illustrates the three Aristotelian elements of a tragedy?

The Craft of Research helps students and researchers solve dilemmas like these and more. The authors dissect
Feb 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really wish someone had given me this book back when I actually had to write research papers. It provides concrete, easy-to-follow advice on how to write more effectively. Even better, it avoids overly-technical language and preachiness. As a creative writer, I don't necessarily agree with everything in their brief chapter on style, but for the most part it is good advice, and it certainly works as a basic guideline for revising weak language. Perhaps it is an oversimplification, but the issue ...more
Jan 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Main reason for me reading this book is that I soon have to start the process of writing my thesis. Honestly I didn't expect much of this book from "entertainment" or "easy read" level and was expecting something painfully boring albeit informative. However after starting to read this I soon discovered that not only this book has lots of tips about the planning and writing process, finding sources, how to refine arguments etc. it also does it in a way that is interesting and almost *gasp* fun to ...more
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm giving it two stars because it did have a handful of helpful points. But only a handful.

I'm working on a book and thought reading this might be a good foundation/review before doing so. I was wrong. I just wasted three months of my time.

The issues are many fold. Firstly the near rage inducing repetition. I could make a hefty list of all the things that were mentioned no less then 30 or 40 times. I wish I were exaggerating. I really do. 90% of the book is information I learned in and around f
Feb 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
I have read this book at least four times and I am reading again even now for the fifth. This is a book that can be usefully reread every few years if one has the interest to present strong arguments, especially written research, and proposals. The book is one of my all time favorites for learning the writing craft.

I admit to coercing my High School-aged children to read it each summer once they reach the 10th grade. My goal is to help them assimilate this part of the writing process--which I be
Robin Lang
Jul 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Craft of Research was recommended to me by a colleague who is focusing on research and rhetoric. It was a good overview of writing best practices and would be useful for undergraduate students or anyone who wants practical advice on writing research papers. I appreciated most its emphasis on writing and research as conversation. Often undergraduate students are afraid to interject their own ideas into their writing and produce research papers with too much summary. Students will be more like ...more
Stephen Betts
Aug 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This book is an incredible resource for improving research methods and argumentation. A professor asked members of my class to buy and study "Craft" as part of an intro to research writing class. I didn't think I needed it then, so I just left it on my shelf. A year later I am working on more serious research project and decided to see what good advice "Craft" might offer. I have been pleasantly surprised to find solutions to many of my rookie frustrations, as well as sound counsel on how to mak ...more
Michael Wu
May 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jennifer DuBose
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I appreciated the practical approach by Booth. Felt like listening to a friend or mentor in academia who’s been through the thick of it and is giving you their advice. No frills, no lofty/white-tower theories.

This was required reading for a course I’m taking, but I can see myself referencing this a lot in the future as I continue my studies.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: college
Pretty boring to read straight through, but a lot of helpful information.
Apr 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
This was the second time I've read this book, and this time I was prompted to read it as both a researcher and a teacher of research/writing. There's more to recommend as the latter, as the view it presents to the former is needlessly simplistic for an advanced graduate student. That said, there are still plenty of lessons to be gleaned from books of this sort, and this one is particularly good for reminding its readers (at whatever level) to stay calm about the process of conducting and writing ...more
Aaron Downs
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The authors of The Craft of Research know how to write, and they know how to write well. Wayne Booth, Gregory Colomb, and Joseph Williams put their experience and skills together to guide writers, old and young alike, through the process of writing a good research paper. These authors help writers to think well, to research well, and to write well.

The research process is difficult, and is all the more when one does not know the direction in which to go, much less where to start. The Craft of Re
Really excellent read.

Glad I bought it, I'll definitely be referencing this again--multiple times throughout my graduate school career!

Highly recommend it.
jeni brasfield
This was my textbook for LIB 356: Research Methods of the Humanities. Informative and insightful.
April Smith
Semester readings done!
Nicole Schrag
This books seems great for teaching the academic research essay, though I imagine it would sometimes be probably a bit over the heads of a lot of lower-div writing students. It's got so much composition AND rhetoric stuff packed in. I'm planning to use it for my soph-level academic research course; will need to supplement with Lamott's "Shitty First Drafts" and primary research methods, which I think could feed nicely into some more exploratory forms of writing, too.
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My college professor asked us to read this for homework. When I first picked it up, I expected it to disappoint me. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that the writing was accesible and not dense at all. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to enhance their writing skills and learn how to write an effective research paper.
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book to help with the writing and research process for academic papers and articles. It is written conversationally, straight forward and easy to understand.
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very comprehensive resource... thank you for making it so skimmable 🥵
Vivian Zems
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book for an early researcher- practical advice to navigate a mine-field of doubts. Recommended highly.
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Straight to the point and offers helpful hints, information, and guidance
Girish Joshi
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel research is a life-skill, in fact in today's world, it is a superpower. In the age of information, the ability to extract solution of the problems and the ability to document the solution is something every engineer must be proficient at. I felt shortchanged for not reading this book earlier. Despite being academically good I always struggled with research projects. Partly because I never worked with a guide. Partly because I never read this book. Now that I have, I feel that the next pro ...more
Yvonne Miller
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If returning to school or plan on writing days or short stories this kids your book.
Thomas Salerno
Oct 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-on-writing
The Craft of Research was recommended to me by a professor while I was studying for my undergraduate degree. I wish now that I had taken him up on that recommendation, because this book would have saved me semesters' worth of grief and anxiety over term papers. Booth and colleagues have written perhaps the definitive how-to guide for researching, drafting, and revising a research paper. From formulating your research question, to finding and reading sources, to assembling an argument from the ev ...more
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great sourcebook and guide in how to write an academic research paper. It is full of valuable advice and guidance on the processes of resarching, planning, drafting, and ethical implications on research. However, there are a couple of flaws that can be seen. One, the authors - despite their claims - are definitely not writing for an experienced audience. Second, the glaring mistrust of internet sources makes the text feel a bit outdated, given the rise in use and sophistication such so ...more
Dec 29, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-reads
I would argue that the more accurate title would perhaps be The Craft of the Research Paper, given that two-thirds of the book focuses on writing style and structure rather than researching per se, but that's a quibble. Craft is neatly structured to mimic the progression any researcher would follow from the inception of an idea to the exploration of sources to organizing arguments, and pauses along the way to hit pertinent side-topics like the standard writer's Oh God, what am I doing anxiety.It ...more
Kessia Reyne
Jan 02, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school

This book would be a great companion for a college research writing course. Now in my 12th year of college (don't ask), it was underwhelming and exceedingly basic. The section I found most personally helpful was the final one, on editing style.

In the book's favor, it is (thankfully) well written and surprisingly engaging for a text about research writing. It's clear why this has become a classic in the field.

For students who have strong research skills and are approaching more significan
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't say that I exactly enjoyed reading this book, but it did give me some good ideas for organizing the literature review for my dissertation and helped me identify practical ways to go about revision. I really wish I had come across this book sooner in my academic career.

Booth and his colleagues give a straightforward, no nonsense, easy to navigate guide into writing a literature review that goes beyond simply restating the ideas found in cited sources. The book is not preachy or full of ov
Nita Shashidharan
Apr 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Right from thinking about your research question, to developing your quest for the research topic and writing, to the planning process. The book covers all these crucial steps.

Recommended for beginners in the field of research. The pages on developing your arguments in a clear fashion was very useful to me. This will be especially relevant to young students for whom the art of crafting arguments does not come naturally.
Aug 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, I read a book about how to do research. And it was totally helpful. It's really more about the process of writing, how to edit down tons of information, and how to build a cohesive and valid arguement without loosing your own voice. Couldn't we all use a little of that? The entire internet should read this book.
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