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The Craft of Research

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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 editions were written in collaboration with the late Wayne C. Booth. The Craft of Research explains how to build an argument that motivates readers to accept a claim; how to anticipate the reservations of readers and to respond to them appropriately; and how to create introductions and conclusions that answer that most demanding question, “So what?”

The third edition includes an expanded discussion of the essential early stages of a research task: planning and drafting a paper. The authors have revised and fully updated their section on electronic research, emphasizing the need to distinguish between trustworthy sources (such as those found in libraries) and less reliable sources found with a quick Web search. A chapter on warrants has also been thoroughly reviewed to make this difficult subject easier for researchers

Throughout, the authors have preserved the amiable tone, the reliable voice, and the sense of directness that have made this book indispensable for anyone undertaking a research project.

336 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 1, 1995

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Wayne C. Booth

37 books29 followers

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5 stars
1,172 (30%)
4 stars
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3 stars
910 (23%)
2 stars
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1 star
58 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 326 reviews
Profile Image for Shannon.
Author 1 book9 followers
August 14, 2011
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 the anatomy of a research paper and create step-by-step stages that guide you all the way from choosing a topic to polishing your final product.

The major sections of this book address how to form a good research claim that your readers will care about; how to find and evaluate sources; how to support your claim with evidence, reasons and warrants; and how to prepare, draft and revise your paper. The authors use simple and clear language, and if that's not enough, they provide easy-to-understand visuals and diagrams to help make their point.

The authors also cover useful areas such as ethics (why you must always cite even when just discussing an idea of another writer's), the Internet (when it's acceptable to use web-based sources), and visuals (why 3-D graphs are a bad idea).

Sure, some of the advice they provide you may already know, but as the authors cover nearly everything to do with research papers (albeit in a generalized way), there's something for everyone. It's also nice to have a guide that will remind you of everything you learned in your freshman English classes. Clear, concise, and accessible, the Craft of Research is one of the best books on research.
Profile Image for Zach.
Author 6 books90 followers
February 9, 2011
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 of style probably can't be covered in only 20 pages. This book is a good reference for writers of all levels, and would be perfect reading for a freshman or a first-year grad student (each would take something different from it, I think, in terms of the depth of their thinking about writing). It is accessible to non-student, non-writers as well, offering practical advice for businesspeople and other professionals.
Profile Image for Ana Avila.
Author 1 book989 followers
February 3, 2022
A lot of helpful information. I gave it a full quick read, but I’m sure I’ll come back to several sections of this book in my future writing projects.

Las estrellas dejan mucho qué desear a la hora de evaluar un libro. La manera en que tú interpretas 1, 2, 3, 4 o 5 estrellas probablemente será muy distinta a la manera en que yo interpreto 1, 2, 3, 4 o 5 estrellas.

Aquí va la «traducción» del sistema de estrellas de Ana al español:

⭐️ - Malo
⭐️ ⭐️ - Me costó terminar
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ - Bueno
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ - Muy bueno
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ - Me cambió la vida / No pude soltarlo
Profile Image for Kathleen.
47 reviews2 followers
February 5, 2017
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 forth grade, and even then it's presented poorly. The bias against research and exploratory research reaches the point of near violence. Everything is a rhetorical battle, not an honest presentation of facts and reason. If I had followed this book during my prior degree I would had done so poorly that I might have been asked to leave.

The STEM bias is carried over to the point of ridiculousness. Anything that cannot carry some dramatic point or solve some earth shattering problem is dismissed out of hand.

Which brings me to the next issue, the "problem". Not everything is a "problem". There is not always going to be a "problem". A great deal of writing is done for relevance to a topic, for the furtherance of understanding for those who work within a field. Or just because the topic is fun and it's fun to learn more about it. Yet the book is near silent on how to make a topic interesting, instead devoting the overwhelming majority of its bulk to "problems". Leading a non-problem reader to look at it and say "so what?"

Both these writing realities are utterly disparaged. If you intend to do either of these styles of writing avoid this book like the plague. It will only frustrate you.

As mentioned before, it does have a few useful points. However I can't help but feel the basic tips could have found in a book that wouldn't have turned out to be to frustratingly useless otherwise.

I did for find a writing guide mentioned in the bibliography that looks promising. If only any of the writers of this book had was it before writing this one. This book is time I'm never getting back.
18 reviews7 followers
August 11, 2016
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 read.

Authors had put many of their own comments about the hardships they've met while writing to cheer up the reader. They had also used lots of text examples on how you should build up your argument from ground level, how to split it to different parts and make sure they all support the argument. There were tips about how to win a writers/researchers block and I personally liked the amount the authors put themselves and their experiences in the text.

Honestly though I have only read two books about how to write scientific text, one was a finnish one and compared to this book even if it had lots of information it was still really boring and hard to read. This book is definitely worth its surprisingly low price.
Profile Image for Egypt Scholars Scholars.
13 reviews57 followers
December 29, 2012
The Craft of Research

و هو كتاب قيم جداً و ذو علاقة وثيقة بهدف مجموعتنا و نتمنى من الجميع محاولة تحصيله و الاطلاع عليه.

يعد الكتاب مرجعاً منقطع النظير للباحثين من شتى المراحل و مختلف المستويات التعليمية و البحثية سواءً طلبة السنوات الأولى في الدراسة الجامعية أو حتى الباحثين المتمرسين أصحاب الخبرة.

يشرح الكتاب بأسلوب واضح و مفصل و مدعم بالأمثلة كيفية صياغة و كتابة الأطروحة البحثية، و كيفية تحفيز القارئ لها و إقناعه بأهميتها و بمعقولية الإدعاءات و الافتراضات المبنية عليها. كما يساعد الكتاب على تعلم مهارة توقع تساؤلات القراء التي قد تثور في أذهانهم أثناء القراءة و كيفية الإجابة على هذه التساؤلات في وقتها و مكانها المناسب.

كما يتضمن الكتاب عرضاً مفصلاً لخطوات و أدوات توثيق البحث العلمي و كيفية الاستعانة بالمراجع، و كيفية إعداد المسودة الأولى، ثم كيفية تنظيمها و تقويمها و تدعيمها بالرسوم التوضيحية و الأشكال البيانية ... و غيرها الكثير من المهارات الأساسية لكتابة و توثيق البحث العلمي.
Profile Image for Eren Buğlalılar.
338 reviews114 followers
April 13, 2020
Mükemmel. Harika.
Lisans, lisansüstü herhangi bir araştırma yapıyorsanız mutlaka okunması gereken bir kitap. Araştırma konusunun formüle edilmesinden, taslağın oluşturulmasına kadar her aşama güzel örneklerle aktarılmış.
Profile Image for Ashley Clubb.
61 reviews
February 28, 2022
UVA really is awakening my inner academic. Reading about crafting research sounds boring, but this book wasn't! 5/5 because it really does teach you or refine your skills.
Profile Image for Randy.
43 reviews3 followers
December 2, 2019
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 believe is difficult to teach in the compressed time of a typical class. This book is used at the college level as a textbook, but it reads easily and is is a brilliant compilation by three committed and talented authors. This makes it surprisingly easy for most readers to cover.

The book is in its third edition now. I have carefully flipped the pages of the second and third editions and find there to be insignificant difference between the two; if so I would have immediately upgraded to the latest text. There is a big improvement between the first and second editions, however. We currently own four volumes in our home, and I think that my college kids might have swiped some of them when they left for school.
Profile Image for Robin Lang.
6 reviews1 follower
July 10, 2012
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 likely to engage with their texts and produce original thought in their research papers if the research and writing process were framed as a conversation with other experts in the field rather than just a place to dump data or to repeat the right answer.
May 17, 2016
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 make good arguments. The writers have a very accessible, engaging style (for a subject which might otherwise be quite boring). Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Emma.
259 reviews
March 5, 2017
Pretty boring to read straight through, but a lot of helpful information.
Profile Image for Quinn Dougherty.
54 reviews7 followers
June 15, 2021
Great stuff. Detailed notes on my lesswrong shortform here: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/kq8CZ...

When I found this sitting around the EA Hotel library, I thought to myself "hey I wanna be a researcher!" I tried to relate everything back to AI Safety, sometimes lazily or ineffectively. There are a few chapters I'd kinda like to type up notes to that I probably wont at least not right now.

Its full of high level, field agnostic advice. It's not often clear how it helps with e.g. a modern ML paper, but some ideas like sentence structure and thinking thru the reader roles and writer roles are applicable to that domain.

If you're interested read my shortform.
Profile Image for Jennifer DuBose.
189 reviews6 followers
November 28, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Paul.
1,180 reviews191 followers
November 16, 2020
This was my primary Research Methods textbook and I have to say it was a fantastic guide to writing research reports and papers.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
938 reviews
May 9, 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 up research (this advice offered alongside practical guides for moving forward and not at all delivered in an irritating way). The biggest criticism of this text is that its desire to be wholly interdisciplinary prevents it from making specifically guided recommendations for writers in specific fields. But, as a broad strokes approach to tackling something inherently difficult, this book is clear and precise. For someone further on in their work, it even helps them to zoom out and remember the importance of such clarity.
Profile Image for Aaron Downs.
46 reviews9 followers
September 14, 2014
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 Research discusses how to ask questions and find answers, to recognize (or even form) a problem, and then how to solve that problem through engaging sources, understanding and engaging sources, and assembling reasons and evidences in a research paper.

Although many writing books are difficult to read, the authors have assembled a readable, yet highly informative book on writing. I have found this book to be helpful in preparing to write papers for grad schools, but I am confident that undergrad, and even high school, writers would benefit from reading this book.
Profile Image for April.
54 reviews1 follower
May 5, 2019
Semester readings done!
Profile Image for Simge.
99 reviews
June 25, 2021
Çok büyük keyifle okudum. Sunduğu bakış açısı, verdiği örnekler ve yol gösterici önerileri ile araştırmaya ilgi duyan herkes, ama özellikle lisansüstü öğrencileri için, tam bir başucu kaynağı niteliğinde olmuş. Aslında keşke lisans düzeyindeki öğrencilere de kitaptan örnekler sunulabilse, belki o zaman araştırmanın önemi, aşamaları ve bazen bu aşamalardan geçerken kaybolmanın aslında ne kadar normal olduğu daha somut bir şekilde anlatılabilir öğrenciye. Bunu söylememin sebebi, araştırmaya lisanstan itibaren ilgi duyan azimli/çalışkan bir öğrencinin bile, lisansüstünde konu "araştırma"ya geldiğinde sudan çıkmış balık gibi hissedebileceğini bilmem. "Veri toplama" / "veri analizi" gibi durumlar için de bu durum oldukça geçerli görünüyor. Öğrencinin henüz erken aşamalarda araştırmaya alıştırılması gerekiyor, mesele sadece bir ödev üzerinden var olan bilgilerin özetini sunmak olmamalı ki onu bile layıkıyla yapabilecek durumda olmayan öğrencilerin olası varlığını düşününce bu durumun eğitim adına da ne büyük bir kayıp olduğu anlaşılıyor fikrimce.
October 17, 2022
I found this to be a very practical and helpful book, especially being a preacher and the amount of reading and researching that goes with the calling

The book is meant to be used as a resource and depending on where you are in your research project this book has the material you need to follow through from start to finish including the importance of the introduction, how to cite sources, and collating material the significance of the title and much more.

At the end of each chapter, there was a QUICK TIP which is more of an abbreviation of the chapter outlined so you don't have to run through the chapter again.

It is a book that is meant to be used as a resource. It will get marked, underlined, and highlighted for sure.

I would recommend this book to anyone who spends time in research particularly college students, authors, and even those in ministry.
Profile Image for Nicole.
178 reviews2 followers
July 29, 2020
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.
August 15, 2021
Be sure to read the 4th edition (2016). We all do research. Whenever we look up information to share it with people. But how do we know what information to believe, and how do we communicate it clearly?
This book is designed for students in higher education to write clear and effective academic projects. It uses clear examples and a smooth style. (The chapter on style is worth its weight in gold.)
280 pages.
2 reviews8 followers
February 16, 2020
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.
Profile Image for Sarah.
274 reviews18 followers
February 23, 2019
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.
21 reviews5 followers
March 8, 2021
Clear and easy to read and packed with useful information applicable to many different types of academic writing.
Profile Image for Jessi.
188 reviews1 follower
March 12, 2021
Not particularly useful—mostly common sense stuff. Also, it has a pretty heavy positivist/post-positivist bent, which makes it even less useful for anyone who subscribes to other paradigms.
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