Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Writing for Social Scientists: How to Start and Finish Your Thesis, Book, or Article ” as Want to Read:
Writing for Social Scientists: How to Start and Finish Your Thesis, Book, or Article
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Writing for Social Scientists: How to Start and Finish Your Thesis, Book, or Article

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  645 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
Students and researchers all write under pressure, and those pressures—most lamentably, the desire to impress your audience rather than to communicate with them—often lead to pretentious prose, academic posturing, and, not infrequently, writer’s block.  Sociologist Howard S. Becker has written the classic book on how to conquer these pressures and simply write. First publi ...more
Kindle Edition, Second Edition, 220 pages
Published (first published January 1st 1986)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Writing for Social Scientists, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Writing for Social Scientists

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Eren Buğlalılar
Dec 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sosyalbilim
Başarılı bir çalışma. Sosyal bilimcinin işi yalnızca araştırmak değil, araştırmasını anlaşılır bir biçime sokup, okura sunmak. Bunu yapmakta zorlananlar için iyi önerileri var. Pratik tavsiyeler yanında sosyal bilimcilerin neden anlaşılmaz yazma eğiliminde olduğunu çözümleyen bölümler de ilginç. Bilgisayar kullanımına ilişkin bölüm biraz eski kalmış.

Tercümesi de fena değil ama, keşke editörlüğü biraz daha titiz olsaymış. Az da olsa bazı cümleler biraz çeviri kokuyor, anlamak zorlaşıyor.
Wilson prata
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quando li Art's World pela primeira vez, uma das coisas que me chamou atenção foi como o texto era fluído e objetivo. Enquanto avançava na leitura, pensava: "como esse cara escreve bem". Essa impressão se justifica com esse livro de Howard Becker, agora dedicado à escrita. No mundo acadêmico escrever de modo pomposo e embolado é tido como sinal de erudição, muitas vezes, serve também para disfarçar o texto de quem não tem muita coisa a dizer. Ao longo do livro, Becker expõe, explica e dá várias ...more
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: phd
Must-read for all research students, and anyone really trying to get the hang of writing clearly & by clearly I mean in terms of ideas but also the language used to express them. Unfortunately, we tend to obscure our ideas by the language we use.

The book is not written in the dry style of do and don't! Becker is very aware of the emotional, social, psychological, and even physical aspects of the process of writing. Also, the book is written for social scientists but it is really relevant to
Feb 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: _the
Time-travelling, that is my goal after reading this book. Or at least write a readable thesis.
The most exciting moment is when you realize that you are adopting some of Beckers advices. While reading the book I mostly nodded with agreement.
For me the most important things for everyone to realize are:
- writing is a part of academic system, institutions
- something is rotten in this kingdom, but one should not give up
- forget about your ego while writing, put the cause at the first place
- start a
Henrique Capeleiro Maia

Anyone who has faced the challenges of having to write a paper for college knows exactly how troublesome this task can be. There’s this constant anxiety that keeps growing as the term for the paper gets closer and closer; there’s all the things we do to try to avoid having to face the actual writing; and there’s the fear of not being able to do the task at all, of not finding the right way to write the whole thing down. We get stuck and leave the bulk of the writing for the last minute.

Well, we
Chua Shuyi
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Becker is an advocate for rewriting and editing as a means to produce good writing. What makes this book different from Peter Elbow's is its contextualization to the social sciences, hence addressing issues unique to sociology in writing and publishing. It reads like a friend talking to you, and was what drew me to the book. It is a good book for people from any discipline who fear academic writing and need help to see why it's not scary and why even fun (which I agree is fun).

However, if you re
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
pra todas as pessoas que tem a escrita acadêmica como obrigação este livro é de leitura obrigatória. o título não é bem adequado porque ele só dá dicas sobre voz ativa/passiva, repetições, metáforas, entre outras coisas muito rapidamente. o que tem de mais precioso no livro é o convite para refletir sobre nossos hábitos de escrita, o medo que temos de mostrar nossos textos a outros colegas e as cobranças da academia pelo texto perfeito. o livro é bem motivador, tem depoimentos pessoais bem contu ...more
Nov 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: socsci
Kitabı çok sevdim. Keşke bu kalibredeki akademikler çalışma ve yazma pratikleriyle ilgili daha fazla şey karalasalar.

Bu kitabın başarılı yapan şey yazarının Howard Becker olması herhalde. Howie :) neticede döneminin en üretken ve aldığı editörlük gibi görevlerle bunu daha fazla pratik edebilmiş, Chicago geleneğiyle yetişmiş, bunun neticesinde yazma eylemini sosyal teoriyle ve metodolojiyle birleştirebilecek biri ve kitabında bunu başarıyor. Keşke tartışmayı daha fazla daha derinleştirseymiş.

Thiago André
Sep 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lidos-2015
Fui correndo comprar por dica de uma amiga. E ele é tudo que eu esperava e um pouco mais. A verdade é que o título vende mal o livro, pois ele não é um livro sobre fórmulas prontas como faz parecer ser. O enfoque dele é na escrita acadêmica e seus vícios estilísticos que amedrontam e paralisam estudantes de todos os níveis. A escrita do livro é leve, e nos oferece um pouco de esperança e conforto(rs)para enfrentar nossos medos e ansiedades na hora da escrita acadêmica.
Jan 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing, higher-ed
While this book was written in 1986 and some of the chapters are slightly dated, I still found this book to be pretty useful. It's not a book about how to write the most elegant paragraph; Becker (and the various chapter authors) help you to get past the crap and get to work. Of particular use to me were the sections on "Risk" and "Getting it out the door."
Ben Kraal
Mar 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yes. This. So good.
Vinícius André
Uma leitura leve e inspiradora, mas como Howie diz: "a leitura deste livro não resolverá todos os seus problemas de redação. dificilmente resolverá algum. Nenhum livro, nenhum autor, nenhum especialista - ninguém pode resolver seus problemas. Os problemas são seus. Você é que tem de se livrar deles".

Mas apesar de não ser uma forma mágica, é algo que pode te ajudar a se livrar dos seus problemas com a escrita. Muitas ideias e diretrizes simples que são sistematicamente negligenciadas. Os juristas
Dee Michell
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lots to like about this guide to writing. I especially enjoyed his chapter on the way to use academic literature. His metaphor of building a table is brilliant - you can take bits and pieces of others' work when that's useful and use those bits and pieces to craft something new.
Terri Lynn
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book which I read for one of my doctoral courses. Becker writes in a friendly and personal way and offers a lot of good advise about the writing process.
Maria Khan
The advice did not present practical tools for application rather general nuances on working through a lengthy research paper.
Feb 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read Howard Becker's Art Worlds and a few of his articles in graduate school. He was one of the sociologists who wrote well, but I didn't honestly notice it so much at the time. Possibly I was too earnestly trying to master the theoretical arguments back then. In my experience, it is only after you slow down and get used to reading again for pleasure that you realize how poorly most scholars write, especially sociologists. That is why it is inspiring to pick up this book about how to write wel ...more
Marcos Junior
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Rompendo com muitas teorias que criam uma disciplina quase impossível de se conseguir para escrever trabalhos científicos em ciências sociais, Becker coloca a questão de escrever a partir de rascunhos e ir melhorando a redação com um processo de maturação que envolve operações de corte e reescrita constantes. Dessa forma, se obtém mais clareza nos textos, desmistificando a idéia que o cientista tem que escrever de forma rebuscada, quase para iniciados. Para Becker, só tem uma forma de se escreve ...more
Victor Barger
Mar 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Academics in the social sciences
Shelves: academia, writing
Writing for Social Scientists by Howard Becker is much more than a guide to writing; it is a guide to becoming a prolific (and thus successful) academic. Whereas many books on writing focus on style and grammar, Becker takes a broader view, covering everything from the writing process ("writing is a form of thinking") to common pitfalls (the "One Right Way") to writing's place in research (think "working draft"). Becker illustrates his ideas with examples from his career as a professor of sociol ...more
Emily Covington
Dec 01, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was trash. As an aspiring sociologist one semester away from a a bachelor's, and as an author and writer with an associate's in Creative Writing, I was extremely offended and upset by this book. Becker's suggestions for writing were as good as any basic suggestion that a freshman high school English teacher could give. His suggestions were too basic - maybe for someone who has never written before, the book would be helpful, but making suggestions for writers, especially academic write ...more
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's a book on writing that's actually enjoyable. What more do you want? Howard Becker has an enjoyable voice and fantastic advice on avoiding dull, leaden prose. This is geared more to those writing in academia, especially in the social sciences - but most academic writers could take a page (or five or ten or a few chapters, or even the whole darn thing) from Becker's book. When it comes to getting it out the door, his advice is invaluable.

Now, I should go back to editing my own manuscript, so
Marina Leban
Jun 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book with great life stories from a great academic. Definitely worth a read, it was funny and to the point, nicely written and easy to read. Unlike most how-to books that are out there, this book really give you concrete examples of how Pr. Becker taught his students through ages, and how writing is a skill that you can only develop over time (even when you are an established academic). It is probably one of the only books I have read to date that criticizes openly on how academics do no ...more
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chapter 8: Terrorized by the Literature was exactly what I needed to help me absorb the recommendations of my dissertation committee to stop pushing around other people's thoughts on the table, and instead jump into the fray. Even without that chapter, the more procedural and emotional advice of this book would have been very helpful. Chapter 8, though, cemented this book as part of my permanent library on how to become an effective scholar.
Sumeyye Pa
Sep 18, 2014 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book, the mental state suggested in introduction is quite how I deal with my own writing and how I talk myself out of the down feeling about writing. So Reading that section, I simply felt that I am not the odd one out for using those mental techniques. I shall not rush for a judgement on the book yet, so far it is good and as I reflect on my own experience the suggestions make sense.
May 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I took a class on writing for the social sciences (it was in our Sociology department) and this was the main text that we used. I enjoyed Becker's style and he makes excellent points throughout the book. If you're an undergraduate or graduate student who struggles with your writing (procrastination, fear of being judged, wordy sentences, etc.), I highly suggest you read this book.
Good advices on working habits and really a relief to realize that writers and academics in all parts of the hierarchies needs techniques for writing. The book can give you the feeling that you are not alone with your difficult feelings on writing. That's a first step to start talking to friends and colleagues on good writing techniques and start learning from others.
Dec 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was really helpful to me in finishing my thesis, as all of my colleagues who have had the misfortune of listening to me quoting it all year can attest. It addresses many of the points of anxiety for grad students trying to write their first academic works. I highly recommend it to any scholar at the beginning of their writing career.
Danu Poyner
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a must-read for anyone who has to write as part of making a living. It is about the habits and rituals of writing – the act of writing – as much as content or style. Whether you think you write well already or whether you think writing is something you'll never do well, Becker has something to say to you. It has already changed my life.
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
This is the best book I've read about (academic) writing. I've read it twice and I will definitely read it again in a couple of years.

There's not much of a difference between the two editions. You can find really cheap copies of the 1986 edition on the internet, so go ahead and buy several of them and give them to all of your friends.
Harry Fulgencio
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this book a lot, very simple (with words but packed with good advice) and handy for researchers/authors. My favorites advice is to try and find people whom you trust to do the initial reading of your draft whom you feel comfortable receiving criticisms.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Writing Your Journal Article in 12 Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success
  • Stylish Academic Writing
  • An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology
  • From Dissertation to Book
  • The Craft of Research (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)
  • Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates
  • How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing
  • Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes
  • The Unwritten Rules of Ph.D. Research
  • Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective
  • The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy
  • Learning From Strangers: The Art and Method of Qualitative Interview Studies
  • Mind, Self and Society from the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist
  • Street Corner Society: The Social Structure of an Italian Slum
  • The Sociological Imagination
  • Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student's Guide to Earning an M.A. or a Ph.D.
  • Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day
  • The Civilizing Process

Share This Book

“None of these classy locutions mean anything different from the simpler ones they replace. They work ceremonially, not semantically. Writing in a classy way to sound smart means writing to sound like, maybe even be, a certain kind of person. Sociologists, and other scholars, do that because they think (or hope) that being the right kind of person will persuade others to accept what they say as a persuasive social science argument.” 1 likes
More quotes…