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MSU Writing Center
The MSU Writing Center can assist with your writing, editing, grammar, citing references, and more. Appointments may be scheduled online.
Listed below are a selection of writing handbooks to help you get started. For a list of additional books, try a subject search in the library catalog for Report Writing -- Handbooks Manuals etc. You may also try browsing in the following call number areas:
- LB 2369 (3 East) (online browse)
Handbooks on writing reports, research papers, theses and dissertations
- PE 1408 (4 East) (online browse)
Books on writing, rhetoric, and composition
A Guide to Writing Sociology Papers by
Call Number: HM585 .G78 2008; HM45 .G8 1998; HM45 .G8 1991
"Ideal for instructors and students in a wide range of sociological courses, this guide makes the case that thinking and writing are integrally related and that writing, therefore, exercises the sociological imagination. Written in a clear and conversational style, A Guide to Writing Sociology Papers examines a wide range of writing assignments for sociology courses at all levels of the curriculum. Employing a variety of writing samples as a means to illustrate effective writing, this brief and inexpensive text teaches students how to deftly research and write about sociology." [publisher description]
The Sociology Student Writer's Manual by
Call Number: HM585 .S638 2006
"The most comprehensive book available that deals specifically with writing sociology papers, this updated reference/manual helps both beginning and advanced sociologists learn how to research and write in sociology, and how to improve their writing ability in general. Teaches the basic skills of writing—formatting, source citations, grammar, sentence structure, research, and utilizing available sources—in sociology. For practicing sociologists and those in training." [publisher description]
Writing in Sociology by
Call Number: HM569 .E39 2012
***New 2015 edition on order (11/17/2014)***
"Writing in a conversational tone for undergraduate and graduate students, Edwards (sociology, Oregon State U.) reviews strategies for different types of writing in sociology courses, including qualitative and quantitative papers and other projects. The guide begins with material on turning ideas into researchable questions, then offers an overview of writing a research paper, using the literature, and citing sources, with an example of a complete paper provided. The next section focuses on specific parts of the quantitative research paper, from the introduction and literature review to the conclusion. A section on writing qualitative papers describes techniques for ethnographic interviewing and storytelling, case studies, and the internship journal. Other sociology writing tasks covered include applied research projects, book reviews, and theory papers. An extensive appendix lists commonly misused or misspelled words, with examples." [publisher description]
Making Sense in the Social Sciences by
Call Number: H61.8 .N67 2009
Note: 3rd edition available at Call No. H62 .N735 2007
"Designed especially for students in the social sciences, Making Sense in the Social Sciences outlines general principles of grammar, punctuation, usage, and style, and contains guidelines for (and examples of) three different reference styles. ... Covering such issues as how to conduct sociological research, how to write reports, and how to document sources, it also offers valuable material on current trends in the field and on research ethics." [publisher description]
The Elements of Style by
Call Number: PE1408 .S772 2000
This classic text has been in print for over 50 years. Includes chapters on usage, composition, formatting, commonly misused words and expressions, and developing an approach to style (for example: "do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity" and "use figures of speech sparingly").
Writing for Emerging Sociologists by
Call Number: HM569 .H37 2013
"A writing guide designed for upper-level sociology undergraduate students and graduate students, this instructional text introduces students to the variety of writing projects that sociologists undertake, while also providing instruction on grammar and composition."
Purdue Online Writing Lab by
Call Number: Online
"The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue. Students, members of the community, and users worldwide will find information to assist with many writing projects."
The Craft of Research by
Call Number: Online
Publication Date: 2008
"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." [publisher description]
Writing a Literature Review
The literature review can be either a specific type of standalone research paper, or a section of a research paper.
- Literature Reviews Video Tutorial
This video is provides an overview of the literature review process aimed at graduate students. Produced by North Carolina State University Libraries.
Selected journal articles and book chapters:
- Boote, D. N., & Beile, P. (2005). Scholars Before Researchers: On the Centrality of the Dissertation Literature Review in Research Preparation. Educational Researcher, 34(6), 3–15. doi:10.3102/0013189X034006003
- Dunne, C. (2011). The place of the literature review in grounded theory research. International Journal Of Social Research Methodology, 14(2), 111-124. doi:10.1080/13645579.2010.494930
- Reviewing the Literature. (2005). In Jerry J. Wellington, A. Bathmaker, C. Hunt, G. McCulloch, & P. Sikes (Eds.), Succeeding with Your Doctorate. (pp. 73-92). SAGE Publications Ltd. doi: 10.4135/9781849209977.n5
Conducting Research Literature Reviews by
Call Number: Q180.55.M4 F56 2010
Q180.55.M4 F56 2005
Contents: Reviewing the literature : why? for whom? how? -- Searching and screening : the practical screen and methodological quality (part 1 : research design and sampling) -- Searching and screening : methodological quality (part 2 : data collection, interventions, analysis, results, and conclusions) -- Doing the review -- What did you find? : synthesizing results.
Doing a Literature Review by
Call Number: H62 .H2566 1998
"Doing a Literature Review is a practical and comprehensive guide to researching, preparing and writing a literature review, an essential component of research projects. It is an essential tool for postgraduate students but also for undergraduate and novice researchers across the social sciences and humanities." [publisher description]