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Top 5 academic writing books that students should read


Writing is unique, just like the personality. Each individual has a different approach to analyze a situation, a distinctive thought process, and exclusive prose. To summarize, writing is a personal trait of every writer.

The writing process involves a thought process. The thoughts are materialized into words, and words accumulate to form a sentence, so on and so forth, books, dissertations, reports, and encyclopedias come into the being.

There are several forms of writing. Each form of writing caters to a particular aspect of human life. Here’s a list of 4 primary forms of writing.

  • Expository Writing
  • Narrative Writing
  • Descriptive Writing
  • Analytical Writing
  • Critical Writing

All the writing styles that exist either fall into one of the above categories or combination the four classes. Academic writing covers various forms of writing, and it is vital to have profound knowledge of when and where to use a specific writing style. Academic writing requires sound technical knowledge coupled with exceptional writing skills to deliver a unique essay, report, dissertation, research article, or thesis.

According to the University of Sydney, academic writing is a combination of descriptive, analytical, persuasive, and critical writing styles. It can be defined as a formal, objective, and technical form of writing that avoids slang, conversational language, and informal vocabulary.

Why it’s essential to learn academic writing?

The importance of academic writing is immense and hard to undermine at any level of education. Hence, it is vital to know how to write, compose and format an academic document. Following are the general types of scholastic documents.

  • Essay
  • Scientific literature
  • Research papers
  • Academic reports
  • Dissertation
  • Thesis

Now that we have established the vitality of academic writing, let’s consider how we can learn the art and science of academic writing. Since each academic document has different requirements, it’s essential to know how to structure the document. For example, dissertation structure widely contrasts from thesis or report structure.

If you Google the term “how to learn academic writing,” search results will give you different results ranging from articles to videos and books. But the best practice is to seek help from the books of seasoned professionals. To learn the art of academic writing, we have selected these top 5 academic writing books to help you become an exceptional academic writer.

So, let’s consider these five books and explore what each book has to offer.


Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis, Reviews by Joan Bolker

Joan Bolker wrote this classic masterpiece for the thesis and dissertation writers.

The book focuses on crafting dissertations, thesis, and other doctoral documents by investing continuous smart efforts every day. The book will help you to understand the basics of dissertation writings and thesis writings.

The contents of the book include the following in the first portion.

  • How to develop your work process?
  • It helps in choosing a topic.
  • Taking ownership of research work.
  • How to improve the research prospect of your topic?

The book also helps you decide your advisor, committee, and how to use your advisors effectively. The best thing that we love about the book is that it enables you to understand the professors’ psychology to anticipate the problems that might arise and guide in conflict resolution.

The text contains practical writing tips for each writing stage from inception to the final draft. Detailed insights are provided on writing, reviewing, approval, and publishing the dissertation.

How to write a lot? A practical guide to productive academic writing by Paul J. Silvia

The book is all about a practical approach to writing. It encourages readers to write influential, impactful, and concise research by following the simple writing rules explained in the book.

Authored by Paul J. Silvia in 2007, the book encompasses all the hurdles that can demotivate a researcher during the writing process. Silvia states that productively writing requires unique strategies and behavior rather than natural abilities or unusual characteristics. He teaches readers how to conquer blockades and become productive without sacrificing nights, weekends and holidays. He used practical examples from his field of psychology.

The key ideas covered in the book are as follows;

  • How to efficiently complete half-done manuscripts that can otherwise oppress the professors?
  • The book helps students in time management.
  • The books encompass the writing process, especially for the students and scholars of Psychology.
  • The book’s focus is on the practicality and mundane nature of academic writing rather than the playfulness that is the heart of fictional writing or poetry.
  • The book pushes the authors to adopt particular behavioral patterns like sitting on a chair or using a table.
  • Chapter 3 is all about the motivational tools to help you complete the writing process.
  • Chapter 4 focuses on the importance of support groups and guidance during the academic writing process.
  • The next chapter tabulates strategies to write exceptionally well.
  • The last two chapters focus on the application of principles described in the book.


They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing by Gerald Graff

Authored by Gerrald Graff and published by WW Norton in 2006, the book entails the two fundamental questions of the research; first, what others have to say about the research question (they say) and the author’s opinion (I say).

“They Say / I Say” illustrates that crafting well-structured documents means understanding main rhetorical gestures, the most significant of which is to encapsulate what others have said (“they say”) to build one’s own argument (“I say”). This book includes writing models that teach students precisely how to write striking yet meaningful research documents.

The book’s approach is quite simple, but it is vital in the context of the authority of the research. The templates provided in the book will help you craft your research document efficiently yet effortlessly.

The book’s practicality coupled with the tips and tricks makes the book a must-read for academic researchers.


The Elements of Style by William Strunk

By Cornell University professor William Strunk Jr. in 1918, the book is a classic guide on composing research documents in American English. The text helps the student understand the various styles used in academia and allows them to choose, adapt, and apply the relevant styles to their research write-ups.

The book was then further revamped and elaborated by E.B White in 1959, and since then, the book is associated with the names of both Strunk & White.

The book covers the following details:

  • 8 Elementary usage rules
  • 10 basic principles of composition
  • Matters of form
  • Commonly misused words and expressions
  • List of commonly misspelled words

In 2011 Time named the book as one of the most influential books written in English since the 1920s. The book has proved to be an asset for writing styles as well as effective composition for non-fiction writers.


Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Essential Tasks and Skills

A relatively contemporary book compared to the element of style, the Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Essential Tasks and Skills focuses on the modern writing styles and develops practical writing skills in its readers. John M. Swales and Christine Feak authored the book.

The book’s focus is on the modern writing tactics in academia, from research drafting to email composition. This book is highly popular and successful. The latest edition uses the latest data sets and includes discussion on marketing, discourse analysis, nursing, art history, and modern email practices.

The second edition of the book helps the student grasp the best academic writing practices; if you are an undergrad student, this book is for you. It will help you create your own space in the research community by establishing your image as a junior scholar. The book covers the following;

  • It helps you to understand your audience.
  • Understands and establish the purpose of the paper.
  • Introduces multiple academic genres to students.
  • The task-oriented methodology helps student align their tasks, encourages rational group discussions.
  • The book also helps in raising awareness about the genres.
  • Demonstrates how to write critiques and summaries.
  • The language section helps the students to understand the rhetorical objectives.
  • It helps the students to establish themselves as junior scholars.


The books discussed above are purely for educational purposes and will help you understand the basics and advanced academic writing processes. If you are accomplished scholars and want to publish your work, then you must understand the publishing industry from this guide.


About the Writer:

Grace Griffin is a member of the writer’s Team on Essays UK and Resume Croc. She has bachelor’s in Law, Masters in Literature, and a PhD in Economics. she wanted to explore all the possible subjects in the world. Still, she is afraid that she couldn’t do so. Grace is a technical writer and writes research-based content. As for her hobbies, she loves reading articles, blogs, magazines, newspapers and books.

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