18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 1998
If you are interested in political science and need to write about it, this is one book you should not miss. For beginners, the manual is useful in laying out the foundations they should have in writing about political science. The manual covers the basics in writing, such as grammar, punctuation and the format of the papers. For writers who are writing for specific audiences, the manual offers suggestions how to improve and refine your writing skills. For example, there are specific chapters dealing with writing policy analysis, public opinion surveys an d other types of writing. The manual aims to give the reader a better understanding of what is required of him or her when s/he undertakes the writing project. It also covers areas like defining a topic and organising the research process. Before you write a paper on political science, it is highly recommended that you use the manual to help hone your writing.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2008
In its rawest form, the science of political inquiry exists as the energy, product, and work of a community engaged in survey. To this end, Gregory M. Scott and Stephen M. Garrison offer a fourth installment of The Political Science Student Writer's Manual; an effort which is less a textbook and more a left-brain to the neophyte who dares tread the waters of political inquiry. Adding minor additions and revisions to their 2000 effort, Gregory M. Scott's and Stephen M. Garrison's exquisite balancing of the research and analytical technique equip even the most nascent scientists with the powers of organization necessary to draw pointed and meaningful measurements. Though its tight format is quick-moving at times, Scott and Garrison's work offers a genuinely demonstrative approach to successful writing techniques for students of political science. Addressing the growing need for students to be able to perform contemporary research, Scott and Garrison present information in an easy-to-read, how-to format which makes it a must-have for any political science student.
The science of politics is one which is intrinsically connected to every facet of the human condition; consequently, a student of this science must possess the dexterity to competently explore and address issues contained within the broader spectrum of life. Recognizing that this is not an easy task, Scott and Garrison break their book into six palatable parts, each addressing their own separate focuses. Part one, divided into four chapters, concentrates on writing, format, and citation. Part two, which was absent in their previous editions, consists of two chapters related specifically to distance learners and the use and inclusion of internet resources. Part three, consisting only of one chapter, focuses heavily on the organization of the research process, an effort which students of this discipline must take care in doing. Part four holds two chapters and offers explicit how-to information related to composing reviews, critiques, and research papers. Part five caters specifically to introductory-level students and, through its two chapters, offers information on issue reaction and position papers. Finally, part six, the bulkiest section, includes three detailed chapters for advanced-level students. Part six's contents include information on constructing a policy analysis paper, case briefs, and public opinion survey papers.
Perhaps one of the most noticeable departures these authors take from their contemporaries lies in their straight-forward style and formatting. To a novice, this book literally reads like a how-to manual with simple, easy-to-understand diction resonating in each section. The use of basic and explanatory diction not only makes this read breezy, but it also juxtaposes well with the numerous examples and illustrations. Clear and frequent samples and visuals, such as those found in part one of chapter two, offer explicit information on how-to and how-not-to write competently. Additionally, extensive reference book information in chapter seven, how to compose a position paper in chapter eleven, and how a policy analysis paper should look in chapter twelve are all things which, unless explicitly instructed, a student would be left up to their own designs in discovering.
This book is concise yet voluminous with regard to the diversity of information offered. For instance, while the last chapter offers the reader room to grow as it introduces upper-division topics such as "Policy Analysis" and "How to Read Supreme Court Decisions", the authors make certain to address the basic needs of new scientists with their inclusion of a lengthy introduction and a full section dedicated solely to basic writing technique. Quite literally, each chapter reads like the modern student's desk reference as it offers clear and concise examples on things like how to cite resources using the American Political Science Association (APSA) style format, to how to format and write an issue reaction paper. In a nutshell, Scott and Garrison lay the basic groundwork of structure and organization from which a serious student of political science can research, write, and evolve.
Whether being taught in a classroom or formulated within a position paper, political science is the perennial journey toward illumination. To this end, Scott and Garrison make a superb contribution. All sections are rich with information. And though at times it would have been helpful to include more full-page illustrations instead of the 1/4th and ½ ones, the need to compact the visuals is understandable given the quick-moving, broad base of the book. Known for their stellar work in the authorship of manuals written for students of other disciplines, Scott and Garrison stand heads above the often condescending and impractical writings of other authors in this genre. Scott and Garrison's Political Science Student Writer's Manual, 4th Edition was designed to improve the writing and to increase the knowledge of political science among its readership; I can think of no other textbook which comes as close to accomplishing this task than this book.
Perhaps the most appealing characteristic of Scott and Garrison's Political Science Student Writer's Manual, 4th Edition is that, upon reading it, one can tell that it is designed with the student in mind. The inclusion of part two and the work in section 4.2 illustrate the authors' great attention to detail in including both relevant and updated information for the student. The political scientist, much like primordial man, awakes in a vast darkness, feeling for answers, searching for understanding, drawing only upon the very nature of what it means to be intertwined within the timeless tapestry of the unknown. In this darkness, ancient man fashioned the wheel; in ours, Scott and Garrison have written this manual.