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The Craft of Research, Third Edition (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing) [Kindle Edition]

Wayne C. Booth
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (175 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews


“A well-constructed, articulate reminder of how important fundamental questions of style and approach, such as clarity and precision, are to all research.”—Times Literary Supplement
(Times Literary Supplement)

“An easy-to-read guide with helpful hints for almost anyone who puts words to paper.”—San Francisco Bay Guardian
(San Francisco Bay Guardian)

“Accessible, readable and jargon-free. . . . The Craft of Research pays close attention to readers’ needs and anxieties.”—Teaching in Higher Education
(Teaching in Higher Education)

About the Author

Wayne C. Booth (1921–2005) was the George M. Pullman Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago.  His many books include The Rhetoric of Fiction and For the Love of It: Amateuring and Its Rivals, both published by the University of Chicago Press. Gregory G. Colomb is professor of English language and literature at the University of Virginia.  He is the author of Designs on Truth: The Poetics of the Augustan Mock-Epic. Joseph M. Williams is professor emeritus in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Style: Toward Clarity and Grace. Together Colomb and Williams have written The Craft of Argument. Booth, Colomb, and Williams coedited the seventh edition of Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
129 of 129 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource July 17, 2008
Although there are many books on writing research or term papers, I have not found anything else which brings together material on planning, reasoning and writing the research paper as well as this book. Ignore any reviewers who make this book out to be a simplistic text. It is an excellent work on well reasoned writing that even most graduate students can benefit greatly from reading. As a professor of a graduate class on Research and Writing, I have recommended and required this book for several years. The book guides the reader from an idea of a topic, to defining a question, to formulating the conceptually signifcant research problem. It briefly covers finding, evaluating and using primary, secondary, and tertiary sources. Then a major portion of the book is devoted to understanding effective reasoning in the writing process. This is based quite a bit on professor Stephen Toulmin's practical approach to effective reasoning and argumentation. The Craft of Research diagrams and explains claims, reasons, evidence and warrants. It has detailed illustrations of warrants and when to use them, as well as how to challenge them. The book has other sections on organizing, drafting,and revising a paper. It also has a chapter on communicating information visually using tables, graphs and charts. Rather than focusing on the simple mechanics or obvious steps in writing a serious research paper, this book concentrates on the more difficult tasks of clearly defining the conceptual problem and addressing it with in depth, effective reasoning.
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90 of 95 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing December 8, 2008
The third edition of this classic text pales when compared to the second edition. Many of the changes are cosmetic in nature and often blur what was clearly and succinctly stated in the second edition. For example, rearranging paragraphs within chapters often detract from what were logical sequences of ideas and information found in the second edition. Unfortunately, the authors, sans Booth, appear to abandon their own advice in order to create a new edition that will bolster sales. I hope the fourth edition, if there is a fourth edition, returns to the high standards one comes to expect from the University of Chicago and its press.
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
I read this book about a month before I submitted my dissertation (in U.S. history) and it convinced me to completely rewrite my introduction. That experience left me kicking myself for thinking I was too advanced for these sorts of guides and for not consulting this book earlier. The sections on formulating a topic (how to turn a general interest into a question/problem to be researched) and warrants (how to match claims to evidence) are especially helpful. Make no mistake about it, this book can help researchers at all levels, and I have had many students, both undergraduate and graduate, tell me how happy they were that they took my advice to read this book.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Antidote for "Just the Facts" Writing September 20, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
We all respect scientists--even budding science students--for their commitment to accuracy and objectivity. Sometimes our strengths are also our weaknesses. Beginning scientists can naively believe that their writing only needs to report the facts, that anything further is bias, sophistry or even dishonesty. This book lays out the path to a better writing style. Readers will learn how to arrange and present their facts and evidence as coherent arguments. As a result, they will better serve their own readers.

The table of contents, outlined below, shows that the authors cover more than putting fingers to keyboard. Introductory chapters discuss the perspective and information needs of readers and how to connect with them. The authors address development of one's own authentic authorial "voice"--a topic often neglected in books about research writing. The next four chapters teach us how to conceptualize a research question, then find relevant and credible sources of information to answer it. The third edition contains a needed revision of the authors' earlier avoidant stance on the credibility of web-based information, containing good guidance for weeding flakey from factual online sources.

Chapter 7, "Making Good Arguments: An Overview," is the keystone chapter and a relatively quick read at eleven pages. It's where to focus when deciding whether to read the rest of the book. The authors define their working vocabulary of arguments, reasons, evidence, claims and warrants. In this and the following four chapters they show us how to use these concepts to present our points and how to acknowledge and respond to positions with which we disagree. They demonstrate how to do this with integrity as well as skill.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By Shannon
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.
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