As an academic—staff or student—wouldn't you like people to enjoy reading your work? In Stylish Academic Writing, Helen Sword offers dozens of suggestions as to how you might improve your work, get your argument across in a more appealing manner, and attract more readers. We can all learn something useful from this book, and it won't involve a lot of effort. (Malcolm Tight, Editor, Studies in Higher Education)
Stylish Academic Writing challenges academics to make their work more consequential by communicating more clearly—and provides helpful hints and models for doing so. This is a well-crafted and valuable contribution that combines substance with style. (Arne L. Kalleberg, Editor, Social Forces)
Occasionally the tedium of reading an unending supply of poorly written manuscripts is upended by a cogent, well-written, piece. Helen Sword details why this is so prevalent and offers sage advice to beginning—and even senior—researchers on how to avoid dulling academic prose. I take her advice to heart. I hope to change my numerous bad habits and I dearly wish those submitting manuscripts would read this book. (Rick K. Wilson, Editor, American Journal of Political Science)
Helen Sword's brilliant little volume is in many respects the ideal companion to Stephen J. Pyne's equally brilliant Voice and Vision: A Guide to Writing History and Other Serious Non-Fiction (Harvard) and equally deserving of a wider audience than its target group, which in this case comprises those academics who either write or have to put up with "impersonal, stodgy, jargon-laden, abstract prose." As Sword writes: "Elegant data and ideas deserve elegant expression." Featuring oodles of ideas and tips backed up by lashings of original research and bursting to the seams with case studies exemplifying the good, the bad and the ugly of academic writing ("via a symbolic interactionist lens" is one such monster), this is a must for writers in any discipline. (William Yeoman West Australian 2012-06-19)
[Sword's] counsel is wise, efficiently written, and infectiously winsome. She advises academic writers to use anecdotes and carefully chosen metaphors, and to write opening sentences that encourage readers to keep reading. She has drawn from a massive array of academic articles (more than a thousand) and given particular attention to authors known for writing readable material...Helen Sword's book contains much wisdom...Stylish Academic Writing contains superb counsel for academics who want to write with greater clarity and skill. (Barton Swaim Weekly Standard 2012-09-03)
[A] practical and useful book. (Colin Steele Australian Book Review 2012-10-01)
Sword has produced a sleek and, yes, nicely written guide based on the principle that "elegant ideas deserve elegant expression." Aiming to be useful to writers in almost any discipline, Sword defines stylish academic writing in the broadest terms. (Jennifer Howard Times Literary Supplement 2012-12-21)
Surely it's time to declare war on terms such as postsemioticist, flip-flop gates and feature theory, terms Orwell would surely have included under his definition of obscurity as a cuttlefish defensively spurting out ink. Anyway, let's hope this excellent new book is a sign that things are about to change. (Bradley Winterton Taipei Times 2013-02-26)
Stylish Academic Writing offers pithy, thoughtful, and concrete guidance on ways to improve writing about scholarly research (or anything else for that matter) so that it is engaging to others...Teachers of writing at the college level will want to read the book so as to help stem the tide of overly formal, dry-as-dust term papers that are still standard fare in many classes.
(Dana S. Dunn Psychology Today 2013-07-18)
About the Author
Helen Sword is Professor and Director of the Centre for Learning and Research in Higher Education at the University of Auckland.