Books I use

Of course these are books that should be read over a period of time (and certainly not when your dissertation/thesis is almost finished.

This list is in order of absolutely necessity.

1. Petchko, How to Write about Economics and Public Policy. This is an excellent book, tailored for GRIPS students, suitable for any economics or policy student. Every GRIPS graduate student should have a copy, and should have read it! (It’s also available for free download from the GRIPS library e-book section.)
Every GRIPS student should know everything in this book.

2. Swales & Feak, Academic Writing for Graduate Students
Best all-purpose writing course for self-directed learning (or classroom work)

This book is a complete course in the writing aspects of academic writing. It’s generic, suitable for disciplines, so sometimes it may not be granular enough for specific issues
—but you should know everything in this book!

The book is suitable for independent study, since there are a large number of exercises that are easy enough to enjoyable and practical enough to be valuable.

Time required for reading of the relevant parts of the book and completion of all the exercises that are not trivial for you: six months to one year of regular focused effort.

The textbook should be accompanied by Swales & Feak’s Commentary on Academic Writing for Graduate Students (be sure you get the same edition as the textbook). Discusses all the exercises in the textbook.

If you would like to see some samples of the text and the exercises, contact Hunter at or


Williams, Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace. This is a lifetime book – lots about readability (reducing the reader’s cognitive load). Hunter is still reading it. Now 11th edition, though Williams died in 2008. Any edition from 7th onward is fine.

Sword, Stylish Academic Writing. A great book for the already semi-confident writer. Tells how to write less formal, less stiff academic writing – she claims this style is very welcome in the 21st century. Lots of good advice.

Gopen, Expectations
Gopen, A Sense of Structure
These two books are detailed walk-throughs of how to write accessible, reader-friendly English. The books are designed for teachers of writing, but anyone who is already a semi-confident writer of academic English should take a look at these books. Both books are largely about the reader’s expectations, as in the famous (?) topic position/stress position.
I suggest you borrow copies of these books from the library or from me and see if these shoes fit your writing feet.

=== for the more ‘sciencey’ academic writer:

Glasman-Deal  Science Research Writing (2nd edition 2020, a little better than 1st, 2010). This is a book for sciencey writers – she uses the communication moves approach to deciding the content of each section of a paper, an approach done a little in Swales and Feak above. Also provides word lists and phrase lists for each section of a paper. Some tech types carry this one around obsessively.

Lebrun, Scientific Writing: A Reader and Writer’s Guide (2nd edition or 1st, both fine). For students who are writing ‘sciencey’ papers, but not for everyone, since Le Brun (who’s a very bright person) has a quirky sense of humor, and creates his own jargon, which is at odds with existing jargon. His sense of how to engage the reader, how to help the reader anticipate what’s next in the text, how to write spare and tight text – some people love it. Hunter does, the book makes him smirk.


WRITING (alphabetical by author, bold = highly recommended)

Bailey, Academic Writing: A Handbook for International Students

Barzun, Simple and Direct

Becker, Tricks of the Trade

Billig, Learn to Write Badly

Bolker, Writing Your Dissertation in 15 Minutes a Day

Brians, Common Errors in English Usage

Christopher Johnson, Microstyle

Cutts, The Plain English Guide

Davis & Parker, Writing the Doctoral Dissertation

Elbow, Writing with Power

Ferris, Response to Student Writing

Glasman-Deal (2010) Science Research Writing

Gopen, Expectations

Gopen, The Sense of Structure

Graff & Birkenstein, They Say, I Say

Halliday & Hasan, Cohesion in English

Hoey, Patterns of Lexis in Text

Hyland, English for Academic Purposes

Lakoff & Turner, Metaphors We Live By

Lebrun, Scientific Writing: A Reader and Writer’s Guide

Lewis, Implementing the Lexical Approach

Miller et al., The Thesis Writer’s Handbook

Petchko, How to Write about Economics and Public Policy.

Raines, Keys for Writers

Rienecker & Jorgensen, The Good Paper

Strunk & White, Elements of Style

Swales & Feak Academic Writing for Graduate Students 3rd ed.

Swales & Feak Commentary on Academic Writing for Graduate Students 3rd ed.

Swales & Feak, English in Today’s Research World

Swan & Walter, How English Works

Swan, Practical English Usage

Sword, Stylish Academic Writing

The Little, Brown Compact Handbook

Thornbury, Natural Grammar

Weissberg & Buker, Writing Up Research

Petchko, How to Write about Economics and Public Policy.

Zinsser, On Writing Well


Booth et al, The Craft of Research

Sheldrake, The Sense of Being Stared At


Ausubel, D. (1968). Educational psychology: A cognitive view

Buzan, The Mind Map Book

Horn, R. E. (1998) Visual Language: Global Communication for the 21st Century

Novak, J.D. & Gowin, D.B. (1984). Learning how to learn.

Novak, J.D. (1998). Learning, creating and using knowledge: Concept map® as facilitative tools in schools and corporations.


Aiken & Talisse, Why We Argue (and how we should)

Bowell et al, Critical Thinking: a concise guide

Cooper & Patton, Writing Logically, Thinking Critically

Cottrell, Critical Thinking Skills

de Bono, Six Thinking Hats

Fulkerson, Teaching the Argument in Writing

Tittle, Critical Thinking

Toulmin, The Uses of Argument

Warburton, Thinking from A to Z

Weston, A Rulebook for Arguments

Williams & Colomb, The Craft of Argument


Stevick, Images and Options in the Language Classroom

Stevick, Memory, Meaning and Method

Stevick, Teaching Languages, A Way and Ways

Stevick, Working with Teaching Methods: What’s at Stake?