The Craft of Research

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1995-09-01
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
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This manual offers practical advice on the fundamentals of research to college and university students in all fields of study. The Craft of Research teaches much more than the mechanics of fact gathering: it explains how to approach a research project as an analytical process. The authors chart every stage of research, from finding a topic and generating research questions about it to marshalling evidence, constructing arguments, and writing everything up in a final report that is a model of authority. Their advice is designed for use by both beginners and seasoned practitioners, and for projects from class papers to dissertations. This book is organized into four parts. Part One is a spirited introduction to the distinctive nature, values, and protocols of research. Part Two demystifies the art of discovering a topic. It outlines a wide range of sources, among them personal interests and passions. Parts Three and Four cover the essentials of argument--how to make a claim and support it--and ways to outline, draft, revise, rewrite, and polish the final report. Part Three is a short course in the logic, structure, uses, and common pitfalls of argumentation. The writing chapters in Part Four show how to present verbal and visual information effectively and how to shape sentences and paragraphs that communicate with power and precision. "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

Author Biography

Wayne C. Booth is the George Pullman Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago Gregory G. Colomb is professor of English language and literature at the University of Virginia Joseph M. Williams is professor emeritus in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Research, Researchers, and Readersp. 1
Prologue: Starting a Research Projectp. 3
Thinking in Print: The Uses of Research, Public and Privatep. 9
What Is Research?p. 10
Why Write It Up?p. 12
Why a Formal Report?p. 13
Conclusionp. 15
Connecting with Your Reader: (Re)Creating Your Self and Your Audiencep. 17
Creating Roles for Writers and Readersp. 17
Creating a Relationship with Your Reader: Your Rolep. 19
Creating the Other Half of the Relationship: The Reader's Rolep. 22
Writing in Groupsp. 26
Managing the Unavoidable Problem of Inexperiencep. 30
Quick Tip: A Checklist for Understanding Your Readersp. 32
Asking Questions, Finding Answersp. 35
Prologue: Planning Your Projectp. 37
From Topics to Questionsp. 40
From an Interest to a Topicp. 41
From a Broad Topic to a Focused Onep. 43
From a Focused Topic to Questionsp. 45
From a Merely Interesting Question to Its Wider Significancep. 49
Quick Tip: Finding Topicsp. 53
From Questions to Problemsp. 56
Problems, Problems, Problemsp. 57
The Common Structure of Problemsp. 60
Finding a Good Research Problemp. 68
Summary: The Problem of the Problemp. 70
Quick Tip: Disagreeing with Your Sourcesp. 72
From Problems to Sourcesp. 75
Screening Sources for Reliabilityp. 76
Locating Printed and Recorded Sourcesp. 79
Finding Sources on the Internetp. 83
Gathering Data Directly from Peoplep. 85
Bibliographic Trailsp. 88
What You Findp. 88
Using Sourcesp. 90
Three Uses for Sourcesp. 91
Reading Generously but Criticallyp. 95
Preserving What You Findp. 96
Getting Helpp. 104
Quick Tip: Speedy Readingp. 106
Making a Claim and Supporting itp. 109
Prologue: Pulling Together Your Argumentp. 111
Making Good Arguments: An Overviewp. 114
Argument and Conversationp. 114
Basing Claims on Reasonsp. 116
Basing Reasons on Evidencep. 117
Acknowledging and Responding to Alternativesp. 118
Warranting the Relevance of Reasonsp. 119
Building Complex Arguments Out of Simple Onesp. 121
Arguments and Your Ethosp. 122
Quick Tip: Designing Arguments Not for Yourself but for Your Readers: Two Common Pitfallsp. 124
Claimsp. 127
What Kind of Claim?p. 127
Evaluating Your Claimp. 129
Quick Tip: Qualifying Claims to Enhance Your Credibilityp. 135
Reasons and Evidencep. 138
Using Reasons to Plan Your Argumentp. 138
The Slippery Distinction between Reasons and Evidencep. 140
Evidence vs. Reports of Evidencep. 142
Selecting the Right Form for Reporting Evidencep. 144
Reliable Evidencep. 145
Quick Tip: Showing the Relevance of Evidencep. 149
Acknowledgments and Responsesp. 151
Questioning Your Argumentp. 152
Finding Alternatives to Your Argumentp. 154
Deciding What to Acknowledgep. 157
Responses as Subordinate Argumentsp. 159
Quick Tip: The Vocabulary of Acknowledgment and Responsep. 161
Warrantsp. 165
How Warrants Workp. 166
What Warrants Look Likep. 168
Knowing When to State a Warrantp. 168
Testing Your Warrantsp. 170
Challenging the Warrants of Othersp. 177
Quick Tip: Some Strategies for Challenging Warrantsp. 179
Preparing to Draft, Drafting, and Revisingp. 183
Prologue: Planning Againp. 185
Quick Tip: Outliningp. 187
Planning and Draftingp. 189
Preliminaries to Draftingp. 189
Planning: Four Traps to Avoidp. 191
A Plan for Draftingp. 193
The Pitfall to Avoid at All Costs: Plagiarismp. 201
The Next Stepp. 204
Quick Tip: Using Quotation and Paraphrasep. 205
Revising Your Organization and Argumentp. 208
Thinking Like a Readerp. 209
Analyzing and Revising Your Overall Organizationp. 209
Revising Your Argumentp. 216
The Last Stepp. 218
Quick Tip: Titles and Abstractsp. 219
Introductions and Conclusionsp. 222
The Three Elements of an Introductionp. 222
Establishing Common Groundp. 225
Stating Your Problemp. 228
Stating Your Responsep. 232
Fast or Slow?p. 234
Organizing the Whole Introductionp. 235
Conclusionsp. 236
Quick Tip: Opening and Closing Wordsp. 238
Communicating Evidence Visuallyp. 241
Visual or Verbal?p. 244
Tables vs. Figuresp. 244
Constructing Tablesp. 245
Constructing Figuresp. 248
Visual Communication and Ethicsp. 260
Using Graphics as an Aid to Thinkingp. 261
Revising Style: Telling Your Story Clearlyp. 263
Judging Stylep. 263
A First Principle: Stories and Grammarp. 265
A Second Principle: Old Before Newp. 274
Choosing between Active and Passivep. 275
A Final Principle: Complexity Lastp. 277
Spit and Polishp. 280
Quick Tip: The Quickest Revisionp. 281
Some Last Considerationsp. 283
The Ethics of Researchp. 285
A Postscript for Teachersp. 289
An Appendix on Finding Sourcesp. 297
General Sourcesp. 298
Special Sourcesp. 299
A Note on Some of Our Sourcesp. 317
Indexp. 325
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