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Becoming an Academic Writer

Becoming an Academic Writer
50 Exercises for Paced, Productive, and Powerful Writing

Second Edition

296 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Winner of the 2018 Textbook & Academic Authors Association's Textbook Excellence Award

With its friendly, step-by-step format, Becoming an Academic Writer helps writers improve their writing by engaging in deep and deliberate practice—a type of practice adopted by expert performers in areas such as sports or music. Featuring 50 exercises, this practical, self-paced guide is flexibly organized so readers can either work their way through all of the exercises in order or focus on the specific areas where they need additional practice building their skills. The Second Edition is enhanced by a new appendix on literature review, new feature boxes, and new chapter summaries. 
Chapter One: Get Ready to Practice
The POWER Model

Practicing Academic Writing

Part I: Practice Becoming a Productive Academic Writer
Chapter Two: Establish and Maintain the “Write” Habit
Think About It . . .

Seeing Yourself as a Writer

EXERCISE 1—Schedule Your Writing Sessions

EXERCISE 2—Increase Your Writing Time in No Time

EXERCISE 3—Write Quickly, Edit Slowly

EXERCISE 4—Organize Messy Drafts

EXERCISE 5—Keep and Share a Writing Log

EXERCISE 6—Read About Writing

EXERCISE 7—Document Your Writing Projects

EXERCISE 8—Write to Learn (Anything, Including How to Write)

Chapter Three: Practice Building Academic Vocabulary
Think About It...

EXERCISE 9—Increase Your Vocabulary One Word at a Time

EXERCISE 10—Use New Academic Words

EXERCISE 11—Build Your Own Professional Dictionary/Glossary

Chapter Four: Polish the Grammar
Think About It...

EXERCISE 12—Learn From the Masters

EXERCISE 13—Identify Patterns of Problems

EXERCISE 14—Practice Grammar Rules


Chapter Five: Get Feedback
Think About It...

EXERCISE 16—Get Feedback on Early Drafts

EXERCISE 17—Get Feedback on Middle Drafts

EXERCISE 18—Get Feedback on Final Drafts

EXERCISE 19—Get Feedback Regularly

EXERCISE 20—Schedule Reading Appointments

Chapter Six: Edit and Proofread
Think About It...

EXERCISE 21—Tighten the Paragraphs

EXERCISE 22—Make It Flow: Organize

EXERCISE 23—Clear Out the Clutter

EXERCISE 24—Use a Thesaurus and a Reverse Dictionary

EXERCISE 25—Pay Attention to Word Placement

EXERCISE 26—Cut It in Half

EXERCISE 27—Read Aloud

EXERCISE 28—Copyedit: Proofread Line by Line

Part II: Practice Writing Sections of Journal Articles, Research Reports, and Grant
Chapter Seven: Exercises for Writing Introductions, Purpose Statements, or Specific Aims Sections
Think About It...



EXERCISE 31—Craft the Purpose Statement

EXERCISE 32—Develop the Rationale

EXERCISE 33—Present the Literature Review

EXERCISE 34—Lay Out the Theoretical Framework

EXERCISE 35—Check It

Chapter Eight: Exercises for Writing the Methods Section
Think About It...

EXERCISE 36—Practice Describing

EXERCISE 37—Describe the Research Design

EXERCISE 38—Describe the Sample

EXERCISE 39—Describe the Measures

EXERCISE 40—Describe Data Collection and Data Management Procedures

EXERCISE 41—Describe the Data Analysis

Chapter Nine: Exercises for Writing the Results/Findings Section
Think About It...

EXERCISE 42—Picture the Findings

EXERCISE 43—Describe the Most Important Findings

EXERCISE 44—Summarize the Least Important Findings

Chapter Ten: Exercises for Writing the Discussion or Conclusion Section
Think About It...

EXERCISE 45—Question the Results/Findings

EXERCISE 46—Connect the Dots: Other Research

EXERCISE 47—Connect the Dots: Relevant Theory

EXERCISE 48—Guide Your Reader Into the Future

EXERCISE 49—Confess Limitations

Chapter Eleven: Exercise for Writing Abstracts
Think About It...

EXERCISE 50—Write an Abstract in 20 Minutes



Student Study Site

Visit the open-access Student Study Site to find links to selected resources in Appendix B and templates for your writing!

"The integration of the practical experience, research base, and theory provides all the elements necessary for an academic writing course. As addressed throughout the text, academic writing is challenging and often frustrating. Pat Goodson’s informal yet informed voice throughout provides needed encouragement for the frustrated academic writer."

Erin McTigue
Texas A&M University

"The number one strength of the book is Goodson’s voice and the clarity with which she writes. My students appreciated her straightforward approach and could relate to the book.”

Tracy R. Nichols
University of North Carolina at Greensboro


“This book makes the reader want to write! I found myself reaching for my calendar and penciling in writing sessions for the rest of my week after reading the first chapter. The techniques and exercises are effective and easy to implement; they fit with any writing project, in any stage of the writing process.”

H. Elisabeth Ellington
Chadron State College

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Patricia Goodson

Patricia Goodson is professor of health education in the Department of Health & Kinesiology at Texas A&M University (TAMU). She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics (from Universidade Estadual de Campinas) and a master’s in Philosophy of Education (from Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Campinas) in Brazil; a master’s in General Theological Studies (from Covenant Theological Seminary) and a PhD in Health Education (from the University of Texas at Austin) in the United States. At TAMU, she has taught mostly graduate-level courses such as Health Behavior Theory, Health Research Methods, Health Program Evaluation, Health... More About Author