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The Quick Fix Guide to Academic Writing

The Quick Fix Guide to Academic Writing
How to Avoid Big Mistakes and Small Errors

First Edition
  • Phillip C. Shon - Professor of Criminology at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Additional resources:

November 2017 | 152 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Whether you’re writing a paper, essay, assignment, or dissertation, this short and punchy book helps you improve your writing skills through minimal effort.

Providing you with a quick set of writing rules to follow, this tried and tested guide uses a unique and easy to follow grid-based system.  Packed with advice on understanding (big and little) common errors made in academic writing, it helps you identify patterns in your own writing and demonstrates how to reshape or re-evaluate them - and raise your writing game in any academic context. 

How-to tutorials include:

  • Synthesizing and critiquing literature – and using your coding sheet to develop critical arguments 
  • Shaping abstracts, introductions, discussions, and conclusions – to improve the logic and structure of your writing
  • Applying lessons-learned to future projects, whatever format of academic writing.

Save time and improve your grades, with this essential quick fix guide!

Student Success series are essential guides for students of all levels. From how to think critically and write great essays to planning your dream career, the Student Success series helps you study smarter and get the best from your time at university.

Chapter 1: Understanding the “Big” and “Little” Errors in Your Paper
“Big” Errors

“Little” Errors

Chapter 2: What Am I Supposed to Do In My Paper?
The Lone Wolf Claim

Formulating a Research Question

Types of Writing Assignments

Chapter 3: How to Synthesize the Literature
Organizing your own RCOS

Interpreting RCOS: A Student Example

The Infiniteness of Synthesis

Chapter 4: How to Develop a Critique of Previous Literature
Critiquing Ice Cream, Hamburger, and a Movie

Three Questions that Lead to an Appropriate Critique of Previous Literature

A Haven for CPLs and GAPs

Chapter 5: How to Produce a Claim
Differentiating between ROF and ROA

The Citationality of the ROF and ROA

Building an Argument and Creating Main Sections

The Scope of Claims in Non-empirical Papers

Chapter 6: How to Write an Abstract, Introduction, Discussion, and Conclusion
How to Write an Abstract

How to Write an Introduction

How to Write a Discussion

How to Write a Conclusion

A Note on Data and Methods

Chapter 7: Conclusion: A Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Model of Social Science Writing


SAGE Study Skills hub

Visit the SAGE Study Skills hub for tips, resources and videos on study success!

At last! A text that supplies the student with specific tools for the specific requirements for reading and writing in the social sciences.

Joseph Finnerty
University College Cork

This book incorporates a unique framework through which students in social science programmes can make sense of the academic expectations surrounding reading and writing in their courses.  Explained in a clear and logical manner, this framework is strongly linked to the learning needs of the student—the more I read, the more I want to try it. 

Mark Gillespie
Nursing, University of the West of Scotland

This book provides a readable guide to structuring academic writing with the benefit of annotated reading. It is written with humour and a "pulling no punches" style. 

Joanna Nichols
Health, University of Bradford

This is an excellent book that provides clear advice not only on how to read, but also how to write academically and will be useful to undergraduate and masters students alike. The codes and the way that information is presented is reader friendly – the book can be used as a reference book or read cover to cover. I suspect for many people it will be both. 

Pete Allison
Health and Human Development, Pennsylvania State University

This is an easy to read book with a valuable insight into the structure and content of academic writing...I certainly found it valuable in developing my ability to write particular sections of social science papers. And, as a marker, the ‘big’ and ‘small’ errors code sheets enabled me to provide a more detailed feedback to students.

Caroline Ford
The Cognitive Psychology Bulletin

While this is an excellent resource, we decided to make it a recommended rather than required reading.

Dr Danielle Hunt
Interpretation & Translation, Gallaudet University
January 16, 2020

A useful easy to read text to support new students on a degree programme

Dr Lance Doggart
Sport, Physical Education & Leisure, University of St Mark And St John
January 25, 2018

I found this to be a useful guide for students coming back to academic study after a break away. It is user friendly and has an easy going style which is ideal for returners to practice and study.

Mrs Rossina Sink
Adult Nursing, Hertfordshire University
January 25, 2018

A treasure that will help students to develop and improve their academic writing skills.

Kim Moore
Faculty of Health, Birmingham City University
March 5, 2018

A very concise and realistic approach to academic writing

Mr Paul Demetriou-Crane
Education, Havering College of Further and Higher Education
December 11, 2017

Phillip C. Shon

Phillip C. Shon received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from the University of Illinois (Chicago); he also holds an M.A. in linguistics and a B.A. in philosophy from Northeastern Illinois University (Chicago). He is currently a Professor of Criminology at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology where he teaches courses in homicide and criminological theory. He is the author of How to Read Journal Articles in the Social Sciences (2nd ed.). London: Sage, 2015; Language and Demeanor in Police-Citizen Encounters. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2008; Respect, Defense, and Self-Identity: Profiling Parricide in... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781526405890
ISBN: 9781526405883

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