on 10 July 2009
The authors state that the book has its origins in their teaching and research, and the text contains numerous quotations from university teachers and students that illustrate this. The book contains 215 pages and there are chapters on:
You and university writing
Writing for different courses
Beginning with the title
Reading as part of writing
Organising and shaping your writing
Making an argument and persuading your reader
Making good use of your sources
Putting yourself into your academic writing
Putting it together
Completing the assignment and preparing for next time
Exploring different kinds of writing
Learning journals and reflective writing
Within this structure there are sections on topics such as: word processing, structure, note taking, mind maps, developing an argument, referencing systems, plagiarism, grammar & punctuation, electronic writing and learning journals.
There are suggested activities throughout the text (fifty-seven in total) that are designed to help the reader assimilate the material. Some are practical - others are reflective. They are generally well designed and appropriate to the text.
The authors' philosophy, clearly articulated in the chapter 1, is that writing is part of the learning process.
"One of the main reasons why we decided to write this book was that we wanted to help students find ways of putting writing at the centre of their learning. We believe that writing for your studies and learning for your studies are so integrally related that they cannot be separated from each other." p.1
This philosophy underlies much of the book and is implicit in many of the suggested activities.
This is not a view point that I find useful or appropriate in my own teaching context (computing) - where I take the, more functional, perspective that writing is about the clear communication of ideas to the reader. It may well be that there are discipline specific reasons for the differing perspectives and, for this reason, I would suggest that the book is not ideal for scientific and technical subjects.
There are some sections that are relevant to technical subjects - e.g. Report writing, Grammar and punctuation, Referencing systems - but there are more suitable alternatives.