Books on Writing Theses and Dissertations

  • Allen, G. (1973). The Graduate Students' Guide to Theses and Dissertations: A Practical Manual for Writing and Research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Cantor, J. (1993). A Guide to Academic Writing. London: Greenwood Press.
  • Huff, A. (1999). Writing for Scholarly Publication. London: Sage Publications.
  • Meloy, J. (1994). Writing the Qualitative Dissertation: Understanding by Doing. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associate.
  • Rudestam, K., & Newton, R. (1992). Surviving Your Dissertation: A Comprehensive Guide to Content and Process. Newbury Park: SAGE Publications.
  • Luey, B. (1990). Handbook for Academic Authors. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Maden, D. (1983). Successful Dissertations and Theses: A Guide to Graduate Student Research from Proposal to Completion. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Swales, J., & Feak, C. (1994). Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Essential Tasks and Skills: A Course for Nonnative Speakers of English. Michigan: Ann Arbor.
  • Thomas, L. (1985). Completing Dissertations in the Behavioral Sciences and Education: A Systematic Guide for Graduate Students. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Books on Writing in Science and Technology

  • Alley, M. (1996). The Craft of Scientific Writing. New York: Springer.

This book is in quite large print making it very readable. About a third of the book is devoted to discussion on how to make technical writing "precise, clear, concise, forthright, familiar and fluid". A lot of authentic samples have been used to illustrate the points raised. As this book doesn't talk in detail what is in a paper, it is useful for those who already know the basics of technical writing but would like to improve on their language and writing skills.

  • Barrass, R. (1978). Scientists Must Write. London: Chapman And Hall.

The purpose of this book is to explain why writing is important to scientists and engineers. According to the author, who is a scientist himself, writing helps scientists and engineers "to remember, to observe, to think, to organize and to communicate". Though this book is not meant to be a guide on technical writing, there are a few sections which discuss the use of language, suggesting what words or phrases are more preferable in scientific writing.

  • Day, R. (1995). How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

This is a very easy-to-read book with short chapters (usually not more than 10 pages). Apart from the four standard IMRD sections, it also covers items like the title, the acknowledgments, effective use of tables and illustrations. It has only a short chapter on thesis writing, emphasizing the fact that there isn’t a "right" way to approach thesis writing as the rules and guidelines vary among institutions or even supervisors. This book makes a good starter for novice writers who are thinking of publishing their work.

  • Huchin, T., & Olsen, A. (1991). Technical Writing and Professional Communication for Nonnative Speakers of English. New York: McGraw Hill.

Students who are thinking of having a revision on their grammar will find the last section of this book useful. There are exercises using authentic texts, and answers to most of the questions are also provided. The section on improving the readability of writing is also recommended. Good and bad examples are given for comparison, sometimes with the suggested revised versions of some badly written texts.

  • Kirkman, J. (1992). Good Style: Writing for Science and Technology. London: E & FN Spon.

This book talks about how simple, clear and accurate technical writing could be achieved through effective and correct use of language features like tense, voice, vocabulary, sentence structure and even punctuation. Styles for writing procedures, instructions, descriptions and explanations, the core sections of most technical writing, are discussed. Results and comments from two surveys on what style of writing technical readers preferred are included to demonstrate the good and bad features of technical writing. The texts used in the surveys are provided so that readers can analyze them and compare their comments with those previously collected.

  • Michaelson, H. (1990). How to Write and Publish Engineering Papers and Reports. Phoenix: The Oryx Press.

The organization of this book is very much like Robert Day’s How to Write and Publish a Scientific paper with short chapters on a wide range of topics. There is a little more description on issues related to readership and authorship in the beginning of the book. The chapter on thesis/dissertation very briefly talks about the process of achieving a Master’s or PhD and describes what is in a thesis. The author also encourages the readers to seize the opportunity to transform their theses into published articles.

  • Wilkinson, A. (1991). The Scientist’s Handbook for Writing Papers and Dissertations. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

All the sections of a scientific paper are described in detail with many authentic samples included to support the discussion. Use of tenses within the different parts of the paper is explained. Additional or alternative requirements for social science papers or dissertations are included where necessary. There is also an in-depth discussion on the use of visuals like graphs, photos, tables, and equations. This book is best used as a reference book where writers can look up advice and detailed information on what constitutes a good technical paper.


Books on Postgraduate Study

  • Cryer, P. (1996). The Research Student's Guide to Success. Buckingham: Open University Press.
  • Delamont, S., Atkinsons, P. & Parry O. (1997). Supervising the PhD: A Guide to Success. Buckingham: Open University Press.
  • Philips, M. P., & Pugh, D. S. (1994). How to Get a PhD: A Handbook for Students and Their Supervisors. Buckingham: Open University Press.
  • Salmon, P. (1992). Achieving a PhD - Ten Students' Experience. Staffordshire: Trentham Books Limited.


Videos on Postgraduate Study

  • Postgraduate Research, Supervision and Training. (1992). [Videorecording]. Brisbane: University of Queensland.
  • Postgraduate Research, Supervision and Training, Series 2. (1994). [Videorecording]. Brisbane: University of Queensland.

The aim of these two video series is to provide supervisors and postgraduate students with information that can help them understand and improve their postgraduate study process in their department or institution.

The first series contains the following 11 video programmes:
1. The role of the postgraduate supervisor
2. How to identify major issues and concerns using the nominal group technique
3. Expectations and standards in postgraduate supervision
4. Induction into research application culture
5. How to design a research project
6. Supervision of the programme
7. Supervision of the writing process in the social sciences and humanities
8. Getting into print
9. Creating a supportive environment for postgraduate study
10. How to design departmental workshops on postgraduate supervision
11. Proceedings

The second series contains the following 6 video programmes:
1. Communication in postgraduate research, supervision and training
2. From thesis writing to research application: learning the research culture
3. Gender issues in postgraduate education
4. Supervision and thesis writing process
5. Staff development in postgraduate supervision
6. Managing the quality of research in postgraduate supervision


Links on Academic Writing 


 Links on Academic Reading 


 Links on Electronic Theses and Dissertations 


Links on Postgraduate Resources