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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:

December 2017 | 152 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Lecturers request your electronic inspection copy here

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. Visit the SAGE Study Skills hub for tips and resources for study success!

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

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
December 8, 2017

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
December 8, 2017

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

Kim Moore
Faculty of Health, Birmingham City University
December 4, 2017

A very concise and realistic approach to academic writing

Mr Paul Demetriou-Crane
Education, Havering College of Further and Higher Education
October 23, 2017

Students found this really engaging and informative. It covers the major parts of academic writing and addresses some of the most common issues students encounter when writing at university level.

Dr Jennifer Hough
Criminal Justice, St Helens College
October 4, 2017

Sample Materials & Chapters

Understanding the “Big” and “Little” Errors in Your Paper

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ISBN: 9781526405890
ISBN: 9781526405883

This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.