The craft of writing in sociology

Developing the argument in undergraduate essays and dissertations

By Andrew Balmer and Anne Murcott

The craft of writing in sociology


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9270-5
  • Pages: 216
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £12.99
  • Published Date: October 2017
  • BIC Category: Language learning: writing skills, LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Style Manuals, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General, Writing Skills, Society & social sciences / Sociology, Writing & Editing Guides, Sociology, Writing & editing guides, Sociology


This is an indispensable companion for students studying sociology and related disciplines, such as politics and human geography, as well as courses which draw upon sociological writing, such as nursing, social psychology or health studies. It demystifies the process of constructing coherent and powerful arguments, starting from an essay's opening paragraphs, building evidence and sequencing key points in the middle, through to pulling together a punchy conclusion. It gives a clear and helpful overview of the most important grammatical rules in English, and provides advice on how to solve common problems experienced in writing, including getting rid of waffle, overcoming writer's block and cutting an essay down to its required length. Using examples from essays written by sociology students at leading universities, the book shows what they have done well, what could be done better and how to improve their work using the techniques reviewed.


Part I: Principles and practices of writing and argumentation
1. Reading critically and making notes
2. Making an argument
3. Beginnings in detail
4. Middles in detail
5. Ends in detail
6. Editing and proof-reading
7. Detailed case studies of student examples
8. Writing a dissertation
Part II: Tips and techniques
9. Choosing an essay question
10. How to decide what to read
11. How to get past writers block
12. Rhetorical questions, should I use them?
13. How to cut your essay down in length
14. Making use of feedback
Part III: Spelling, grammar and punctuation
15. The basics of spelling, grammar and punctuation


Andrew Balmer is Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Member of the Morgan Centre for the Study of Everyday Lives at the University of Manchester

Anne Murcott is Honorary Professor at the University of Nottingham and Honorary Professorial Research Associate at SOAS, University of London

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