Book Review:Writing for Social Scientists — How to Start and Finish Your Thesis, Book or Article?

Rules Are Never So Clear And Unambiguous That We Can Simply Follow Them

Generating Ideas:

  • No one does anything creative by merely following rules. (although rules are necessary and helpful), and even the most routine and trivial writing is creative.
  • Generate a breadth of information and variety of alternate relationships
  • Make choices which idea to take up, what word to use, to express it, what examples to make meaning clear
  • Absorb and develop ideas

Writing Principles:

  • All writing should be in the relation to the audience
  • See ordinary material as art material
  • Early stage writing lead writers to see what they will have to do at the later stage. Later data and research will shape your design
  • Stories are more important than theories

Getting Started — The First Draft

  • Ideas, data, decisions and choice of words happen when you outline
  • Do not learn to write by reading what is written –else dull, verbose and pretentious writing come.
  • Ideas, data, decisions and choice of words happen when you outline
  • Do not force the correct version, keep working on the draft then version 1, 2 ….. N.
  • Rules are never so clear and unambiguous that we can simply follow them.
  • Avoid the curse of getting it right at the first time, and thus not doing it at all, write that comes into your head for the first draft you can clean up later and therefore needn’t worry about the first draft’s flaws


  • It makes no difference how we begin, any sentence can be changed, re-written, thrown out or contradicted.
  • When you can’t find the one right way to say it, talk about why you can’t.
  • First draft is just first draft; you should routinely expect to re-write.
  • Re-writing is a kind of word puzzle whose point was to find a really good economical way to say something clearly.

Remember that:

  • “More is Better” is no more true. More work may not produce better product. On the contrary the more we think about it, the more we introduce irrelevant considerations and inappropriate qualifications; rather — insist on making connections that needn’t be made.