Books on Writing in Specific Disciplines

NOTE: All these books are available at U of T libraries. To find call numbers and locations, use the “search” functions of the online catalogue.


Barnet, Sylvan. A Short Guide to Writing About Art.
Demonstrates how to write analytically about art. Useful sample essays.

Barnet, Sylvan. A Short Guide to Writing About Literature.
Good examples and explanations on specialized moves in analysing literature.

Barzun, Jacques and Henry F. Graff. The Modern Researcher.
A classic on historical methods; also treats clear organization and plain style.

Corrigan, Timothy. A Short Guide to Writing About Film.
Shows ways to analyse film; good examples of published and student

Griffin, Kelley, Jr. Writing Essays About Literature: A Guide and Style Sheet.
Focusses on the kinds of analysis and organization needed for literary essays.

Lynn, Steven. Texts and Contexts: Writing about Literature with Critical Theory.
Discussions of various theories, each followed by an account of reading and analysing a literary text and then planning a paper about it.

Martinich, A.P. Philosophical Writing: An Introduction.
Covers forms of argumentation and ways of drafting that sharpen conceptual thinking.

Marius, Richard. A Short Guide to Writing About History.
Cogent advice on focus, research, style, and format; good on critical thinking.

Morley, David and Philip Neilsen. The Cambridge companion to creative writing.
A worthwhile book for students who are studying literature and want to write it. Sees the two activities as mutually enriching.

Northey, Margot. Making Sense: A Student’s Guide to Writing and Style.
Shows how to organize, write, and revise essays, book reviews, lab reports; good on revision and style.

Pirie, David B. How to Write Critical Essays: A Guide for Students of Literature.
This British book discusses open-ended exploratory essays not based on thesis statements.

Roberts, Edgar V. Writing Themes About Literature.
Clear definite advice and many examples on a range of essay types.

Rooke, Constance. The Clear Path: A Guide to Writing English Essays.
A good demonstration of the ways a mediocre essay can improve; well written.

Rosenberg, Jay F. The Practice of Philosophy: A Handbook for Beginners.
Describes different techniques of philosophical analysis; covers fallacies, reading.

Social Sciences:

Bart, Pauline and Linda Frankel. Student Sociologist’s Handbook.
Mainly a guide to types of sources, some general advice on structure and style.

Becker, Howard S. and Pamela Richards. Writing for Social Scientists: How to Start and Finish Your Thesis, Book, or Article.
For advanced work; advises on efficient ways to produce and publish academic work.

Brusaw, Charles T. et al. The Business Writer’s Handbook.
Guide to reports, proposals, letters, résumés; also advice on grammar and style.

Cuba, Lee J. A Short Guide to Writing about Social Science.
Contemporary advice on the writing and revising processes, types of research.

Hansen, Kristine. A Rhetoric for the Social Sciences: A Guide to Academic and Professional Communication. Discusses types of investigation, gives students and professional examples for each.

McCloskey, Donald N. The Writing of Economics. (A new edition is called Economical Writing, and is listed under Deirdre McCloskey.)
Detailed practical advice and a running commentary on economics as a way of thinking.

Northey, Margot and David B. Knight. Making Sense in Geography and Environmental Studies: A Student’s Guide to Writing and Style.
Excellent general advice; also covers field notes, oral presentations, creating résumés.

Northey, Margot and Lorne Tepperman. Making Sense in the Social Sciences: A Student’s Guide to Research, Writing, and Style.
Good general advice and chapters on theory, obtaining and using data; glossary of terms.

Rosnow, Ralph L. and Mimi Rosnow. Writing Papers in Psychology.
This classic guide to writing psychology papers contains instructive sample student papers.

Runkel, Philip J. A Guide to Usage for Writers and Students in the Social Sciences.
Specialized glossary of problem terms.

Sociology Writing Group, A Guide to Writing Sociology Papers.
Advice on finding, understanding, and using various kinds of research readings and data.

Storey, William Kelleher, and Towser Jones. Writing history: a guide for students.
An accessible, concise manual with good advice on researching and incorporate sources.

Thaiss, Christopher and James F. Sanford. Writing for Psychology.
Though this book has not been updated recently, it contains invaluable chapters on writing proposals and evaluating research.


Barrass, Robert. Scientists Must Write: A Guide to Better Writing for Scientists, Engineers, and Students.
On lab reports, research reports, proposals, oral presentations.

Day, Robert A. How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper
Advanced coverage of conventions and formats expected in science writing.

Gilpin, Andrea A. and Patricia Patchet-Golubev. A Guide to Writing in the Sciences.
A concise guide on writing style in the sciences. Focuses on the lab report and academic research essay.

Higham, Nicholas A. Handbook of Writing for the Mathematical Sciences.
Specialized advice on planning, writing, and revising; covers specific ESL needs.

Irish, Robert and Peter Eliot Weiss. Engineering Communication: From Principles to Practice.
An easy-to-follow textbook that applies linguistic and rhetorical concepts to everyday problems in writing and speaking in the workplace.

Lobban, Christopher and Maria Scheffer. Successful Lab Reports: A Manual for Science Students. Silly cartoons, but solid advice, including sample lab reports and journal articles. Includes advice on language style.

Northey, Margot and Brian Timney. Making Sense in Psychology and the Life Sciences: A Student’s Guide to Writing and Style.
General advice and chapters on obtaining information and writing a lab report.

O’Connor, Maeve. Writing Successfully in Science.
Practical advice on forms (e.g. poster papers, grant proposals) and language use

Smock, Winston. Technical Writing for Beginners.
Meant for non-scientists; brief introductions to calculus, circuits, lab equipment; gives lists of abbreviations and units of measurement, a short glossary of scientific terms.

Sternberg, Robert J. Writing the Psychology Paper. (New editions are called The Psychologist’s Companion.)
Sensible general advice; tips on creating tables, writing out statistical formulas, etc.

Vipond, Douglas. Success in Psychology: Writing and Research for Canadian Students.
Clear and accessible advice, with good examples.

Health Sciences

Bell, Louise. Effective Writing: A Guide for Health Professionals.
Excellent new Canadian book; reviews good language use and style, specific forms

Huth, E. How to Write and Publish Papers in the Medical Sciences.
Authoritative guide to advanced writing, good section on Vancouver referencing system

Pechenik, Jan. A Short Guide to Writing About Biology.
Advice to students based on examples from professionals; good on organization and style. 

M. Zeiger Essentials of Writing Biomedical Research Papers
A thorough self-instruction guide to reasoning, style, and organization