English Scholar Stewards New Edition of Preeminent Student Guide for Writing College Papers

 By Tom McLaughlin

Burgeoning writers and researchers in college – and even those who are college-bound – will continue to get an unparalleled helping hand in documenting and presenting their work, as the University of Chicago Press releases the fifth edition of the late Kate L. Turabian’s The Student’s Guide to Writing College Papers. William FitzGerald, an associate professor of English at Rutgers University–Camden, once again teams with Boston University scholar Joe Bizup to revise and steward the invaluable reference guide.

“Having now revised three classic guides to writing for the University of Chicago Press, we think this is our best to date, with clear language addressed to an audience of students and fellow teachers that we know well,” says FitzGerald, adding, “At the same time, we are mindful that we are collaborating with previous authors of these books, so whatever changes we make are in the spirit of that collaboration.”

The guide offers the same expert advice and range of topics as Turabian’s landmark A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations — to which FitzGerald has also contributed — but aimed at beginning writers and researchers.

According to FitzGerald, for this latest edition, he and Bizup responded to suggestions from a focus group of high school teachers who expressed interest in an accessible guide to research skills for their college-bound students. Beyond updating advice on research to reflect digital modes of inquiry, the co-editors include many fresh examples of research topics suitable for high school classes – for example, the dangers of texting while driving.

Overall, the Rutgers–Camden scholar notes, he and Bizup focused on addressing some common misconceptions of students and teachers on the high school and collegiate levels, including a mistaken belief that one should never use the word “I” in academic writing.

“We also reorganized or broke up several chapters for ease of use, and recognized that not all research leads to writing a traditional research paper, given that there are new forms for presenting research, including slide presentations and posters,” says FitzGerald.

In addition to the student resource guide, FitzGerald and Bizup continue to revise and steward Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. The manual – known simply as “Turabian” by many – has been long considered the go-to guide for Chicago-style documentation and writing theses and dissertations in humanities and social sciences, especially history and political science.

“It continues to be one of the best-selling guides to academic writing, with a fairly wide readership in the United States and beyond,” notes FitzGerald.


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