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In the first edition of Finding your way in academic writing, the authors focused on the theme of "writing as thinking". In this second edition, they introduce another theme: "writing as knowledge performance". This shift introduces readers to the notion of using knowledge sourced from literature, as well as knowledge sourced from data in field research. This edition is, therefore, new in a number of ways.

In this edition

  • the organising construct is the performance of knowledge
  • field research writing is introduced
  • field research writing is integrated with literature research writing.

Through the use of performance tasks, the authors illustrate how reading, writing and research are integrated in a research project. The book is meant to be a tool for both the novice and the experienced writer of academic texts, including writers of undergraduate essays, short research projects as well as dissertations.

Teachers of academic writing and research methodology in the social sciences and the humanities will find the book to be a valuable guide for novice researchers. Its content links with the second book in the Finding your way series: Finding your way in qualitative research (Henning, Van Rensburg & Smith, 2004). Authors of academic papers and articles as well as supervisors of student research will also find the text helpful.

The three authors have taught writing composition to Honours and Master's students at Rand Afrikaans University (now University of Johannesburg) for a decade, and have conducted workshops for students and academics at many South African institutions. Wilhelm van Rensburg continues to work in this position, while Sarah Gravett is currently Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Education. Elizabeth Henning is currently Special Professor of Qualitative Research Methodology in this faculty and resides in Windhoek, Namibia, where she continues her academic career as a full-time author.


Chapter 1: Structuring the writing of your research project
Chapter 2: Investigating a topic
Chapter 3: Managing the search for literature resources
Chapter 4: Reading your way into academic writing
Chapter 5: Using knowledge by making and managing notes
Chapter 6: Organising ideas and performing knowledge at sentence level
Chapter 7: Crafting paragraphs and other organising units of text
Chapter 8: Developing an argument and an academic style
Chapter 9: Writing a field study
Chapter 10: Revising and editing your writing
Addendum A: Abstracts of academic articles
Addendum B: Hypertext
Addendum C: Preface by Ruth Merttens to John Head's book Working with adolescents: Constructing identity