Writing - Written by on Sunday, June 27, 2010 18:56 - 0 Comments

5 Books Every Academician Should Have on the Bookshelf

As a copy editor and publisher of empirical studies, I am occasionally asked what books I have on my shelf and which ones I refer to most often. In response to this question, I have compiled a list of the top 5 books every academician should have on his/her shelf. These books are not limited to professors; anyone who writes and publishes academic and scholarly manuscripts will benefit from having these books nearby.

The Elements of Style

Often referred to as the little book in copy editing circles, Strunk and White’s (2009) “The Elements of Style” is the standard when it comes to good writing. Celebrating its 50th publication anniversary in 2009, the little book is as essential a guide to writing today as it was over five decades ago. What sets this reference book apart is that the publishers have kept in step with modern times by updating the examples to appeal to contemporary writers. A standard all its own, it is almost certain that your writing will improve by reading Strunk and White over a weekend.

The Copyeditor’s Handbook

If you’ve ever used any of my copy editing services, you’ve probably heard me say that if you want to be a better academic writer, you need to think like a copy editor. Einsohn’s (2006) “The Copy Editor’s Handbook” is the perfect place to get started. The author’s treatment of all aspects of the copy editing profession is particularly useful to academicians because it includes exercises with an answer key to test your knowledge of good writing. A lot thicker than Strunk and White’s little book, The Copyeditor’s Handbook will take longer to read but will make you a stronger and more informed writer for your effort.

Winning Reviews: A Guide for Evaluating Scholarly Writing

Once you’ve boned up on the basics with Strunk and White and learned to be more critical of your writing with Einsohn, it’s time to learn what role reviewers play in the peer review process. Baruch, Sullivan, and Schepmyer’s (2006) “Winning Reviews: A Guide for Evaluating Scholarly Writing” is a long overdue tome of knowledge for the social science author. A collection of chapters from top reviewers and editors in their fields, Baruch et al.’s coverage of the topic is nothing short of phenomenal.

Essentials of Behavioral Research: Methods and Data Analysis

Rosenthal and Rosnow’s (2007) “Essentials of Behavioral Research: Methods and Data Analysis” is well familiar to most graduate students of the social sciences. Equally appropriate for Master’s and Doctoral level study, this book is one of the most important references on the academician’s bookshelf. If you are unfamiliar with this particular text, it is almost certain that your future empirical studies will improve from having read this standard in the social sciences curriculum.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association

Even if you don’t use the APA style to format your manuscripts, the “Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association” (2009) is still an excellent companion for the academician. Covering topics such as authorship, designing and reporting research, ethics of scientific programs, and journal procedures, this publication is a more than just a style guide; it is a window into how publishing scholarly manuscripts works. At one time or another, every researcher finds him/herself needing to format a paper to APA standards. Before you have to use APA guidelines, you should familiarize yourself with the wisdom found here.


Baruch, Y., Sullivan, S. E., & Schepmyer, H. N. (2006). Winning Reviews: A Guide for Evaluating Scholarly Writing. New York: Palgrave MacMillian.

Einsohn, A. (2006). The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications (2nd ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). (2009). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Rosenthal, R., & Rosnow, R. L. (2007). Essentials of Behavioral Research: Methods and Data Analysis (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Strunk, W., Jr., & White, E. B. (2009). The Elements of Style (Fiftieth Anniversary Edition). New York: Pearson Longman.

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John GargerJohn Garger is a copy editor, proofreader, dissertation coach, researcher, writer, and entrepreneur living in upstate New York, USA.

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