Many people struggle to understand the way academic ideas are spread through their respective fields. They may know there are scholarly journals which only publish academic findings after they have been highly scrutinized by other experts on the given topic, but may not realize that a great deal of that is colored by facts that have been agreed upon by previous generations. Academics draw from past ideas, improving them or using them as the basis for entirely new ones.
Clearly, there is a lot going on in the discussions found in scholarly writing; so much so that they are often perceived as impenetrable. Luckily, Gerald Graff , Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst have written a book ,“They Say / I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, explaining the methods employed in academic writing.
They Say, I Say uses a metaphor of joining an enormously long discussion, spanning back to the beginning of human discourse, to illustrate how current academic discourse carries on and appropriate ways for anyone to join in mankind’s eternal discussion as well. It’s written in a way that is easy to understand and does a good job of explaining the general, big picture of academic discourse.
The book includes sections on how to improve your writing, as well as writing prompts, templates, and guides.
Ultimately, They Say, I Say is a good primer to understanding the way academic discourse unfolds and is rather handy for novice writers. It is by no means, however, a definitive writing text. If you’re looking for a light read and are interested in academic discourse, the use of rhetoric, and writing, this book is a wonderful introduction to these topics.Read More