Research is difficult. Even though students are trained in the basic research methodology skills, when confronted with research writing, it feels to them as if they enter a bizarre world, with its own language and conventions, where it is hard to get things right. This book translates the apparent complexities of research writing into everyday ideas, language and skills, and will enable novice researchers to start overcoming the major stumbling blocks immediately.

This book focuses only on the greatest challenges in research writing, specifically those that supervisors find most difficult to explain to novice researchers. These challenges include both basic and more complex skills, such as: finding original research contributions; establishing one’s voice while drawing on other authors; turning a vague idea into a feasible research question; generating literature reviews that are original in themselves; and avoiding list-like writing when discussing the research methodology.

Wentzel shows that it is easier to overcome these challenges, not with lists of prescriptions that are difficult to remember while writing, but rather by cultivating an argumentative mindset. Not only is such a mindset much easier to maintain, but it offers a central point around which one can organise any difficult writing task. The book shows how to use the argumentative mindset to approach every important writing challenge. It translates all the necessary skills into jargon-free language using a variety of visuals and simple step-by-step procedures that will enable any person to read the book quickly and start writing immediately.

The book is accompanied by a website containing an instructor’s manual with guidance on the teaching and assessment of research writing, as well as lecture slides.