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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Modern Researcher by Barzun and Graff

The Modern Researcher 3rd edition
by Jacques Barzun and Henry G. Graff
Product Details
  1. Publisher: Wadsworth
  2. Date Published: 2003
Point: The intent The Modern Researcher is to provide the reader with a helpful guide to the formation and publication of a literary work. In order to accomplish their goal, the authors divide the book in two parts. First, the authors detail the principles and methods of research. Second, they discuss the aspects of writing, speaking, and publishing. These two parts are further explained through chapters addressing each main topic.
The Modern Researcher contributes to the literary field by giving the reader a manual to consult. The material is diverse enough to be a stand alone work. It also is one which would be helpful to consult on a topic by topic basis, answering questions in moments of difficulty.
One of the strengths of this work is the layout. Subcategories can be easily seen when looking for a specific illustration or idea. A detailed table of contents will facilitate the reader in finding the information needed.
Along side the usefulness of this work, there are several main drawbacks. The first of these is that the authors provide too many extended illustrations. While helpful in some situations, many of those provided only contributed to the confusion. Shorter illustrations, or perhaps a distinction through formatting would help to correct this problem.
A second drawback is the antiquity of references concerning the computer. The obvious problem is the speed at which technology is moving, making it nearly impossible to keep a printed work current. However, with the given title, I was expecting something more modern.
The strength of this work is found in helping the reader to grasp the big picture of planning, reading, writing, and presenting his ideas.
Stars: 3 out of 5
It was helpful but others are better.

1 comment:

Alaska Jack said...

The 3rd edition you've reviewed was published in 1977. The 6th edition of 2004 fills in the gaps you identify, though the fundamental difficulties of research-and-report remain what they were in 1957 when the book first came out.

“Another book I treasure is The Modern Researcher by my friend Jacques Barzun and Henry Graff. Jacques is the smartest person I've ever known. He's going to be 100 years old in November. Jacques still has all his marbles and I hope I live long enough to go to his birthday party.”
– Andy Rooney,” 60 Minutes,” April 22, 2007

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. (Philippians 3:8)