The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Readings 5th Edition
by Richard Bullock (Author), Maureen Daly Goggin (Author), Francine Weinberg (Author)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Fifth edition (June 10, 2019)
Just as there are field guides for bird watchers, for gardeners,
and for accountants, this would be one for writers. In its first four editions,
the book has obviously touched a chord with many writing instructors,
and it remains the best-selling college rhetoric—a success that leaves us
humbled and grateful. Student success is now on everyone’s mind. As
teachers, we want our students to succeed, and first-year writing courses
offer one of the best opportunities to help them develop the skills and
habits of mind they need to succeed, whatever their goals may be. Success, though, doesn’t end with first-year writing; students need to transfer
their knowledge and skills to other courses and other writing tasks. To
that end, we’ve added new chapters on reading and writing across fields
of study and new guidance on writing literature reviews. We’ve also added
“Taking Stock” questions to each Genre chapter to help students develop
their metacognitive abilities by reflecting on their work.
The Norton Field Guide still aims to offer both the guidance new teachers and first-year writers need and the flexibility many experienced
teachers want. In our own teaching we’ve seen how well explicit guides
to writing work for students and novice teachers. But too often, writing
textbooks provide far more information than students need or instructors can assign and as a result are bigger and more expensive than they
should be. So we’ve tried to provide enough structure without too much
detail—to give the information college writers need to know while resisting the temptation to tell them everything there is to know.
Most of all, we’ve tried to make the book easy to use, with menus,
directories, a glossary / index, and color-coded links to help students find
what they’re looking for. The links are also the way we keep the book
brief: chapters are short, but the links send students to pages elsewhere
in the book if they need more detail
What’s in the Book
The Norton Field Guide covers 14 genres often assigned in college. Much of
the book is in the form of guidelines, designed to help students consider
the choices they have as writers. The book is organized into ten parts:
1. ACADEMIC LITERACIES. Chapters 1–4 focus on writing and reading in
academic contexts, summarizing and responding, and developing academic habits of mind.
2. rhetorical situations. Chapters 5–9 focus on purpose, audience,
genre, stance, and media and design. In addition, almost every chapter
includes tips to help students focus on their rhetorical situations.
3. genres. Chapters 10–23 cover 14 genres, 4 of them—literacy narrative,
textual analysis, report, and argument—treated in greater detail.
4. fields. Chapters 24–26 cover the key features of major fields of study
and give guidance on reading and writing in each of those fields.
5. processes. Chapters 27–34 offer advice for generating ideas and text,
drafting, revising and rewriting, editing, proofreading, compiling a
portfolio, collaborating with others, and writing as inquiry.
6. strategies. Chapters 35–46 cover ways of developing and organizing text—writing effective beginnings and endings, titles and thesis
statements, comparing, describing, taking essay exams, and so on.
7. research/documentation. Chapters 47–55 offer advice on how to do
academic research; work with sources; quote, paraphrase, and summarize source materials; and document sources using MLA and APA styles.
Chapter 54 presents the “official MLA style” introduced in 2016.
8. media /design. Chapters 56–60 give guidance on choosing the appropriate print, digital, or spoken medium; designing text; using images
and sound; giving spoken presentations; and writing online.
9. readings. Chapters 61–70 provide readings in 10 genres, plus one chapter of readings that mix genres. Discussion questions are color-coded
to refer students to relevant details elsewhere in the book.
10. handbook. At the end of the book is a handbook to help students edit
what they write, organized around the intuitive categories of sentences,
language, and punctuation to make it easy to use.