The following works, along with The WAC Bibliography, can assist in becoming knowledgeable about the rhetoric of economics, the controversies of the community, and ways to assist the faculty in incorporating composition in the classroom and to assist students in improving their writing.
Backhouse, Roger E., Tony Dudley-Evans, and Willie Henderson (Eds.)
(1993), Economics and Language. London: Routledge.
Crowe, Douglas, and Janet Youga. (1986), "Using Writing as a Tool
for Learning Economics," Journal of Economics Education, 17
Crowe and Youga state that writing actively involves students in the learning process, it “(1) complements other teaching methods and learning strategies, (2) provides studetns with a record of their understanding of the subject, and (3) serves as a way to monitor their progress as economic thinkers” (218). They have suggestions for the assignment length and provide 8 sample assignments. (The article that follows, Lori Grunin and David L. Lindauer’s “Economic Analysis in Plain English: A Course in Economic Journalism,” is worth skimming as well.)
Day, Robert A. (1994), How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper.
Day explains how to prepare a scientific manuscript for publication. He discusses the various stages of writing and submitting from writing a title and an abstract to citing references to dealing with editors and the reviewing process. This is a nice cookbook for instructing graduate students on how to publish; however, some explanations need to be provided since the book was not written specifically for economists.
Dudley-Evans, Tony, and Willie Henderson (Eds.) (1990), The Language
of Economics: The Analysis of Economic Discourse. England: Modern English.
This book has an interesting article by Dudley-Evans and Henderson, “The Organisation of Article Introductions: Evidence of Change in Economics Writing.” I just read the article, not the book, and it makes some interesting points.
Jacobsen, Joyce P. (1994), “Incorporating Data Collection and Written
Reports in Microeconomics,” Journal of Economics Education, 25 (Winter),
The author tried three assignments involving data collection and written reports:
- Assignment 1--Students conduct an experiment during class and turn in a written report, explaining what occurred and analyzing the outcome.
- Assignment 2--Students conduct an experiment or a survey outside of class and turn in a written report; the reported results are pooled and discussed during class.
- Assignment 3--Students respond to a survey during class; the results are pooled and discussed during the same or subsequent class; followed by a short writing assignment on the results.
She has some interesting assignments that can be suggested to the faculty.
Klamer, Arjo, Donald N. McCloskey, and Robert M. Solow (Eds.) (1988),
The Consequences of Economic Rhetoric. Cambridge: Cambridge University
This book contains a collection of 18 essays on economic rhetoric by economists, economic journalists, rhetoricians, philosophers, a political scientist, and a literary theorist. They discuss the “emergence of a new ‘conversation’ about economics that aspires to displace the dominant, positivistic view” (vii).
Maher, John Edward (1968), What Is Economics? New York: Wiley.
Maher gives a simple introduction to economics. Although the book is old, it is easy to follow.
McCloskey, Donald N. (1985), The Rhetoric of Economics. Madison:
University of Wisconsin Press.
A good introduction on why rhetoric is important to economics and how rhetoric can improve economic prose, teaching, and arguments.
McCloskey, Donald N. (1987), The Writing of Economics. New York:
A short book for economics students. It has many sections that help improve writing which include “Write in Complete Sentences,” “Use Verbs, Active Ones,” “Read, Out Loud,” and “Avoid This, That, These, Those.” Each section explains the reasoning behind the rule or suggestion. Most English students will know the information, but the book may be a good source to recommend to undergraduates. This work expands McCloskey’s article "Economical Writing," in Economic Inquiry, 23 (April 1985), 187-222.
McCloskey, Donald N. (1994), Knowledge and Persuasion in Economics.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
McCloskey states that economics is a science, but it uses literary methods as other sciences do. Thus, he argues that economists can benefit from studying and using rhetoric. The book is written in response to the controversies over The Rhetoric of Economics. McCloskey responds to his critics using a conversational tone.
Officer, Lawrence H. (1981), So You Have to Write an Economics Term
Paper. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press.
The book is interesting, but most English students will know the information. This book, like McCloskey’s The Writing of Economics, is good to have so you can loan it to undergraduates.
Robinson, Joan (1962), Economic Philosophy. Chicago: Aldine.
A decent introduction to the philosophy of economics. It reviews Classical Philosophy (Adam Smith and value), Neo-Classical Philosophy (utility), the Keynesian Revolution, and the General Theory. You may also wish to examine C Dyke’s Philosophy of Economics (1981).
Wyrick, Thomas L. (1995), The Writer's Guide to College Economics.
St. Paul: West.
This book provides sources to locate economic data; suggestions for writing in general and for writing a descriptive report, a summary report, and a summary of a debate; and ways to find economic content in news stories. The appendices give release dates for economic indicators, suggested reading lists, lists of journals, guidelines for giving an oral report, and a glossary of economic terms. Each chapter provides examples and problems. This is a very good source.
Two other sources provide some interesting discussions.
Economics and Philosophy 4 (April 1988)
This issue has a symposium concerning the rhetoric of economics. It has
The arguments in this symposium for and against economics and rhetoric should be read in order to understand the reluctance of some professors in accepting a writing consultant and, perhaps, to change their minds.
Journal of Economic Education 24 (Summer 1993)
This issue of JEE provides examples of the practical application of classroom writing and arguments for using WAC in economics. Articles include
Brian Gilbert, Writing Consultant
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