CM . . . .
Volume VI Number 3 . . . . October 1, 1999
The Project Book: An Introduction to Research and Writing. 2nd. ed.
Hugh Robertson. Illustrations by Cuyler Black.
Ottawa, ON: Piperhill Publications, 1999.
94 pp., paper, $10.00.
Grades 7 - 11 / Ages 12 - 16.
Review by Harriet Zaidman.
Hugh Robertson has updated his very useful The Project Book to provide students with
excellent guidance on preparing reports and essays. The organization and style of the book make
school projects a step-by-step affair, with no excuse for doing less than the best! The book is
aimed at students beginning in junior high, a time of life when many kids have trouble with
organizing themselves. The introduction shows that the content has been divided and subdivided
according to the needs of a student doing a research project. For example, the topic of "Research"
is subdivided as follows:
Every necessary step of the research and writing process is discussed for reports, essays, writing
about literature and comparative essays. Robertson's style is direct and clear. He provides
examples and different methods of work from which a student can choose and refers the reader to
related sections of the book. Correct methods to search for and record information from a text,
quotations and bibliographic sources (traditional and on-line) are included. He also includes a
handy section called "Tips on Style" so that students understand they must use simple, direct
language and never assume that the reader knows what the writer really means. The appendix has
tips on oral and multimedia presentations as well as different types of illustrations to support a
project. A useful glossary rounds out the book. Clever black and white cartoons are distributed
throughout to reinforce the text. They are contemporary in style and relieve what is an important,
but dry subject.
- Selecting the Topic
- Narrowing the Focus
- Searching for Sources
- Defining the Purpose
- Preparatory Reading
- Working Outline
- Recording Information
This book can be used by teachers to provide their students with step-by-step guidance through a
classroom project, and also by students themselves as they are given the responsibility of checking
to make sure they are fulfilling the requirements of their work. Teaching and reinforcing
organizational skills and reflective thinking will stand students in good stead for the rest of their
academic and working lives.
The Project Book is a useful reference tool that should be consulted regularly.
Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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