Textbooks in Political Science: Advice from Authors

Textbooks in Political Science: Advice from Authors

By William T. Bianco, Indiana University, Bloomington and David Canon, University of Wisconsin, Madison,

Textbook authorship is at some distance from everything else that academics do. It is true that textbooks engage the central missions of research and teaching by illustrating disciplinary debates, describing research findings, and helping students to learn. However, success in the textbook market requires a profoundly different skill set from what is needed for research and teaching. This symposium draws on insights from authors of successful political science textbooks, ranging from newly published books designed for upper-level courses to several introductory texts that have appeared in multiple editions. The prompt was simple: What have you learned from writing a textbook—about the writing process itself but also about research, teaching, students, and the discipline?

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