Writing a book chapter
Writing a book chapter can seem more daunting than writing a research paper, but the skills required are similar: writing a book chapter is akin to writing a review, and the length of the chapter may in fact be no more than that of a paper. Authoring a chapter demonstrates mastery of a different writing style and a certain degree of expertise within a research field.
- When you author a chapter for the first time, ask if you can co-author with a senior colleague. This is an excellent learning experience.
- Determine the scope and readership of the textbook, the scope of the chapter that you have been asked to write and how your chapter will relate/link to the other chapters. The scope may be quite restricted: it is important not to stray into topics which will be covered by other chapters.
- Decide what information you will need to convey to the reader to meet the scope of the chapter and a logical order in which to present it. There may be restrictions on the layout, word count and number of references.
- Perform a literature search to ensure you cite up-to-date, good quality references (although recognise that if the publication time is lengthy, these references may no longer be up-to-date by the time the book is published).
- Recognise that the style and content of a textbook chapter differ from that of a research paper. The style should be engaging yet authoritative and the content should tend to reflect accepted opinion as opposed to recently published not yet validated research.
- Record details on your CV . Some publishers may generously offer you a free copy of the textbook or discounts on their products as a means of thanks.