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Composition 3160: Advanced Writing for Social Sciences  
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Syllabus and Course Schedule


Materials Required:

  • Hansen, K. (2007). Writing in the social sciences: a rhetoric with readings (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Custom Publishing.
  • Suggested text:  Perrin, R. (2007).  Pocket guide to APA style (2nd  ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.  Not in bookstore.

Course Objectives:

Composition 3160 is a writing course designed to prepare you to function effectively in a world where readers generally expect you to control Edited Standard Written English.  Basic communication skills are not enough if you wish to secure, hold, and advance in a job.  This course does not assume you have a great deal of experience as a writer, but it does assume two other things:

  1)   that you are willing to learn, and  

2)   that you are interested enough in your career to realize the importance of strong oral and written communication skills. 

  During this term you will accomplish the following objectives:  

  • ·    You will learn advanced methods of writing in a variety of formats.

  • ·    You will learn that the process of writing, extensive editing, and careful rewriting enables the writer to gain a detailed knowledge of both subject and audience, and that this is the only way to produce professional texts.

  • ·    You will review and strengthen your grasp of basic grammar concepts, understanding the critical role this can play in how other people view your professionalism and abilities.

  • ·    You will produce professional documents that you will be proud to display in a portfolio as an example of your writing expertise.

Class Policies:  

Note: I am willing to discuss these policies at any time, but if you feel you cannot meet them, you would probably be wise to find an alternative way to fulfill your senior writing requirement.

  1)         Attendance at all class sessions is mandatory.  After two absences, you will lose two (2) points off your final grade for each additional absence.

  2)         Additionally, you will be counted absent if you do not have a rough draft for peer review.

  3)         Failure to write any paper means failing the course.

  4)         Late assignments will be docked 10% of their possible value per class day.  Think of yourself as a professional with your job on the line!

  5)         Two points (or 20%) of every paper are editing points.  For this reason, you should proofread carefully before handing in any assignment.

  6)         Papers may be rewritten to correct major errors; however, it is more difficult to gain points from a revision than to do it correctly the first time.  Always consult with me first before attempting to do a revision, so I can give you specific guidelines.

  7)         Your final grade will be determined as follows:

Your Total Points
1. Revised Journal Article
2. Questions 1-7 on page 40
3. Email Assignment
4. Observational Study
5. Prospectus for Research Report.
6. Annotated Bibliography.
7. Research Report
8. Oral Report
9. Technical Object Description
10. Resume and cover letter.
11. Position Paper (final take-home exam).
Total Points


Procrastination leads not to inspiration, but desperation

  Special Needs: If you have a disability that may affect your performance in this class, please inform me at the start of the semester.  Methods, materials, or testing will be adapted as required for equitable participation           



This schedule is designed to help you plan activities and assignments.  We will adhere to it as closely as possible, but it is likely there will be changes as the term progresses.  Any changes will be announced in class (another excellent reason not to be absent--if you are absent you are still responsible for any changes made to this schedule!). 


Assigned readings and assignments due are in bold.















Introduction to the class

Understanding Writing presentation









Diagnostic Grammar/Punctuation









Hansen 1: Rhetoric and the Social Sciences

Hansen 2: The Individual and Social…;


·         write out questions 1-7 on page 40-41.


·         Revised Journal Article Assigned                 


Questions on p. 40-41







Hansen 3: Research Methods…;

Go over Revising Journal Scenerios









Hansen 4: Interpreting Documents.

APA documentation Review








·         Email instruction and assignment










Peer Review Journal Article

Writing Sentences lecture with exercises


Peer Review







Hansen 6: Observing.

·         Observational Study Assigned


Journal Article







Hansen 10: Proposals and Prospectuses (pages 147-149 and 163-178).

·         Prospectus and Annotated Bibliography assigned

·         Research Paper assigned







Hansen 9: Researching in the Library

Library instruction/Meet in Library 116


Meet in Library 116








Observational Study Group Work

(Office hours only)








Hansen 11: Research Papers (pages 181-191)








Hansen 11: Research Papers (pages 191-205 and 218-220)

Title Page; Table of Contents; Abstract instruction with group work

Paraphrasing and in-class exercise










Hansen 16: Basic Principles of Document…

Hansen pages 462-476

Prospectus and Annotated Bibliography Peer Review


Peer Review: Bring two copies if you are working with a partner







Hansen 17: Graphics

Bring Textbook to class








Hansen 12: Public Position Papers

·         Position Paper assigned as final take-home examination

Bring Textbook to class







Spring Break       March 12-16








Hansen 18: Oral Presentations.

·         Oral Presentation Assigned

Argument/Persuasion techniques and worksheet






Hansen pages 477-497

Observational Study Group Work

Office hours only






Hansen 14: Resumes

Resume Presentation


Observational Study





Resume Presentation








Technical Object Description in-class exercise:  You must be present both days to receive credit


Bring a laptop to class/one per group





Technical Object Description in-class exercise:  You must be present both days to receive credit










Research Paper Peer Review

Peer Review/Bring two copies if you have a partner






Oral Presentations

Research Paper






Oral Presentations






Oral Presentations








Oral Presentations


Resume/Cover Letter

Peer Review







Oral Presentations


Resume/Cover Letter







Oral Presentations









Oral Presentations

















Document to be deposited



Take Home Final Exam: Position Paper


Your final grade will be turned in during finals week.  You can check it on-line shortly thereafter.  Have a great break!!