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Advanced Writing: Social Sciences

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Week 08: Comparison / Contrast
Writing to Inform

Assignments for the Week

Day 15 -- Tuesday 12 March 2002
From Merriam-Webster

Old Business / Announcements:


  1. Midsemester Course Review / Evaluation

  2. Discussion of Final Exam

  3. Tim Roufs presentation on newletter piece "How Much is Too Much?"

  1. Writing from your outline and freewrite materials, finish a "rough draft" of the newsletter article. (For this nontechnical audience watch diction and vocabulary choice, and sentence and paragraph lengths; keep organization simple, and do not use many references.) Keep the lay reader interested in what you are describing, analyzing and/or poking fun of. Bring this draft to class.

  2. Then revise and rewrite the entire newsletter article. Also revise your outline again, if necessary.

Day 16 -- Thursday 14 March 2002

Old Business / Announcements:


  1. In-class work on "rough draft" exercise for newsletter article. Do a Lanham-like in-class revising of newsletter article, including peer review. As you do this work on looking up information in the handbook as you need it. The useful lists page is useful.

    • Talk about revising, focusing on getting started revising
    • Talk about organizing an analysis
    • Talk about organizing an analysis [sic.]
    • summary of newsletter requirements
    • At this point of time make an outline
    • Be sure to incorporate appropriate observations and descriptions
    • Use minimal references, but include at least one properly referenced citation within the text
      • (You do not always have to do this when you write an article, but do it for this assignment for the practice of properly referencing in a piece that does not normally use in- text citations -- such as a personal communication or class notes.)
    • refer to useful lists if you need a guide to looking up information in the handbook

  2. Discussion of common writing problems

  3. Preview of Paper #4, an analytic speech for something like a "Coffee or Conversation" session, or for a "Brown Bag" luncheon. This must be a report written out in full, not just an outline for giving a talk. For Paper #4 choose your own topic, or write on one of the topics listed below. Review Ch. 43 of The New St. Martin's Handbook , "Writing a Research Essay."

    • Write on a topic of your own choice (subject to the instructor's approval) after developing your own data base. Your data base must include at least two differing points of view.

      You may work on a paper that you are writing for another class, if it is all right with the instructor of that other class.

      - OR -

    • If you do not have a specific topic in mind, how about trying something on one or more specificaspects one of the following? These are only examples of general topic areas; variations are encouraged.

      • affirmative action
      • ape language
      • culture of poverty
      • flextime/flexible working hours
      • seventeenth century deviance (and witch hunts)
      • social stratification
      • varied theoretical assumptions about human nature
      • Bigfoot
      • alliances (personal or international or community or business or ?
      • economic bartering to avoid taxes, NAFTA, UN in former Jugoslavia, school consolidations, government vouchers for primary and secondary school, or ? . . .)
      • child training practices (enculturation and socialization)
      • conditions before and after contact with outsiders
      • leadership
      • male/female roles in . . .
      • religious similarities/differences between Christianity and another religion or belief system
      • why Jesse Ventura (should/should not) run for President
      • problems with studying a group like the Yanomamö
      • warfare/aggression
      • other specific conflict/conflict-resolution situation (For e.g., should UMD spend more money on women's athletics? Should Miller Hill Mall be allowed to expand? Should we give Jeno any more of the taxpayers' money? Should the taxpayers of Minnesota spend $150 million on a new stadium for the Vikings?
      • Or write about a conflict/conflict-resolution situation involving domestic violence, male/female domestic roles, American Indian spear fishing treaty rights, other American Indian treaty rights, US-Canadian relations, Mexican Chiapas Zapatista revolt/revolution, assassinations, Neo-Nazi "Skinheads" in Germany, Neo-Nazis in America, IRA in Ireland and Great Britain, Chicago drug gangs in Duluth, UN. . . .)

  4. Then finish close-to-final draft of Paper #3 newsletter. Do this using Ch. 43 of The New St. Martin's Handbook. In the end you should have 2 - 4 pages of well-written text.

Next Week

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