Social Science Writing Project

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Student Workshops

Tuesdays and Fridays in Sierra Hall 181

This workshop series begins September 29. See the schedule below for dates and times.

Communication services (sign language interpreters, note takers, real-time captionists, or assistive listening devices) are available for this event. Requests for services must be submitted at least five (5) working days in advance. Please contact The Social Science Writing Project at (818) 677-5450 or .

Student Workshops: Fall 2017

Creative Writing

Creative Writing

Friday 09/29/17:  12:30-2 p.m. 

Tuesday 10/3/17:  2-3:30 p.m.

Ed Jackiewicz

The statement, “A writer is anyone who writes,” adequately summarizes the theme of this workshop on creative writing.  Students and professors alike often struggle with putting those first words of an essay or research assignment down on paper. In this interactive session students will tap into their creative side and write without any rules.  The objective is to unleash the writing potential and creativity that lies within each of us.  I am often asked how one can become a better writer and the simple and not intentionally flippant answer is “to keep writing (and reading).” This workshop is one way to encourage writing in a safe, non threatening, ungraded environment. 

Writing Analytical Essays

Writing Analytical Essays

Friday 10/6/17:  12:30-2 p.m. 

Tuesday 10/10/17:  2-3:30 p.m.

Tom Devine

This workshop will focus on two interrelated skills: first, how to read a prompt and write an essay that addresses the question(s) posed in the prompt and, second, how to write paragraphs and sentences that respond clearly to the prompt. Students will work with several essay prompts as they discuss how best to approach writing an analytical paper -- from the first reading of the prompt to the development of a thesis and collection of pertinent evidence to the final edit before they print or email the completed essay. During this process, students will be provided with numerous specific examples of well-written sentences and paragraphs and poorly written sentences and paragraphs.  Students will be asked to explain what they think distinguishes the good from the bad.

Download: "Three Steps to Better Writing" (.pdf)

Download: "Writing Better Analytical Essays" (.pdf)

Download: "Sample Midterm Exercise" (.pdf)

Reflecting on Our Identity as Writers

Reflecting on Our Identity as Writers

Friday 10/20/17:  12:30-2 p.m.

Tuesday 10/17/17:  2-3:30 p.m.

Moshoula Capour-Desyllas

Participants in this interactive and creative workshop will have the opportunity to explore and self-reflect on their identity as writers. Through a series of experiential activities, students will come to a deeper understanding of how their identity as a writer informs their writing process and writing style. Students will engage in dialogue about how they write, how they feel about their writing and how they can move toward the writing identity that they aspire to embody.

Communicating through Writing

Communicating through Writing

Tuesday 10/24/17:  2-3:30 p.m.

Friday 10/27/17:  12:30-2 p.m.

Miriam Neirick

In this workshop, participants will read a short, prize-winning essay that describes a non-profit organization founded by the essay’s author to combat maternal mortality in developing countries. The essay combines the genres of personal narrative, social observation, and knowledge transmission to communicate a series of messages. Students will work together to identify those messages and to consider whether, and how, the author communicates them effectively. Most excitingly, we’ll get a chance to see how the final essay developed out of an initial set of brainstorming notes, a rough outline, a first draft, and then a second draft, both of which the workshop presenter peer-reviewed. The workshop will emphasize the power of the writing process and the significance of close reading as a practice that will improve writing skills.

Handout: The Writing Prompt (.pdf)

Handout: Brainstorming Notes and Preliminary Outline (.pdf)

Handout: First Draft with Peer Review (.pdf)

Handout: Second Draft with Peer Review (.pdf)

Handout: Final Submission (.pdf)

How to Write a Literature Review

How to Write a Literature Review

Friday 11/3/17:  12:30-2 p.m. 

Tuesday 11/7/17:  2-3:30 p.m. 

Debbie Ma

This workshop will introduce various ways of organizing a literature review using real examples. Participants will work to distinguish a literature review from a simple summary of sources and will learn how to use a synthesis matrix to organize their ideas.