Social Science Writing Project

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Student Workshops: Spring 2016

Fridays 2:00pm-4:00pm in Sierra Hall 386

February 26: Writing an Empirical Research Paper

Writing an Empirical Research Paper

Scott Plunkett

This workshop will focus on the structure of a paper that reports the results of an empirical study. Students will consider both effective and ineffective examples of each of the main sections of a research paper, including, for example, the abstract, methodology, results, and discussion. Participants will then work in groups to match excerpts from published articles to the correct section of an empirical paper, before examining two published articles, one from a basic research journal and one from an applied journal, to see the different emphases placed on each section. Finally, several templates will be provided to help students format, structure, and write the various sections of a paper for a research class, a thesis, a project, and a manuscript for submission to a journal.

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 .

March 4: Writing an Effective Thesis Statement

Writing an Effective Thesis Statement

Instructor: Patricia Juarez-Dappe

Creating a thesis statement is one of the most difficult parts of essay writing. In this workshop, participants will learn what a thesis statement is, how it works in their writing, and how to craft a strong argument for a research assignment. This is a hands-on session that will require students to read various sources and formulate a thesis statement. It will also provide students with a thesis statement tool kit that they can use to assess their own work in the future. Finally, for those students who are already working on research essays for class assignments, this session will offer an opportunity to discuss their thesis statements and obtain feedback.

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 .

March 11: Techniques for Organizing and Outlining

Techniques for Organizing and Outlining

Instructor: Kimberly Kirner

Have you ever struggled with how to organize and integrate citations, data (quotes, statistics, etc.), and your own thoughts in your paper?  This workshop will help you learn a simple, low-tech way to organize writing such that you are able to write one coherent paper in manageable pieces.  Especially relevant for longer papers (10 pages and more) and visual-spatial learners, this strategy helps you to: 1) envision and unpack your main points; 2) organize and effectively use citations; 3) write papers that seamlessly integrate literature, your thoughts, and original research; and 4) organize your writing in ways conducive to shorter writing periods (rather than marathon sessions). If you're currently working on a paper, bring your assignment along with you, as well as any materials you've already assembled (outlines, annotations, references).

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 .

March 18: Writing in the Workplace

Writing in the Workplace

Instructor: Juliet Nusbaum

No matter what career you plan to pursue after graduation, good writing skills are a hot commodity. Even in hands-on industries, writing is essential to advancement. In this workshop, we’ll tackle job application cover letters, grant proposals, web content, and writing for both internal and external audiences to help students translate the writing skills they’re developing at CSUN to professional settings.

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 .

April 1: The Language of Liberation: How to Write in a Culturally Centered Way

The Language of Liberation: How to Write in a Culturally Centered Way

Aimee Glocke

Students are often hesitant to take Ethnic Studies courses, or to even choose paper topics that discuss different cultural groups because of their lack of personal exposure to these cultures and/or because they do not want to offend anyone in their writing. Therefore, this writing workshop will teach participants how to write in a culturally centered way, no matter what topic they choose to write about, by providing information on how to honor people’s culture, gender, religion, sexuality, class, etc. in every written assignment in the future.

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 .

April 8: Crafting a Plot-driven Essay

Crafting a Plot-driven Essay

Instructor: Clementine Oliver

The purpose of this workshop is to teach students how to write an interesting and engaging narrative paper when faced with an humdrum essay assignment. What is more captivating to read than a mystery or whodunit? Students will examine short examples of unconventional and intriguing essays that engage the reader by presenting the subject as a mystery to be solved. Students will then learn simple strategies for transforming seemingly boring paper assignments into plot-driven arguments.

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 .

April 15: Peer Review

Peer Review

Instructor: Debra Malmberg

This workshop will introduce students to techniques for conducting peer-review. We will practice reading and editing drafts, making margin notes, and offering constructive and supportive feedback that will not only help improve improve papers, but will also help students to become more effective writers.

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 .

April 22: Overhauling your Work

Overhauling your Work

Instructor: Ron Davidson

In this workshop, students will observe how an editor’s feedback shaped multiple drafts of a faculty member’s paper, which ultimately got published.  Participants will learn the importance of responding aggressively to every comment they receive on a draft.  After this initial presentation, participants will be asked to re-write a portion of a sample paper in response to an instructor’s feedback on it.  We will then discuss which re-writes were the most successful and why.

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 .

April 29: Keep it Simple (Or, how NOT to write like a social scientist)

Keep it Simple (Or, how NOT to write like a social scientist)

Instructor: Thomas Devine

“Good prose,” George Orwell once said, “is like a windowpane.” Unfortunately, many students believe that in order to “sound smart,” they should write in the pompous and impenetrable style their professors employ. In fact, academics – particularly those in education and the social sciences – are notoriously bad writers whose efforts at written communication are often subject to ridicule and parody outside the ivory tower. Taking as its premise that complexity of expression usually masks simplicity of thought, this workshop will emphasize avoiding the mistakes professors make in their own writing and teach students how to express their ideas clearly and succinctly without using jargon and needlessly complicated language.

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 .

May 6 : Analyzing and Writing Up Qualitative Data

Analyzing and Writing Up Qualitative Data

Instructor: Amy Denissen

This workshop will introduce students to the process of analyzing and writing up qualitative data. The workshop covers basic techniques for coding and organizing data as well as tools for developing and presenting qualitative research findings. Students will work with interview, participant observation, and content analysis data provided by the instructor or they may bring their own data.

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 .