About this week
This week marks the beginning of the second unit of the course, which is focused on a specific kind of academic writing: writing in the Social Sciences. During the first unit of the course, you learned about and practiced some general principles of academic research. In this unit, you will hone those skills further, and conduct research and produce writing within the discipline of the Social Sciences. Your work in this unit will be focused on the second major assignment, the Social Science Report Report, which asks you to track and analyze your own language use. During this first week of the unit, you will begin this work by reading about the writing expectations of different academic disciplines, by learning about the role of audience and purpose in academic writing, and by investigating your own language use by collecting primary data about it over a 24-hour period.
- Understand disciplinary conventions and expectations
- Understand how to write for a specific audience
- Understand and create primary data
- Consume this week’s required readings and media
- Review Project 2: The Social Science Research Report
- Participate in Discussion #6: Considering Audience
- Low-Stakes Assignment #5: Collecting Primary Data—24 Hours of Language
- What to Think About When Writing for a Particular Audience
- Writing for an Audience: These sources will help you understand why you need to pay close attention to audience when drafting academic writing and they will also provide you with strategies for writing toward that audience.
- An Introduction to Disciplinary Writing: When considering the notion of audience, you also need to consider disciplinary conventions and expectations—for example, what format, tone, content, and type of data a Social Scientist expects to see in a Research Report.
- Writing in the Social Sciences: This source offers an overview of the general structure followed by most Social Science Research Reports. Use it as a general guide as you begin your major project for this unit.
- Introduction to Primary Research: Observations, Surveys, and Interviews: You will only be conducting observations for your Social Science Research Report (so focus on that section of the reading), but this source offers a clear overview of a variety of ways to conduct primary research. Use it to familiarize yourself with primary research planning and collecting as well as the ethical considerations that come with such data collection.
As you complete this week’s readings, consider how audience plays a major role in the effectiveness of a particular writing or speaking situation. If you write for the wrong audience or you do not pay attention to the needs and expectations of your audience, your piece will not be as successful as it could be. Imagine, for example, that you compose a research paper in the same tone and format as a text message. Even if the content of the paper is superb, the paper will still not be successful because it has violated the audience’s expectations and not adhered to the conventions of the research paper genre. Keep these considerations in mind as you write your response to the discussion below.
After you’ve reviewed the above materials, head to this week’s discussion. Respond to the prompt by Thursday at 11:59pm. Then read the comments posted by your classmates and respond to at least two of them by Sunday at 11:59pm. Do your best to fully engage with their posts by responding to a specific point they made. For more information, see the discussion rubric on the Rubrics page.
LSA 5: Collecting Primary Data—24 Hours of Language
For this assignment you will collect primary data about your own language use and the languages you encounter over a 24-hour period. This data will form the foundation of your Social Science Research Report, so it is imperative that you do this assignment fully and carefully.
See the assignment sheet, LSA-5, above for the full assignment instructions. Due by Sunday, 11:59pm.