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SW 500/501 Writing Workshop #1. Brought to you by the SSW Writing Team: Jim Leighty SocW 500 Day Subject Tutor Gina Mendoza SocW 500 (EDP) Subject Tutor Erin Harrop SocW 501 Subject Tutor Julia Schneider MSW Day/BASW Writing Tutor Jenny Walden EDP Writing Tutor.

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Sw 500 501 writing workshop 1

SW 500/501 Writing Workshop #1

Brought to you by the SSW Writing Team:

Jim Leighty

SocW 500 Day Subject Tutor

Gina Mendoza

SocW 500 (EDP) Subject Tutor

Erin Harrop

SocW 501 Subject Tutor

Julia Schneider

MSW Day/BASW Writing Tutor

Jenny Walden

EDP Writing Tutor

Hub assignment 1 social justice analysis of a current issue
HUB Assignment #1: Social Justice Analysis of a Current Issue

500 social justice analysis
500: Social Justice Analysis

  • What is this paper all about?

    • Choose a currently contentious issue, describe it, analyze it using course readings, and conclude by articulating your position

    • Critical analysis, not just a summary of articles or concepts

    • An opportunity to connect the theories you’ve been reading about to everyday life

500 picking your topic
500: Picking your topic

  • Examples

    • Affordable Care Act

    • Same-sex marriage

    • Charter schools

    • Immigration reform

    • Gun control

    • Public funding of family planning services

    • Food stamp eligibility

    • Access to reproductive health services

    • Responses to climate change

  • Pick a topic with recent media coverage

  • Pick something where you can find lots of different discourse (strong opinions on multiple sides)

  • Consult with your instructor as needed

500 applicable readings
500: Applicable Readings

  • It is very important to tie your issue to the readings and theories; make connections

  • Theories: liberalism, neo-liberalism, social democracy, socialism, Marxism, social justice perspectives

  • Suggested readings

    • Pay special attention to Sessions 2-3

    • Fraser, N.

    • Harvey, D.

    • Reisch, M.

    • Rawls, J.

    • Sandel, M.

    • Steger & Roy. Ch 1-2

    • Taylor, G. Social democracy.

    • Young, I. M.

    • Glenn

500 potential sources
500: Potential Sources

As you work through the theoretical readings, the challenge is to apply how theory/ideology informs the current discourse related to your issue.

  • Court Decisions

    • At the local, state, appeals and US Supreme Court levels

    • See amicus briefs

  • Sunday morning talk shows, esp. if a “round table” format (This Week, Face the Nation, Meet the Press)

  • Cable news networks (MSNBC, Fox News)

  • Think tanks

    • Pew Research Center (www.pewresearch.org)

    • The Heritage Foundation (www.heritage.org)

5 00 potential sources
500: Potential Sources

  • Newspaper opinion/editorial sections

    • Opinion: written by a member of newspaper’s editorial board

    • Editorial: written by someone not affiliated with editorial board, e.g., a community member or a candidate for office

    • The Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com)

    • The New York Times (www.nytimes.com); 10 free articles/month

    • The Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/home-page); limited free articles

  • US History

    • http://www.animatedatlas.com/timelineexp.html

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_United_States_history

500 paper format
500: Paper Format

  • Format (5-7 pages total, double-spaced)

  • Number of pages listed are guidelines, not absolutes; focus on content

    • Introduction (2 pages)

      • Incorporate readings and background information to briefly summarize the issue; first one side and then the other

    • Analysis (bulk of your paper; 3-4 pages)

      • Analyze the public discourse; describe different perspectives; apply theories and readings (Note: first present one side of the debate and then present the other side.)

  • Conclusion (1-2 pages)

    • Take a position and explain why; anchor your position with theories and readings

500 paper format sample paper
500: Paper Format & Sample Paper

  • As a group, we'll work through a student’s paper section by section. First, we'll introduce the model for what should be included in that section. Then we'll refer to the student’s paper and discuss how the student successfully followed the model.

  • We'vealso noted some citation issues to review.

  • Important: The prompt has changed since this paper was written. Use the current prompt!

500 introduction
500: Introduction

  • Introduction

    • Summarize the issue: assume your reader knows nothing about it. You must be concise.

      • More than one source per side

    • Identify the social problem: Why is this a social problem? What are the proposed solutions?

      • Use factual information here – you are informing the reader, NOT presenting your position.

        • Cite your sources, this is not an editorial

500 sample introduction
500: Sample Introduction

Same-sex marriage is a point of cultural, legal and religious tension in America. It first became an issue of public policy in 1993, when a Hawaiian court found that the state's constitution required "a compelling a reason not to extend to gays equal marriage rights" (“A brief history, ” para 6). Since then, issues of same-sex marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, and gay rights have become a constant topic of cultural debate, and one that has played out in both the courtrooms and the voting booths. With the exception of the U.S. Congress passage of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 (which prevented homosexual couples from receiving the benefits traditionally conferred by marriage), most of the legal battles for same-sex marriage have occurred in individual states, leading to arguments about proper passage for such bills (i.e. voter approval vs. judicial review) and what role the state should play, if any, in promoting social justice.

500 analysis
500: Analysis

  • Analysis

    • Present/articulate one party’s argument

      • Using the sources you found, present arguments on one side of the issue.

      • Direct quotes are helpful here, but you can paraphrase (assuming you do so with fidelity to author’s original intent!)

    • Identify the party’s underlying ideology

      • Use the HUB readings to identify the theoretical foundation for the argument

      • This is your opinion of the underlying ideology – there isn’t necessarily a “right” answer, but you must defend your analysis

    • Present the other side

500 analysis example
500: Analysis Example


While neo-liberal arguments against same-sex marriage tend to focus on the power of negative liberty and state intervention, social liberals accept moderate state intervention in social affairs if it can “enhance the freedom of the individual and to secure the good of the community” (Taylor, 2006). Liberal arguments focus on the protection that R-71 provides to families of same-sex partners and its importance for societal stability – not on its implications for social justice. One basic tenet of liberalism is the pursuit of “equality of opportunities” rather than “equality of outcomes” (p. #).


In an editorial for the Seattle Times, community member Arnie Bishop specifically addresses the importance of Referendum 71, saying, “With two children to raise, we are especially cognizant of the security that equal access to rights regarding Social Security, inheritance, pension and custody would bring to our family” (Bishop, 2009).

See bottom of p. 5

500 analysis example1
500: Analysis Example


Gingrich’s assertion that big government should not be a tool for social reform echoes classic neo-liberal ideology, which warns against the state’s involvement in moral affairs. Taylor (2006) expands upon this idea, writing, “For neo-liberals, it makes no sense for the state to promote social justice. Such ideas are thought to run counter to the natural order of things and tend to be designed by those who have very little understanding of the values embraced by their fellow citizens.”


Responding to Iowa’s same-sex marriage ruling on ABC’s This Week, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich expressed concerns about the state taking an active role in distributing justice, rather than doing so through voter-approved measures. He said, “there is not a single case of the state not ultimately deciding in favor of traditional marriage if it’s a popular vote. . . it's very dangerous for the country to have the judiciary become the chief agent of social change” (“Gingrich: the fix is in,” 2009).

See bottom of p. 2

See pp.2-3

500 conclusion
500: Conclusion

  • Conclusion

    • Present/articulate YOUR argument

      • Do any of the frames represent your position on the issue?

        • If so, why? If not, why not? (If “why not” make sure you also affirmative explain your own position)

      • Maintain your commitment to “scholarly” writing – yes, this is your opinion, but you still must reinforce it with the readings

500 sample conclusion
500: Sample Conclusion

Because the state has such an active role in managing marriage, I believe that legalization of same-sex marriage must come from the state itself, not from popular vote . . . I agree with social democrats that it is necessary for the government to take an active role in preserving equality, if for no other reason than it ensures a healthier, more stable society . . . Rawls points out that, from a social democratic perspective, “expanding the range of opportunities open to people therefore ‘. . . not only subtracts from inequality, but adds to freedom’” (Taylor, 2006). Regardless of their ideological differences, neo-liberals, liberals and social democrats see value in preserving individual freedom and state stability. Because same-sex marriage enhances both the former and (by association) the latter, there is a legal and moral imperative to allow it, and one that requires government intervention.

See p.8

500 final thoughts
500: Final Thoughts

  • Best specific

    • Who said what…who is speaking, their position, etc.

    • Avoid generalities

  • Avoid an overly reductionist approach

    • If ideas are murky, say so and explain why rather than over-simplifying

  • Quotes are good, but don’t over-use

  • Organization – use section headings

  • APA Questions?

    • See Purdue OWL http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/

    • UW Libraries’ citation guides http://guides.lib.washington.edu/citations

Remember the basic rule of successful writing
Remember the basic rule of successful writing:

  • Tell the reader what you’re going to tell them.

  • Tell them.

  • Tell them what you just told them

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