SO306 Writing for Social Sciences

for S2T 2009

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SO 306 Writing for Social Sciences


S2T 2009 DL


Kitchen, Michelle M.


PhD; Educational Psychology
M.S.; Educational Psychology
B.S.; Psychology

Office Location


Office Hours

M-F: 10 - 3

Daytime Phone



Semester Dates

March 16 - May 10

Class Days


Class Time



Prior to taking this course, you must have successfully completed SO141 or PS101 (or other introductory social science course); in addition, SO220 is recommended.

Credit Hours



APA (2001). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th edition, American Psychological Association (paper).  ISBN 13:  9781557987914

APA (2001). Mastering APA Style: Student's Workbook and Training Guide, American Psychological Association (paper).  ISBN:  1557988919

Strunk & White (2000). The Elements of Style, 4th edition, Boston: Allyn & Bacon (paper).  ISBN:  020530902X

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

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Course Description:
SO 306 Writing for Social Sciences: Course emphasizes translating social sciences jargon and research findings into clear and appropriate language for a variety of common consumers of social science results, including professional, practitioner, and lay audiences. Topics also include APA style, conducting a literature review and evaluating sources, balances and complete presentation, and professional authorial voice. Common forms of social science writhing, such as research proposal, data summaries, and research reports are introduced. This course will satisfy the EN 306 requirements for Sociology and Social Psychology.3:0:3 Prerequisites: SO 141 or PS101 or other introductory social science course ;(SO 220 recommended), EN 105, EN 106, passing the WTC and 60 accumulated hours.

Class Assessment:

Final Exam - The final exam will consist of a combination of multiple choice and short essay questions that focus on key concepts and skills relevant to professional writing in the social sciences.

Development Essays – Development essays will be integrated throughout the course to provide an opportunity to practice professional writing in a variety of contexts. 

1.      "One side" essay: Social science research often has political and policy–related implications. Develop the best case you can for side you agree with on your chosen topic. Support your positions with the best possible evidence and arguments you can find.

2.      "The other side" essay: Develop the best case you can for the side you do not agree with. Again, support your positions with the best possible evidence and arguments you can find.

3.      "Balanced presentation" essay: Build on what you have done in stages 1 and 2 by developing a dialogue between those two positions incorporating only their very best reasons and evidence.

4.      Literature review of two articles: Select two articles presenting original research on your topic (from the approved lists) and write a careful evaluation and comparison of their methods, findings, and analyses.

5.      Research summary for two audiences: Social science writing is often targeted as different audiences, each having their own language and level of technical competence. Incorporate material from the “balanced presentation” essay and the “literature review” essay for two audiences: the general lay audience and professionals/practitioners in the field that would use this research in their work.

6.      "Executive summary" essay: Summarize all of the important points from your previous essays in a clear and easy to read format.

Discussion - Discussions will explore challenges in writing and strategies for being a more effective written communicator.

Peer Review – The peer review will provide an opportunity to read, critique and comment on the work of your peers. The review will require you to apply your understanding of professional writing to assist your peers in improving their writing.

Mastery Quizzes – Mastery quizzes will test your understanding of APA style. You may complete the quiz as many times as you like prior to the due date; only the highest grade prior to the due date will be recorded.

Grades will be determined by performance on a final exam, personal influence journal, social influence research project, and class participation. Points will be assigned as follows:

Final exam

100 points

Development essays

6@30 points each

 180 points


8@10 points each

80 points

Peer review

1@10 points each

10 points

Mastery quizzes

6@5 points each

30 points

Core assessment

100 points

Total available


500 points


Final course grades will be determined as follows:


90% and higher

448 points and higher


80% - 89%

398 – 447 points


70% - 79%

348 – 397 points


60% - 69%

298 – 347 points


59% and lower

297 points and lower

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Late materials will only be accepted with written permission of the instructor and will be assessed a 5% late penalty for each day late.   

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Communication Modes:

·         Course interaction – Students are responsible for checking email, monitoring online discussion threads, and reading all course announcements on a regular basis. Online instructors will use email, discussion threads, and/or announcements to communicate important course information.

      • Email - Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. When sending email other than assignments, you must identify yourself fully by name and class in all email sent to your instructor and/or other members of our class. Online Instructors will check email frequently and will respond to course-related questions within 24-48 hours. Email is the preferred form of communication for private, course-related communications.
      • Online threaded discussions– Online discussionsare public messages and all writings in this area will be viewable by the entire class or assigned group members.
      • Announcements - Announcements will be posted to remind you of important information or to highlight course activities. Announcements can be found at the top of the Course Home.

·         Submission of electronic assignments - Create a back up file of every piece of work you submit for grading. This will ensure that a computer glitch or a glitch in cyberspace won't erase your efforts. When files are sent attached to an email, the files should be in either Microsoft Word, RTF, ASCII, txt, or PDF file formats.

Participation Standards:

You are expected to actively participate in this course. All your Online communications need to be composed with fairness, honesty and tact.  Spelling and grammar are very important in an Online course.  What you put into an Online course reflects on your level of professionalism.  For more information, see writing online at and netiquette at

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

The following overview provides some guidelines to assist you in planning your coursework and scheduling the major learning activities in the course:



Due Thursday

Due Sunday

Week 1

Strunk & White, Chapter 1

Mastering APA Style, Chapter 1

  • Initial response to discussion topic
  • Personal introduction
  • Peer responses to discussion (10 points)

Week 2

Strunk & White, Chapter 2

APA Manual, Chapter 1

  • Initial response to discussion topic
  • Peer responses to discussion (10 points) 
  • Developmental essay #1 (30 points)
  • Mastery Quiz (5 points)

Week 3

Strunk & White, Chapter 3

APA Manual, Chapter 2

  • Initial response to discussion topic
  • Peer responses to discussion (10 points) 
  • Developmental essay #2 (30 points)
  • Mastery Quiz (5 points)

Week 4

Strunk & White, Chapter 4

APA Manual, Chapter 3

  • Initial response to discussion topic
  • Peer responses to discussion  (10 points)
  • Developmental essay #3 (30 points)
  • Mastery Quiz (5 points)

Week 5

Strunk & White, Chapter 5

APA Manual, Chapter 4

  • Initial response to discussion topic
  • Peer responses to discussion (10 points) 
  • Developmental essay #4 (30 points)
  • Peer Review (10 points)
  • Mastery Quiz (5 points)

Week 6

oAPA Manual, Chapter 5

  • Initial response to discussion topic
  • Peer responses to discussion (10 points)
  • Developmental essay #5 (30 points)
  • Mastery Quiz (5 points)

Week 7

  • Initial response to discussion topic
  • Peer responses to discussion (10 points) 
  • Developmental essay #6 (30 points)
  • Mastery Quiz (5 points)

Week 8

  • Initial response to discussion topic
  • Core Assessment: Professional Essay (100 points)
  • Peer responses to discussion (10 points) 
  • Final Exam (100 points)

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.
ONLINE NOTE: An attendance report of "P" (present) will be recorded for students who have logged in to the Online classroom at least once during each week of the term. Recording of attendance is not equivalent to participation. Participation grades will be assigned by each instructor according to the criteria in the Grading Policy section of the syllabus.

Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:3/2/2009 9:18:07 PM