assignment 1 GEOG 2310
OP ED article
Writing an Op-Ed article will help sharpen your understanding of a Canadian geographic issue and refine your writing style for clarity, concision and persuasion.
You will choose an issue that has dominated the recent news and write a short (500 words), evidence-based op-ed article suitable for publication in a newspaper.
An op-ed differs from other forms of writing because it clearly states your informed opinion on how to improve a situation.
• Chose an appropriate topic. Scan the newspapers (such as Chronicle Herald; Globe and Mail; Toronto Star, etc). The topic MUST be broadly related to one of the themes of the course: in other words, it MUST relate to a Canadian geographic issue. Look at the course syllabus lecture schedule and/or textbook to ensure your topic is relevant. If you are unsure, check with me for guidance. Write about something you already know a bit (or a lot) about. Write about something that you are passionate about.
• Research your topic using at least one academic (peer reviewed) source. This could be a chapter in a book, a journal article or your textbook. The goals of your research are to: ?
a. Develop a SPECIFIC issue, problem or solution that you will use for the foundation of your OP ED. This research should not be exhaustive. Remember you have only 500 words. Remember, this is not a research paper, but short, informed, persuasive prose. Do enough research to enable you to write an informed opinion on an issue. Review the examples provided in class for guidance.
• Gather evidence to help support your argument. REMEMBER: an OP-ED is a persuasive piece of writing. Your OP ED needs to persuade your readers that a) your issue is important and b) that you know enough about the issue that we should listen to/believe what you have to say about it.
• Write a draft that follows the format below:
• A descriptive, clever, title.
• An Introduction that includes a single, key point (the focus of your OP ED). In journalism, this is called the ‘hook’ that catches your readers’ attention and convinces them that what you have to say is important. This section should answer the question: What’s the problem?
• A body that includes a very brief summary of the issue/problem, and evidence to support your claim (ie persuade your reader as to why this is an important issue). This section should answer the questions: So what? Why should I care?
• A conclusion that offers up one or two specific recommendations on how to improve the situation/issue/problem. This section should answer the question: What should we do about it?
• Revise your draft until it is a polished piece of writing, suitable for publication in a newspaper. Impress me with your writing style. Type it out 1.5 spaced, double sided (NO COVER PAGE PLEASE), standard font.
• PROOF READ IT for spelling/grammar errors. PROOF READ IT for spelling/grammar errors. Ask a friend or relative to PROOF READ IT for spelling/grammar errors.
Some final advice:
MAKE SURE your topic is ON TOPIC. It MUST relate to a Canadian geographic issue. Some broad areas for investigation include (but are not limited to): immigration, indigenous land claims, rising sea levels; fossil fuels; agriculture, fisheries, climate change, urbanization, , water pollution, economic development, core periphery relations, ‘faultlines’, etc. This is a very general list, your OP-ED should delve into a specific issue on one of these broad themes.
MAKE SURE you don’t write more than 500 words (give or take +/-20).
Include the reference to the peer-reviewed academic source you drew on for your research at the end of your OP ED. You do not need to cite your references in the body of the text. BUT if you are quoting something directly, or referring to a specific piece of work in your essay, you must attribute the author or organization (ie “According to the IPCC’s most recent Assessment Report, Carbon Dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere reached a record high of 404 ppm in 2014”.
You will be evaluated equally on the following components:
• Relevance and timeliness of the topic (why should I care?).
• Evidence (what proof have you given me that this is a pressing problem?)
• Form (is it a persuasive piece of writing that follows the guidelines above?)
• Style, including grammar, spelling, syntax.