Public and Technical Write-ups

Public and Technical Write-ups

ECON 321 Summer 2018 Group Assignment

Public and Technical Write-ups

Due June 19th by 11:55 PM

(But can be handed in up to June 25th by 11:55 PM with no penalty)

What is it?

For the public write-up, you’re writing a short description of the economic history of your site for a general audience. Imagine that someone is visiting your site in person, and pulls up the Economic History Tour app on their phone: what would they want to read? What would YOU want to read?

To show you understand the economics behind what you’re studying, you must also include a short technical write-up that covers the same material, but has an economist as the intended audience. It doesn’t have to be very long, but it should demonstrate that you understand how to answer your research question using economics, and can discuss your results

Your public write-up should…

· Summarize the economic historical importance of the site.

· Answer your research question.

· Be INTERESTING to the general public – test it out by sharing it with friends and family! If they’re bored or don’t understand it, you should probably change something.

· Be 1,000 words or less. (Would YOU want to read a 5,000 word entry?)

You DON’T have to cover the WHOLE economic history of your site. If there’s one particularly interesting story you want to tell, go for it! You just need to make sure that you explain the economic historical relevance of the story, and that the story is an answer to your research question.

If you’re not sure about the tone, pretend you’re writing the article for a newspaper’s weekend edition, or a general interest web site.

What do you need to hand in?

1. (1%) Your Group Name, Group Members, Site and Research Question.

2. (70%) Your public write-up.

a. No jargon/technical language; readable by the general public

b. 1,000 words or less (my sample answer is under 500 words)

c. Answers research question using sound economic thinking

d. Summarizes economic historical relevance

e. Is focused on economic history (as opposed to art history, botany, etc.)

3. (20%) A technical write-up showing me you understand and can discuss the economics behind your site.

a. Correctly uses economic models you have learned throughout your studies of economics at UVic to understand the economic history of your site.

b. 1,000 words or less (can be MUCH less)

c. Answers your research question using sound economic thinking

4. (9%) The sources used to research your write-up, cited in APA form.

a. At least 3 (yes, they can all be sources you’ve used before – in fact, I expect it!)

b. At least 1 of the 3 sources is a primary source (newspaper from the right time period, diary, archival source, etc.).

A few tips for the public writeup:

Your write-up should answer the ‘WH’ questions: Who? What? When? Where? How? Why?

You should avoid jargon or technical language as much as possible. Think of your audience! Pretend you’re writing for a smart high schooler or an elderly tourist.

’Jargon’ can include names & dates without context:

Which is better?

• ‘1858’ or ‘1858, the first year of the gold rush’?

• ‘James Douglas’, or ‘Sir James Douglas, first governor of BC and former fur trader for the Hudson’s Bay Company’?

Names and dates mean NOTHING by themselves – add a bit of context that will make your audience understand and be interested in those. If you can’t find any reason why they should care, consider not mentioning them.

‘Maybe you should lead with that…’

Good guideline: is there a Tweetable moment?

Could you make a compelling headline for your article that fits in a tweet and would make people WANT to read more?

Bad (Boring) idea: “The first dedicated Chinese hospital was built in Victoria in 1899. By 1922 it was in need of repairs. Donations of over $7,500 from Chinese businesses on Vancouver Island paid for renovations that were completed in October of that year.”

Better idea: “THE CHINESE DEAD HOUSE[footnoteRef:1]” is what the Daily Colonist called the first Chinese hospital in 1893. Six years later, it was time for a change. [1: The Daily Colonist, February 19, 1893, p.7. Note: the 1893 ‘hospital’ was in fact just a ‘Taipingfang’ 太平⽅or hospice room, so the two texts don’t contradict each other.]


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