ECO200: WA Instructions: FW 2018-2019 ECONOMICS 200

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ECO200: WA Instructions: FW 2018-2019
ECONOMICS 200
2018-2019
Writing Assignments: The Critical Analysis
General Instructions
Read These Instructions Carefully and Fully!
________________________________________________________________________
DUE DATES

Date Time Weight
Assignment 1 Fri, 7 December 2018 5:00 pm 6%
Assignment 2 Fri, 29 March 2019 5:00 pm 9%

PURPOSE
To be successful in the workforce and as an economist, you need to be able to critically evaluate
economic arguments and convey your reasoning to a “general audience” in writing. The
assignments in this class will help you develop these skills. You will need to demonstrate your
ability to apply economic concepts and tools to different, more open- ended contexts. This also
helps you learn to apply and to view events through the lens of economics.
TASK
This is an individual writing assignment. There will be two writing assignments for this course to
give you practice and opportunities to get feedback on your writing. These are the general
instructions for both assignments.
For both assignments, you are to write a
750 word critical analysis of an article. You will be graded
on the quality and thoroughness of your analysis. Writing skills are essential to enable you to
communicate your ideas to others. Therefore, you will also be graded on the clarity, flow and
overall cohesiveness of the writing in your paper. The rubric we shall use (the marks you can earn
for each desirable skill demonstrated) is posted on the course website.
What does it mean to be critical in Economics?
Writing a critical analysis requires the following steps:
1. Translating a written argument into a form that can be analyzed using the tools we have
learned in class.
2. Using economic tools to critically examine the argument being made.
Analysis involves
doing more than merely paraphrasing the textbook, class notes or using jargon.
It
involves the following:
a. identifying the appropriate model or tool for the context;
b. checking to see if the model’s underlying required assumptions are sufficiently
satisfied; and

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ECO200: WA Instructions: FW 2018-2019
c. identifying important differences between the model and the real-world context,
and identifying how these differences affect qualitative and quantitative
predictions.
3. Comparing your analysis with the author’s arguments and articulating any differences or
similarities in a precise manner.
4. Translating all of this into clear language that readers can easily understand.
N.B. The Critical Analysis is NOT a research paper per se. While you may find it helpful to
consult outside resources, it is not necessary to do so, and it is entirely possible to earn full marks
without doing so.
The primary metric upon which we judge your analysis is your ability to
thoughtfully apply ECO200 tools in analyzing the real-world applications.
ORGANIZATION, STRUCTURE and FORMAT
How to structure your assignment
1. Introduction: Set up a thesis statement in which you briefly identify and summarize the
point(s) you will make.
2. Main body: The next part should provide your analysis of the article’s argument(s). Your
analysis should use economic concepts you have learned in class.
Remember, narrow your focus so that your analysis can be more in-depth. Indepth analysis is much more important than hitting every point made in the
article.
3. Conclusion: Briefly draw the evaluation together in a short concluding paragraph.
NOTE: Any references you cite should be identified and listed at the end of the paper. They do
not count toward the word limit. The article to analyze
must be included in your reference list.
Length
Your assignment should have a maximum of 750 words (excluding the title page and the
reference list). Given the required format below, 750 words is approximately three pages.
As 750 words is not a lot, you need to seriously limit the space you devote to summarizing the
article. You should assume that your reader has read the article, even if she has not (yet)
critically thought about it.
Appropriate Audience
You are writing for the general reading population. This means you will need to explain your
arguments in a way that someone who has some understanding of basic economic concepts, but
not detailed knowledge, can understand it.
A good guideline: assume a reader who has taken ECO100 a few years ago. She will understand
basic ECO101 Micro concepts, but will have certainly forgotten most of the subtleties and many
of the implications.

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ECO200: WA Instructions: FW 2018-2019
How to format your assignment
To earn full marks, you must do the following:
Your assignment must be typed, double-spaced and have a font size of at least 12 points
in Times New Roman.
Put the word count of your assignment in parentheses at the end. For example, “(750
words)”
The title page should have your full name, student id number and the class information
(i.e., ECO200, FW 2017-2018).
The file you submit must be a PDF document.
Files must be named FamilyName_GivenName_ECO200_1 for the first assignment and
FamilyName _ GivenName _ECO200_2 for the second assignment, where FamilyName
is your family name and GivenName is your given name.
If you fail to follow the instructions regarding the format of your assignment, there will be
deductions. See PENALTIES below for more details.
LOGISTICS
Submit each assignment online to Quercus.
To submit your assignment, follow these instructions
o In “Assignments” click the item titled “Writing Assignment” to submit
assignment #1. For Writing Assignment #2, click the item “
Writing Assignment
2
”.
o Follow the file naming guidelines above.
o Uploaded files should not include special characters in the file name for example,
# ! % ?. Do not attach multiple files with the same name.
Your assignment will be graded according to a Rubric. The Rubric will be posted in the
Writing Assignments folder in the “
Files” section of the Quercus webpage.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS
We are looking for a critical analysis. Perhaps the biggest mistake you can make is
submitting a writing assignment that is largely a summary of the assigned article.
Depth is preferred to breadth. The student providing a strong analysis of two relevant
points will earn much higher marks than the student identifying a number of points
without fully analyzing any of them.
1
We define critical rather broadly. It is certainly possible to write an excellent critical
analysis in which you agree with the author of the article. Likewise, you should not feel
shy about disagreeing with an author. In either case, the strength of your analysis will
depend on your ability to thoughtfully apply ECO200 tools.
1 In preparing your analysis, we hope you identify a number of points you can make. We understand that it can be
difficult to leave out a point you have spent time thinking about and developing. If you find yourself in this
situation, please consider something along the following lines: “While the author’s argument certainly does rely on
assuming
X, in this analysis I focus on Y and Z, and argue that . . .”
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ECO200: WA Instructions: FW 2018-2019
You must submit your assignment through the Quercus website. See above for logistics
of how to do so.
Don’t be late – there are penalties!
Getting Started
To evaluate the article, you need to first understand the author’s arguments. Start by
identifying the assumptions inherent in the argument, checking to see if the conclusions
follow from these assumptions. Try to distinguish the argument from the evidence
provided to support the argument.
To do critical evaluation, essentially you should take apart the various steps in the
argument and see if they make sense separately and as a whole. Can you use the tools
learned in class to think about the argument in another way? Check to see if the author is
missing anything in her argument or has used some tool or method incorrectly or
inappropriately. Is there evidence that contradicts the author’s argument?
Refer to the
Chicago Manual of Style for advice on how to write up your references. It is
available at
http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html
PENALTIES
You will receive a 10 percentage point penalty (5 marks)2 for submitting an assignment
after the deadline, and an additional 10 percentage point penalty assessed every 24 hours.
For example:
o An assignment submitted at 5:00:13 PM (thirteen seconds after 5:00 PM) on the
due date will receive a 10 percentage point penalty.
o An assignment submitted 25 hours late will receive a 20 percentage point penalty.
No extensions will be granted under any circumstance (e.g., illness, computer problems,
etc.).
We will deduct 1 mark (2%) if you fail to show the word count, exceed the word count,
submit an unacceptable file format (other than PDF), use an improper file name, choose
the wrong font, etc.
For each additional failure, we will deduct 2 marks (4%). For example, 3 breaches will
incur a penalty of 1 + 2 + 2 = 5 marks (10%).
Be aware that there is no cap on the total penalty.
In sum, be careful; don’t lose marks for inattention to these requirements!
ACADEMIC INTEGRITY AND TURNITIN.COM
The Department of Economics takes incidents of plagiarism very seriously and prosecutes them
vigorously. Not knowing what constitutes plagiarism is not a defense.
2 Your WA will be graded out of 50 marks, according to a Grading Rubric. The Rubric has been posted in a
separate document.

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ECO200: WA Instructions: FW 2018-2019
The University policy on academic integrity can be found at:
www.academicintegrity.utoronto.ca/ where you will find details about what constitutes
plagiarism and how to avoid it.
The University disclaimer on Turnitin.com follows:
“Normally, students will be required to submit their course essays to Turnitin.com for a
review of textual similarity and detection of possible plagiarism. In doing so, students will
allow their essays to be included as source documents in the Turnitin.com reference
database, where they will be used solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. The terms
that apply to the University’s use of the Turnitin.com service are described on the
Turnitin.com web site.”
You are free to refuse to submit your work through Turnitin.com. You must so declare by the
date shown in the course syllabus. If you decide that you do not feel comfortable using the site,
you must then make special arrangements with your instructor no later than two weeks before the
assignment’s due date. We will ask you to submit all your rough work, including notes and draft
versions of your assignment. You may also be requested to meet with a TA or the instructor to
discuss your paper.
WRITING TUTORIALS
Prior to each assignment’s submission date, there will be a writing tutorial. (Times and locations
for each section of ECO 200 will be announced in lecture and on the course website.)
In the first tutorial, you will participate in exercises structured to give you practice in critical
analysis. In the second tutorial, it is likely you will analyze a WA#1 submission to assess its
strengths and weaknesses. You can earn up to 2 marks (4%) in your writing assignment by
attending, participating and completing the writing tutorial
s activity.
WRITING TIPS
Some essential writing tips3:
Use simple, clear language. Avoid metaphors, flowery speech4 or jargon.
Do not use the passive voice (The box was held by John) when the active voice is an
option (John held the box).
Keep your sentences short.
Make sure your paragraphs are self-contained and coherent: put only one main idea in
each paragraph. Avoid too long (more than 1/3 of a page) or too short (one or two
sentences only) paragraphs.
Make your main point early on, and make sure that everything you write serves to
support your main point (even your counter-arguments serve to support your main point).
3 From Jessie Lamontagne and Andrea Williams.
4 For example: “Since the dawn of time, economists have contemplated . . .”
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ECO200: WA Instructions: FW 2018-2019
Support each argument with evidence, such as a statistic, example or economic
reasoning.
Make clear the economic concepts and reasoning on which your argument is based.
Be respectful of arguments that differ from yours: you can be critical without dismissing
the work of others.
Consider your audience. Use everyday words, define more technical terms, and avoid
jargon.
Another resource is
The Economist Style Guide, available at
http://www.economist.com/styleguide/introduction.
GETTING ASSISTANCE
Here are some great resources for getting assistance on the writing assignments.
See the course webpage in the Writing Assignments folder for information on WA
tutorials and assistance prior to the deadline for each WA.
Each college has a writing centre. You can book an appointment at
http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/writing-centres/arts-and-science. The teaching approach
of these centres is described at
http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/writing-centres/learning.
For those students whose first language in not English, the English Language Learning
program (ELL) at
http://www.artsci.utoronto.ca/current/advising/ell is an awesome
resource. Check to see what is available this Fall; there will certainly be offerings for
you to consider for the F/W semester when you will likely face other writing
assignments. Other resources are accessible from this site.
More than 60 Advice files on all aspects of academic writing are available from
www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice.
o Note in particular “How Not to Plagiarize” and other advice on documentation
format and methods of integrating sources; these are listed in the section at
www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/using-sources.