Writing Abilities List

Because economists attempt to answer complex, unsettled questions, both positive and normative, and because economics majors go on to work in a variety of professional fields, majors should expect to communicate their arguments effectively to readers with diverse backgrounds.

When they graduate, economics majors should be able to:

I. Compose a well-constructed argument that addresses a question of importance

In order to do this, the student will:

            A. Provide context with a literature review or historical or policy narrative.
            B. Formulate a hypothesis/make a claim.
            C. Use methods and provide evidence appropriate to the claim.
            D. Support the claim.
            E. Anticipate and respond to counter-arguments.

II. Analyze a question using appropriate methods and tools, which may include cases, models, or econometric tools for data.

In order to do this, the student will:

            A. Explain methodology, including assumptions.
            B. Use only reliable sources and evidence.
            C. Explain limitations of method and/or data/evidence.

III. Critique their own and other’s work.

In order to do this, the student will:

            A. Identify gaps or weaknesses in existing literature.
            B. Interpret results in light of the limitations of method and/or data/evidence.

IV. Compose using effective prose suitable for intended audience.

In order to do this, the student will:

            A. Identify the intended audience.
            B. Use and/or explain economic terms as appropriate for intended audience.
            C. Avoid ambiguity in language.
            D. Make connections between ideas or steps in argument so that the reader can                   easily follow the logic.
            E. Organize the material in a way that is appropriate to the assignment, genre,                   and purpose.
            F. Shift from English to the language of mathematics and graphs and back again                   as necessary.
            G. Write concisely.
            H. Adhere to rules and norms of formal written English.

V. Write ethically.

In order to do this, the student will:

            A. Use evidence, sources, and argument according to norms of academic                   integrity.
            B. Cite all sources in format specified by instructor.


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