Principles of Effective Writing

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  • Principles of Effective Writing

Principles of Effective Writing

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Duration: Two Weeks - 7 to 10 hours of learner participation per week

Instruction Method: Asynchronous online learning. Learners complete the course at their own pace, submit online assignments by specified times, and receive guidance and feedback from the facilitator. Learners interact with peers during facilitator-guided discussions in an online forum. Learners interact one-on-one with the facilitator through virtual office hours.

Audience: Analysts seeking to improve the structure, quality, and impact of their written products.

Course Overview: “Good writing is good thinking.” Before putting pen to paper, the best analysts consider their research question, consider the client, marshal the evidence in the order that is most convincing, and write cleanly and sparely. If analysts do not state their analytic case clearly, the client will not understand the message. The best-structured arguments will not “speak” to a client, however, unless the analyst understands how to frame the argument so that it is memorable or “sticky.” Learners in this course learn the importance of crafting effective titles and leads, organizing the paper in a logical format, moving past fact to judgments, expressing likelihood and confidence, and adhering to the core elements of an argument: claims, reasons, evidence, and assumptions.

This course provides learners with an opportunity to explore the following topics:
• What constitutes an effective writing style
• The principles of good writing and good analytic writing
• The Inverted Triangle style of organizing analytic products
• The elements of an argument and how to identify them in analytic material
• The steps to building an argument
• Techniques to evaluate arguments
• The difference between likelihood and confidence statements
• What makes for effective titles and lead statements
• The difference between Key Judgments and Key Findings


{Student fee includes course textbook—Analytic Writing Guide by Louis M. Kaiser and Randolph H. Pherson}