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Writing a Compelling Op-Ed on a Social-Cultural Issue in Sports


?Takes a position on (makes an argument for) a question regarding a social, political, cultural issue that relates to sports! Op-eds are not reportage or literature reviews. Check out the resources at, and read a few op-ed sections of newspapers for examples and more background.

?Cites at least one social science (ie political science, economics, psychology, sociology etc) study on the topic of sports (ie an academic study, not a piece of journalism), using a description-plus-link (e.g., "As Joseph Price and Justin Wolfers showed in a recent study, more personal fouls are called against players when they are officiated by an opposite-race refereeing crew." (You can make the "showed" word a hyperlink to their study, as I have done here). The description of the study will be brief (you don't have much space!) and used to support your point.
?Approximately 1000 words; you can go longer if you show us that you are aiming for a publication that allows or encourages a longer op-ed.


?Follows general guidelines of writing op-eds: see, for example, the op-ed project linked to above. The format does not have to rigidly follow any structure; the examples are more of a helpful formula for you to use.


1.Think of a topic based on what interests you. You can form a thesis based on 1) a topic this class has covered, or 2) your previous interests, on which theories from the class can shed light (eg, gender bias in student athletics).

2.Ground your opinion in social science, ie, back it up! You do not need to describe and cite studies from the syllabus or lecture. You need to back up your argument with at least one study from social science. Your assignment is not to write a pure opinion piece. Your thesis needs to be backed up.

3.Hook your piece to something that has happened in the world recently (The best hook is not necessarily a personal experience like "I was harassed at the hockey game", but rather something that your reader can also relate to personally, like "on Saturday nights, Canadians would usually hit the hockey rinks in large numbers. How will they react now that there is no hockey?" Or more traditionally, your hook will be news on the global, national, or local level, or from within academia. So you could say "Last week in a small town in North Dakota….", or you could say "Ryerson students yesterday received a public safety email that said…" or finally, "Last week, Kick-it-Out published a report showing that racial abuse is a growing problem at football matches in Europe."). The point is that your hook should be very recent. Given all these suggestions for how to use a hook, it should not be too difficult to find one if you expand your standards to include news events all over the globe, relatively more local and more national in nature.

4.If you have questions about the op-ed thesis you are considering, or the article or articles you want to mention in the op-ed, email me! Include in your email your one or two-sentence thesis, and one or two articles you will use to support. I can give you feedback on your idea based on these two things.

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