Format Instructions

Title

Your work should have a title which is written as a question. Titles use sentence case. That is, capitalize the title the way you would a sentence.

Your work will have 3 sections as described below.

Origin and Prevalence

Your origin and prevalence section answers the question: “Who is asking the title question and in what context?”

As an example, if your title question is “Do women make 82 cents on the dollar compared to males?” then you want to show some places people make that claim and some places where it is disputed. This is not where you answer the question — it’s just where you show the question is being asked.

If it makes sense to rename this section to something more topic-specific, such as “Why This Question Is Important”, go ahead and do that.

If the question is a very old question, save the detailed history for the Issues and Analysis section. Just note that it is a very old question and show some places where the question (or claims related to the question) have popped up recently.

Issues and Analysis

The issues and analysis section is where you put the extended answer to the question. Usually this answer is a summary of the research on the question done to date. Part of what you will provide is a sense of context. For example, a business class may look at a recent article that claims that “psychological safety” is the most important feature of functioning work teams. The analysis should go beyond that article and look at where the notion of psychological safety originated, how it relates to other findings on high-functioning groups, what work has been done on it up until now, and what the expert consensus is on its impact.

The issues section should also link to sources using standard hyperlinks. Like Wikipedia articles, your article should not only summarize significant expert opinions, but also link to those sources so that the reader can explore the issue on their own if they desire.

For statistics based questions (e.g. answering questions such as “What is the average pay of elementary teachers in the U.S. compared to Canada?”) the issues and analysis section should not only include the data, but detail issues around how the data was collected, and problems with interpreting the data (for example, do you compare absolute dollar amounts or percentage of median national income?).

For statistical questions, also note that simple data tables are supported but complex table styling is not. To create a table that will appear on the web page, make a table using the standard Google Docs tools.

Summary

The summary section should appear right after the title. Although you put your summary first in your final work, you write your summary last because you don’t know what it should say until you have completed the other two sections. The summary consists of one “answer” to the question the title poses, followed by a couple sentences that summarize the findings in issues and analysis.

The single sentence answer is a sticking point for many people. It must balance usefulness with precision, and so can be difficult to write. The best way to conceptualize the single sentence answer is to think of it as the answer you would like Siri, Google Home, or Alexa to give a person who asks that question.

For questions where there is an overwhelming amount of evidence, the answer can sometimes be a simple “Yes” or “No”. Answers that are supported by an overwhelming expert consensus should be answered with a simple answer, with the complexity left for the issues and analysis section. As an example, the question “Is current global warming explained by human activity?” can be answered in the summary sentence simply by saying “Yes”. However a question such as “What is the expected economic impact of global warming in 2100?” should supply a range in the answer, and maybe a modifier as well: “Between 2 and 20 percent of global GDP, depending on assumptions about our adaptability.”