Assignment 2: newspaper article analysis

Assignment 2: Newspaper Article Analysis

   Value: 25% of final mark

   Length: 1600 words (double-spaced, 12-point font, APA style).

   Due: The end of Module 9


A copy of the newspaper article must be included with the assignment when it is submitted to the Open Learning Faculty Member.


Assignment 3 requires that you analyze a newspaper article about a social welfare policy issue, applying selected concepts and theories introduced in the course up to the end of Module 9.


1.From the beginning of the course, you are directed to read newspapers weekly and clip articles that involve social welfare policy. From the file of newspaper clippings that you will have created by the end of Week 6 or 7, select one newspaper article that addresses a social welfare policy and enables you to carry out the analysis described below. The selected article must be about a Canadian social welfare policy issue. 
The following is a list of social welfare policies to help you make your choice:

                   Old Age Security

                   Old Age Security Guaranteed Income Supplement

                   Child Tax Benefit

                   Canada Pension Plan

                   Employment Insurance

                   Workers’ Compensation

                   Veterans Disability Pensions

                   Canada Health and Social Transfer

                   Provincial social assistance programs

                   On-reserve assistance for First Nations

                   Post-secondary student loans

                   Child-care expense deduction

See pages 9–12 of Hick’s text for further clarification.
Marijuana laws, same-sex-marriage, and suicide are topics of social interest but they are not social welfare policies or programs, and therefore do not meet the requirements of this assignment.
Tips on selecting your article:

                   Choose an article that is long enough and detailed enough to enable you to complete this assignment. Students who choose short articles are commonly disappointed because they were unable to adequately complete the assignment, and consequently receive a failing grade.

                   Actually do the weekly newspaper clipping and create a file! Your file will provide you with alternative articles to choose from. Otherwise, if you procrastinate or avoid doing the clipping file as indicated in each module, you will find yourself in a stressful situation. Appropriate articles for this assignment may be very difficult to locate at the last minute.

                   Read this assignment carefully!


4.The paper must provide a summary of the argument(s) presented in the article and identify the source that is being used for each argument (e.g., a particular person or think tank). There may be more than one argument included, in which case all arguments need to be briefly summarized in your paper.

5.Submit a (clean) copy of the newspaper article along with your paper. The Open Learning Faculty Member will be unable to mark your assignment without the copy of the newspaper article. The article can be a digital copy or paper copy.

6.Analysis of the newspaper article:
To help you guide your analysis of the newspaper article and to apply some of material you have been studying, we have created some “topics of attention.” Select a newspaper article that will enable you to discuss at least three of the five “topics of attention.” 
Some newspaper articles will not provide a discussion of the policy-making process, and therefore the fourth topic of attention (listed below) will be immediately eliminated as a topic of attention for your analysis. You will be left to select three of the four remaining topics of attention to include in your analysis.

Topics of attention:

1.Paying attention to ideologies.

1.                 Identify and discuss the ideology that the author employs to discuss the social welfare issue. Draw specific evidence from the article to substantiate your claim.

2.                 Identify and articulate an alternative way of interpreting this social (welfare) issue. For example, if the author employs a neo-conservative ideology, you need to identify and articulate an alternative ideology, such as liberal or social democratic ideologies, and then describe and discuss the social situation using that alternative ideology.

3.                 Reflect upon the process of applying two different ideologies to one social situation. Identify and discuss some of your main observations—patterns, insights, and connections. 
For instance, you may notice that the questions relevant for one ideology are not relevant for the other. Discuss what questions these are and why they dominate within a particular ideology and not another. (Hint: It likely has to do with some of the basic assumptions that underpin the ideology.)


3.Paying attention to how social welfare recipients are socially constructed in the article.

1.                 How are social welfare recipients socially constructed within the article? For instance, is welfare fraud discussed? Are recipients constructed as fraudulent?

2.                 What recipients of social welfare are constructed by the author’s discussion of the situation? This may be very subtle, so look carefully. You are hunting for implications of what is being said and assumed, as well as how it is being said. Use specific examples, such as words or turns of phrase, from the article to substantiate your claim.


5.Paying attention to how the social issue is conceptualized.

1.                 What worldview is used in the article? Chances are that it is a Eurocentric worldview, but look carefully. How does this worldview construct the issue being discussed?

2.                 What contextual (contributing) factors does the author identify as the cause of the problem? Who has the problem? What solution is offered? Whose interests are served by defining the problem in this way? Whose interests are not being served by defining the problem this way? 
For instance, let’s say the article you have selected is about the BC social welfare policy requirement that single mothers, with children over the age of three years must be looking for work in order to qualify for social assistance. The author of the article conceptualizes the problem as one in which “some mothers are not really looking for work and yet are receiving welfare payments.” Single mothers are viewed as a financial drain on society and as possible frauds. So the problem is defined as a societal problem that we all need to be concerned about. The solution is more money diverted to enforcement of this new legislation and policy. The realities of single mothers in question are not discussed within the article. Instead, the author discusses past fraudulent activities. Implicitly, the author is making a case for further restricting the responsibility of the state for social well-being.


7.Paying attention to the policy-making process.

1.                 Is there reference in the article to the policy-making process?

2.                 How is this process described?

3.                 How did Eurocentric thinking affect how the policy-making process was viewed?


9.Paying attention to what and how history is told and its effects.

1.                 What history is embedded in the article?

2.                 Whose history is being told?

3.                 Who is doing the telling?

4.                 Whose history is relevant to this discuss but not included in the article? ( For instance, are First Nations women being talked about but not involved as a source of information for the article?)

5.                 What are the effects of this telling of history?


The paper must demonstrate use of the course concepts and course materials. APA referencing must be used both in the paper and for the list of references. The number of pages for the assignment does not include the reference page.

Marking Criteria:



Evidence that the student conscientiously, continually, and intentionally collected and reviewed newspaper articles relevant to Canadian social welfare policy


Paper provides a summary of the argument(s) presented in the article and identifies the source(s) that were used by the student to support each argument


Identification and discussion of the ideology, worldview, conceptualization that the author employs to discuss the social welfare issue with specific evidence from the article used by the student to substantiate their analysis


Identification of at least two social justice issues related to particular vulnerable populations in Canada.


Demonstration of ability to communicate, in writing, ideas and to organize responses clearly, thoroughly, and concisely


Newspaper Article is included

Priceless! No grade given for the assignment if not included



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