Dear Editor : Critically Engaging with Global Issues and Developing Arguments in a Letter to the Editor Assignment

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article numberekac017
Journal / PublicationInternational Studies Perspectives
Publication statusOnline published - 15 Nov 2022


This study presents a teaching experiment in which students composed a letter to the editor that drew on political economy analysis with an impressive 40 percent publication rate in a major Asian newspaper. In contrast to a purely mock exercise, or the submission of op-ed pieces with a much lower chance of being published, this activity offered students the opportunity to communicate their positions to the community. Instructors must be attuned to privacy concerns and the article appraises the advantages and disadvantages of four approaches to public writing. Results from a questionnaire and focus groups indicated that this short-form writing helped students to construct a single argument, broaden their global outlook, critically assess media information, and develop a more concise writing style. However, some students struggled to connect their letter to the course content. The article thus ends by proposing ways that the assignment may be modified, such as linking letters to another assignment, supporting students by sharing suggestions from newspaper editors and scholars whose letters are regularly published, and outlining a collaborative writing exercise building on letters to the editor as a foundation. By improving their public writing skills, this assignment may prove useful in the online lives of students.

Research Area(s)

  • short writing assignments, public writing, assignment construction, media content analysis, letter to editor, Palabras clave, Tareas de redaccion breves, Escritura orientada a publicacion, Construccion de tareas, Analisis del contenido de los medios de comunicacion, Carta al editor, Mots cles, Courts devoirs d'ecriture, Ecriture publique, Construction d'un devoir, Analyse du contenu des medias, Lettre a l'editeur, POLITICS