Building a Better World

Building a Better World
You are encouraged to work on your passion – whether it be acting, music, dance or something else in the arts, even if they do not guarantee a high salary or even a regular job. Such people often support themselves with a “job” unless or until they actually get paid to follow their dream.

Given the theme of the course this year is “Building a Better World”, you might also consider working for moral, social, political or economic change. You might follow in the tradition of the great prophets, teachers, revolutionaries, human rights activists, union organizers – those who ended slavery and apartheid, struggled for democracy, won equal rights for women, the 8 hour work day, union recognition, medicare or fair taxation – remember the original Tea Party! You could help save our environment and end climate change, overcome inequality and injustice, or help us achieve economic democracy.


You will be required to submit an outline and annotated bibliography beforehand, worth 5%. It should be submitted to Turnitin and then in class on January 29. The outline should include:

a) A 150 word description of your topic and how you will approach it – make sure that you read the section below that lists what you need to include in your essay!!!

b) An “annotated bibliography” — a list of FIVE (5) sources done in proper academic format (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc… use whatever style you prefer but make sure that you include all the elements required and use the proper punctuation).

For each source, include a few sentences describing how or why that source will be useful for your essay. I don’t want you to just go online and look up a list of library materials. You will have to examine each source to see if it is useful or irrelevant – eg. NOT books from the 1960’s about computer programming, or articles about being a lawyer in the USA…

SOURCES – You will probably come up with a mix of material. The final page of this handout lists “Where You Can Find Relevant Information”…

• Books

• Articles from periodicals

• Government reports – various levels of government produce reports about different industries and the employment prospects in different fields…

• Studies done by industry associations or unions about the trends in their area
Eg. the Canadian Bankers Association, Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, etc

• Website material – make sure that you cite it correctly!

• Interview with someone working in your chosen field – You are strongly recommended to speak with someone who can give you a first hand, up-to-date account of what is happening in your chosen field. It could be an employer or an employee – or preferably both!

You should have done lots of prior research so that you do not waste their time. You should come with a list of questions…. Your interview could take the form of either: a) a personal interview = face to face; b) personal communication via email; or c) a telephone interview.

You might ask them (either in person or over the phone):

How many people are working for their firm, agency or department? In what capacities? How many jobs – and job openings — are there in your field in the Toronto area, in Ontario, in Canada? How many have been people have been hired to do this work in recent years, and how many do they plan to hire in the next few years?

What are the important trends affecting employment, and how will they affect your prospects?

What qualifications do they require for the job that you are seeking?
What are the working conditions? — eg. hours, vacations, union, etc.
What sort of wages or benefits might you expect?
Is the work stable and secure or rather precarious?

You must include such interviews in your bibliography (list of sources).
You can cite them as follows: (here is an example)

4. Personal interview with Daniel Johnson, Supervisor of Staff Training, National Institute of Mental Health, Oxford, Ontario, February 23, 2012.


a) An overview of the sector, industry, or occupation

• Size – total number of employees, number of employers, size of employers
• Range of possible jobs
• Public or private sector, primary or secondary labour market, secure or precarious, unionized or not…

b) Details about the position you are seeking:

• What is involved — a description of what the job entails
• Qualifications required
• Wages, benefits, working conditions
• Supply of competing candidates
• Demand — how many jobs are on offer each year?

c) How your career prospects are being affected by economic, social or political trends affecting the sector, industry, or occupation

• Structural and cyclical changes – eg. free trade / globalization,
neo-liberalism, the recent recession, increasing competition, outsourcing, technological change, climate change,
• Changing consumer taste,
• Changing political climate – increased /reduced resources or budgets

d) Overall assessment – your conclusions

• Is there an opportunity for me to make a contribution?
• Is this job a good match with my personality?
• Can I make a living somehow?
• Are there other benefits – travel, power, friendship…

The essay itself will be worth 10%.

It should be 1500-2500 words, or roughly 6-10 pages double-spaced.

It should include a bibliography, with the sources listed in alphabetical order – and single spaced. Any interviews you do should be listed in your bibliography:
Eg. Personal interview with Daniel Johnson, Supervisor of Staff Training, National Institute of Mental Health, Oxford, Ontario, February 23, 2010.

It should be submitted to Turnitin, then in class on March 19 – Late submissions will be docked ½ percentage grade per day.


Working in Canada – The Working in Canada Web site provides job seekers, workers and those who are new to the Canadian labour market with the information required to make informed decisions about where to live and work. The site can assist individuals who are searching for work or looking to make career decisions. is the Government of Canada’s leading source for labour market information. It offers users, free and authoritative occupational and career information such as educational requirements, main duties, wage rates and salaries, current employment trends and outlooks.

Reference librarians at Scott Library and/or Government Documents

Professional associations or unions representing those working in your field.

Face-to-face meetings with employers and/or people working in your field.

Career Centre at York –
202 McLaughlin College, Phone: 416-736-5351 • Email:
Monday to Thursday: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm Friday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
You are welcome to visit their very small career resource library…

Career Cruising — an online Canadian resource dedicated to education and occupations. There are profiles of occupations, outlooks, and descriptions of various jobs written by people who perform them. It’s an excellent site, easy to use, and very informative. We have a contract with Career Cruising here at the Career Centre and all York students have access to it through our account. Students can go to the Career Centre website (, go to the "Students & New Grads" section, then look for the link to Career Cruising in the "Choose Your Future" area. They’ll need their Passport York account to get in.

Going Global. This is another online resource the Career Centre pays a fee to use so that all York students can have access to it through our site (the link is in the same place as Career Cruising, above). The information is primarily about overseas opportunities but if any of your students are considering international employment they might find a few interesting bits & pieces on this site. It’s primarily an opportunity posting board but there are a lot of country, company and occupation profiles, along with a variety of articles that might be useful.

Statistics Canada ( has a variety of labour statistics in their "Labour" section and students can access reports on things like commuting, globalization & the labour market, wages & salaries, post-secondary field of study and labour market outcomes, etc.

Job Bank ( is another federal government site with job information. The part that would likely be of most use to your students would be the "Career Navigator" section. There’s a "Career Exploration" area within that section with a variety of resources for researching occupations and I believe it may include some labour market outlooks.

Human Resources & Skills Development Canada ( is a great site for researching occupations. The most important section of the site is the NOC (National Occupation Classifications). If students go to the NOC part of the site and use the "NOC Code List" they can view a menu of the different occupational sectors in Canada with labour market information about the multitude of positions in each sector.

See your Making Sense textbook – pages 196-204 is about how to write "Your Reference Section”

I also draw your attention to the York Library website:

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography
An annotated bibliography is an alphabetical list of research sources (e.g. Books, articles, etc.) with a concise summary of the content and an assessment of its relevance.

Annotated bibliographies are often assigned at the beginning of a larger project.
? How to prepare an annotated bibliography
? (Cornell U)
? Write an annotated bibliography
? (UC Santa Cruz)
? Annotated Bibliographies
? (U Kansas)
? How to write annotated bibliographies
? (MUN)
Style guides for footnotes and bibliographies
Proper citation is important for all scholarly work. Style guides, or style manuals, provide detailed information about how to use a particular citation style for various media formats. The above menu will take you to selections of citation style guides. The electronic guides do not include all the rules and formats of the citation style; the printed style guides have more rules and examples. ____________________________________________________________


I suggest we take into account four factors:

1. Good selection of material (quantity and quality of sources)

2. Your analysis or evaluation of how that material will be useful — note that you are expected to produce a "critical" or "evaluative" annotation.

3. Proper bibliographic style (either APA, MLA, or Chicago/Turabian)

4. Your writing (If you cannot make yourself understood then we have a real communications problem!)

You can earn high marks for this assignment if you follow the rules, and quite low marks if you try to do this assignment in a hurry. This sort of basic research is not rocket science, but it can be tedious!