Guide to writing your Evaluation of Practice Report
What you need to do:
The overall purpose of this assessment is to consider the nature of good practice in organisations. We ask that you use the knowledge you have developed in the first half of the course on how to read an organisation to consider a problematic issue in your organisation and make sense of it in relation to ideas of good practice.
As in your descriptive ethnography, in your Evaluation of Practice report we ask that you use an organisation where you are or have been an insider so that your critical reflection is of real practice, as this is the skill that you will need in your professional working life. You can use the same organisation in your Evaluation of Practice Report that you used for your Descriptive Ethnography.
Here is the overview of what you need to do, which is taken from the course guide:
Using the organisation that you wrote about in your descriptive ethnography, you will identify and describe a problematic organisational issue, practice or incident. This could be a work practice, an issue such as staff retention or problems between work groups. Or, it could be something that has happened between workers, workers and managers, or between a worker and a client/consumer/customer that raises broader issues about the nature, quality and value of the work being undertaken. It may be something of importance to you which you might have been involved in personally. Having identified an issue, you will use theory and organisational concepts to analyse what happened (or continues to happen) and you will use theories of good practice to consider what makes this bad practice and what good practice might look like in the circumstances.
How you need to write it up:
In order to extend your professional writing skills and align the task more closely with the type of materials you might be asked to produce in a professional work role, you need to present your Evaluation of Practice in a report format.
There are many guides to writing professional reports as it is a format used widely in a range of professions. This guide draws from some general descriptions and provides direction that is more tailored to the specific Evaluation of Practice that you are undertaking.
There are 7 sections required in your report. Your report should include these (or similar) as sub-headings, in the following order:
1. Executive Summary
4. Results and Discussion
7. Reference List
I will now go through each section, outlining what sort of thing you should cover in the section and the approximate word length of the section. Please note that the word length suggestions for each section are a guide only. The only formal requirement is that your report (minus the reference list) is 2000 words plus or minus 10%. Penalties will only be applied for exceeding this overall word limit.
(approx. 100 words)
A short section, briefly setting out the problem, main findings and recommendations of the report (Emerald, 2015)
There is a short video clip in the RMIT Learning Lab that outlines the difference between the executive summary and the introduction. It describes that the Executive Summary should basically provide a brief summary of each of the following sections in the report.
Here is a link to the clip:
(approx. 150 words)
What is the report about; why has it been written; what issues does it address? (Emerald, 2015)
The introduction needs to outline the theme and the justification for the report. This means you need to outline what theory of good practice you are using and why the idea of good practice matters. Your introduction should also briefly outline what will be covered in the report in terms of your issue, the dimensions of your analysis and recommendations of what approach as good practice might fix the problem.
(approx. 75 words)
What research methods have been used to prepare the report and why; how has the problem been [identified]; are there any significant limitations to the approach taken? (Emerald, 2015)
Here you should include a description of the ethnographic nature of your approach. Our methods are a little unusual for a report, but it is worth thinking about why they are justified. Your identification of the problem is likely to have required your insider standpoint so this is worth briefly describing it. Your methods might include concepts such as ethnographic observation, insider account and reflection.
Results and Discussion
(approx. 1250 words)
In the context of your Evaluation of Practice, the results part of this section is the description of the issue, incident or practice that you have identified in your organisation. This should take up about one quarter of this section. Note that the first assessment criterion asks that your account is situated in relation to the organisational context.
The discussion part of this section is an analytical and critical evaluation of the issue, incident or practice that is supported by the literature. Your analysis should relate back to the purpose of the report which is an evaluation of practice. In making sense of your issue, practice, or incident, think about what are the 2 or 3 most important contributing factors (think in terms of organisational concepts and ideas such as culture, structure, etc). Show your understanding of these concepts and how each of these can help to explain the problem you have identified.
You are welcome to use further sub-headings in this section.
(approx. 70 words)
Brief statement of what was found and its significance (Learning Lab, 2015).
The conclusion should succinctly capture your key points of analysis as this is what your recommendations section should then clearly relate to.
(approx. 400 words)
Summarize key findings; draw conclusions of greatest relevance in solving the problem as set out above; make recommendations for a course of action or decision based on these conclusions. (Emerald, 2015)
As stated in the third assessment criteria, here you need to identify theoretically informed ways of successfully engaging in good practice in the organisation in the circumstances outlined. Your recommendations must clearly relate to your analysis and draw from both the ideas on good practice you have outlined in the introduction as well as concepts or theories on organisational practices.
(Not included in the overall word count)
As standard with most academic writing, please include all references you have referred to in your report. You must use one consistent referencing method. Unless you have a preferred other referencing method, use the Harvard system outlined in the RMIT Library referencing guides.
Style guide for presenting your report
Your document should have 3cm margins and double spacing between lines. You can use headings and sub-headings to make sections of your report clear but do not need to use a report section numbering system.
Resources on report writing
Emerald Group Publishing 2015, Understanding Academic Writing, Emerald Group Publishing, viewed 18th September 2015 https://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/learning/study_skills/skills/structured_writing.htm.
Learning Lab 2015, Reports, RMIT University, viewed 18th September 2015 https://emedia.rmit.edu.au/learninglab/content/reports-0.