Monday, 5 September 2011

Level 5 Assignment 3 Report Writing for your work experience

Assignment 3 is report writing. This assignment has the most weighting at 25%. The practical use of this crucial communications skill involves your next career step. In college or at work, employers and interviewers need to assess that you can write and create a piece of objective research. Adopting the correct methods of report writing is crucial to achieving higher grades in assignments  or business projects. A lot of the skills you learn about report writing are the tools you will also use if you decide to write a thesis.


One of the main areas an employer or interviewer wishes to see is can you back up your argument regarding the findings of your report with factual evidence. Why? Business decisions cost money to implement and arguments like “I think”, “I know” or “it’s obvious” do not carry as much weight as something like: “the research figures of 50 applicants between the ages of 18-25 shows that....which corresponds (or is at odds )with our secondary research. This leads us to the conclusion that.....”


This Assignment  involves the following:
Guidelines:
1.      This assignment will test the candidate’s information gathering and report writing skills
2.      It may be based on any topic using information gathered from a variety of sources and should demonstrate at least one practical use of social media to be documented in the report.
3.      Report could be based on research done for another module (eg work experience)
4.      Report may be handwritten or word processed
5.      Report should be approximately 500 words

Assessment Criteria
·         Report should be well structured, detailed and balanced (3)
·         Uses impersonal language (3)
·         Good interpretation of terms of reference (3)
·         Research is extensive, relevant and sources acknowledged through references, bibliography and acknowledgements (3)
·         Discusses and explains key issues with clarity, objectivity and evidence of original thinking (3)
·         Findings presented clearly, recommendations/conclusions show evidence of critical thinking and analysis (3)
·         Fluent writing, freedom from minor errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation (3)
·         Report submitted on time (4)

Practical Use Of Social Media

90 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations while 14 percent trust advertisements. If you want to be heard, you have to have something to say. Social media is free to set up and in an  increasingly demanding jobs market, it is important to arm yourself with every tool you can to get your voice heard.

 Watch the following few videos and have a discussion in class about the advantages and disadvantages regarding social media.

Here is a clip below about how social media is being integrated in Ireland in 2011

Youtube Video:Social Media in Ireland

Uploaded by on 16 Mar 2011
 “Social Media Stats in Ireland June 2011” gives the most recent statistics on how social media is booming in Ireland. Yet they have also stated that there is still a shortage of students applying for jobs in the I.T. sectors.
Youtube Video: Social Media Stats Ireland - June 2011
Uploaded by on 30 May 2011
Here a clip about Ireland's facts and figures from 2008 going into 2009. It is important to show you why you need to get the most out of your work experience and your report.
Youtube Video Ireland's Economic Meltdown
Uploaded by on 14 Jan 2009

Here are some 2011 facts about social media worldwide
Youtube Video Social Media Revolution Socialnomics 2011 
Uploaded by on 2 Sep 2010

Youtube Video: What is LinkedIn?
Uploaded by on 5 Apr 2010

Discuss in class:
The advantages and disadvantages of using various types of social media (Blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube)
Discuss how each type of social media could help your job hunt as well as your work experience.



How to write a report focusing on your work experience
Step 1 What do you know about the industry you would like to work in?
Step 2 What you would like to know (where are the gaps in your knowledge?)
Step 3 What have you learned when you have bridged those gaps through your research
Break up the report into manageable parts. You must decide on your research methods:

Research Methods
1 Primary Research-Information which you gather 1st hand eg surveys, questionnaires, interviews, experiments (tarilor your questions to your desired industry)
2 Secondary Research-Helps you measure and predict through material which has already been produced by someone else:  eg books, websites, magazines, newspapers

Here is a clip explaining the difference between primary and secondary research

Youtube Video: Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Uploaded by on 2 Aug 2010

 Here's a video about how to  create a survey in Microsoft Word

Youtube Video:Creating a Questionnaire in Word

Uploaded by on 8 Oct 2009

Here is a video about how to set up the Word 2007 function References and citations

Youtube Video Word 2007-References and Citations


Uploaded by on 1 Apr 2009

Youtube Video: How to Use The Reference Function in Word 2010 

 Uploaded by on 21 Apr 2011



How To Write a Good Report
1-Be Objective: Avoid using  words like “I”.  Instead use something like “research taken from...” or “statistics by X have shown...”
2-Research thoroughly: Use primary and secondary research to compare or contradict your point. This can lead to a more informed decision about the quality of the research provided
3-Structure the Report appropriately: Reports often follow a standard layout. An example of the structure of a report is included below. Headings should be arranged clearly and logically to make it easier to read and comprehend
4-Write Clearly, concisely and informatively

Have a look at Angus Morrison’s PDF document “A (Short) Report on Report Writing” from the Murdoch University for ideas regarding the layout of a report. Click the link http://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/~angusms/Teaching/reportwriting.pdf
Report Layout
The layout of any report is distinctive and is a valued document if implemented effectively. They can vary in length, content and style. A standard report will have the following:
Title:
Terms of reference: 
Methods:
Findings:
Conclusion:
Recommendation:
Bibliography 
Appendices


Title:
Terms of reference: this alludes to the purpose, subject and limits of the report. Also for whom the report has been written i.e. commissioned by will also be mentioned in this section.

Methods:
This is where you list your types of investigation methods. You do not talk about the findings in this section. N.B you should list your research methods in the correct order they appear in your report.
Eg the type of research you carried out regarding secondary research (books,websites, practical social media involvement, magazines, newspapers, libraries, etc)

Pick one of the following social media options to include in your methods and outline why you have chosen it to help your jobsearch
-Outline how a blog with Blogger or WordPress will help your job search and future work experience
-Outline how you will use LinkedIn to network and increase your chances of getting a good job
-How can Facebook be used for your jobsearch or for the benefit of the industry you wish to work for
-How can you use Twitter to let people know about you or can you use it to communicate updates about your desired industry


Findings:
The results of your investigation must be in the same order as your described methods, i.e. chronological order. For example if the first thing you did was a survey then you must discuss the results of the survey first in the findings section.
Use headings and subheadings. Make sure the writing is impersonal eg “research states that...” as opposed to “I think...”

Regarding the social media option you have picked demonstrate in your findings: 
What new learning has occurred for you using social media?
What challenges did you encounter? 

If you have chosen a blog, document in your report findings how this was used to benefit your job search and work experience). Can you demonstrate the communication skills you have learned on your blog to help sell yourself?
If you have chosen to use LinkedIn to network for your job search, document how you did this?
If your option is Facebook or Twitter, outline the advantages and disadvantages you found from using this type of social media

Conclusion:
Usually just 2 or 3 paragraphs where you give a big picture of what the data is showing, and what should be done. You can communicate your thoughts and original ideas, but also compare and contrast it with your research..
What positive aspects did you experience?
What would you do differently in any future work experience? 
Outline your future plans as a result of your workplace experience

Recommendation:
·   Practical suggestions about your thoughts on the business you worked for, based upon the findings from your research and conclusion. Display using bullet points.
eg eg How does the business use social media?
I    Is there any way the business you did your work experience for could utilise social media better?
eg
Bibliography
Authors name (Year) Title of website, Complete website addresses (copy and paste) website addresses
Appendices
Include all your questionnaires


Feedback
How do you feel that this assignment was explained?
Was it easy or difficult to understand?Where?
What did you learn as a result of completing your report?
Did you encounter any challenges?
Is there any suggestions you have regarding how to help future learners?
Have you any useful links from Youtube or Vimeo regarding improvements for report writing and equipping you with up to date skills?

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