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Writing and researching- essay and report


Some major assessment tasks may be projects that will involve research and organization.  These are generally handed out well before the due date, so you will have plenty of time to research and put the project together.  

Before starting, check with your teacher that you have understood the topic and its  requirements, particularly content, format and style.  Will the project be simply words or also pictures, charts and graphs?  Four factors are critical to its management:  timing, research, synthesis and evaluation and finally presentation.

TIMING
Leaving too much to the end is risky without a time management plan to ensure you meet the final deadline.  Here are two possible methods:
  • A timeline - Design a timeline with dates for each section to be completed as well as a deadline for putting the project together in its final format.
  • Time allocation for specific processes - Rather than allocating a period of time for each question or section, work out a time for each activity.  For example, you might allow two weeks for research, one week for sifting and organizing information, a week for planning and drafting and so on.
RESEARCH
The sources selected will depend on the subject matter. You've had experience researching books, journals, encyclopedias and newspapers.  Other useful resources are:
  • Databases
  • Search engines
  • Specific subject-based website
  • Interviews 
SYNTHESIS AND EVALUATION
You will save time and find it easier to use all information you collect by creating a filing system before you start.  Why not organize folders based on each questions or sections of the project?  File into the appropriate folder at the time you examine a source.  Chances are you will need less than half of your collected material.  Choosing the most effective examples is a skill in itself.  As a guide decide:
  • Which examples are the most relevant and convincing.
  • Whether to paraphrase the information or quote directly. Either way, you must acknowledge the source of your information.
  • Whether you need to provide an analytical comparison if you have used several sources for a section.
This stage is where you pull out the best and discard what's left.

PRESENTATION
Well done! You've completed the groundwork - now for the final presentation! An organized, attractive project conveys confidence and care. Don't forget:
  • A title page or front cover with topic, your name and your teacher's name
  • A content page
  • Make title and sub title stands out.  Use a new page to start each section
  • Information should be attractively presented in various forms (example: graphs, maps, pictures boxed details)
  • Check all questions / sections are covered thoroughly. Check spelling, grammar are accurate and pages are numbered. 
  • Accurate bibliography that acknowledges all resources. 
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