Action Learning Subject

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Introduction
There are two options students can take for Assignment 6:
1) A draft journal article.
2) A final report for the sponsoring organisation.
For clarity, students are required to choose one option or the other but NOT both. The same assessment criteria will be used for both options (see below).
The decision of which option to pursue should take into account:
• The preference of your sponsor
• Whether your results are likely to be of value beyond the organisation
• Whether you received ethics approval for your project
• The advice of your learning set mentor
Option 1: Draft journal article
This may be a research-style article or a letter to the editor (e.g. 800 word project report presented in a style suitable for publication in a journal).
Students are required to identify the journal to which they intend to submit, and supply a copy of the journal’s Guidelines for Authors with the article.
Where to start?
Students are often at a loss where to publish their work. We recommend you select a journal which is appropriate for your project, which means you will need to spend some time researching and reading the journals themselves. All university libraries provide links to journals. A common starting point is to consider the journals where you found relevant articles that were included in your literature search.
Find the instructions or requirement for publication that the Journal advises (often called “Instructions for Authors”), and download a copy (you will also need to attach this to your assignment).
Once you have selected a journal, search for a published article on a topic / subject / methodology / method that is similar to your own study from that journal. You will probably find it helpful to download the article and consider its style and layout to assist with the presentation of your own article.
You will find the lecture materials on this topic helpful. There are also useful papers to be found in the LMS.
Suggested headings
Articles are not all written in the same way; headings may change or even be absent, referencing styles differ between journals, and the style of project affects the way it is presented. However, the following sections should be present, regardless of the journal, although the headings may have slightly different names:
• Title page, authors and their affiliations
o Abstract
o Key Words (if required)
• Introduction
• Background
• Literature review
• Methods
• Results
• Discussion
• Conclusions
• Recommendations
• Acknowledgements
• References
• Figures and tables
Citing and referencing
For publication, it is imperative that citations and references are 100% accurate and compliant with the preferred house style as advised in the Journal’s Instructions for Authors.
Each Journal has a distinct style and requirements for their publications, often referred to as a “house style”. For this reason, we require you to copy the Instructions for Authors and add them as the final appendix to your paper in the same document. (It is possible to copy .pdf files, although they usually need tidying up).
Alternatively, you may PDF your final assignment and merge the files together into the one file.
Word count
The word count for a draft journal article should conform to the Journal’s requirements.
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Option 2: Final report
The final report should use the following structure:
• Executive Summary: Provide a succinct summary of the report, including the project process and outcomes, and most critically reporting whether or not the project achieved its original stated aims. If the original aims needed to be modified, include a simple statement to that effect.
• Correctly formatted Table of Contents (don’t forget to select and ‘right click’ the table to update this just before submission).
• Introduction and Background: Should explain the aim, rationale and context for the project in sufficient detail so that a person encountering this project for the first time would have complete understanding of these issues.
• Literature Review: Present a critical analysis of the relevant literature underpinning the project.
• Methods: Clearly explain the overall design of the project, and present an overview of the data collection process, the manner of analysis and relevant ethical issues.
• Results or Project Outcomes: Clearly describe the results or outcomes of the project, using tables and figures where appropriate.
• Discussion: Report on the management of the project and reflect on both the process and outcomes in a way that is likely to be useful to the sponsoring organisation.
• Conclusions and Recommendations: Summarise the project with reference to the aim and make recommendations for the organisation based on the results/outcomes.
• References: All references used in the report must be cited using a recognised style (if your organisation does not have a preferred style, use APA6).
• Appendices:
o A finalised Gantt chart (or schedule of steps including each step, planned date of commencement, planned date of conclusion and variances)
o A stakeholder management report (not simply a plan),
o A risk assessment, mitigation and outcome report, and
o A summary of expenditure against planned budget (in the form of a profit and loss statement with variances and explanatory notes)
o Any other documents your sponsoring organisation would expect to see as part of the report (e.g. questionnaires).
The focus of these appendices should be to demonstrate the changes that have occurred during the life of your project.
Whilst the introduction, methods and appendices may only need slight revision (consistent with previous feedback given in earlier assignments) from the interim report, the rest of the document should be written from the perspective of a completed project with the focus on the outcome of the project and how it will be integrated into the organisation.
It is unacceptable to reproduce your interim report as a final report with only superficial changes. (i.e. simply adding some results). As this is an academic assignment, a submitted final report that is largely the same as the preceding interim report will not earn a high mark.
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Citing and referencing
Referencing should be appropriate, adequate and correctly done using a recognised referencing style. Consult the library’s referencing tool for details of how to use APA6 and other commonly used referencing styles. http://www.lib.latrobe.edu.au/referencing-tool/apa-6
Word count
The word count for a final report should be 3000+/-10% (appendices are not included in the word count).

Marking criteria are on the following pages.?

Marking criteria for Assignment 6:
These marking criteria apply to both journal articles and final reports.
This assignment contributes 20% of your final mark for ALS.
1 Abstract (journal article) or Executive Summary (final report)
Is the abstract/executive summary a succinct summary of the paper/report? 5%
2 Introduction, background and literature review
Is the rationale and context for the project clear, and sufficiently underpinned by a review of relevant literature?
Is the literature review comprehensive and well synthesised?
(Note: the literature should be integrated within the body of your final report, not put to the appendices) 5%
3 Methods
Are the methods clear, and data collection tools well described?
Where relevant, is the study population clearly described including recruitment / identification processes?
Where relevant, is there a sample size, including a justification?
Are the data analysis methods stated?
Are the methods described clearly enough that they could be repeated by someone else to produce the same results? 5%
4 Results (journal article) or Project Outcomes (Final Report)
Are the main results clearly set out, and supported by clear and appropriate tables and figures and analysis (where appropriate)?
Are the results illustrated where appropriate using the correct form of graphs or charts?
25
5 Discussion
For draft journal articles:
• Does the discussion locate the project results/outcomes in the appropriate current literature, and demonstrate a contribution to knowledge?
For final reports:
• Does the discussion adequately report on the management of the project and discuss the process and outcomes in a way that is likely to be useful to the organisation?
• Does the report focus on how the outcomes will be integrated into the organisation moving forward?
For both:
• Are elements in the discussion linked to the study objectives?
• Are the ‘value-added’ aspects of the project results clear? 25
6 Conclusion and recommendations
Does the author revisit the study aim and summarise the work from that perspective?
Are the implications of the study clear?
Does the paper/report make recommendations for next steps that are clearly grounded in the results/outcomes?
15
7 Referencing
The referencing is appropriate, adequate and correctly done according to the chosen Journal’s requirements (for a journal article) or using a recognised style such as APA6 (for a final report). 10
8 Presentation
For journal articles:
• Does the word count conform to the Journal’s requirements for the relevant article type?
• Are the name of the Journal and submission guidelines included with the submission?
• Is the Article written to an appropriate style for the selected journal and to an acceptable standard?
• Have any additional sections/documents required by the journal such as keywords and title page been provided?
(Note: copyright agreements and conflict of interest statements are not necessary for submission of your draft for assessment purposes).
For final reports:
• Is the word count 3000+/-10%? (appendices are not included in the word count)
• How does this final report differ from the interim report?
• Are relevant appendices included to support the discussion section of the report?
• Are these clear and sufficiently detailed?
• Is the report written to an appropriate standard for presentation to the sponsoring organisation?
• Does the final report advise the sponsor who the results can be integrated into the sponsoring organisation? 10
TOTAL 100%

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