How to write up your case study
Remember the journalist¡¦s narrative arc: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How ¡V noting that depending on the topic, some people add in What with (resources) and What then (what resulted).
Do go to the Wikipedia article on this at http://bit.ly/xLcqev ¡V it¡¦s fascinating! The concept is that by answering these questions, none of which can be answered by a simple yes or no, you will gather the basic information with which to write a full story.
Here they are again:
• Who is it about?
• What happened?
• Where did it take place?
• When did it take place?
• Why did it happen?
• How did it happen?
• and ... for our case studies:
– What with (resources)
– What then (what resulted).
You could use those headings, or those headings in the two versions of my book. Use Figure 2 and the steps in Chapter 2 of Seven Steps to successful environmental training programs if you prefer to write in a more formal voice:
3. Monitoring and review
4. Policy and regulation
5. Technical guidelines
6. Training and capacity-building
7. Program resourcing
If you want to write in a more popular voice, use the key words in the short version, Environmental training: how to change the world, one workshop at a time:
1. Problem (what made the training necessary?)
2. Partnership (who did you work with?)
3. Policy (what laws, plans and regulations inform the training?)
4. Personas (who are your trainees?)
5. Performance (what do they have to learn to do?)
6. Process (how do you deliver your training? -classroom, onsite etc)
7. Proof (how do you assess your trainees¡¦ learning or performance, and/or how do your clients know they are making a difference?)
How many pages?
It’s over to you! A 1-page summary can be very clear. Some of the case studies in my book are a page or less. Aim to make your case study detailed enough to be useful to others, but not so long that you put off doing it!
If you work for a large organization, you may already have a writing guide. If not, search the Internet for “plain English” or “good writing” – or follow George Orwell’s tips for good writing, set out in his 1946 essay, Politics and the English Language. I am indebted to Jim Mahoney for this list, which he gave out in a presentation for TCANZ (Technical Communicators Association, http://www.tcanz.org.nz/) called “Shock, Horror, Scoop, Probe: how to write like a tabloid” – it was great. Jim is an editor for Fairfax, and here are Orwell’s tips:
1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out
4. Never use the passive sense where you can use the active
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent
6. Break any of these rules sooner than saying anything outright barbarous.
Rule 4 is easier to keep if you write in the first person – I or We. Thus, ‘So we set up a program” rather than “A program was therefore set up”. Spot the difference?
Find out more at http://bit.ly/zOdBCX. Also look at the very useful articles on Howard Warner’s great website at http://www.plainenglishpeople.co.nz/.
Please do include the following information in your material:
• your name
• position title
• email address (if you are happy to be contacted)
• organizational logo (if your employer approves this )
• maps, photos, tables and diagrams
• how to find out more about the specific program or the general topic
• full reference or citation if you are sending an existing conference paper
• anything else that you think will help others create successful environmental training programs!
Clare Feeney www.clarefeeney.com; http://7stepstosuccessfultraining.blogspot.com