Consider a long-term condition ‘Diabetes and critically analyse how the disease / illness affects physical and mental health. Develop reasoned and logical arguments which should be supported by appropriately researched literature. The pathophysiology of diabetes should be identified and explained in relation to complex physical and mental health.
Learning outcome 1
Demonstrate an understanding and discuss the contemporary political health and social care agenda in relation to the evidence based management of long term condition (diabetes)
Learning outcome 2
Understand the pathophysiology and discuss the presentation of common physical and mental health long term conditions (diabetes)
Learning outcome 3
Demonstrate an understanding of the physical, psychological and social aspects associated with long term condition (diabetes) and review the nurse’s role in promoting self-care for patients and families
Learning outcome 4
Be able to support people experiencing long term conditions (diabetes) and plan their care effectively as part of the multidisplinary team by reflecting on the medical and nursing management of a long term condition (diabetes) from practice.
Learning outcome 5
Analyse the importance of interdisciplinary, inter professional and interagency communication and working amongst care providers and outline the role of key workers.
What is provided here is a possible formula for writing an academic assignment. Please remember there is no definitive way in which to write a report.
Think of your report as a 3-part exploration and explanation of how to answer the question i.e. i) in theory, ii) with reference to secondary information/ evidence and, iii) a critique of both i) and ii). It is a matter of exploring the validity of various (and sometimes contradictory) perspectives on the key issues.
A report is best approached as an intellectual argument that develops from the ideas, issues, theories, concepts, methodologies, etc. that you have covered within the module. Remember, no theory or perspective has the whole picture. A prime purpose for a report is to critique particular ideas, pointing out how explanation A might be more useful and valid than B in these circumstances. On the other hand, in the Conclusion of your report, you might want to point out that in other contexts there may be other factors that need to be considered. Therefore, does this limit or question the weight of claims you have made in the development of your current argument?
Key questions before you embark on writing your report
Have you clearly identified the key issue(s) of the assignment question?
Have you checked the command word in the question – e.g. explain means give details about why a certain perspective can be advocated; evaluate means make a critical appraisal of the work and validity for a particular explanation of how topic in question seems to work.
In the development of your main argument, will you take a particular position that views the key issue(s) from within a certain theoretical perspective?
Maybe, though, you will take two slightly different positions when answering the question. Or perhaps, you will chose to tackle the question from two contrasting perspectives? If so, is there anything that is common for the topic to be understood and explained in these differing views?
This formula (of 8 paragraphs) assumes that your report has a limit of 1500-2000 words. For longer reports the breakdown of sections is similar, but scaled up for the number of paragraphs you feel you need to realise each part.
Paragraph 1 – The Introduction
Paragraphs 2 and 3 – Theoretical overview and general comments relevant to the perspective you are going to employ in the following section.
Paragraphs 4 and 5 – Discuss in close detail, including secondary data and case studies/ workplace experiences, how the perspective(s) discussed in Paragraphs 2 and 3 help to examine the key issues raised in the title of the report.
Paragraphs 6 and 7 – Critique the argument you have just made, including a discussion of the limits and constraints of the claims which the theory and supporting evidence can provide. Are you going to offer an alternative view (with supporting evidence) or are you going to speculate on how the existing perspective needs to be refined? Sum up to a closing position – a semi-conclusion.
Paragraph 8 – Conclusion
A useful way to open your report is to consider some, or all of the following:
Rewrite, and expand on, the report title using your own (different) words (this helps you to identify the essential claim/ assertion in the question and provides an easy to read to open the report)
Problematize the whole (or parts) of the question – is there an element of the question which can be contested?
Contextualise the main issue (how have these issues/ concerns come about, and in what circumstances?)
Suggest a perspective(s) you have selected as being of possible use for framing the argument you are going to develop in the main section i.e., what theoretical approach(es) are you taking, and as a result what concepts and analytical tools are available for you to examine ‘reality’?
You can even hint at the conclusions you will reach. (Introductions are thought about early on in the report writing process, but usually written afterwards – to incorporate all of the above).
Main Body (Paragraphs 2 and 3)
Identify the key points of your secondary information you are using as evidence to support your position on the matter you are evaluating in relation to the assignment’s question.
What does this information offer as a general conception of how to examine the key issues of the question in further detail?’
What theoretical and predictive implications have you uncovered for you to present your workplace experiences/ case studies as evidence to support your claims?
What factors, consequences etc. might be incorporated for you to understand matters better? In other words, how does a key theory(ies) set up a view of the problem?
(Paragraphs 4 and 5)
Become more specific by referring to case studies or secondary information that examines the main issue you are dealing with (or aspects thereof) in more detail.
Is it possible to find two effective pieces of research-based literature that gives, either, contrasting interpretations of the problem within your chosen perspective, or perhaps highlights a different handling of the same issue from an alternative perspective? Either approach helps you to clarify why it is difficult to pin down your problem to a definitive solution. Describe the key factors in use.
(Paragraphs 6 and 7)
Bring the different strands of your argument together by returning to the opening question, without answering it yet. Find your own voice here to advocate what you feel have been the useful insights provided by your analysis of the main issue, together with a critique of the inevitable weaknesses of both the general perspective, as well as the evaluation of the detailed case studies/ workplace experiences you have presented.
Do you want to suggest any alternative interpretations or models that could be applied? If so, briefly discuss their potential.
Now answer the question set, if only by further problematizing it or offering a possible alternative from how the issue(s) in the question might be better approached. A good conclusion can usually be read as a brief summary of the whole report.
So concisely state what the original problem was, how you have explored it and what we learned from this exercise.
Are there insights or broader implications for how your argument can help someone else examine similar or related issues in other situations and circumstances?
Are there any factors which are limiting the broader validity and relevance of your argument?
You might want to suggest a new (unanswered) take on the problem that might put issues into a better focus, maybe through identifying problematic areas which require further research or theoretical analysis.