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The Dos and Dont of Writing a Report Gilles Carbonnier, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies ARS, Thursday 6 th October 2011 ARS,

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Presentation on theme: "The Dos and Dont of Writing a Report Gilles Carbonnier, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies ARS, Thursday 6 th October 2011 ARS,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Dos and Dont of Writing a Report Gilles Carbonnier, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies ARS, Thursday 6 th October 2011 ARS, General Sessions, Thursday 6 th October 2011

2 Dos and dont ARS, General Sessions, Thursday 6 th October 2011 The packaging is as important as content itself Your executive summary is a central part of your report, not an add-on Your report/product must be adapted to your audience Highlight your key findings and recommendations upfront!

3 Dos and dont ARS, General Sessions, Thursday 6 th October 2011 Do calibrate amount of references, bibliography & methodological details to the end-product (e.g dont invest in a 10-page bibliography for a 2-page report) Early on, do structure your literature review: e.g. background info, supporting arguments, opposing arguments Do link arguments, findings and recommendations in a coherent frame. Walk the reader through your text, which is not (yet) an novel !

4 Dos and dont ARS, General Sessions, Thursday 6 th October 2011 Do stick to the ToR. Propose modifications if needed but dont change your problematic unilaterally Do differentiate literature-based inputs, evidence-based findings, and your personal personal assumptions and opinions, which must be made explicit Your conclusion should highlight and summarize the main issues, but not to introduce brand new elements. Dont underestimate conclusions importance

5 Dos and dont ARS, General Sessions, Thursday 6 th October 2011 Do proof-read carefully (check grammar and style). Dont let poor form affect good contents. No plagiarism… of course!

6 Additional advice ARS, General Sessions, Thursday 6 th October 2011 See Barnett, M. and T. Weiss (eds) Humanitarianism in question : Politics, Power and Ethics. Cornell University Press. Ch. 11: Humanitarianism and practitioners : Social science matters Be aware: the questions you ask depends on where you sit: donor, NGOs, researchers, private firm, victim In facing ethical dilemmas, make explicit your moral judgments, assumptions and beliefs to avoid morally-laden outputs Social science research matters, dont be shy !

7 The semi-directive interview: basic concepts and tools Sergio Bianchi, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies ARS, Thursday 6 th October 2011 ARS, General Sessions, Thursday 6 th October 2011

8 What is a semi-directive interview? ARS, General Sessions, Thursday 6 th October 2011 An exchange of information depending on A relationship between socially positioned individuals

9 Informative Interviews vs. Participant Objectivation ARS, General Sessions, Thursday 6 th October 2011 Exchange dynamicsObjectivation method Informative interview The set of data (mainly about organizational practices) known by the interviewee is extracted through a set of techniques and tactics by the interviewer. Cross-check with other sources/interviewees and/or methodologies Participant objectivation The interviewee provide the the interviewer with representations concerning the researched topics. The content of these representations depend on the positions occupied in the interaction by both of them. Contextualization of the information exchange into the social structures constituing the living world of the interviewee, and of the interviewer when necessary.

10 Interview basic checklist (1) ARS, General Sessions, Thursday 6 th October 2011 Introductory phase: Present yourself and your research. Think about small details (negotiate recording and anonymity when applicable, clothing, recorder, etc). Exchange phase: Build carefully your interview guide drawing on your research path (issue, topic, questions). Pay attention to the wording of questions and probes. Define clearly what you are looking for in each interview and what are your expectations and adapt the interview guide to them. Just listen, listen and listen more.

11 Interview basic checklist (2) ARS, General Sessions, Thursday 6 th October 2011 Mind about the satisfaction of the interviewee. He is making an effort to answer and this deserves a reward. Conclusive phase: Thank the interviewee for the time and for its effort. Indeed, he did one. Prepare to answer to interviewees questions about the use of the interview materials in your research. If any document or paper has been mentioned during the interview, be sure to have access to it.

12 Bibliography ARS, General Sessions, Thursday 6 th October 2011 Beaud, S. (1996), 'L'usage de l'entretien en sciences sociales. Plaidoyer pour l'"entretien ethnographique"' Politix, 35 (9), Beaud, S. and Weber, F. (eds.) (2010), Guide de l'enquête de terrain : produire et analyser des données ethnographiques (4e éd. augmentée edn., Grands Repères. Guides, Paris: La Découverte) 333. Bourdieu, P. (2003), 'Participant Objectivation' The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 9 (2), Chamboredon, H., et al. (1994), 'S'imposer aux imposant. A propos de quelques obstacles rencontrés par des sociologues débutants dans la pratique et l'usage de l'entretien' Genèses, 16, Cohen, S. (ed.), (1999), L'art d'interviewer les dirigeants (Politique d'aujourd'hui, Paris: PUF) VI, 277. Laurens, S. (2007), '"Pourquoi" et "comment" poser les questions qui fâchent? Réflexions sur les dilemmes récurrents que posent les entretien avec des "imposants"' Genèses, 69,


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