2 Session Objectives Describe the purpose of the final report By the end of the session, participants will be able to:Describe the purpose of the final reportDescribe the report writing timelineIdentify effective note-taking strategiesIdentify and demonstrate best practices in ClASS report writing
3 Purpose of the Report (1) Documents an objective gap analysisLists strengths and weaknessesDetails findings and recommendationsInforms work planClASS was designed to produce an objective gap analysis report detailing the strengths and weaknesses of HIV/AIDS programs with a list of findings and recommendations which can then inform a work plan moving organizations toward the provision of high quality service, fiscal stability and sustainability.
4 Purpose of the Report (2) Collects and organizes information from local levelFacilitates a process for funders and partners to jointly determine readiness and ensure a successful and sustainable transition of programs to local leadershipProvides funders and partners with a capacity assessment of the programs they supportIdentifies existing technical assistance needs and available resources to address those needsEnables technical and organizational strengthening
5 Report Components Table of contents Acknowledgements Acronyms Executive summaryClASS assessment findingsCapacity building considerationsSite report(s)Capacity building workplanParticipant list
6 Report Writing Timeline This is a typical timeline for the report writing process, which estimates total report writing time from completion of the visit to final report at about a month. It may vary based on the site.REFER participants to the report timeline in the assessment guide (page 58).EXPLAIN the new timeline feature on the website and that we will discuss how to locate and use this feature in an upcoming session.
7 A good report is only as good as the notes we take! Note-takingNow that we understand the purpose of the report and have an overview of what it looks like as well as the timeline for its development, let’s talk about what it takes to write a robust and informative report.Earlier in the training we talked about the importance of conducting effective interviews. It is important to acknowledge that the data we gather is only as good as the notes we take! So, first we will spend some time today discussing note-taking strategies, and how to expand upon them to create a rich and detailed report.A good report is only as good as the notes we take!
8 Note-taking Strategies (1) Expand your notes as soon as possibleWrite on the ClASS toolCo-conduct interview if possibleLeave space to expand notes laterTake notes strategicallyUse shorthandNumber one is that it is essential to expand your notes as soon as possible after each interview, preferably within 24 hours, while your memory is still fresh.Save time by writing notes directly in the ClASS tool under the relevant question. If it is not possible to record direct quotations, write down key words and phrases.If you have the opportunity to co-conduct an interview, it helps to have one person focus on detailed note-taking while the other stays completely engaged with the interviewee. Once finished with the questions, the interviewer should ask the note-taker if any points require clarification before the interview comes to a close. Both staff members should then debrief with each other (that is, discuss what happened and what was learned) either immediately after the interview or within a day. The note-taker should take detailed notes during the debriefing. These notes may then be reviewed and supplemented by the interviewer.Leave space on the page for expanding your notes, or plan to expand them on a separate page.Take notes strategically. It is usually practical to make only brief notes during data collection. Direct quotes can be especially hard to write down accurately. Rather than try to document every detail or quote, write down key words and phrases that will trigger your memory when you expand your notes.Use shorthand. Because you will expand and type your notes soon after you write them, it does not matter if you are the only person who can understand your shorthand system. Use abbreviations and acronyms to quickly note what is happening and being said.
9 Note-taking Strategies (2) Use quotation marks for direct quotesUse initials to distinguish interviewee comments from yoursDistinguish what is confidentialCover a wide range of observationsBe sure to use quotation marks to distinguish direct quotes.Distinguish clearly between participant comments and your own observations. You could use your own initials or “MO” to indicate “my observation.” For example: “MO – embarrassed by the lack of organization.” This documents the researcher’s observation that the participant seemed embarrassed about the lack of organization. Don’t misquote people—if they are your own observations—note that. Also, be sure to distinguish what is said to you confidentially. You could use “CO” to indicate this or anything else that works for you.Cover a range of observations. In addition to documenting what people say, note as well as you can their body language, moods, or attitudes; the general environment; and other information that could be relevant. Remember how important non-verbal communication can be.
10 Note-taking Strategies (3) Be sure to take detailed notes during team debriefs as well so that any changes are captured and make their way into the final report.
11 Expanding your Notes Schedule time to expand notes Expand your shorthand to sentencesCompose descriptive narrative from shorthand and key wordsIdentify any questions for follow-upReview expanded notes and add final commentsExpanding your notes involves the following:• Scheduling time to expand your notes, preferably within 24 hours of the interview. If you cannot expand your notes the same day as data collection, try to do so first thing the next morning. This makes it less likely that you will forget what an abbreviation stands for or that you will have trouble remembering what you meant. Also, the sooner you review your notes, the greater the chance that you will remember other things that you had not written down. Good note-taking often triggers the memory, but with the passage of time, this opportunity is lost.• Expanding your shorthand into sentences so that anyone can read and understand them. This will help you too, as time goes by!• Composing a descriptive narrative from your shorthand and key words. A good technique for expanding your notes is to write a descriptive narrative describing what happened and what you learned. This narrative may be the actual document you produce as your expanded notes. Be sure that you create separate, clearly labeled sections to report your objective observations versus your interpretations and personal comments.• Identifying questions for follow-up. Write down questions about participant responses that need further consideration or follow-up, issues to pursue, new information, etc. This continual adjustment of the research questions and techniques is part of the iterative nature of qualitative research.• Reviewing your expanded notes and adding any final comments. If you have not typed your expanded notes directly into a computer file, add any additional comments on the same page or on a separate page. If you use additional pages, be sure to clearly cross-reference new notes with the original pages in case another staff member types your notes.
12 How could these notes be improved? How to Improve? (1)Question: What are the necessary resources to support the distance learning activity?Notes: Staff, computers and an appropriate space.How could these notes be improved?Possible answers:Hopefully the interviewer would probe:What kind of staff specifically- what would the team look like?What kind of computer requirements?What makes a space appropriate for distance learning?
13 How could these notes be improved? How to Improve? (2)Question: Has there been participant drop out in the distance learning activity? Why or why not?Notes: Yes, some due to staff changes.How could these notes be improved?Possible answers:Hopefully the interviewer would have probed and written down more information on how exactly staff changes were connected to drop out.Did staff changes mean no one was there to coordinate the program?Or that no one was there to recruit and support students?What kind of staff are we talking about?What kind of changes?
14 Integrity in Your Work Cite your sources. Try to put everything in your own words.Do not cut and paste findings and recommendations.Pay close attention to job titles that differ slightly between programs or schools. Ask for clarification if necessary.Use quotation marks when quoting directly.
15 Large Group ExerciseRegarding the NOA, the grantee explained that its financial policies prohibit expenditures of grant funds until all conditions have been lifted. [The University] has significant reserves and, therefore, is able to support the cash needs of [The program] by paying advances first and only drawing federal funds after the conditions have been lifted. [The University] generally allows its funds to be used only for ongoing activities until the NOA is finalized. In these instances payroll continues for existing employees for example, but new hires are not permitted; subcontracts are not signed, etc. A delay in resolving conditions or in finalizing the budget can result in a delayed start for planned activities and unspent funds.ALLOW 10 minutes total for this exercise.EXPLAIN that this is an excerpt from the fiscal section of an actual report.ASK a participant to read the excerpt.ASK the group to provide feedback to the author(s) by pointing out examples of good writing.Possible answers:Clearly details the systems in place and the implications of such a system.Identifies the shortcoming of the current system.ASK participants to point out what could be improved upon.Spell out initial use of acronyms; be sure any acronym used is listed in the report table of abbreviations and acronyms.Could offer a suggestion to improve or strengthen the current system.Could identify a resource document or website to which the program can refer.
16 Report Writing Exercise Small Group ExerciseReport Writing ExerciseNOTE: This exercise is optional, based on whether you have adequate time to incorporate it into the session. On the handout, you will see two excerpts. If you are short on time, it is recommended that each pair review and discuss the same excerpt (choose one). If you find yourself with enough time to discuss both, you can feel free to assign both.REFER participants to handout ClASS Report Writing Exercise. (10 minutes)DIVIDE participants into pairs.EXPLAIN that they will repeat the same exercise in a small group with a new report excerpt.ALLOW 4-5 minutes for each group to review the excerpt and note strengths and make suggestions to improve on weaknesses.ASK each group to share their best suggestion for improvement (5 minutes).Possible Answers:FiscalCites relevant USG regulationsGives concise description of what was observed.Compliance is detailed.Referencing how this was verified would strengthen this statement.AdministrativeClearly states the area for improvement.States how the program could benefit from improvement.Details specific items to be included /considered.Identifying a resource for the program to address this area for improvement would strengthen this statement.WRAP-UP by asking if there any questions before going over key points of the session.
17 Best Practices (1) Type up your notes each evening. Write your findings and recommendations in report format. This will be useful for the debrief, work plan and report.Avoid using names; use job titles instead.Avoid writing in the first person.Make specific recommendations for greatest impact.You have just pointed out several of the best practices for writing ClASS reports.READ slide and point out which have already been mentioned.Note: By “report format” we mean clear, concise, thorough, readable.
18 Best Practices (2)Include verification information to substantiate findings.Ensure that language and detail reflect whether recommendations are grant requirements or simply good practice.Keep sentences concise.Follow observations by conclusions.Avoid the use of phrases such as “It appears…” or “It is unclear…”Observations should be substantiated during the assessment, and processes used for confirmation and verification should be documented in the report.Continued…READ slide and point out which have already been mentioned.
19 Key PointsThe primary purpose of the ClASS report is to produce an objective gap analysis detailing findings and recommendationsTo collect the most accurate and relevant information, type up your notes as soon as possible and use your own words.Specific recommendations have the potential to make the greatest impact.Integrity is of utmost importance in writing the ClASS report. Ask for clarification if needed.A step-by-step report writing timeline and writing guides are available to you on