Module Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module students will be able to:
  1. Present arguments using evidence-based persuasion that recognizes the needs of the client or audience. [CLO 1, 3, 5]
  2. Distinguish between relevant from irrelevant information using critical thinking. [CLO 3]
  3. Organize the relevant information in the appropriate order at the document and paragraph level. [CLO 3, 5]
  4. Present information using non-judgmental language. [CLO 1, 4]

Resources (Bank)

Description of how to be used: Source for summary and recommendation

Download:  Inspection Observations (PDF, 137 KB)

Description of how to be used: For presentations

Download: Peer Feedback Chart (PDF, 127 KB)

Face to Face Workshop Plan

Description of Workshop

Students practice writing a summary and recommendation from a short report of observations of a field site.

Time for Completion

60-90 minutes


Copies of observation report
Multi-coloured highlighters

Workshop Preparation Instructions

Read the observation report and identify relevant information to summarize for the purpose of making a recommendation for next steps. Identify the information that could be used as evidence to support a course of action.


Step 1: Distribute a copy of the Inspection Observations to each student (~ 15-20 minutes)

Have students:

  • Read the observations to identify relevant information to summarize the inspection observations. Highlight this information in one colour.
  • Read the report to identify relevant information to argue for or against a specific recommendation (action to be taken). Highlight this information in a different colour.

Note: There may be some information that will be highlighted twice. There may be information that is not highlighted, i.e. irrelevant information.

Step 2: (~ 5 minutes)

In pairs, students should compare what they have highlighted and gather all the relevant information together.

Step 3: (~ 10 minutes)

Ask students to organize this information in a logical order that will make sense to a reader who is looking for a summary of what was found during an inspection.

Facilitator Notes:

The instructor should explain that information can be organized in a number of different ways. Logical organization may change according to purpose. It could be organized chronologically (often used when reporting on accidents or a process). It could be organized spatially from east to west, top to bottom, bottom to top. It could also be organized categorically (i.e. immediate actions required, action required in the next six months, in the next year; structural, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, etc.). Depending on the purpose, different organizational patterns may be more useful. A certain amount of background or context is also necessary because the reader will likely not be familiar with the site.

Step 4: (~ 10 minutes)

Working as a pair, have students draft the summary according to the purpose and structure they have chosen.

Step 5: (~ 5 minutes)

Return to the information highlighted as relevant to arguing for a specific recommendation. State the recommendation in preferably one clear, actionable sentence.

Step 6: (~ 5 minutes)

Construct an argument to support the recommendation. Students will organize relevant information from the observations to make the argument (See Module 4) for their recommendation.

Facilitator Notes:

A recommendation report may be organized with the recommendation coming first and then supported by the evidence or it may build a case from the evidence and conclude with the recommendation. In the latter case, the report will likely begin with the summary of the observations.

Step 7: (~ 15 minutes)

Compose a report that provides a well-supported recommendation and summary.

Supplemental Materials

No supplemental material is needed for this module.


Facilitator Notes:

Remind students to read from an “unfamiliar reader’s perspective” (e.g. if it is not written in the document, they have no way of knowing).

Step 8: (~ 10 minutes)

After students finish composing their report with their recommendation and summary, make them work in pairs and exchange their draft reports. Hand out the Peer Feedback Chart (PDF, 127 KB). Each pair reads and underlines or highlights the summary, the recommendation, the evidence to support the recommendation, and note any missing or irrelevant information. Students then can put an “X” in the appropriate box on the Peer Feedback Chart.