Unit 3: Reflection

Unit 3 Reflective Blog


Several roadblocks I encountered when researching for the report had taught me to be flexible and open-minded. In the planning phases of the project, I intended to interview staff from the UBC Sustainability Initiative (USI) and ask them about the current programs for bridging student groups as well as their capacity to act on my recommendations. As I worried in my last reflection blog, however, scheduling an interview was much harder than I had imagined, especially towards the end of the semester when everyone’s workload tends to pile up. While I did not have a chance to interview staff from the USI, I was able to be creative and flexible with my research methodology, thanks to the transparency of USI’s initiative online. Unfortunately, most of my research questions could be answered by the information obtained from secondary sources. Understanding that the USI currently engages with student groups through the Student Sustainability Council and the Facebook group called Student Sustainability Network, I came up with recommendations relevant and reachable by the USI.


Drafting the report outline in advance had made organizing the report easier. Previous assignments such as the outline and progress report prompted me to think about the flow of the report ahead of time and helped me design survey questions accordingly. It was, therefore, relatively straightforward to put together research results coherently and smoothly. Due to changes in methodology (i.e. the absence of an interview), the organization was slightly tweaked to ensure my reasonings were presented in a logical manner. A solution was to instead of separating the secondary and primary data as outlined before, I corroborated them to form a more comprehensive view of the problem of a scheduling conflict.


Composing the first draft of the report was the most challenging task of this unit. Andree’s comment on my project proposal reminded me of the benefit of variety in writings; since then, I was more conscious about the repetition of certain phrases and sentence structures. In light of this writing weakness of mine, I took more time rephrasing and reviewing my writing, as well as researching how similar ideas were phrased professionally in publications and research papers. Some of the professional-sounding wordings I picked up from publications and applied in my draft were “leverage” and “e-collaboration.” This is an area I will improve continuously in finalizing the formal report.

The draft report was also a chance to apply you-attitude in practice. Different from a typical class essay, this report was addressed to a particular audience. The purpose of the report was, therefore, not merely to prove a point or make reasonable recommendations, but to tailor the writing such that it is convincing to the audience. Especially when drafting the recommendations, I was mindful not only to state what would work and why, but also explain how would the recommendations benefit the USI, why I thought the USI has the capacity to do so, and what steps can the USI takes to implement the recommendations.


The peer-review exercise for this unit continues to be beneficial and rewarding in ways beyond the previous exercises. In particular, it presents an opportunity to learn the different types of formal reports. My formal report is a feasibility analysis of the various options available to help enhance collaboration between sustainability groups. In contrast, my peer review partner, Diane’s report, is a causal analysis of the operational difficulties of the package-free system in Ettics. It was interesting to learn how the writing style, organization, and language use differ in these two types of analyses. One thing I noticed was that in causal analysis, the focus was primarily on the findings related to the problem, which ultimately inform the development of the causal relationship. In the feasibility report, on the other hand, attention is drawn to the solution of the analysis. This way, although our reports followed the same sets of guidelines, different purposes were served. Diane’s draft report also provided me with insights into framing the interpretation section of survey findings. She did a great job explaining the underlying factors behind the findings; this is an area I found my report lacking and will make improvements on.





Draft formal report: 301 Emily Leung Draft Formal Report