Academic Writing

Rhetorical functions in academic writing: Action plans

Introduction

Often, for example in relective writing, it is necessary to describe your plans for action.

Based on Kolb's work on refelcetion, Gibbs (1988, p. 47) suggests the following stages to encourage deeper reflection:

Description:

What happened? What are you going to reflect on? Don't make judgements yet or try to draw conclusions.

Feelings:

What were your reactions and feelings?

Evaluation:

What was good or bad about the experience? Make value judgements.

Analysis:

What sense can you make of the situation?  Bring in ideas from outside the experience to help you.  What was really going on?

Conclusions(general):

What can be concluded, in a general sense, from these experiences and the analyses you have undertaken?

Conclusions(specific):

What can be concluded about your own specific, unique, personal situation or ways of working?

Personal action plans:

What are you going to do differently in this type of situation next time? What steps are you going to take on the basis of what you have learnt?

 

Gibbs

See: Writing Functions 40: Reflecting

Action planning, therefore, needs to include:

  • What are you going to do differently in this type of situation next time?
  • What steps are you going to take on the basis of what you have learnt?

In more detail, it can involve:

  • identifying and setting your objectives
  • identifying what actions you commit to taking
  • identifying what will indicate that the objectives have been achieved
  • prioritising your tasks
  • identifying the stages needed to achieve your goals
  • identifying a timescale
  • working to a deadline

Language

Some useful language is:

Action Plans

Explain what you are going to do next and justify it.

 

I'm going to ...
I feel it is necessary for me to ...
I've decided to ...
I now intend to ...
It's my intention to ...
I fully intend to ...
I'm going to make sure I ...
I plan to ...

I should now ...
I ought to ...

I'm planning to ...
I'll make the effort to ...
I'll see if I can ...
I'll do what I can to ...
I'm thinking of ...
I might ...

I'd prefer ...
I'd rather ...
It would be better to ...

I'll probably won't ...

I'm not keen on ...
I'd rather not ...

I'm not gouing to ...

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The main reason is that ...
This is because of ...

Because of that, ...
For that reason, ...
As a consequence, ...
As a result, ...

One effect of this will be ...
One result of this might be...

Example

Read this example. Can you recognise the sections and language identified above.

Action plan

I'll probably always be a little nervous in such a situation, but next time, I will make sure that I know the subject matter well, and that I know how the computer works, before I start. That means I need to study the PowerPoint manual more. I also need to make sure I am organised enough to have a practice session with the rest of the group.

Key:

 Feelings;