Powerful & Practical: Writing the Impact Report What is IMPACT? Impact is… The reportable, quantifiable, and verifiable positive difference (or potential difference) your program makes in the lives of people Impact is the impression your program makes What is an Impact Statement? An Impact Statement is… A brief summary, in lay terms, of the economic, environmental and/or social impact of your efforts. It states your accomplishments and their payoff to society What is an Impact Statement? In short, an impact statement answers the questions… Who cares? and So what? and What have you done for me lately? Why Write an Impact Statement? The purpose of an impact statement is to PERSUADE your reader that you have done good work PREVIEW of this Presentation Principles for Powerful Persuasion Principles for a Practical Process Putting It All Together Principles for Powerful Persuasion The art of persuasion has a name: rhetoric. What is Rhetoric? According to Aristotle’s teaching: Rhetoric is the art of finding the best available means of persuading a specific audience in a specific situation What are the Tactics of Rhetoric? Ethos – presenting the trustworthiness and authority of the writer Pathos – speaking to the emotions and deeply- held beliefs of the audience Logos – using the logic, reasoning, and evidence of the subject as presented The Rhetorical Triangle Writer Audience Subject The Rhetorical Triangle and the Tactics of Rhetoric Writer Audience Ethos Pathos Logos Subject The Rhetorical Triangle and the Larger Context Your Work & Their Needs & Research Interests Writer Audience Ethos Pathos Logos Subject Your Project’s Impact Pathos Principle 1: Know your Impact Audience. 1. Peers (Other researchers and extension specialists) 2. Politicians (Governing boards and legislators) 3. Public & Private Organizations (Current & potential funding sources) 4. Public (Clients, taxpayers, and the media) Pathos Principle 2: Know what moves your Impact Audience. What do they all commonly want? What have you done for me lately? What are your program’s results? (And give it to me straight!) Since I have lots of competition for my attention, give it to me short and simple Tell me the facts & figures that prove your program helps Show me how people were helped Ethos Principle 1: Write like a Professional To trust you, your readers must believe you are a competent person, a professional Make sure you get the information down correctly The data The names The spelling The grammar Ethos Principle 2: Write like a Person Never talk down to or over the heads of your audience Tell your story simply Aim for a 10th grade level Use simple familiar words Avoid jargon and acronyms Use short simple sentences Show rather than tell Logos Principle 1: Make your argument clear. Answer the basic questions (5W’s & 1H) State your activities and results plainly Choose clear words Choose a common vocabulary Choose active verbs Choose concrete nouns, adjectives, & adverbs Logos Principle 2: Make your results clear. An impact statement is not... Just a description of your process Just the number of folks attending, enrolled, or served in a program (or acres involved, etc.) What YOU got out of the program A technical or scientific report An impact statement shows real, positive results of applying your program to a real need Six Principles for Powerful Persuasion 1. Know your impact audience 2. Know what moves your impact audience 3. Write like a professional 4. Write like a person 5. Make your argument clear 6. Make your results clear Principles for a Practical Process How do I go about writing my Impact Report? Principle 1: Writing IS a process Forget the myth of the perfect first draft Multiple drafts lead to better reports Using “stream of consciousness” writing does not make for good reporting Your process may be unique to you To complete the process of writing, you have to plan the time to write (Avoid “the night before class” syndrome) Principle 2: Writing is a simple process (But no one said it was easy) Prewrite Write Rewrite Prewrite Gather your data and writing materials Write a preliminary summary (the “elevator” exercise) Organize your data What defines the issue? What describes what was done? What shows the results, the impact? Make notes on what you want to say Write Try writing your Impact Report in this order: The Impact Report Specifics The contact person(s) The cooperators The funding sources The year and title(?) The Impact Report Statement Issue What was done Impact The Impact Report Summary Writing the Impact Report Statement Issue (Who cares? Why?) Show the gap: What is] [What should be Use state or national figures to put the local need in context Define the problem and/or opportunity What was done (Who? What? Where? When? How?) Select the details, facts, & figures which summarize what you did for a non-scientist Set the scope of the project Writing the Impact Report Statement Impact (So what? What have you done for me lately?) Which evaluation tools did you use? Ask them (survey research) Test them (simple experimental designs) Observe them (recorded & confirmed observations) See http://www.ca.uky.edu/agpsd/soregion.htm & http://www.extension.psu.edu/evaluation/titles.html Which approach will you use? Quantitative, qualitative, or a combination? Writing the Impact Report Statement What level of impact did you achieve? 1. Program Preparation 2. Program Activities / Research 3. People Involvement 4. Participant Reactions 5. Change in KASA (knowledge, attitudes, skills, aspirations) 6. Change in practice 7. Broad results From Claude Bennett (1975) Up the Hierarchy. Journal of Extension: March/April, pp. 7-12. Writing the Impact Report Statement Impact (So what? What have you done for me lately?) Quantify change which occurred in one or all: Economic value or efficiency (cost/benefit?) Environmental quality (facts & figures) Societal/individual wellbeing (facts & figures) Use anecdotes and testimonials If change is yet future,focus on potential impact Explain your project’s importance to real world Report present accomplishments–extrapolate carefully Example of “potential impact” We bought special software for classroom computers. The students learned to analyze the total true cost of producing food products. Using the same software industry uses makes these students ready for the job market and ready to enhance the food economy. Example of an anecdotal impact statement Farmer James says the university saved her life. A radio report on rabies symptoms in cattle was produced and distributed. Farmer heard on her local station and thought she had a cow with symptoms. Called the vet -- no rabies. A second opinion -- no rabies. Cow dies and the farmer sends it for testing. Tests positive for transmittable rabies. The farmer got immediate treatment. And credits the radio report with describing things well enough to save her life. Writing the Impact Report Summary In the summary, summarize the following into one sentence each The Issue What Was Done The Impact Combine them into a short paragraph which describes the need(s), the process(es), and the impact(s) involved in your project without going into details Rewrite Set your report in order Read it out loud; listen for awkward sections Ask yourself, “Does this report answer the 3 questions?” Who cares? So what? What have you done for me lately? Edit for 1st time readers, checking content Rewrite Rewrite for content remembering to: Shorten Simplify Show results Proofread for grammar and spelling errors Have another person check it over as well Send it off! Targets for Length Report Summary What was done One short paragraph One or two paragraphs 100-150 words 150-200 words Issue Impact One short paragraph One or two paragraphs 100-150 words 200-300 words Why should I work so hard when someone else is going to edit it anyway? You can: Save the whole program time & money Develop a reputation as a real professional Improve your communications skills in all areas of your life Make sure your ideas aren’t changed Do your best and save the world Putting It All Together Give That to Me One More Time Six Principles for Powerful Persuasion 1. Know your impact audience 2. Know what moves your impact audience 3. Write like a professional 4. Write like a person 5. Make your argument clear 6. Make your results clear Two Principles for a Practical Process 1. Writing IS a Process 2. Writing is a Simple Process • Prewrite • Write • Rewrite Sample impact summary Economic value or efficiency… Five years ago, Cornpone County pork producers spent $17 more than the state average to raise a market hog. We helped them improve their record keeping and production practices, and costs dropped $20 to $3.19 BELOW the state average. Each farm’s profit increased $345,000 over five years, bringing more hogs, more jobs, and more spending to the county. Sample impact summary Environmental quality... Chopped waste paper is an economical substitute for wood chips commonly used as bedding by the horse industry. Our scientists have found that the paper absorbs moisture better too. By using some of the 76 million tons of paper Americans throw away each year, researchers can reduce landfill demands, save a few trees and keep horses comfy all at once. Sample impact summary Social/Individual wellbeing… (health) No standards exist for wooden basketball, dance and aerobics floors. So, we’re setting them. Our scientists study the role of floor type and construction in chronic- use injuries that often make people stop exercising. Computer models predict how a floor reacts to various forces or environmental changes. Those predictions, and what doctors know about chronic athletic injuries, bring a prescription for safer exercise for athletes of all ages and abilities. Remember…. The public expects us to be accountable -- to show the impact of our land-grant programs. Impact is the difference your programs are making in peoples lives. Impact statements tell various audiences about that difference. Where can you go for additional help with writing reports? You are welcome at the Purdue University Writing Lab Heavilon Hall, Room 226 Grammar Hotline: (765) 494-3723 Check our web site: http://owl.english.purdue.edu Email brief questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org Purdue University Writing Lab Questions?
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