Witing for Government

Summary Assignment

Value: 15% of course grade (outline, 5%; summary, 10%)

Due Date: outline: Monday, September 21 (in class); summary: Wednesday, September 30

Background to the Assignment

The provincial government ministry you work for has asked you to prepare a two-page handout for new employees that explains how the provincial legislature works. While there are existing publications that cover this information, they are too long and detailed; most employees either forget what they've read or don't bother to read them at all. Your ministry wants a summary that is simple, well organized, and easy to read. Most of all, they want the content to be concise enough that their employees will actually remember what they've read.

Your Task

First, you will need a copy of the document entitled Purpose, which is part of the government's Discover Your Legislature Series. Click on this link to automatically download the PDF file.

Create a summary of between 500 and 750 words of the chapter entitled "About the Legislative Assembly" (pages 7–21). Structure your summary as you feel best suits the purpose and audience. Give your new document a title, and add headings and subheadings that reflect the divisions of the text.

Before you begin writing, read Summary Writing Notes and How to Write a Good Summary. You might also find it helpful to review the guidelines for summarizing in The Little, Brown Handbook. Remember to keep your purpose and your audience clearly in mind as you choose the ideas that you feel are essential to understanding how the B.C. legislature works. You might also want to read the other chapters in the document to help you understand the broader context of the legislature's work.

As part of editing your summary, go through the following criteria to make sure that you've met all the expectations of the assignment.

  • Does the summary contain only essential information?
  • Does the summary contain all the essential information?
  • Is the summary written in your own words?
  • Would a reader make sense of the summary as a stand-alone document?
  • Is the summary accurate and faithful to the original?
  • Does the summary contain anything that was not in the original?
  • Is the summary clear and complete?
  • Is the summary concise?
  • Is the summary coherent (does the flow from idea to idea make sense) and easy to read?
  • Has the summary been edited for errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling and mechanics?

Summary outline (5%)

Be prepared to create a plan and outline in class on Monday, September 21. We will discuss the assignment in class on Wednesday, September 16.

Summary workshop

Bring a draft of your summary to class on Monday, September 28. You will have the chance to discuss any problems you're having with the assignment and to exchange drafts with another student for peer editing. Don't miss the workshop; if you do (without a legitimate excuse), you will lose 10% from your grade for the assignment.

Submitting your assignment

Name your file YourlastnameSummary.doc (e.g., DoyleSummary.doc) and send it to me (sdoyle@uvic.ca) as an e-mail attachment by 11:59 p.m. on September 30.

Send questions or comments to sdoyle@uvic.ca. © Susan Doyle, 2013