Assessing the High Incidence of Child Welfare Removals by Zip code using the Systems Approach
3.2.1 Analysis Paper (individual)
D1: Final Analysis Paper Report
i) Brief background and organisation information
ii) The sustainability challenge
The Analysis Paper takes the form of a detailed, critical analysis of your sustainability challenge, informed by current thinking (academic and practitioner) in the field, supported by relevant data and evidence, and reflecting on examples of practice from other organisations/ sectors. It is important to be explicit about the conceptual frameworks and theories that you are using as a basis for the analysis.
The Analysis Paper should typically contain the following:
Section 1: Brief background and organisation information (500 words; not assessed but also not optional)
Factual information about the organisation and/or context that is essential to the understanding of the sustainability challenge, e.g. what factors have contributed to the challenge. Do not provide irrelevant descriptions of the organisation or its activities.
Section 2: The Sustainability Challenge (assessed)
In this section you should clearly articulate the nature of the sustainability challenge, and why you feel it should be examined. The challenge should not just be of relevance to the organisation (e.g. the potential to lose/ increase market share), but should have wider sustainability relevance, i.e. it should aim to bring about positive change beyond the organisation(s). Nevertheless, there should be a ‘business case’ for responding and there is no reason why this cannot include direct benefit for the organisation as long as it is also expected to result in sustainability benefits.
Describe briefly what your organisation has already done to address the challenge, if anything.
Section 3: Critical Analysis (assessed)
This section should include:
1. An overview of contextual issues of relevance to the challenge.
Contextual issues relevant to the sustainability challenge should be identified and reviewed. These could include policy frameworks or industry standards, emerging trends in the sector/ industry, data about the wider economic, social and environmental context (e.g. market dynamics, resource availability, environmental impact, economic trends), stakeholder and community expectations, or examples of good and bad practice. Some discussion of the performance of other organisations within the sector or industry should also be included for the purposes of benchmarking. Make use of relevant data and evidence where appropriate, ensuring that you properly reference the data sources.
2. Identification of conceptual frameworks or theories relevant to the sustainability challenge
A wide range of current academic and practitioner literature relevant to the sustainability challenge should be identified and critically reviewed. This will enable you to identify and critically analyse relevant conceptual frameworks, concepts or theories that will provide the basis for the analysis of the sustainability challenge. You could also develop your own conceptual framework or theory based upon your practice and experience. Assessors will specifically be looking for you to explain the conceptual frameworks and theories that you are using as a basis for your analysis – why did you choose these particular frameworks, and how helpful are they?
3. Critical analysis of the challenge.
In this section you should explore your sustainability challenge in more depth. This will involve
some form of data gathering, using either secondary data (that collected by someone else) and/or primary data (that collected by you). Primary data sources might include interviews with key internal or external stakeholders, surveys, or a review of key documentation as sources of evidence.
Care should be taken to use as robust and rigorous data as possible. Drawing unsubstantiated conclusions from ad hoc interviews or a limited survey does not demonstrate good research practice, although these sources of data can be included if the methodology and its limitations are acknowledged.
A strong assignment will critically reflect upon any primary data collected in light of (i) identified conceptual theories and frameworks from the wider reading, (ii) understanding of the wider context, and (iii) any relevant secondary data, and use all these sources to critically review the organisation’s performance with respect to the challenge, including identifying relevant barriers, risks and opportunities facing the organisation.
It is important that you demonstrate your ability to apply theory to practice. It is not sufficient to simply describe the situation in a ‘journalistic style’. You should aim to demonstrate insight, originality and personal reflection in your analysis.
Section 4: Conclusions (assessed)
Finally, you should outline your conclusions regarding as to what should be done to address the sustainability challenge. You should present at least three conclusions that flow logically from your analysis and are well justified and supported. These conclusions will usually form the basis for your Strategic Action Plan where you will recommend how you and your organisations should go about doing what needs to be done.