Step – by – Step guide for turning your case study into a product

Written by Jane Burt & Robert Berold

Step 1: Organising your booklet and identifying the gaps

Before you look at the content of your work let’s take a step backwards and track how we got here.

Ask yourself these questions:

a) Who is the audience we are wanting to reach with this product and what format will they best respond to? It could be a booklet in the venacular, a poster, a presentation or a fact sheet.
b) What is the purpose of this product?
c) How can we make our argument clear and concise?
d) How can we encourage people to act?
e) (and most importantly) How will I use this product in my work?

Now print out your current case study and all the photographs, stories and maps that you may have of your case.

Work through the material in your groups by doing the following for your case study:

1. Decide on the order in which you will present the different sections.
2. Look at the answers to questions a, b, c & d above and make a note of where this information appears in your text. You may not want to include all the information in the booklet. If you want to leave something out give a reason why.
3. Notice where there are gaps in the information you have, or where you still need to finish things, such as adding headings, a contents list, and doing some more editing.
4. Decide where you want your photographs to be and write captions that relate to the text.

Do the following for your second product:

1. Decide what format you want your product to be.
2. Decide what knowledge/information you want to convey in your final product. This includes photographs, maps, diagrams even questions.
3.Notice any gaps in your information.
4. Order your information first before starting to work on a computer.

Step 2: Formatting your work on the computer

Working with a partner format your product on the computer according to how you organised it. Include the notes of gaps and people’s comments.

Step 3: Editing what you have written and filling in the gaps for your written case

Start by reminding yourself who the booklet is for. As you work through the text, imagine that some people in the target community are reading the booklet.

Presentation order: Your target readers need to receive the information in a way that they can easily follow. You can, for example, start by explaining what the booklet/product is for and how it will help the reader. This section should be short.

Note that a product can’t give all the information at the same time, so the reader may need wait for a later section (or another product) to get a detailed understanding of a concept that you introduce in an earlier section. This is fine, all you need to do is include a note saying something like (see section x on page x for more information). When you have included all the main sections then you can add your conclusion and perhaps some reflections on the process.

Photographs: Once the main sections of text are in place, you can position your photographs. It is usually best to put photos, diagrams or illustrations after the text that talks about them. Try to position the photo in a way that looks balanced (this is not easy to explain in writing but will be demonstrated in the training)

Headings and captions: Next you can look at your section headings, sub-headings and captions. Headings need to be brief (not longer than a line and preferably shorter). They must give the reader a clear idea of what the section covers. You need to decide what font use for headings (the font for headings is usually different to that used for the main text). For example you may use Times Roman, or Cambria for the text and Garamond for headings and captions. Think about levels of heading. Most books have at least two levels of heading: Level 1 will be used for chapter headings or the headings of the main sections, level 2 will be used for sub-headings, etc.

Your booklet should have a cover page, a contents list, an introduction, some main content sections (or chapters), and a conclusion, some of you may also want to include a reference list, or a list of further reading.

Once you have all these elements in place you may find gaps. If you don’t have enough information to fill in all the gaps, this is fine.

Follow a similar process for your other product bearing in mind that you are not presenting ALL that you know here but specific information targetted at a specific audience.

Remember editing is a skill that people learn how to do. Even the best writer in the world uses an editor to better their writing. We can learn how to read our own work and be critical about what we read but we will never be as good as an editor who has been specifically trained to create a piece of writing that is great to read. This is why we have asked a professional editor to join us so you can experience what it is like to work with an editor. She will also give you tips on how you can edit your own work. It is usually a good idea for a editor to edit work a few times. Unfortunately we don’t have enough time for that so we are only going to ask our editor to help us right at the end when we feel we have gone as far as we can go with our work.