HR Report Submission
Guidelines for those enrolled in the AMCTO's Diploma in Municipal
In order to apply the
Employment Law & Human Resources Program toward the HR element of AMCTO's Diploma in
Municipal Administration (DMA), students enrolled in the DMA must
submit a 4000-word report focused on a topic relevant to the Human Resources
business area of the municipal corporation. Any specific topic that is covered
in one of the 9 modules of the program is a great resource to assist with
selecting a topic for the Report.
The Report must
incorporate no less than 10 secondary sources.
The Report should be
in full essay format and should include an introduction, body, conclusion, and
a complete bibliography. Other work being referenced must be accompanied by an
appropriate footnote or endnote. Improper citation of secondary sources may
adversely affect the outcome of the marking of your Report. Please refer to
item 4 in the AMCTO's Education
Programs Policy relating to academic dishonesty.
Once you have
completed the Modules of the Program, you must submit a Work Plan that
outlines your report. Your Work Plan is intended to help you organize your
time and ultimately achieve your goal of completing a high quality Report.
The Work Plan must be
submitted to AMCTO for approval before you begin on the Report.
Completed Work Plans are to be submitted to Craig Wellington, firstname.lastname@example.org. In turn, Craig
Wellington will respond with approval within two weeks via email.
Once you have received
approval on your Work Plan, the Final due date for the Report is no later
than 45 days from the date AMCTO approves your workplan. Reports must be
submitted no later than 11:59pm on the due date. All reports received after
this deadline will be subject to item 3 of AMCTO’s Education Programs Policy.
Specific due dates for
your Work Plan, Approval and Final Report will coincide with the registration
A student who has
completed the Employment Law & Human Resources Program and achieved a grade
of 60% or higher on the Report, will be considered to have successfully
completed the HR element, for credit toward the DMA.
Please note that your
mark for this course offering is based entirely on the mark achieved on the
Report submission. A failing grade on the Report (i.e., 59% or less) will
result in a failure to gain credit toward the DMA.
1. Selecting your research topic
- Select a topic that helps achieve specific goals and tasks in your
professional work. If you’ve been given any specific projects as part of your
annual performance objectives, that would be a good place to begin your topic
- Select a topic in a field that you are familiar with (e.g. your department)
or a field that you want to work in.
- Look at your municipality/organization’s strategic plan. Select a topic that
fits that plan. As you develop your research report, share it with your
- Develop a thesis question to help focus your report.
2. Conducting effective research
Select your research topic proactively
A well-utilized methodology in report writing is the gap analysis approach.
Simply put, approach your research with the following questions in mind:
• What is the current situation? Why does it need improvement?
• What is the desired situation? How will it help?
• Are there any barriers to achieving the desired situation?
• What recommendations can be made to overcome these barriers?
Conduct Background Research
Background reading is essential for focusing your topic; it provides you
with a strong starting point for your research. Reference sources and books are
often helpful in this step.
Talk to others in your municipality – share ideas and resources. Your peers and
colleagues may be the best ‘sounding boards’ for research ideas that you have
at this stage.
Plan Your Search Strategy
Plan what tools you
will need and how you will use the tools you have. Identify what type of
evidence your report will need – secondary source, statistical, or case study.
Check if more than one type will be required.
Outlining the research objectives, scope and methodology will help you focus
Document Your Search Thoroughly
Make sure to write down what resources (electronic or print) you have used and
where they are located. If it is an electronic source, write down your
different searches. You won't duplicate work you have already done and you
never know when you might return to the resource.
Evaluate Your Results
Is the information relevant to your topic? Is it from an authoritative source?
Did you retrieve enough information, not enough, or too much? Revise your
search strategy if necessary, and repeat the process of searching and/or select
another tool to use.
Cite Your Research
Remember to record the publication details from your sources so that you will
be able to appropriately cite them in footnotes and bibliographies. You may
also want to write down the location in case you need to retrace your steps.
3. Submitting your Work Plan Application
Your work plan application should include:
- The thesis question or issue you intend to examine. The thesis question must
be clearly focused and specific, yet significant enough to merit attention.
- A brief description
of the issue, the specific context and rationale for your project: What is the
problem and why is it important to local government?
- A brief introduction
to/summary of the theoretical framework you expect to use.A description of the
methodology and sources of data and information for your research. You should
explain how you will analyze the problem: the report should present an
analysis, not a description.
- A preliminary list
of key readings and resources that you will use in the course of your research.
(Tip - use the Work
Plan Template that AMCTO provides)
Remember: As you conduct your research and write your
report, your topic description and/or objectives might change from what was
included in the application. That is expected – and no marks are deducted for
4. Writing your report
Writing is a skill that must be improved through constant practice. If you
feel that your writing skills are less than they should be, look for handbooks
on writing skills that are available through the library, online, or in the
reference section of your local bookstore.
Some tips on writing your report:
• Identify and understand your audience. While it is obvious that your report
is being submitted to an evaluator for academic purposes, the evaluator is not
your audience. Identify who your audience is (supervisor/council/senior
management?) if possible, indicate the audience in the introduction of your
report. Write your report keeping this audience in mind.
• Always make an outline of what you want to say, even if the outline is only a
list of the key points you want to cover and the order in which you want to
cover them. An outline does not have to be detailed; it must, however, provide
you with a sense of direction and order.
• Write a rough draft. Drafts should not take a lot of time. They should be
written as quickly as possible and should record ideas about the topic. Then
you have something you can shape and revise.
• Use a simple font. Don’t use fancy or unique fonts – they are usually hard to
read. Keep it simple. Use Arial, size 10.
• Use simple language where possible. Resist the urge to use fancy or difficult
words. Avoid writing in first person – use third person format.
• Break the text of your report where feasible. By means of bulleted
highlights, textboxes, graphics etc. create visual breaks to help the reader
maintain interest in your report. These visual representations can also help
enhance some of the key points in your report.
• Pagination, footnotes, also help make your report organized and clear. Paginate
all your pages and make sure the page numbering is correct in your table of
contents. Where citing sources, cite them in footnotes to make it easier for
Components of an
Remember, an effective report must have the following elements, in this order:
1. Title page – with a formal title
Include your name and AMCTO ID number on the title page.
2. Executive Summary
The Executive Summary explains to the reader in a nutshell what your report
covers. An Executive Summary should summarize the contents of your report,
reinforce your findings and the benefits if your report is read and your
recommendations are implemented.
3. Table of Contents
4. List of tables, charts and/or diagrams, if any
5. Scope and Methodology of your report
Explain the scope of your report – what does it cover, what it does not, and
why. Explain how you conducted your research, what data you collected and how.
6. Text of your report, divided into chapters or sections
Chapters/sections make it easier for the evaluator to grasp the message your
report is conveying.
7. Conclusion of your report – summarizing the main findings of your report.
Always, always summarize your report – once at the beginning (in the Executive
Summary) and once at the end (in the Conclusion).
Appendices contain reference information that might take away from the
readability of the report if included in the main body. This may include
copies, questionnaires or tools designed to help the reader implement the
recommendations contained in your report. Appendices should be numbered or
lettered (i.e. Appendix 1 or Appendix A) to help readers locate the document they
are seeking, and should also be listed in your table of contents.
AMCTO will assign you to a Marker after you receive approval on your Work
Plan. You will have direct contact with your marker via email for the submission
of your Report.
Evaluation: how will
your report be graded?
Each report will be graded based on its content. However, the following common
elements will be sought by the Marker:
- Does the report demonstrate clear and independent and original thinking?
- Does the report demonstrate a clear purpose or thesis? Does that thesis
remain the focal point of the paper, or does the paper seem to wander from
point to point?
- Is the subject explored fully and in-depth enough to convey that the author
has thought out her/his subject in its entirety?
- Is the paper organized effectively? Is reading made difficult by the
- Are the most important points given the most emphasis? Are lesser points,
accordingly, given less emphasis? Are there any places where major points get
too little attention and minor points too much?
- Is the paper coherently organized and linked together? Are transitions from
paragraph to paragraph and from point to point smooth?
- Has the audience been taken into account? Does the report addressing its
audience with the appropriate tone, purpose, etc.?
- Are sentences varied in length and style? Does the writer avoid being too
choppy and short or too long and confusing?
- Is the vocabulary used original and precise or is it vague and overused?
4. Grammar and Mechanics
- Does the paper seem carefully edited?
- Do errors in punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, or grammar detract
attention from the main point of the paper?