Submission: Online via Blackboard. File type must be a MS Word Doc. NO hardcopies accepted. See Unit of Study Outline for late submission penalties.
No decision-maker has the time or resources to thoroughly research every issue that comes before them. A briefing paper is a means of providing decision-makers with the information they
need on issues they are responsible for.
A briefing paper is a concise summary of research findings written for an informed audience. They are targeted toward a specific audience and for a specific purpose. Briefing papers update readers on an issue’s current status quickly and effectively. The challenge in writing a briefing paper is to be thorough but also succinct, and this requires a writer to judge what information to include and what to leave out. A briefing paper distils complex information into a well-structured document so that a reader gains a full understanding in a few pages.
The theme within which this briefing paper assignment is set is the following: “Current Challenges Facing the ICT Professional”. You are required to write a briefing paper in the form of a literature review on a topic of significance within the given theme. By completing this task, the scenario is that you will bring your colleagues up to speed on a topical issue pertinent to the ICT industry.
This assessment task directly relates to the following three unit intended learning outcomes.
Please note that in addition to considering the topic notes and readings contained within the PIIT Bb/iLearn site, it is an expectation that your regular engagement in the Discussion Forums will occur and help in developing your assignment attempt.
Description of Assignment
You are to research one significant topic (examples given below) and write a briefing paper in the form of a literature review on that topic (Please note your research will be integrated into a group report in assignment 2).
You will be given support and feedback in delivering the review in 3 chronological stages:
It is common for briefing papers to be written in industry, so that professionals may remain informed about issues that matter to their employer. Developing the professional skills of research and communication required to write effective papers is important, and will commend graduates to employers. Reviewing accumulated knowledge is an essential early step in the research process, (whether researching to write an academic paper, or, as here, researching
to produce a business briefing paper, or to develop a presentation).
For this assignment, in order to put some structure around the briefing paper, the requirement is to write the paper in the genre of a literature review, as described below. (Below the terms ‘briefing paper’ and ‘literature review’ will be used interchangeably, although you should note that not all ‘briefing papers’ take the form of a ‘literature review’.)
A literature review is a description of relevant published knowledge from a particular field or selected topic/s. It considers what has been written by others, properly attributing content to authors, and compares and contrasts various perspectives. In general, such a review also evaluates the material reported upon: your purpose in writing the briefing paper is to convey to your reader not only what knowledge and ideas have been established on a topic but also what the strengths and weaknesses are for each particular piece of reviewed literature (University of Toronto,
2011). Developing the paper will also help you gain experience in collecting data and then presenting it, in writing, in a coherent way. This is a skill that that is very much in demand from employers who are not just seeking individuals with good technical skills but also with good communication skills. Remember that writing is a product that demonstrates the quality of your research and learning.
As mentioned, undertaking the research and reporting on it is a necessary first step towards preparing for the group business report (assignment 2) that your team will produce.
Some documents providing guidelines about literature reviews are provided on Blackboard.
Use of the Briefing Papers
Your completed individual paper will be used together with those of your team members in order to develop a business report. The creation of that business report is done as a team. The particular challenge of this business report is creating a business report structure that synthesizes your disparate topics into one coherent business report. This requires collaboration. Obviously if that collaboration takes place early, around the choice of topics, that
structure of your business report will be much more coherent.
Briefing Paper Topics
The briefing paper should cover ONE of the following topics1 :