From tables to article

Laura Eggens

During the writeshop in Mozambique, it became clear that the step from ‘organizing and analysing information’ to ‘writing an article’ is not always straightforward.

As we organize our knowledge (in the form of tables, timelines, drawings, etc.), we start to categorize information: we look at project activities for example, which are different from the results, and from the factors that contribute to positive or negative results. How do we then join these different categories of information into one flowing story? Some people are able to do this instinctively, but for most of us, it helps to create a clear structure first. It was this step that was introduced in the Mozambican process – and it was a step that made a world of difference for participants’ understanding of experience capitalization.

In a clear overview, it was presented how the columns of the tables used in the first workshop (for instance, ‘context’, ‘objectives’, ‘activities’, ‘criteria’ or ‘limiting factors’) fit and add to the full story. It helps to create this overview first, as a structure for the article, enabling people to then fill in the story using the information they have gathered in the first part of the process. It would be good to reserve a moment for this at the end of the first workshop, rather than introduce it in the second workshop only.

The overview used in Mozambique (in Portuguese), by Marta Rocha de Araujo

The support of an editor

Another thing to highlight is that, in Mozambique, 24 articles were being written at the same time. There was one editor present during the whole process, who reviewed draft articles before the second workshop and assisted the writing process during the second workshop. She set up a consultation table in the room, where participants were able to sit and get writing advice on the spot. This was very useful! Yet with the large amount of articles to be completed in four days, more editing support would have been ideal. All articles were peer-reviewed during the workshop, but detailed review by a professional editor for all the articles at all different stages was not possible. For the learning of the participants and the quality of the final products, the articles could have benefitted from multiple editor reviews during the writing process.

© 2016, CTA. Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation

CTA is a joint institution operating under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement between the ACP Group of States (Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific) and the EU Member States (European Union). CTA is funded by the European Union.