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Reporting

(DEFUNCT. We simply don't do this in practice.)

Every member of the working group who is working towards a Ph.D. will write a periodical report on work results; this page describes its structure.


Frequency

The normal reporting frequency is once per month. Initially, however, the reporting frequency is higher in order to get used to the process and to quickly clarify the intended style and content.

Each reporter wrties his or her first few reports after work weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6. Subsequent reports are submitted at the last work day of each calendar month.

Purpose and nature

The purpose of reporting in the context of getting a Ph.D. is helping the process of getting that Ph.D. We assume that the reportee has one or several long-term global work goals and that getting a Ph.D. is one of them. Then the reporting serves two purposes:

  • Get the reporter to reflect about his or her work, so that s/he can either have a sence of achievement or recognize an inappropriate focus or lack of progress.
  • Inform the reportee about the progress made, so that s/he can more easily give timely and appropriate advice.

In order to fulfill this purpose, the report(ing) should have the following characteristics:

  • A report should be short, or else reporting might become parasitic (for both parties).
  • It should focus solely on relevant work results, rather than the work itself.
  • It should clearly discriminate different kinds of work results, to simplify both formulation and understanding.
  • It should sketch the goals for the next reporting period. Goals are the reference for the sense of achievement in the next period, they aid in focussing the work, and allow for timely advice from the reportee.

Structure and contents

A report consists of the following sections:

  • "Gelesen" (things read): Might read like this: "I have read N books/articles/...; of these, x where very good or helpful, y were average, and z were poor. The good ones are: [list them]."
    Only literature that was at least potentially relevant to the overall goals is mentioned here.
  • "Erdacht" (things devised or thought out): What the reporter has devised, designed, invented, etc. during the last period that contributes to the overall goals.
  • "Erkannt" (insights had): List of important insights during the last period.
  • "Erarbeitet" (work finished): List of finished(!) work that required no particular ingenuity, but that had to be done and contributes to the overall goals. Work that is still in progress is not mentioned.
  • "Kommentare" (comments): Additional information. For example what work is being done that has not yet been finished or why goals from the last period have not been achieved etc.
  • "Ziele" (goals): What results (of kinds "gelesen", "erdacht", "erarbeitet") are planned to be achieved during the next period.

If there is nothing to report in any of the sections, it can be left empty. "Ziele" can never be empty.


(Comments)

Some suggestions:
  • The first suggestion is already part of the procedure at AGSE but it would still be a good idea to add it to the official version of this document: It makes sense to send this work report to everybody inside the group. This increases group communications and creates stored records that can be used by new group members or after vacations.
  • In addition to sending the report to everybody else it seems also to be advantageous if everybody would be mandated to send a short comment sheet back to the originator. This feedback report should be short and maybe even harsh in attacking weaker points made in the report to improve self-awareness of possible shortcomings and challenge preset beliefs and assumptions.
  • Even though this article is aimed at PhD students only it almost asks to be extended on every member of the group. The professor and his actions represent expert knowledge which should be transparently visible for the apprentice students. Even Gesine's work is interesting for us, since it allows us to understand the problems associated with organizing the daily routines of the work group.

-- Christopher Oezbek - 06 Sep 2004

(add your thoughts and comments here)
Topic revision: r4 - 16 Apr 2014, LutzPrechelt
 
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