9 January 2006

Effective report writing, the 1:3:25 rule.

One of the major hazards facing practitioners of HIA is effective report writing. It is easy to become so involved in the process of the HIA that the final report becomes something longer and less accessible than the Magna Carta! Such reports are ineffectual because the purpose of a HIA is to influence the heady world of project, program, or policy decision making. These people want clear concise recommendations supported by a clear concise and transparent rationale concerning why these recommendations have been made.

One useful strategy to consider is offered by the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (http://www.chsrf.ca/). This is the ‘1:3:25 rule’: start with one page of main messages; follow that with a three page executive summary; and present findings in no more than 25 pages of writing. The Foundation has provided a very useful two page resource detailing how to write using the rule. This available for download as one of a series of useful resources from http://www.chsrf.ca/knowledge_transfer/resources_e.php#commnotes