Policy For Advocacy

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Assessment Task 2 – Policy For Advocacy
Draft due date: Before 9am Monday 24th May 2021.
Final due date: 8pm Monday 31st May 2021.
Weighting: 50% of the overall mark for this unit.
Word limit: 2,500 words (+/- 10%; references not included in word count).
Referencing style: Harvard, Deakin Harvard, or APA.
The assessment
Policies for advocacy differ from public policies, in that they are developed by associations and organisations to clearly articulate their views to their members and the community, and may be used as the basis for lobbying (or advocating to) government to make some sort of policy change. One of the roles you may have in your future career is to advocate for the best possible health opportunities for your community or population group, and the most effective way of doing this is to recommend changes to existing public policy and/or get your issue onto the government’s policy agenda. This is done by stating your organisation’s position on the problem informed by clear and persuasive frameworks and utilising the best available evidence to articulate the nature of the problem, as well as what action you believe the government needs to take to address the issue.
Scenario & Task
For this assessment, you need to write a policy for advocacy. You should choose a community or health organisation and then decide upon the health issue you are advocating for, and the specific population in which this issue occurs. You are writing this policy as if you worked for this agency or peak organisation. It does not have to be a Melbourne, Victorian, or even Australian organisation/agency – if you want to chose an issue in another country, that is completely fine and even encouraged. You cannot choose the WHO, UN, or any government agency (e.g. Department of Health); choose a not-for-profit or similar organisation. Organisations which do receive government funding are fine.
The assessment is worth 50 marks, with marks allocated using five criteria:
1. Health organisation (5 marks): An appropriate organisation has been chosen to put forward this policy. The organisation’s aims and objectives, as well as its values/ideologies (if known), are presented. The reader should understand why this agency is advocating for this issue.
For this assessment, pretend you work at this organisation. You are writing it as if you worked there. Make sure the organisation is appropriate. Would thisorganisation advocate for this issue, for this particular group? Do not over-think this aspect of the assessment. I would recommend picking an organisation where you might aspire to work some day.
2. The health issue (20 marks): A comprehensive background to the health issue is presented. The issue/problem is clearly stated and there is evidence for the extent and urgency of the issue and its impact for the defined population group. The reader should understand why this health issue needs to be addressed, and why it should be addressed in that population.
The health issue can be as broad or as narrow as you want it to be, and it is up to you to make this decision. Likewise for the population group you select. It is likely that these will inform each other. For instance, everyone is at risk for acquiring HIV, but the evidence suggests that some groups are more at risk based on their sexual activity (e.g. men who have sex with men) or other behaviours (e.g. sharing injecting equipment) than the rest of the population. But we do know that HIV is increasing among older, heterosexual women, as well as in our First Nations population. So even just within the health issue of HIV, I could narrow down based on a range of factors.
3. Aims/objectives (5 marks): Clearly stated aim/s and objectives of the policy for advocacy are provided. The reader knows what it is the policy/organisation is seeking to achieve. The aims and objectives are highly developed.
What is the aim, or purpose, of your policy? What are the policy’s objectives? If you’re not sure what the difference is between an aim and objective, think of it this way: the aim is what you hope to do, and the objectives are the specific steps you will take to achieve that aim.
4. Recommendations (15 marks): A minimum of three recommendations/calls to action for government are provided. They are well developed, relevant, and clearly articulated. They clearly relate to the objectives and problem definition.
In this section, you should be articulating what you want the government to do to address the health issue.
5. Professionalism (5 marks): The assignment should be carefully edited, with no mistakes in your spelling, punctuation, syntax or grammar. Careful presentation of your wok is important to ensure accurate communication with the reader. Individual statements should be clearly articulated and sentences well-constructed and unambiguous. This allows the reader to focus on the meaning and the key messages of your arguments. The style of writing should be appropriate for an academic audience.
Note: There are no specific marks allocated to references because these largely sit within criteria 2 and 4.If you’re not using references, you will find it difficult to achieve a Pass grade or higher.
This task is 2,000-2,500 words, with the usual 10% allowance either side. Any comments I have made about length, word counts, and whether references fit or do not fit into this word count for AT1 apply for AT2.
I do not mind how you lay this out, but following the structure above will be useful, not only for you to put forward your ideas but for the marker to read your work and allocate marks to it. I would suggest looking around at some professional organisations and getting some ideas about how they set out their policies; you may find these under titles like ‘position statements’. The PHAA has a number of them, and I linked to those in Week 1.
Referencing can be in either Harvard or APA style; Vancouver style is not appropriate for this assessment.
Due Date and Submission Process
As with AT1, there are two stages for submitting this assessment.
Step 1 (optional)
You have the opportunity to submit a draft of your assessment into the Draft Dropbox before 9am Monday 24th May 2021. I will provide brief feedback to ensure you understand the instructions and that you are on track. This draft must be comprehensive; the more detail you provide about what you plan to do, the more I can see if you are on track to meet the assessment instructions. Drafts uploaded after the nominated time will not be considered, nor will drafts that are deemed to lack sufficient information (dot points; statements such as “Here I plan to write about…”). To get the most out of this, you need to start on your assessment early. The feedback usually comes a few days after you have submitted the draft. If you do not submit a draft, you can still get feedback, but you need to make a time to speak with the Unit Chair; feedback will not be given over email. No extensions will be given for the draft feedback. This step is optional, and your final mark is not related to whether you take up this option or not
Step 2 (compulsory)
Submit a final draft into the Final Dropbox before the due date for marking. You should also submit a self assessed rubric (see more information below).
The assessment is due before 8pm Monday 31st May 2021. There is no IT support past 5pm, hence the due time (and trust me, you may never need to use CloudDeakin support, but the one time you do, you’ll be glad it’s not after 5pm). This assessment is worth 50% of the total marks available for HSH702. Assessments received after the due date will receive a late penalty as outlined in the unit guide.
All assessments must be submitted on CloudDeakin in the Assessment Task 2 Final Dropbox. This will usually become visible a week before the assessment is due.
Plagiarism and collusion constitute extremely serious academic misconduct. They are forms of cheating and severe penalties are associated with them, including cancellation of marks for a specific assessment, for a specific unit, or even exclusion from the university. Contract cheating will not be tolerated.
Submission Instructions
Assessments should be submitted through the Assessment Task 2 Final Dropbox, which usually becomes available a week before the due date. You should submit your file either as .doc or .docx. Do NOT submit as a .pdf. Only submit your assessment and your rubric. Don’t submit multiple copies of both. Do note submit them as a single document. Those who do not adhere to the instructions will be asked to resubmit, potentially delaying the marking of their work.
The extension policy is the same as for AT1. Requests should be made using the online tool in the Cloud site.
Special Consideration
As per AT1.
Marking Rubric
The marking rubric for this assessment is being re-developed and will be made available shortly. However, you have been told above how your assessment will be marked in the criteria above. Note that there is no specific marking criteria for referencing. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reference; what it means is that the marks for this are incorporated into other sections of the rubric. This means if the other major sections of the assessment are poorly referenced, then you won’t gain as many marks in those sections, no matter how good the writing is.
Self Assessment
A self assessment rubric will be uploaded once the rubric has been finalised. As per AT1, please submit this into the Dropbox with your assessment. Please do not submit this in the same file as your assessment.
“Am I On The Right Track?”
As you probably know, this is a common question. At this stage in your university career, there is a level of expectation that you can take assessment instructions and work on your assessment, constantly checking back to the instructions and the rubric to ensure you are working toward the task. I still get asked whether a student’s proposal is “on the right track”. My response is always:
Do you have a health issue?
Do you have a group/population for whom this issue is a problem?
Do you have an organisation which would reasonably seek to advocate for this group to address this health issue?
If you can answer ‘yes’ to those, then you’re on the right track. If you answer ‘no’ to any of those, then you’re not.
Now, a reasonable question may be whether you need to narrow or broaden your focus for either the health issue or the population. This will be up to you based on your reading of the issue. As I provided in the example up above regarding HIV, you can mold your assessment however you want, and use factors such as age, gender, location, etc to narrow or broaden your assessment.
Seeking to understand whether you are on the right track isn’t a bad thing, but is often related to anxiety. I once saw a student in Academic Progress who was under threat of being excluded from the university because she had kept failing units. It turns out she didn’t submit assessments because she was so wracked by anxiety that she was wrong. It wasn’t until she was under threat from being excluded that she sought counseling and support from study skills. If this sounds like you, then I do urge you to seek support. There is no shame or stigma. We want you to be the best you and produce the best work you can produce.
Questions From Previous Years 
I get a lot of questions about word counts. My response to one question was (and remains):
“For my units (I know others differ), I don’t count in-text citations or headings. To be honest, I dont much care about this sort of thing. As long as it looks like it’s in the range of what 2000-2500 should be (we can guess based on just eye balling the document), then I’m fine. What does stand out is when students use weird sizing (like 16 or 24 font), or have large gaps between paragraphs or sections; those types of things flag that the assessment is probably way short of the word count and will make us investigate further.”
“Apologies if this question has already been asked but I’ve done a search and can’t find anything. Should we be writing a conclusion at all to wrap the policy for advocacy up? I’ve never written anything like this before so I’m not sure what the norm is. The recommendations sort of feel like a conclusion in themselves but I just wanted to double check as I’d hate to lose marks for not including one. “
“I think the recommendations are fine as a conclusion, but if you want a short sentence or two then that’s fine as well.”
I had a lot of questions about what ‘recent evidence’ constituted. My response to one such question:
“It really depends, but ‘recent’ evidence would probably within the last 3-5 years. Research from ten years ago is probably outdated (although in saying that, there are always exceptions). I reviewed a paper on the weekend that collected data in 2010 and I personally think that’s already dated, but if it’s the only evidence on that topic (or, as this paper was arguing, it was the only evidence from Australia), then exceptions can be made.”
One student then added (which I agreed with):
“I really think this depends on what information you are presenting. If it’s prevalence data for a health issue then yes it should be 3-5 years (or at least a caveat to say ‘the most recent data available’ – some developing countries can’t afford to do a survey every 2-3 years), because you would expect it to change over time, and the more recent the better. Also agree for efficacy of treatment options and public health/health promotion interventions. 
But for some health issues, the causes/determinants and health consequences may have been established for some time, with little recent research added on this specific aspect. An indicator of this is if several experts in the field all quote the same paper in the intro/background section of their research, then it can be assumed that this is widely accepted in the scientific community. I would rather use this original paper than a secondary source just because it was published within the past 3-5 years.”
“i just wondering should we have to give reference in recommendations ??”
“If your recommendation is evidence-based (which is should be), and you’re presenting the evidence to support it in that section, then yes, it should be referenced.”

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