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Adult Student Success Story: Finding Your Voice

Judi* had been working in her field for 3 years, giving workshops on personal wellness to public health workers, but this was a new challenge. Now she was being asked to write reports on her work and proposing research-based curriculum to meet the needs of the staff. It was time to call Tutor Doctor!

I began working with Judi in September 2021. She had an important report to write regarding data that she and others had collected, and the leadership team wanted results. Judi had never written a research report before, as she gained her position through a college program, internships and volunteer work. I set out to use the report as a case study in writing case studies. Most of what Judi lacked was confidence. She was actually a terrific writer but didn’t know the organizational structure she needed for her report and wasn’t sure what information should go in each section.

We began by looking at the structure needed and understanding the function of each part. I guided Judi to identify the components of what she had already written and to notice the big gap in the prior research section that she had written. Judi had tried to work through some content for this section, but had found the related research papers to be very difficult to read. It helped her to understand that the intended audience of most research papers are practitioners with master’s degrees and Ph.Ds. I helped Judi understand and identify which areas of a paper are most important for her needs. It was a relief for her to learn that she can skip the complicated statistics and data because the findings are clearly summarized in other areas of the paper. Once Judi felt comfortable reading research papers and felt she understood the necessary structure for her reports, her writing took off! Judi proved to be a natural talent at summarizing relevant papers—a task she had never done before.

After a final revision, Judi turned in her first professionally written research report with crossed fingers. She doesn’t know yet if the leadership team will like what she has to say about the hard work their organization has in front of them. However, she’s confident that her research is sound and credible. Thanks to her new skills and improved confidence, her report will be followed by updates, proposals and outcome reports. Judi has found her voice in writing and is considering further education to eventually get her master’s degree. In the meantime, she contributes to the success of her company and helps medical practitioners combat burnout as they serve the public.

*Name has been changed