Assignment 2.3: Improving external text structure

Purpose of the assignment

You will practice using paragraph breaks and headings to improve the external structure of a text.

Subject matter

Section 2.4


Below a text is presented without any paragraph breaks or headings.

  • Insert paragraph breaks where you consider them to be applicable and insert headings or subheadings as you deem necessary. 
  • Motivate your choice in each case.

Please consider that, given a text such as this, there might be more than one paragraphing solution. The question then would be: How would different paragraph structures influence the reading of the text? The same goes for the choice and insertion points of headings.

The text

This framework was developed following a review of environmental and local government legislation and a consultation with key stakeholders. The purpose was to identify the framework which would guide the selection of indicators. The primary assumption was that this framework would be built around an understanding of the core mandates for the environment of local government, and where local government did not hold a mandate for a particular environmental issue, an understanding of the role of provincial and national government. A ‘situation analysis’ was prepared containing this information. This was carried out by systematically developing indicators for each of the core mandates. A set of criteria (taken from general literature on environmental performance indicators) was applied in order to select appropriate, useful and meaningful indicators. These criteria are discussed in more detail below. A review of indicators currently being used by local, provincial and national government was also carried out and a composite list was prepared. This list was used to identify already accepted indicators to ensure that the core set eventually derived by this project contained indicators of a format already in use across the country. The initial selection was carried out by the PDG project team and this list was then circulated for comment to stakeholders and discussed with these stakeholders at a project workshop. Given that municipalities and provinces across the country are not managing areas with the same characteristics, or indeed do not have similar levels of capacity, resources, knowledge, available data and so on at their disposal, it is prudent to divide the initial broad set of indicators into a series of sets which reflect these differences. Appropriate categories were suggested by PDG and the categorisation of the indicators was carried out using a set of criteria at the project workshop. Details of the categories of indicators used are outlined in the ‘framework’ for the project below. As noted above, a project workshop was held towards the end of the project. This workshop involved key stakeholders and had the following objectives: To finalise a broad draft set of indicators; to categorise this set of indicators into the proposed sets; to discuss important issues, concerns and ideas relating to the use of indicators by local government. All of these objectives were met by the workshop. A draft set of categorised indicators was produced although there were several areas for which suitable indicators could not be found and further work will be required by DEAT to identify these indicators. Various recommendations were provided by stakeholders for further consideration by DEAT. The final section of this report contains a discussion of recommendations to DEAT on how to take the process forward. Many of these came from discussions at the workshop.

The text for this assigment is based on the report Development of a Core Set of Environmental Performance Indicators of the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (2004) (pp. 12-13). Please note that markings such as headings, paragraphing and bullets were removed to create this version of the text.