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Demonstrate competence in information literacy standards

WRITING ASSIGNMENT 4:  RESEARCH-BASED PERSUASIVE REPORT

People in business and government write formal reports for many different purposes: proposing, problem solving, recommending, informing, explaining, describing, selling, analyzing, defending, protecting, reviewing. For this class, write a persuasive report for decision and implementation. That is, show that a problem exists and propose a solution to the problem; you might suggest a change in policy. Assume the audience to be a decision maker who is your immediate supervisor or one level higher. The workplace can be a fictional one, not your actual employer. Choose a topic that requires research: printed books and articles or articles from databases and websites, or possibly in-house documents (consult with me if you plan to use in-house documents).

The assignment gives you practice in gathering information, taking notes, planning and focusing a large formal report for an intended audience, writing and revising, and documenting sources.

This assignment also meets the objectives of several UMUC Core Learning Areas as well as all the objectives of WRTG 394.

UMUC CORE

LEARNING AREAS

WRTG 394 OBJECTIVES
Effective Communication

Demonstrate competence in effective writing:

  • Meet the needs of readers
  • Accomplish the writer’s purpose
  • Adequately cover the subject
  • Use expected conventions of format and organization
  • Demonstrate credible reasoning and evidence
  • Satisfy standards of style and grammatical correctness
After completing this course, you should be able to:

  • plan, organize, and write a variety of workplace documents, including business letters, memos, résumés, and reports
  • revise documents to produce a clear, concise style appropriate to audience, context, purpose, and writer’s role
  • demonstrate correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and mechanics, and apply the conventions of business writing
  • produce professional-looking business letters, memos, reports, and other documents, following standard formats
  • collect, select, analyze, interpret, and organize data, and use it appropriately in business communications, including a long formal report
  • integrate visuals, headings, and other graphics into business communications
Information Literacy/Research Competence

Demonstrate competence in information literacy standards:

  • Identify an information need
  • Articulate questions
  • Gain access to a variety of relevant resources
  • evaluate and organize the information found
  • integrate the information into an existing body of knowledge
  • use information effectively
Critical Thinking

Demonstrate the use of analytical skills and reflective processing of information

  • Determine the nature and extent of the information needed
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically
  • Incorporate information into one’s knowledge base
  • Support positions with credible reasoning and evidence
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
  • Use information ethically and legally

The assignment schedule guides your progress from the beginning of the semester and sets deadlines.

Your report should contain the following parts:

  • Memo or letter of transmittal (one page; can be single-spaced or double-spaced)
  • Title page
  • Table of contents
  • Abstract (also called executive summary): one page; can be single-spaced or double-spaced. The length of an abstract varies in different workplaces; in this class I’m asking for a one-page mini-version of the entire report.
  • Body, with separate introduction and discussion; double-spaced. In most workplaces, the report is single-spaced; I’m asking that it be double-spaced because I have to read a lot of them in a short time.
  • List of references in APA style
  • Appendixes (if appropriate)

Minimum Requirements

  1. 2200-3000 words, inclusive of all sections of the report except appebdices; do not include the audience profile and rough draft review report in the word count.
  2. Use at least five published or Internet sources; at least one must be from a peer-reviewed journal (more is better); at least one found by the UMUC library database (one peer-reviewed source from the UMUC database can meet both of these minimum requirements).
  3. Quote sparingly; paraphrase and summarize frequently.
  4. Do not plagiarize–Cite in-text sources precisely and do not half-copy.

In addition, on a separate page of your report, complete the Audience Profile (below). (I’m sure no workplace requires an audience profile; this is a learning tool specific to this class. But if you ever write a workplace report, this is a good tool to keep in mind as you write.)

Please name the file LastnameWA4, using your own last name; for example, name the file ObamaWA4 if your name is Barak Obama.

AUDIENCE PROFILE

INSTRUCTIONS: For the imagined audience of your researched persuasive report, write full explanations/commentary for each item. In addition to supplying the information for each item, consider the implications of your perceptions of your readers. Include as part of your commentary how you plan to use your perceptions of your readers in planning and writing the report. Your textbook author and the Purdue OWL sections on professional writing continually remind you of the need to tailor the content and tone of a document to the intended audience.

Turn in this completed profile form as part of Writing Assignment 4—not a separate file.

Your audience profile will be graded according to how thoroughly you respond to the following items.

I. AUDIENCE IDENTITY AND NEEDS

Primary Reader(s) (name, title)

Secondary Reader(s) (name, title)

Relationship (client, employee, other)

Intended use/result of document

Barriers to understanding or acceptance?

Readers’ prior knowledge of topic (know/do not know background; experts, novices, other)

Additional information needed

Possible questions/objections reader(s) will have

Audience’s attitude toward topic (indifferent, skeptical, other)

Audience’s probable objections (cost, time, other)

Audience’s probable attitude toward this writer (intimidated, hostile, receptive, other)

Organizational climate (receptive, repressive, creative, other)

Persons most affected by this document

Audience temperament (cautious, impatient, other)

Probable reaction to the document (resistance, approval, anger, other)

Risk of alienating anyone

II. AUDIENCE EXPECTATIONS ABOUT THE DOCUMENT

Reason document originated (audience request, legal requirement, other)

Acceptable length, amount of detail (comprehensive, concise, other)

Why this material is important to this audience (interpretations, costs, conclusions, other)

Most useful organization pattern (problem-solution, proposal, other)

Appropriate tone (businesslike, apologetic, enthusiastic, other)

Intended effect on this audience (win support, change behavior, other)

Source: Modified from John Lannon (1996), Technical Writing, 7th ed. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.

GRADING CRITERIA: RESEARCH-BASED PERSUASIVE REPORT

CONTENT

1.  Meets minimum requirements (see assignment instructions)

2.  Shows skillful application of persuasive strategies

Audience is appealed to appropriately

Argument is developed well; relevant evidence supports your claims

Image of credibility is established

Objections are anticipated and responded to

ORGANIZATION AND COHERENCE

3.  Each component contains required (see instructions) and appropriate material; executive summary (one page) is a mini-version of the entire report

4.  Purpose of each section is clear and supported well

5.  Organization is clear

Follows problem-solution, proposal, or recommendation-support pattern, etc.

Separate ideas in separate paragraphs

Not organized serially by source

Contains useful headings

6.  There are helpful transitions between and within paragraphs

PARAGRAPHS

7.  Each paragraph has a clear topic sentence stating the main point and focusing the material

8.  Each paragraph fully supports its topic sentence with very specific material appropriate for your purpose and audience: details, examples, reasons and explanations, evidence

SENTENCE STRUCTURE

9.  Sentences are well-written: emphatic, condensed, varied in structure, fluent

STYLE

10. Words are specific, precise, concrete, accurate; voice is consistent and appropriate for audience

GRAPHICS IF APPROPRIATE

11. Graphics (if used) are designed well; data are relevant to recommendations

SOURCES

12. Sources are handled well:

  • good selection of reliable material to support recommendation
  • few direct quotes, accurate paraphrasing and summarizing, no plagiarizing
  • sources are correctly cited in APA style in the text of the report
  • correct bibliography format in APA style

GRAMMAR, PUNCTUATION, SPELLING, AND FORMAT

13. There are no errors

AUDIENCE PROFILE

14. Your audience profile will be graded according to how thoroughly you respond to the topics and how well your report reflects the audience analysis.

 

 

 

 

Research Prospectus

Topic: Orientations for New Employees

Reason: To educate and prepare new employees on safety, protocols, benefits, work, rules and procedures in the work place.

Why: New employees without an orientation come into the workplace unprepared for the work. Orientations can be used to show what the employee can expect from the company. To show the culture of the company. To show new employees what the goals of the company are. Helps the employees hit the ground running.

Thesis statement: New employee orientations should be mandatory to prepare and educate new employees on procedures and safety along with the expectations and goals of the company.

Bibliography:

 

  1. Jauch, L. R., R. N. Osborn, and W. D. Terpening. “Research Notes. GOAL CONGRUENCE AND EMPLOYEE ORIENTATIONS: THE SUBSTITUTION EFFECT.” Academy of Management Journal 23.3 (1980): 544-50. Web. <http://content.ebscohost.com/ContentServer.asp?T=P&P=AN&K=4395856&S=R&D=bth&EbscoContent=dGJyMNHr7ESeprY4zOX0OLCmr02ep7BSsKm4SLCWxWXS&ContentCustomer=dGJyMPGqsE6yr7BQuePfgeyx44Dt6fIA>.

 

  1. Johnson, Dave. “You’re Hired – Now This Is Our Culture.” BNP Media. Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, n.d. Web. <http://content.ebscohost.com/ContentServer.asp?T=P&P=AN&K=102421405&S=R&D=bth&EbscoContent=dGJyMNHr7ESeprY4zOX0OLCmr02ep7BSsKq4Sq6WxWXS&ContentCustomer=dGJyMPGqsE6yr7BQuePfgeyx44Dt6fIA>. A small article in a training strategies section of a magazine explaining that you must go in depth with new employee orientation.

 

  1. Parker, S. K., T. D. Wall, and P. R. Jackson. “That’s Not My Job: Developing Flexible Employee Work Orientation.” Academy of Management Journal 40.4 (1997): 899-929. Web. <dGJyMPGqsE6yr7BQuePfgeyx44Dt6fIA>. This journal shows the benefits for manufacturing companies to have orientations. Closely relates to office buildings too with the concepts.

 

  1. Smith, Brandon. “Go Get Em.” Treponomics. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://content.ebscohost.com/ContentServer.asp?T=P&P=AN&K=96418390&S=R&D=bth&EbscoContent=dGJyMNHr7ESeprY4zOX0OLCmr02ep7BSsKa4TbWWxWXS&ContentCustomer=dGJyMPGqsE6yr7BQuePfgeyx44Dt6fIA>. A Q&A from an expert on insight on how to help new hires hit the ground running and what to include in an orientation.

 

 

 

 

 

Memo – Request to do research

TO: Phillip Bawl, Division Chief, Center for Survey Measurement, U.S. Census Bureau

FROM: Serena Jane, Secretary, Center for Survey Measurement, U.S. Census Bureau

DATE: November 15th, 2015

SUBJECT: Request time away from regular duties to research a solution to our new employee orientation problem.

Center for Survey Measurement is a large part of the U.S. Census Bureau. We receive an average of fifteen new employees every first of the month. As the secretary of this division, I receive questions and concerns raised by these new employees about how the Bureau is run, what benefits they are eligible for, etc. I am requesting time off from my regular duties in order to research how successful orientations are, and to show how beneficial they would be to the new employees of our division.

The research I would like to conduct, is whether incorporating a new employee orientation would be beneficial for not only our organization, but for the new employees as well. I have found that with the amount of people who come into our organization monthly, we have not exactly guided them in the right direction when starting. We really just have new employees show up on their start date and show them their desk. Once they start they spend more time figuring out benefits, their way around, the work that is done here, etc. The time they spend researching this information, cuts away time from the work they should be doing. If we take three hours on their first day to teach and show them these things, it would save hours of time they spend on the clock versus doing their work.

My time away from duties will be limited and I will want to start preparation and research immediately in order to gain approval and incorporate the new orientation as soon as possible. The reason I need to spend time away from my regular work to research this idea to see what is the best way to approach and prepare for this. What are the benefits for having an orientation for new employees versus no orientation and continuing what we have been doing? We want to make sure this orientation is time efficient and informative. The more research and preparation I do, the better I can present this information to you and be ready to incorporate this immediately, pending approval.

So far in my research I have found many scholarly articles supporting orientations for new employees. In one of the articles from the Academy of Management Journal called “Goal Congruence and Employee Orientations: The Substitution Effect” I have found that explaining the goals of our organization will set standards and allow the employee to understand job satisfaction. Industrial Safety and Hygiene News has a small article called “You’re Hired – Now this is our Culture” and it explains that orientation training must be more than ‘lip service’. This is more of a do’s and don’ts when it comes to orientation training and what is more effective. Another scholarly article that has surfaced is one on the effects of orientations in manufacturing companies. Although we are not a manufacturing company, the structure of their orientation is explained and seems quite effective in the article “That’s Not My Job: Developing Flexible Employee Work Orientation”. Lastly, there is a small question and answer in the journal, Treponomics, from an expert in business. He gives insight on how to help new hires hit the ground running and what you want to include in an orientation to get that.

I have done quite a bit of research but there are still things that need to be done and questions that need to be answered. My next steps are to get sample power point slides rom other businesses and their orientations to see what they include in the orientation. What are their steps and what methods do they use to really make their new hires understand their organization? Do they show leadership and goals? Talk about health benefits? I also want to see if I can find any statistics on the success on company with orientations versus a company who just throws their employees in to start work right away. I also want to question some of our recently new additions to our organization to see what their input is on being a new employee and their hardships along the way. Having the insight from someone first hand would be quite helpful to my research.

I would like your input and approval for me to start my research officially as soon as possible. I am asking to meet with you within the next week to answer any further questions you might have in order for me to gain your approval. An orientation would be beneficial to our division in the Census Bureau and to our new staff. I look forward to hearing your response to my research proposal.

Discussion Summary on Topic

We receive an average of 15 new employees the first of every month. These new hires show up to their desk and have no idea where to get supplies, how to go about applying for benefits, or what specifically should be done with their time. I am suggesting to my supervisor that new employees have a 2-3 hour seminar on their first day to go over how the organization is ran. As for the scholarly articles I am looking at, I am seeing which ones suggest what to include and what not to include in an orientation. I am getting sample slides from other company’s orientations to see what they go over. My point I am making is that it would take less time to inform the new employees through an orientations verses the hours they would spend trying to figure it out themselves or who they should be talking to. I am trying to find the most effective and efficient way to do this orientation so that it does not waste time and it covers all the “need-to-know” items for the new employees.

 

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