30 Jan Topic Selection Assignment
This week we begin the major assignment for this course: a formal report or a proposal.
For this week’s assignment, you will write a memo addressed to your instructor in which you share your plans for your Course Project. In order to convince your instructor to approve your topic, you must explain what your topic is, why you have chosen it, and how you plan to complete it successfully. You may find it helpful to divide your memo into three paragraphs: the what, the why, and the how. The recommended length of this assignment is one page. See Appendix B, Formatting for Letters and Memos, pages 561562 to learn more about memo format and for a sample memo.
Although there is not a Course Project for technical communication in the traditional sense, there is a significant, multistep assignment beginning in Week 4 and continuing through Week 8a formal persuasive report or business proposal.
The two most common types of formal, longer, business documents are reports and proposals. There are some similarities between the two but some important differences as well. Formal reports are internal documents. They are written to be read by other members of the organization. Proposals, on the other hand, are external documents. They are meant to be read by people outside of the organization. Based on your interests and experience, you will choose to write either a formal persuasive report or a business proposal.
If you choose to write a formal report, its subject will be the improvement of a product, service, or process that the company offers. The audience for this report will be the decision makers at the organization who have the ability to approve your idea. Here are a few sample ideas for formal reports.
Assume you work in a bank. You have an idea to make it easier for new customers to switch banks without missing any bill payments.
Assume you work for a charitable organization. You have a plan to encourage more donations or to attract more volunteers.
Assume you are in the military. You have a plan to improve morale or to enhance combat readiness.
You may base your report topic on your current job or a previous one. If you don’t have formal work experience, you may base your report on the type of organization you’d like to work for in the future.
Alternatively, you may choose to write a business proposal. A business proposal is a plan for a new business, aimed at attracting financial support. You may choose any type of business you like, but it should be consistent with your major and your career goals.
Important note: While reusing and recycling is great for the environment, it is not allowed here. You must use an original idea and original research for this assignment. You may not resubmit an assignment from another class.
Regardless of your choice, the required length is the same, a minimum of 1,500 words. In addition, you will create a presentation based on your report or proposal. It will be approximately 5 minutes long.
Chapters 12 and 13 provide guidelines and examples to help you to write your report or proposal. More specifically, page 416 shows the components of a business plan, and page 417 shows the components of a formal report. Not all of the components shown on these pages are needed for every report. The components you will need to include are shown below.
Required Elements of a Formal Report
Title Page: Title of the report, author’s name, date
Table of Contents: List of all major components of the report and what page each component begins on
Executive Summary: One-page overview of the report
Current Situation: Make the case for why there is a business need for this new product, service, or process
Objectives: Explain how this new product, service, or process will help the organization meets its goals
Deliverables: Show what will be done and when it will be done
Costs/ROI: Provide the cost of implementing these changes, as well as an estimated return on investment
References: List all sources cited in text in APA format
Required Elements of a Business Proposal
Title Page: As above
Table of Contents: As above
Executive Summary: As above
Business Description: Explain what products or services the business provides and where it will be located
Business Objectives: List the company’s short-term and long-term goals
Market Analysis: Tell about the competition, as well as what is unique about this business
Description of Products and Services: Provide additional details about the products and services
Financial Management: Give a breakdown of all costs, as well as projected revenues
References: As above
Milestones for Report or Proposal
Week 4: Topic Selection Assignment (50 points)
Week 5: Annotated Bibliography (100 points)
Week 6: Rough Draft (100 points)
Week 7: Final Draft (200 points)
Week 8: Presentation (100 points)
For more details on each of these steps, see the corresponding assignment description in the appropriate module.
Tips for Success
Choose a topic you are passionate about; after all, you’ll be working on this assignment for many weeks.
Set aside blocks of time to work on this; ultimately, you’ll be more efficient this way.
Stay on track with the milestones; it is easier to keep up than to catch up.
Ask your professor if you need help.