Formal Reports are among the most common types of communication prepared at work, and they encompass a wide range of documents—from Progress Reports and Proposals to Analytical Reports (ARs) of various types. When a company needs to make some sort of decision (i.e. what type of product will be most successful in the marketplace, what can be done to streamline production and reduce costs, how did a particular problem occur and how can it be avoided in the future, etc), a formal report is created in order to provide the background data and analysis that will lead to an informed decision.
“Analytical Report” is the broad term for a variety of reports that address various issues such as problems, processes, feasibility, etc.; however, what they all have in common is a focus on analysis. Although reporting on research is a heavy component of any Analytical Report, the point of an AR isn’t simply to convey information. Just like every other Tech Com document, ARs are meant to be used by a specific audience, so you need to consider what it is your audience needs/wants to know. “Analysis” implies that you are going to interpret the information in a way that is meaningful to your audience.
Specific Task: For this assignment, you’re going to write a formal Problem Analysis report, specifically you’re going to analyze a “problem” that is associated with a technical/scholarly topic (i.e. something that is being debated within your field, something that is currently unresolved, and something that you can contribute to the dialogue about through new research, new perspective/approach, new arguments, etc).
Let’s be clear that this is not a book report. You’re not supposed to simply tell me what everyone else is saying about this problem. Your report needs to contribute something new to the conversation.
You will create a document of roughly 6-10 pages (single spaced) that analyzes a problem within your field of study (it can be more pages, but it shouldn’t be less). This document will be heavily researched and documented. Make sure you adhere to the following criteria:
o You are required to have a minimum of 8 sources in your report. Wikipedia and encyclopedias DO NOT count as valid sources; however, you can use them to begin your research efforts.
o You can use both Primary and Secondary sources.
o Your report must include at least 4 visuals, 2 of which must be original. Graphs, charts, photos etc. as well as significantly altered images will count as “original” visuals.
o Your report should follow the outline for an Analytical Report that we will discuss in class (i.e. Introduction & Background/Literature Review/Analysis/Conclusion)
o Your report must properly cite all sources using internal parenthetical APA citations.
o Your report should be singled spaced, well organized, user friendly, and look professional.
o Your report must include the following supplementary materials:
1. Title Page, with a properly descriptive title
3. Reference page (in APA style)
4. Any other necessary supplementary materials (i.e. glossary, index, appendix, etc.).
For assessment purposes, each student must submit an individually written analytical report with at least 2000 words of body text.
Each report must be analytical and deal with a technical or scientific topic, not a business topic.
Students interested in business communication (e.g., business plans) should be enrolled in COM 222.
An analytical report must be one of the following types:
1) a feasibility study
2) a comparative analysis
3) an empirical research report
4) a causal analysis [i.e., cause(s) to effect(s) or effect(s) to cause(s)]
5) a problem-solution analysis
The topic should be worthy of analysis. One committee member describes “worth” as something that a client/customer/audience would pay to know. Another describes a worthwhile topic as something that can be debated—the topic requires the analysis of more than one perspective or point of view. In other words, there should be some tension with this topic. The report should be a useful writing sample for the student to show potential employers
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