Counts as Two Projects if completed with a grade of Pass
Who Should Choose this Project
Anyone can choose this option, but it is an especially good choice in these situations:
You want to focus on a kind of writing that is important in your field, but you would find it hard to write without actually being in the workplace.
You want to learn more about a particularly long kind of writing. Rather than writing a 100-page research recommendation report, for instance, you could write a 15–20 page genre analysis report that focuses on research recommendation reports.
You want to explore how to accomplish a specific goal with a social media tool. For instance, you want to learn how to use Twitter to promote a start-up software company. It would be impractical to create all the related posts, so you could learn about how the process works by writing a genre analysis report.
The Project Assignment
Write an analytical report that explains everything that goes into writing a specific kind of writing that you will do in your career. You will find online resources, interview people in the field, and analyze examples.
Your report will explain the preparation needed to write the kind of writing (e.g., how do you gather data? what research do you do?) as well as discuss all sections and information included in the kind of writing. Your report should address any ethical/intercultural and global issues or other concerns that may impact the kind of writing.
Step 1: Conduct research on the kind of writing you have chosen.
Chapter 5 of Markel (“Researching Your Subject”) outlines research strategies that you can use as you work on your report. Some kinds of research will work better than others, so choose whatever works for the kind of writing you are analyzing. At a minimum, your research should include the following:
- a literature review of print and online resources (to learn what have others already studied and said about the particular genre in question).
- interviews with people who actually write and read these documents to learn about their experiences with it.
- observations and/or site inspection of the place or situation where the writing is used.
If you cannot complete one of these kinds of research, do the best you can. You can account for anything that is missing in the cover memo for your report.
Step 2: Read Chapter 13 of Markel closely.
Chapter 13 of Markel (“Writing Recommendation Reports”) will be most helpful as you write your analysis report. Your goal is to recommend how to write a particular kind of writing.
Your genre analysis report should include the following sections and information:
- cover page (be sure to list your name as the author)
- executive summary
- table of contents
- results (or findings)
- appendix (where your full examples go)
You can include additional sections and information, and you can change the headings to fit your analysis. Use the example genre analysis reports to make decisions about the content to include.
Additionally, you may review the information in Chapter 7 of Markel (“Designing Print and Online Documents”) for details on how to choose appropriate layout and design for your proposal. Review Chapter 8 of Markel (“Creating Graphics”) for advice on visual elements you can add to your proposal to increase its effectiveness.
Step 3: Write your report.
Write your analytical report in your word processor. With examples and relevant formatting, your report will likely be close to 15–20 pages long, though there is not a minimum or maximum page length. Write as much as you need to, but be sure to include all of the required information.
The body of your report should include this information:
Explain the purpose for your particular genre—that is, identify and explain the situation that creates the need for this particular form of written communication, the purpose and occasion that calls this kind of writing into being, or the work that needs to be done and to which this text responds.
Analyze the audience or users of this particular genre of written communication, including their knowledge, experience, and work environments, their motivations for working with the genre in question, how they perceive and use the text in question, and what they do with it.
Outline the challenges or constraints at work on the writers and the readers of these documents, including computing environments, documents, facts, and workplace objects, but also less tangible factors such as relations, beliefs, attitudes, traditions, images, interests, and motives that are in play in their organizations or workplaces.
Add a bibliography that provides documentation for all of the resources you have consulted. You may use whatever bibliographical format you are most familiar with. Here are some tools if you are unsure what to use:
Include at least three examples of the particular genre in question and analyze them to extract the generic conventions, characteristics, features, and strategies that distinguish this genre. In the case of longer genres, you can link to the examples.
Step 4: Write your cover memo.
Write a cover memo that tells me whatever information I need to know to understand the work you did on your report. This memo should be the first page of your project. The cover page for your report will be the second page. Both documents should be in one file.
Your memo should use standard memo format, with the headings of To:, From:, Subject:, and Date. See Chapter 9 (“Writing Correspondence”) of Markel for more details on writing memos.
Include this kind of information in your cover memo:
- Explain relevant information about your field and career so that I have some context for your report.
- Tell me what you did to make your work stand out.
- Discuss anything you have questions about or are unsure of.
- Tell me anything else you want me to know before I read your report.
Be sure to explain the background on your piece fully. This cover memo is where you tell me about the work you put into the project and provide some self-evaluation of your work. The cover memo is the first thing I will read, so it is your opportunity to make sure that I have all the information that I need to understand your project.
Step 5: Submit your project in Canvas.
Compare your project to the requirements in the rubric to make sure you have fulfilled that assignment.
When you are finished with your cover memo and report, you will turn in your work in Canvas, following the submission instructions. Remember that there are no rewrites or revisions after the grace period ends.