WRTG394 Full Course (May 2019)

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WRTG 394 Advanced Business Writing

Week 1 Discussion

DQ1 Considering communication barriers and inhibitors

This discussion topic is designed to help you start thinking about and planning for the first writing assignment, the Communication Inhibitors Report. It includes four very helpful readings about communication barriers/inhibitors.

NOTE: This is not your first writing assignment. This is a discussion topic designed to help you begin thinking about the first writing assignment.

This week, one of your reading materials is titled, "Oral Versus Written Communication." This reading material lists the eight essential elements of communication. They are as follows:

Source

Receiver

Message

Channel

Feedback

Environment

Context

Interference

In addition, you will want to access and read through the following three articles about communication inhibitors.

MSG Team, “Communication Barriers”

Pandita, “Physical Barriers in Communication”

Jain, “The Barriers to Effective Communication”

These items are available as eReserves in our class in LEO. You can access the articles by taking the following steps:

• click Content

• select Class Resources

• select eReserves

• select the icon for eReserves in the middle of your page.

• in the list of items that appears, locate the articles and download them

Finally, you will download and read the instructions for your first writing assignment, "Communication Inhibitors Report."

After you have completed reading "Oral Versus Written Communication," have reviewed the three articles on communication barriers, and have reviewed the instructions for writing assignment #1, please respond to this discussion topic by completing the following tasks:

1) decide which communication barrier(s) you believe are most powerfully affecting your communication process in the workplace or community scenario that you are considering for your assignment;

2) write a paragraph or two in which you explain how and why you think these barriers are the main culprits negatively affecting successful communication.

3) Offer one classmate feedback on his/her post noting similarities or differences that you find interesting compared to the situation you described in your own post.

DQ2 Communicating a Problem

This discussion topic, which explores business communication as a problem-solving activity, asks you to select and analyze a problem or situation in your workplace or your community. The problem or situation you discuss in this activity could turn out to be the focal point of the capstone assignment in this course, the Research-Based Report. A detailed example of how to respond to this discussion topic is provided.

This discussion topic is designed to help you consider a problem in your workplace or community and to design strategies in communicating about it. This discussion topic might help you approach your final research-based report in WRTG 394.

Please think of an example of a problem or situation in your workplace or your community. Then answer the following four questions with regard to that problem or situation. Post your answers to this discussion topic.

What is the problem or situation?

What are some possible communication strategies in notifying someone about the problem?

What is the best course of action to take in solving the problem?

What is the best way to communicate this problem to the relevant individuals?

WRTG 394 Advanced Business Writing

Week 2 Discussion

DQ1 The six principles of good writing in light of Amazon's strategy

In the Content for week 2, you are reading a section titled “Good Writing.” In that section, Edward Bailey’s six points of good writing are listed.

Please take note of Bailey’s six points of good writing. Then access the following message from Jeff Bezos to shareholders at Amazon.com:

Read: Message from Jeff Bezos to Amazon Shareholders

(The message is also available in your list of resources in Content for week 2.)

Please read only the section of this message titled, "Six-Page Narratives." You don't have to read the whole message.

Then answer the following questions:

In banning PowerPoint and asking for six-page memos, is Jeff Bezos violating any of Bailey’s six principles? If so, which ones does he seem to violate, and why do you make the case that he violates them? If not, explain why his strategy does not violate any of the six principles.

Why might Bezos prefer a six-page memo read silently for 30 minutes at the beginning of a meeting to a PowerPoint presentation? What advantage might such a memo have over a PowerPoint presentation?

Please feel free to conduct your own searches on this issue. Various articles have been written about Amazon’s ban of PowerPoint in its internal meetings, and these articles have additional quotes from Bezos.

DQ2 Exercises on library tutorials #1, #2, and #3

Through this Library Exercise, you will practice the OneSearch techniques covered in the Library Tutorial Videos. This will help you understand how to find sources for assignment #2 and other assignments. When it comes to honing your research skills for the assignments in this course, as in all other aspects of life, practice makes perfect!

The following task is designed to help you become familiar with UMUC’s Information and Library Services. Completing these exercises will help you get started on developing a topic for the final research-based report.

Please watch library tutorial #1, video tutorial #2, and video tutorial #3. These tutorials are linked to at the top of the list of Content items for this week. The tutorials are designed to demonstrate some searching strategies when finding articles through OneSearch, a research tool that allows you to search on many databases at one time.

After you have watched the tutorials, please complete the following tasks. Post your responses to this conference thread.

Let us assume you work for a company that is hiring more and more employees of the Generation Z generation.

Your supervisor has asked you to conduct research on issues regarding employees from Generation Z. For example, she mentions that Generation Z individuals may have different expectations of the work environment from those of workers from older generations. In addition, she mentions that Generation Z has different habits with regard to their use of technology than workers from older generations exhibit.

The instructions you have been given by your supervisor are quite broad. But let us assume that this is the directive you have been given.

For this reason, you will conduct a very general search on Generation Z and their work or technology habits. You are not quite sure how to focus the topic, but you know that you would like to pursue this general topic and focus it later.

1. Using the strategies discussed in library video tutorial #1, search on some terms and find four articles on this topic. Your search can be quite broad at this stage. Try to use some search phrases that require that you use quotation marks, as the video demonstrates.

Please write the topic on which you searched and the search terms you used to search on it.

2. Again, using the strategies from library video tutorial #1, for the four articles you found, please write titles of the four articles and the journals in which they appeared. You don’t have to cite anything in APA format, or anything of that nature. Just post the titles and the journal names.

3. Using the strategies discussed in library video tutorial #2, conduct a new search on a phrase related to your major or to a workplace topic of interest to you. As the video demonstrates, make sure to use quotation marks around the phrase you search on.

-What phrase(s) did you search on?

-How many search results do you get?

4. Then, applying the tips in library video tutorial #2, focus your search from question #2 by using the SU-subject terms option from the drop-down menu for one of the rows.

-How many search results do you find after limiting the search by using SU-subject terms?

5. Finally, using the strategies mentioned in library video tutorial #3, locate the research guide for your major. If you have not declared a major yet, please select one that interests you from the options from the drop-down menu.

Peruse the research guide for that major. Describe to the rest of the class in a few sentences any interesting resources you discovered.

If you have the same major as another student in the class, this would be a great time to collaborate and share any resources you found with which others might not be familiar.

WRTG 394 Advanced Business Writing

Week 3 Discussion

To succeed on the Synthesis Literature Review, you need to know what it means to synthesize sources and how synthesizing is different from writing an annotated bibliography. In this discussion, you will write two short paragraphs explaining these two points. This activity reinforces the writing concepts demonstrated in the sample paper and video review of Tom Student’s paper described above.

NOTE: This is not your second writing assignment. This is a discussion topic designed to help you understand the second writing assignment.

To complete your assignment, go to the Assignment area and review the assignment directions, then complete and submit your draft of the assignment in your assignment folder.

The following task is designed to help you understand WA#2, the background review and synthesis of the literature for the topic of your research-based report.

For this discussion topic, please complete the following:

Read through the sample essay for WA#2. In addition, watch the video on strategies for WA#2.

In your own words, explain what it means to synthesize sources in a paper.

How is synthesizing different from writing an annotated bibliography?

You may write a short paragraph for your answer to each question.

Once you have done this, you should immediately do the following:

* Go to the Content area of the LEO WRTG 394 classroom which you can reach by clicking on the link at the top of this page.

* Click on "Week 2" in the list of Content links on the left side of the page.

* Watch the "Synthesis Literature Review" video by clicking the link that appears once you click on "Week 2."

* Then look at the sample synthesis literature review paper by clicking on the link just below the link to the video. (If the paper is off centered, click the link with the arrow pointing to the upper right - when you hover over it, it will say "Open in a new window." You can then see the paper in a window with the paper centered and easy to read.)

DQ2 Examining a sample report from Victoria Business School

After reading the assigned pages from the Victoria Business School's "Example of a Finished Report," you will answer a series of questions. Your responses should run 1-2 sentences per question. These questions will help you prepare for your own business report. Provide feedback for two classmates' answers.

Please download the document, "How to Write a Business Report," from Victoria University. The document is linked to in Content for Week 3.

Please access page 26 of the document, "An Example of a Finished Report."

You will peruse the report, which covers pages 27-41.

Please respond to this discussion topic by answering the following questions. Your answers can be 1-2 sentences:

What problem is the author addressing?

Where in the report does the author cite secondary research? You can mention one or two pages.

What types of primary research the author cite in the report? You can give one or two examples.

Consider your research-based report for this class. What problem might you address in your workplace, school, or community?

WRTG 394 Advanced Business Writing

Week 4 Discussion

DQ1 analyzing a sample final report -- "L'Amore USA"

Read the assigned sample report and then answer the accompanying questions. The questions will ask you to critique the report, apply course concepts, and consider how the report might be revised. Recognizing the strengths and areas for revision on this sample will help you develop your own report. Provide feedback for two classmates’ answers.

Please peruse the sample research-based report, “L’Amore.” You can access it from Content for Week 4.

Then answer the following questions.

The author of this paper connected writing assignment #1 to writing assignment #4. What evidence do you see that the author made this connection?

Analyze the graphic on page 5. Do you think it could be improved? How? If you don’t think it needs improvement, comment on why you think it is a strong graphic in its current form.

Which type of research—secondary research or primary research—helps this report more? Please pick one of these two choices. Then write a couple of sentences explaining your answer.

On page 5, the author writes, “After the survey was completed the facilitator met with the participants requesting their feedback on the format and clarity of each example.” Based on this sentence, some additional analysis could have been integrated into the paper. What additional analysis could have been integrated? And please explain how it might have strengthened the report.

DQ2 Preparing a Research Report Proposal

This discussion will enable you to plan for the third writing assignment. For this discussion, you will propose some problem you wish to solve, either in the workplace or your community, as well as a target audience—specifically the decision-maker that you will eventually write to. Be sure to read the complete directions for more details. Provide feedback for two classmates’ answers.

NOTE: This is not your third writing assignment. This is a discussion topic that is designed to help prepare you for the third writing assignment.

To complete your assignment, you will access the Assignments area and review the assignment directions. Then you will complete and submit your draft of the assignment in your assignment folder.

Your third assignment in WRTG 394 involves writing a memo requesting permission to conduct research on the topic for your research report. You should focus on the following as you prepare your report:

Being specific - your assignment directions (located in the assignment area of the classroom) give you good examples of ways in which you can make sure that you are proposing a solution to a specific problem. You must answer the question, "How will MY workplace or community (this should be narrowly defined as your neighborhood, apartment community, base housing community, etc.) be made better by the solution(s) I recommend?"

Identify a specific decision maker (or makers if, for example, you are proposing a solution to a workplace issue in your department that might require action by the HR director as well as your dept. head). Examples of such persons might be your apartment community manager, the director of base housing where you are stationed, your department head in your workplace, or your commander for your military unit.

Use some primary research - interviews with co-workers, photographs showing a problem like the need for recycling or going to a paperless office, screen captures showing the large numbers of emails employees must deal with on a daily basis.

This assignment can be invaluable to you in preparing for your research report. Note what the assignment directions say:

You will find that writing up the proposal will be invaluable in eventually putting together your final research-based report. You will be able to apply the scholarly research you conducted for writing assignment #2 to your specific proposal and evidence of the problem that you have gathered for writing assignment #3.

For this discussion topic, please respond with a paragraph in which you describe the topic you are proposing and the audience (the decision maker(s) mentioned above;

Please respond to at least one classmate's post.

Please note that you will not be able to see other students' responses to this discussion topic until you post your response.

WRTG 394 Advanced Business Writing

Week 5 Discussion

DQ1 Analyzing a sample report, "Evening Shades"

In this discussion, you will re-write a sample executive summary by applying the style and structure from the Victoria Business School Report (from Week 3). You will also critique the summary’s use of research. Provide feedback for two classmates’ answers.

Please examine the sample research-based report, Evening Shades.”

Then answer the following questions.

1. Examine the executive summary. Please re-write the executive summary using the example from the Victoria Business School from week 3. In other words, read over the executive summary from the report in the document from the Victoria Business School. Then rewrite the executive summary for the “Evening Shades” report in similar fashion to that of the Victoria Business School report.

2. Look at the sources listed. How could the sources be improved upon? You can write one or two sentences in answering this question.

DQ2 Preparing to write the Research-Based Report

This discussion asks you to review course materials, and then answer questions regarding the format of your upcoming business report, its research needs, and its length. Provide feedback for two classmates’ answers.

NOTE: This is not a writing assignment. This is a discussion topic designed to help prepare you for writing assignment #4, the Research-Based Business Report. . To complete your assignment, you will go to the Assignments area and review the assignment directions, then complete and submit your draft of the assignment in your assignment folder.

For week 5, you will want to review the following reading materials.

From Business Communication for Success, Chapter 9, section 9.4, “Report”

“How to write a business report,” from Victoria University of Wellington. Click here to access this document.

Colorado State University offers a fine website on advice for writing business reports. Click here to access it.

From the eReserves in our class: Forsyth, P.K. (2013), Making numbers clear, in How to write reports and proposals, third edition.

In addition, please watch the video, Writing a Formal Business Report. The video is linked to at the top of the Content list for this week.

After perusing some of these materials and observing the video, please answer the following questions:

1. Do you understand the format of your research based report? Look at the list of seven sections that your assignment directions state your report must contain. State briefly which section you think will be easiest to write, which section you think might give you trouble, and which, if any, section(s) you are not sure you understand.

2. You must use seven (7) sources for this assignment. Three (3) of these must be scholarly journals. Explain the difference between a scholarly journal and any other type of source.

3. Your report must be 2000-3000 words long. How many pages would that be (you should probably think in terms of 12 point Times New Roman type)?

WRTG 394 Advanced Business Writing

Week 6 Discussion

Victoria Business School executive summary video

You will share a draft of an executive summary using the guidelines provided in the video, and then provide feedback on each other’s drafts.

Please watch the video, "Video review of executive summary from Victoria Business School." It is linked to at in Content for week 6.

After watching the video, please complete the following:

Please post a draft of your executive summary for your final report. This might be a very rough draft of the executive summary. The purpose of this discussion topic is to get you started in thinking through your executive summary. Another goal of this discussion topic is to allow your fellow students to see the topic on which you are writing your report and the possible conclusions you might have come up with.

Please note that your executive summary might change quite a bit when you eventually submit a draft of your report.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Be sure that you follow the Executive Summary format described in the video.

Please note that you will not be able to see other students' responses to this discussion topic until you post your response.

WRTG 394 Advanced Business Writing

Week 7 Discussion

DQ1 Primary audience and secondary audience

You will share your understanding of primary and secondary audiences with your classmates and how this understanding impacts your business report. Provide feedback for two classmates’ answers.

The purpose of this discussion topic is to allow you to reflect on your audience for your final research-based report and to see how your fellow students' concept of audience may have impacted their reports.

Please respond to the following items:

Please conduct a search on the terms primary audience and secondary audience. List two sources you found and how they defined these two terms.

For your research-based report, who is the primary audience? Who is the secondary audience?

Does the secondary audience impact how you write the report? Please explain why or why not.

DQ2 Plagiarism and business/professional Writing

Contemplate the assigned reading, which complicates our understanding of plagiarism and its meaning. Then answer two assigned question about how this relates to your understanding of business writing practices. Provide feedback for two classmates’ answers.

Here is an excerpt from an article called "Plagiarism Doesn't Bother Me" by Professor Gerald Nelms:

2. In some “real-world” contexts, plagiarism is not only acceptable but is expected. Brian Martin calls this “institutionalized plagiarism.”

Plagiarism is as tied to context as every other aspect of language use. In our everyday conversations—and lectures and classroom discussions—we frequently give information without citing its source(s). Moreover, there exist contexts where plagiarism is not only acceptable but is expected and encouraged. Audience expectations and intellectual property conventions of the community in which the language use occurs determines whether adopting source material and expression without citation is acceptable or not. “Institutional plagiarism” frequently occurs and is accepted without even the lifting of an eyebrow in most daily business communications and in other bureaucratic contexts. For example, if a company employee were to try to compose a quarterly report with original language and organization, her supervisor would probably take her aside and explain that to be more efficient, she should simply adopt the organization and language of past quarterly reports.

Some might argue that “institutionalized plagiarism” is acceptable because the language and forms being plagiarized are “common knowledge.” That may be the case in some instances of institutionalized plagiarism but not in every case. Too often, we decontextualize common knowledge, thinking of it as facts every child learns in school or as information that exists in at least five (or whatever number of) credible sources, as some textbooks have defined it. In fact, content alone does not define knowledge as “common.” Common knowledge is that which is presumed to be ubiquitous or, at least, widespread within a specific community—that is, in context. Not all institutionalized plagiarism fits that bill.

Consider, for example, the annual reports that a company will publish and distribute to its investors and creditors and auditors and public officials and anyone else who might be interested. Annual reports are notoriously templated. They follow the same organizational structure every year. They almost invariably use a similar vocabulary, the same phrases, the same sentences in many instances. Yet, no one accuses the authors, often anonymous or named in the fine print, of plagiarism. No investors divest themselves of holdings in a company because its annual report is institutionally plagiarized.

This excerpt uses two common examples of business writing in discussing ways in which information is plagiarized - or not - depending, perhaps upon the view of those in a particular business setting.

There are two worthwhile questions to consider concerning what Nelms tells us about these seemingly plagiarizing practices of business/professional writing. In a short paragraph, respond to the following:

1) Based on your experience, have you seen such practices in your work? Give an example. Why do you think this practice is rather common in business/professional writing?

2) Where do you think the practice of using the same format, even the same language, for business documents might have come from? Can you think of any examples of when you have noticed the use of what is sometimes called "boilerplate" documents and language?

Please note that you will not be able to see other students' responses to this discussion topic until you post your response.

WRTG 394 Advanced Business Writing

Week 8 Discussion

DQ1 Bad news about your report

For this assignment, you will role-play a decision-maker who has decided against the positions advanced your classmates’ memos. Before delivering the “bad news” to your classmates, make sure to review “Delivering a Negative News Message” and pay special attention to the instructions for this discussion.

You should review the link from Purdue University on "Examples of Bad News Memos" located at the top of the list of activities for this week.

Step 1: Post your research report as a Word or rtf attachment (this is so a classmate can read it);

Step 2: Choose a classmate's research report and post a response telling him/her that you are reading his/her report - only 1 reader for each report, please;

Step 3: (Here's the hard part - and where Chap. 17 helps). In a memo (check Week 1's topic on standard business writing types for correct memo format), tell the person whose report you have read that the company/community/etc. WILL NOT be implementing the recommended solution to the problem he/she has proposed. You will have to be creative in offering reasons why the solution cannot be implemented (money, opposition from stock holders, higher command or management, etc., are typical reasons for such decisions). Here is a helpful explanation of how to handle such a memo:

Bad News Memos

Post your memo as your second response to the person you have chosen.

This exercise gives you practice in one of business/professional writing's toughest tasks - saying no.

Remember, try to follow the advice that you gain from Chap. 17 in the textbook. This will make the task both a little more difficult (the actual writing task) but somewhat easier (the handling of having to say no.)

For advice and resources to help you write a successful bad news memo, see the resources in Content for Week 7.

Doing this should give you all the knowledge you need to give your classmate bad news. :-)

DQ2 Final reflections on your executive summary

As you complete your final assignment, share your responses to a series of questions about the process of business writing and creating an executive summary. Provide feedback to your classmates’ thoughts.

Please watch the short video linked to in Content for Week 8, “Video review of executive summary for WA#4.”

Then answer the following questions.

What is proportional length? In writing your report, did you find it challenging to keep your executive summary to proportional length? If so, what challenges did you encounter?Your answers can be a short paragraph for each question.

To whom was your report addressed? Is this person or group of people likely to read your whole report? Or just the executive summary? Please explain your answer.Your answers can be a short paragraph for each question.

What was your methodology in your report? You can review the video to re-visit how the methodology could be integrated into an executive summary.

WRTG 394 Advanced Business Writing

Week 1 Assignment

Communication Inhibitors Report

In Writing Assignment #1, you will identify various communication inhibitors in the context of your workplace or community, prepare a table with descriptions of the inhibitors, and write a brief summary rating the effectiveness of communication in the chosen context. The analysis you prepare for this report might pave the way for your final paper, the Research-Based Report.

Writing Assignment #1

Communication Inhibitors Analysis

Summary of assignment

• Task: For this assignment, you are asked to collect real-life examples of barriers

(inhibitors) to communication that occur in your work or community environment. You

will describe them, define them, justify them in a table, and then use them to rate your

organization’s communication effectiveness.

• Length: The assignment has four parts. Details on word count are provided below and

in the following pages.

o Part I of this assignment will be 200-250 words

o Part II is a list of definitions. The definitions in this section should be about 30-

40 words each.

o Part III is a table with short examples, names, and justifications. The word count

will vary.

o Part IV will be 175-250 words.

• Format: you will not cite sources in this paper, so you will not use any particular

citation style. In writing up the assignment, please follow the template given on page 2.

Reading Material to Draw Upon for this Assignment:

For this assignment, you will want to draw on the following reading materials about communication

inhibitors.

• “Management Study Guide: 10 Barriers to Communication” by the MSG Team

• “Physical Barriers in Communication” by Rahul Pandita

• “The Barriers to Effective Communication” by Rupal Jain

The items are available as eReserves in our class in LEO.

You can access the articles by taking the following steps:

• click Content

• select Class Resources

• select eReserves

• select the icon for eReserves in the middle of your page.

• in the list of items that appears, locate the articles and download

them

2

Template for this Assignment

Your text should be single-spaced and in 12-point font. Please use the following template when

completing this assignment. Details on each part of the assignment are provided on pages 3-4.

I. Description of community setting, including a description of the 3-4 communication

inhibitors that occur in that setting (200-250 words):

II. Definitions of the 3-4 inhibitors:

III. Table of the 3-4 communication samples and the inhibitors they represent:

The communication example

either as a direct quote or

paraphrase

The name of the inhibitor(s)

that the example represents

A justification of your

selection of the inhibitor

IV. Short paragraph rating the organization’s communication effectiveness on a scale of 1

to 100 and justifying the ranking (175-250 words):

3

Details on Each Part of the Assignment

Part I:

Consider your work or community and come up with 3-4 real-life examples of barriers

(inhibitors) to written and verbal communication that occur in that environment. The

communication examples you come up with can be from documents, conversations (face-to-face

or digital), emails, or meetings.

Then write one or two detailed paragraphs of 100-125 words each in which you describe the

following:

• your workplace or community setting you have chosen to analyze

• the communication barriers in that setting that you are describing

• other details you think might be relevant to the context

Various types of communication inhibitors, and examples of them, can be found in the articles

that are available to you through eReserves. These communication barriers include but are not

limited to the following:

Attitudinal barrier

Avoiding the listener

Channel barrier

Cultural barrier

Different cultural level

Distance

Emotional barrier

Environment

Ignorance of medium

Ignoring the content

Impatience in the listener

Individual barrier

Interpersonal barrier

Language/Linguistic barrier

Low pitch and tone

Noise

Not confirming with the recipient

Not understanding the mood of the recipient

Not understanding the receiver

Organizational barrier

Perceptual barrier

Physical disability

Unorganized thought

Wrong interpretations

4

Part II:

After you've collected at least 3-4 communication barriers and have identified the inhibitors they

represent, define the inhibitors in a bulleted list. When defining your inhibitors, the reading

material listed on page 1 may be used without citation.

The definition you provide should identify the general characteristics of the inhibitor and how it

works to impede communication. The definitions should not mention your specific work

environment.

Please consult the video on this assignment and the two sample student submissions to this

assignment in order to see a demonstration on how this part might be written.

Please use the three articles listed on page 1, which are in e-reserves, for this assignment. Use the

communication inhibitors suggested in those articles.

Part III:

Analyze these 3-4 communication inhibitors as they apply to your workplace or community

environment. List them in a table with three columns:

• the communication example either as a direct quote or paraphrase

• the name of the inhibitor(s) at work in the sample

• a justification of your selection of the inhibitor(s)

Again, please consult the video on this assignment and the two sample student submissions

to this assignment in order to see a demonstration on how this part might be written.

Part IV:

Using a scale of 1 to 100 (with a score of 75 considered average), rank your organization's

communication effectiveness. Justify and explain the score you award. Your justification should

be one to two paragraphs, about 175-250 words total.

5

Submitting the assignment:

You will submit a draft of the assignment to the assignment folder. The instructor will provide

comments to it and work with you on a second draft if necessary.

WRTG 394 Advanced Business Writing

Week 2 Assignment

Synthesis Literature Review

For this assignment, you will select a topic from a list provided, conduct secondary research (or “find literature”) on that topic, and then provide a 1000-1400 word background review and synthesis of the literature that you find.

Background Review and

Synthesis of Literature

Summary of assignment

• Task: You will complete the following:

o Select a topic for writing assignment #4

o Research that topic in OneSearch

o Locate at least seven articles from scholarly or credible trade journals on the topic

o Write a synthesis of the articles.

• Length: 1000-1400 words.

• Format: APA

• Sources: At least seven sources from scholarly or credible trade journals

• Writing Process: You will submit a first draft of the essay to the assignment folder. The

first draft will not be graded. The instructor will provide comments to it. After

receiving comments from the instructor, you will submit a revised draft. The final draft

will be graded.

Continue to the next page

2

How This Assignment Informs Future Assignments in WRTG 394

This assignment is designed to help you prepare for the final paper in WRTG 394. Keep in mind

that your final paper in WRTG 394 will be a report in which you define a problem in your

workplace or community persuasively and accurately and propose a solution or solutions to the

problem or issue.

For writing assignment #2, consider the problem you will address and conduct research in the

library on the topic.

For example, let us assume that you are considering writing a report to the Dean of The

Undergraduate School at to recommend that move from LEO as its learning

management system (LMS) to a different learning management system. In preparing to write

this type of report, you might complete the following for writing assignment #2: Conduct library

research on the topics of learning management systems for schools, online teaching, and

effective teaching in an online environment.

What do We Mean by Synthesis?

In a background review and synthesis of the literature, you don’t take a stand on an issue. You

review what the articles say on the issue, dividing the arguments in the articles into themes.

For example, let us assume that you conduct library research on the topic of learning

management systems for schools, online teaching, and effective teaching in an online

environment. You might find that three major themes emerge from your perusing of the seven

articles:

• common reasons for resisting the move to a new LMS

• impact on faculty members when transitioning to a new LMS

• impact on students when transitioning to new LMS

3

Selection of Topics

Examples of Topics for Writing Assignment #4, the Research-Based Report

A student could write a report on a number of topics. The following are some examples. Please

note that these are examples of topics. You are not required to choose any of them. They are

provided here to help illustrate this assignment.

• a report to your supervisor at work suggesting that email be used less frequently for

communication and that another application be used to improve communication

• a report to your city council suggesting a new smart traffic light system for parts of the city

• a report to the program chair of your major at to suggest changes to one or more of the

classes required in the major

• a report to the manager of your unit at work noting that recycling facilities in the workplace

should be improved

Examples of Topics for Writing Assignment #2, the Background Review and Synthesis,

Based on the Suggested Topics Above

In any report of this nature, some background research is necessary. For example, consider the

following strategies when collecting background research for the topics mentioned above:

• For a report to your supervisor at work suggesting that email be used less frequently for

communication and that another application be used to improve communication, some scholarly

literature or articles from credible trade journals on transitioning to alternative electronic

communication would be beneficial. In addition, articles that demonstrate the problems with

email communication would add to the argument.

• For a report to your city council proposing a new smart traffic light system, some trade journal or

scholarly literature on such systems would augment the report considerably.

• For a report to the program chair of your major at UMUC, some scholarly or trade journal articles

on the skills that a graduate of that major needs in the workplace would be very effective. This

information would greatly enhance the credibility of a report that suggests changes to the

curriculum.

• For a report to the manager of your unit at work arguing that recycling facilities in the workplace

should be improved, some scholarly articles or studies on the challenges of and benefits to

implementing recycling facilities in organizations would be persuasive. Of course, there are

varieties of recycling programs. The articles you find would help define what type of recycling

program you would propose.

4

Length of Your Paper

As noted above, your background review of the literature on your topic should be 1000-1400

words in length.

The sources should be cited throughout the paper in APA format and listed in a References page

at the end of the paper in APA format.

You will find that your synthesis will be a helpful component of your final research-based report.

In fact, if your synthesis is well written, you might be able to take parts of it and copy them into

sections of the final report. The skills and strategies you gain from writing the background

review and synthesis of literature will be very valuable in writing your final research-based

report.

Guides to Help You in Writing this Assignment:

Please read the sample paper in our class from Tom Student.

In addition, the following links provide access to guides on writing a research-based business

report. While the guides provide instruction on writing a research-based business report, for the

purposes of writing assignment #2, you might focus on how each guide instructs you on the use

of sources and secondary research for the report.

• Victoria University of Wellington

• Queen Margaret University

• Murdoch University

• Colorado State University

5

Additional Topics that Previous Students Have Used

Some possible workplace research topics are the following. These are examples to help you get

started. Please contact your instructor to have other topic ideas approved.

• Making a change in the computer infrastructure at your workplace

• Establishing a drug policy

• Establishing an employee leave donation program

• Establishing an equipment donation program for used computers, etc.

• Establishing a company recycling program (paper, etc.)

• Education/retraining for your employees

• Recommending the purchase of standing desks for employees

• Designing a training program for workplace safety issues

• Redesigning employee performance evaluations

• Establishing on-site day care or providing other child care benefits

• Providing gym membership or creating an on-site workout facility

• Creating or revising a charitable contribution policy

• Creating or improving a tuition assistance program

• Accommodations needed for employee/s with specific health issues (for example, migraines)

Some students have chosen topics outside of their workplaces, such as the following:

• Getting additional lighting in the neighborhood

• Changing traffic patterns around your child’s school

• Starting a PTA website for your child’s school

• Constructing a crying baby room at your place of worship

• Offering ESL courses at your church

• Increasing participation in a military Family Support Group

• Introducing a youth sports program to a school or community

• Changing the design of a class for your university

• Changing the learning management system for online classes for your university

Submitting the assignment:

You will submit a first draft of the essay to the assignment folder. The first draft will not be

graded. The instructor will provide comments to it.

After receiving comments from the instructor, you will submit a revised draft. The final draft

will be graded.

WRTG 394 Advanced Business Writing

Week 3 Assignment

Memo to Decision-Maker

For this assignment, you will compose an 800-1100 word memo—a specific kind of business writing. You will address your memo to someone whom you would have to persuade to take action on the problem you want to solve.

Writing Assignment #3

Proposal Memo to the Decision-maker

Summary of assignment

• Task: You will complete the following:

o Identify the decision-maker or group of decision-makers to whom you will write

this memo.

o Consider the secondary research you conducted on your topic for writing

assignment #2.

o Consider what primary research you will need to conduct for your research-based

report.

o Write a proposal memo to your decision-maker asking for permission to conduct

this research.

• Length: 800-1100 words

• Format: A template for the memo is provided on page 2.

How This Assignment Informs Writing Assignment #4

This proposal memo is a preliminary step you take prior to writing your final paper, which is the

research-based report (writing assignment #4). Your final paper in WRTG 394 will be a report

in which you:

• define a problem in your workplace or com

2 Template for Submitting Your Memo

Note: Please use the format outlined below, including the headers provided in bold, for the

memo.

To: [Decision Maker Name(s) and title(s)]

From: [Your Name and title]

Date: [Today’s Date]

Subject: Request to Conduct Research on […]

Summary

[Write one or two sentences in which you mention why you are writing this memo.]

What the Problem Is and Why It Needs to Be Investigated

[In a series of paragraphs, describe the problem to which you are going to propose a solution and

explain why you think this problem is important.]

What Secondary Research I Have Conducted about the Problem

[In one paragraph describe secondary research you have conducted on the problem and solution.]

What Primary Research I Will Conduct about the Problem

[In a series of paragraphs, describe primary research you will conduct on the problem and

solution.]

Why We Will Benefit from My Research and Recommendations

[In one or two paragraphs, describe your recommendations to the problem/situation you are

describing. Include a description of the potential benefits that your organization or community

will incur by authorizing your research and considering your recommendation.]

Conclusion

[In one or two sentences, conclude your memo by repeating the request for authorization and

reminding of the benefits of your conducting the research and considering your

recommendations.]

3

Advice on Conducting Primary Research

When considering primary research, consider the strategies outlined in the following material

from weeks 3 and 4:

• “Strategies for Qualitative Interviews – Harvard University” (from week 3)

• “Designing Effective Questions and Questionnaires” (from week 3)

• “Writing Interview Protocols and Conducting Interviews” (from week 4)

Consider the following examples:

• If you are proposing that email be used less frequently for communication and that another

application be used to improve communication, you might interview fellow employees on the

situation, and you might take screen captures of alternative communication tools to illustrate how

they work and would improve communication in your office.

• For a report on proposing a new traffic light, you might take pictures of the intersection where

such a traffic light could be built, and you might interview residents to get their perspective on the

traffic light idea.

• For a report to the program chair of your major at suggesting changes to the curriculum,

you might interview or survey fellow students, interview or survey hiring managers in the field,

and/or interview or survey students who are majoring in the same field at another institution.

• For a report on recycling facilities, you might take pictures of the office environment to show that

current recycling facilities are inadequate, and you might interview fellow workers about whether

they find it easy to recycle materials at your office.

Examples of How to Make Topics Specific for the Final Report in WRTG

394

• If you wish to write a report to your supervisor at work suggesting that email be used less

frequently for communication and that another application, such as texting, be used to improve

communication, you cannot simply prepare a report on the benefits of texting in the workplace.

You must establish that your specific office has problems in communicating by email and

indicate the benefits of using alternative communication systems, such as texting, for your

workplace environment.

• If you write a report to your neighborhood community association that a traffic light be posted at

a particular intersection, you cannot simply prepare a report on the benefits of traffic safety. You

must show that the specific intersection in your neighborhood needs a traffic light in order to

improve safety.

4

• If you write a report to the program chair of your major at recommending changes to the

curriculum, you cannot simply prepare a report on the benefits of a certain class. You must show

that the specific curriculum for your major at lacks something that your suggested

adjustment will provide.

• If you write a report on recycling facilities at your workplace, you cannot simply prepare a report

on the benefits of recycling. You must show that the recycling facilities at your specific

workplace are inadequate or need improving.

Submitting the assignment:

You will submit a draft of the memo to the assignment folder. The instructor will provide

comments to it and work with you on a second draft if necessary.

WRTG 394 Advanced Business Writing

Week 4 Assignment

Research-Based Report

You will begin a 2000-3000 word, research-based business report to a decision-maker. The report will identify a problem in an organization or community and propose a solution to that problem.

Writing Assignment #4

Research-Based Report

to a Decision-maker

Summary of assignment

• Task: You write a report that does the following:

o defines a problem persuasively and accurately

o proposes a solution or solutions to the problem or issue

o presents that solution to a decision-maker or group of decision-makers who can

implement the recommendation

• Topic: You will choose the same topic on which you wrote the memo for writing

assignment #3.

• Length: 2000-3000 words

• Format: Your sources will be cited and listed in APA format.

• Writing Process: You will submit a first draft of the report to the assignment folder.

The first draft will be given comments by the instructor. After receiving comments from

the instructor, you will submit a revised draft. The final draft will be graded.

If you do not submit a second draft, the first draft will be graded.

• Components of the report:

o title page

o letter to the decision maker (this should be a business letter, not a memo)

o executive summar

2

Primary and Secondary Sources

The report must incorporate the results of your own primary research. When integrating primary

research, you must explain the method(s) you used to gather that research and insert a copy in

your report’s appendices of any collection instrument you used. For example, if you interviewed

some people for the report, you would put the list of interview questions you asked in the

appendix. If you arranged for a group of people to take a survey, you would put the survey in the

appendix.

The complete report should also cite at least seven secondary sources. At least three of these

secondary sources should come from peer-reviewed, scholarly journals.

As noted above, your primary and secondary sources will be integrated into the paper to

explain the problem, to provide evidence of the problem, and to support the solution.

Please note that, if you interview people for your research, you must cite the interviews in your

paper. In the paper, you cannot simply write that you “spoke with employees.” A URL that

shows how to cite an interview in APA citation style is provided in the list of components

for the report.

You might have taken WRTG 393 at UMUC. In WRTG 393, the final paper is a white paper.

This assignment is different from the white paper in WRTG 393. In this paper for WRTG 394,

you are writing to a specific decision-maker about a specific problem in your workplace or

community. The audience is much more focused than that for the white paper in WRTG 393.

Graphics

Your report might benefit from graphics. As mentioned above, pictures of your workplace or

community situation might help illustrate the problem you are trying to address. Graphs, tables,

or charts might help show trends that will persuade your decision-maker that the problem exists.

Please do not incorporate a graphic for the sake of incorporating a graphic. Include a graphic

only if it helps communicate a message in your report.

Due Date

Your instructor will notify you of the due date. You will write a first draft, your instructor will

comment on the first draft, and you will submit a second draft using the comments as your guide.

3

Guides to Help You in Writing this Assignment:

• Victoria University of Wellington

• Murdoch University

• Colorado State University

Topic Selection:

For this report, you will write on the same topic on which you wrote the memo for writing

assignment #3. In addition, it should be related to the topic on which you wrote writing

assignment #2. The secondary research you conducted for writing assignment #2 should be

usable in some form for this report.

You must contact your instructor for approval before changing your topic from writing

assignment #3. In addition, if you do so, you must re-submit a memo for writing assignment #3.

Submitting the assignment:

You will submit a first draft of the essay to the assignment folder. The first draft will not be

graded. The instructor will provide comments on it.

After receiving comments from the instructor, you will submit a revised draft. The final draft

will be graded.

WRTG 394 Advanced Business Writing

Academic Integrity Quiz

Question 1 Plagiarism occurs when you

Question options:

a) present another person’s ideas as his or her own

b) present another person’s ideas only intentionally as your own

c) present another person’s ideas only unintentionally as your own

d) present another person’s ideas, intentionally or unintentionally, as your own

Question 2 Which of the following is not plagiarism?

Question options:

a) Quoting from a source without citing the source

b) Using ideas from a source without citing the source

c) Offering information from one’s personal experience

d) Using information from a website that most readers know about, such as CNN, without citing the source

Question 3 Patchwriting is

Question options:

a) writing in a patch, such as a potato patch

b) using words and phrases from the source text and patching them together in new sentences.

c) fixing up your writing, or patching it up

d) always against school policy

Question 4 Not providing quotation marks around a direct quotation is

Question options:

a) bad writing, but not plagiarism. One should never use quotation marks.

b) acceptable as long as you put the source in parentheses after the sentence.

c) plagiarism because it leads to the false assumption that the words are your own.

d) the best way to cite a source because you are sure to get the author’s exact meaning.

Question 5 Imagine you encounter a piece of text that is 30 words long from page 110 of an article. You would like to use this text in your paper. What should you do?

Question options:

a) Put the text word-for-word in your paper without using quotation marks. Then include the source in your list of references at the end of the paper.

b) Quote the text word-for-word in your paper. If you do this and do not use quotation marks, you can avoid including it in your list of references at the end of the paper.

c) Quote the text word-for-word in your paper using quotation marks and the page number. If you do this, you don’t include the source in your list of references at the end of the paper.

d) Put the text word-for-word in your paper, but make sure to put quotations around the text and cite the source. Note that it came from page 110. Then include the source in your list of references at the end of the paper.



WRTG 394 Advanced Business Writing

APA Quiz

Question 1 Imagine that you have located an article by two authors, Smith and Jones. You would like to integrate this article into your paper.

Which of the following is a correct example of how to cite this source in your paper using APA style?

Question options:

a) The program did not result in an increase in test scores (Smith and Jones 121).

b) Smith and Jones argue that the program did not result in an increase in test scores (Smith and Jones 121).

c) “Smith and Jones (2014) argue that ‘the program did not result in an increase in test scores’ (Smith and Jones, p. 121).”

d) "The program did not result in an increase in test scores” (Smith & Jones, 2014, p. 121).

Question 2 You have found a book by David Brooks, Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There, that you have cited in your paper. You now need to list this source in your References list.

Which of the following is a correct example of how to list a book in an APA references page listing?

Question options:

a) Brooks, D. Bobos in paradise: The new upper class and how they got there. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2000.

b) Brooks, D. (2000). Bobos in paradise: The new upper class and how they got there. New York: Simon and Schuster.

c) Brooks, David. Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There. New York: Simon and Schuster. 2000.

d) Brooks, D. (2000). Bobos in Paradise: The new upper class and how they got there. Published in New York by Simon and Schuster.

Question 3 In APA style, the References list for a paper should

Question options:

a) begin on a new page within the paper.

b) Begin on the line after the last line of the paper.

c) be submitted separately from the paper as a separate document.

d) not be submitted until after the paper has been graded.

Question 4 Imagine you have a book with the following title: Oversold and Underused: Computers in the Classroom.

How would you capitalize the letters in a references list in APA style?

Question options:

a) Oversold and Underused: Computers in the Classroom

b) Oversold and underused: computers in the classroom

c) Oversold and underused: Computers in the classroom

d) Oversold And Underused: Computers In The Classroom

Question 5 Imagine you have found an article on the web that does not have an author and does not identify a sponsoring organization. You would like to use this article as a source for your paper. Your citation for this source in your References list should begin with which of the following?

Question options:

a) the url for source

b) the title of the article

c) the date of the article's publication

d) the word Anonymous


Solution - WRTG394 Full Course (May 2019)
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