The Formal Analytical Report

Overview


Complete the formal analytical report that you described in your proposal. The report must do the following:

  • define a problem,
  • analyze the criteria for a satisfactory solution,
  • propose one or more alternative solutions, and
  • argue for the solution that satisfies the criteria best.

The problem may involve an institutional, technical, or public policy issue that you are working on or have worked on in your other courses; or it may be something related to an organization to which you belong; or it may be related to a job that you’ve held or now hold; or it may be a new area that you are interested in.

The solution to the problem may involve coming up with an original design, choosing between available alternatives, or providing needed information. See this report as a place to demonstrate everything that you’ve learned so far about writing in this course.

Details


The Rhetorical Situation

For the purposes of this report, you should find a real situation in which you are writing the report to a primary reader who has the authority to reject or use your work. So the primary goal of your report is to convince this reader to adopt your recommended solution(s). The report may also have secondary audiences as well; for example, it may serve as a plan for the technical staff who will implement the solution and as an historical record of the decision-making process for future readers.

The problem situation should be real. A real situation is one that you have actually encountered: it might involve a current or former employer, a specific office or department within the University, or a service group to which you belong.

Audience and Style

Your report should be written directly to a person within your real situation who has the authority to decide whether to accept your recommendations. Your tone should be appropriate to the situation–in most cases it will be fairly formal.

Body of Report

All reports should introduce a problem, analyze criteria for a solution, evaluate several solutions against the criteria, and recommend the best solution(s).

Prefatory and Supplemental Elements

Your report should include the following:

  • a letter or memo of transmittal
  • a cover page
  • a title page
  • an executive summary
  • a table of contents
  • at least two visuals
  • references
  • appendices

Length

Your report should be as long as it needs to be, but will probably run about 8  pages (2,000 words), excluding the front and end matter. I would prefer that you keep it under 20 pages (5,000 words).

Evaluation Criteria


Content.  The report introduces a focused, significant problem, analyzes criteria for a solution, analyzes at least one solution and recommends the best course of action. The report contains all the research necessary for a persuasive argument. The analysis is logical and complete. The audience is clearly identified and appropriate.

Prefatory and Supplemental Parts. The report contains all the required prefatory and supplemental parts. Each part is well-written, appropriate to the rhetorical situation and follows the guidelines recommended in the textbook and in class.

Organization.  The entire report is clearly, obviously and effectively organized according to the rhetorical situation.

Readability and Design.  The report is highly readable, utilizing effective headings, subheadings, lists, previews, reviews and other transition elements. The report is attractively and professionally designed.

Style and Tone.  The report is well written and more formal in tone. There are very few, if any, sentence-level or grammar errors. The report uses appropriate vocabulary.  Each sentence is clear and effective. Paragraphs are short, unified and coherent.

Visuals. The report contains visuals. The visuals are appropriate in content, type and emphasis. The visuals are incorporated correctly into the text, according to the guidelines set forth in the textbook and in class.

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