SPECS FOR SHORT RESEARCH BUSINESS REPORT
This assignment will serve as the final project for this course. There is no final examination. As thoroughly discussed in class and relevant emails, you are to prepare a five-page research report on a business topic that has been approved by the instructor. Since you will have to display a statistical exhibit in the paper, the topic you choose must be data rich. That is, it must lend itself to charts and tables that feature statistics related to things like revenue figures, medical costs, legal cases, demographics, etc.
Self-help topics (like tips for successful job interviews and how to deal with a bad boss, as examples) are not acceptable. Your topic must force you to dig deep as a researcher for the relevant numbers, and to “follow the money,” so to speak, as applicable. Papers that fail to do that will receive zero credit. (As a reminder, any extra credit points earned for the course are applied after submission of an acceptable paper.)
The purpose of the project is at least four-fold. Specifically, it is designed to allow you to accomplish at least the following: 1) display your understanding of the nature and structure of a short research report; 2) format a memorandum (memo); 3) refresh your knowledge from the Composition II course of how to conduct basic college-level research, but especially data research related to the worlds of business and finance; 4) demonstrate competence in creating an MLA Works Cited or APA References page. Review info related to the latter in your favorite college-level writing and grammar manual and/or on Purdue OWL (Purdue Online Writing Lab).
Most of the related reading for this assignment is in Kolin’s Chapter 14. Figure 14.4 will be of particular help. You may need to revisit the reading related to how to format a memo, which can be found in Chapter 6 and was assigned much earlier in the term.
If you have done the reading in Chapter 14, you are aware that there are many different types of short reports and many different ways of formatting them. For this assignment, you will specifically prepare a research short report and format it as a memorandum (memo). If you handled it properly, the Business Periodicals Assignment allowed you to collect at least half of the research for this assignment, and to begin drafting the MLA Works Cited or APA References page.
As you write, keep in mind Kolin’s eight guidelines for writing short reports, as well as his basic four-part structure of Purpose, Findings, Conclusion, and Recommendations. This structure may or may not make sense for the topic you have chosen, so feel free to modify it appropriately. If you actually need to develop a report for your current place of employment, use this assignment to create an excellent draft of the research portion of your intended document for your employer. Following are more specifics.
- Prepare the assignment per course guidelines (typed, double spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman font, with one-inch margins).
- Format the report as a memorandum (memo).
- In your Introduction or Purpose section, be sure your central research question is clear.
In other words, clearly define the question you are attempting to answer for a business decision-maker, for your boss or for your reader (in this case, the reader is your instructor).
- In order to reveal the structure of your document and to help your reader stay oriented within it, you must use section headings for the major parts of the report and section subheadings for the detailed discussions within each section. For instance, if you are doing a business report on the federal court decision banning dreadlocks on the job, one of your major sections might be Findings, and underneath that might be a subsection on Legislative History, a portion of the report in which you briefly describe the outcomes of related lower court decisions.
- Use eight to ten appropriate sources from business periodicals, scholarly journals, and/or other appropriate publications. At least half the sources must be from specialty business publications like those identified for the Business Periodicals Assignment.
- Include at least one (but no more than two) relevant visual aid(s) – chart, table, bar graph, photograph, etc.). You may neatly print by hand the primary and/or secondary source information on the visual(s). One of the visuals must feature relevant data. Place the visual aid closest to the page on which its contents and significance are being discussed. Do not simply plop a visual into the paper without introducing and explaining it. If you have desktop publishing experience, you may earn some extra credit points by creating your own chart, table, etc. and importing it into the document.
- Include an MLA Works Cited or APA References page at the end. Do not create a list of URL’s or websites. You will receive no credit for a page that is a string of web addresses. Format all entries as print sources, even if you read the items (articles, speeches, etc.) online. In other words, leave off the web link information for written documents. You are permitted no more than two strictly web sources, such as a relevant YouTube video or website. These types of sources are not
- There is no need for an executive summary. Such an item generally is written to precede a long business report. If you want to try your hand at one, however, develop a one-page summary for extra credit points. Review the relevant pages in Kolin’s Chapter 9.
- Secure the hard copy of the report with a staple or in a folder. No loose pages will be accepted.
- There is no final exam for this course. This final project, which replaces an exam, is due on Moodle no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 2nd. You may submit the final paper on Moodle a week early or any day within that last week, by the deadline. I also require a hard copy by the same deadline. Leave it in my SCI 320 mailbox or in the mail slot on my SCI 284 office door. You must email a copy of the project to yourself, at the time you complete it, as an important safeguard, and in order to document the date and time of completion.
Questions? Call, see, and/or email me.