Overview of the Analytical Report
This report requires conducting research, collecting viable source material, reporting gathered information, and compiling it into a visually-enhanced report with the expected front matter and end matter (Successful Writing at Work, Chapter 15).
Description of Assignment
Select an event somehow related to a field of study that is of interest to you as your starting point of investigation for this report. The topic you select is thus to be an industry-related event involving possible ethical workplace infractions, misconduct, conflicts, etc. You will examine a particular issue/event to determine what caused the ensuing problem/conflict. And, finally, you will offer recommendations to ensure a similar incident does not reoccur.
Possible Workplace Issues to Investigate for the Analytical Report
· Instances of Workplace Violence
· Enron Scandal
· Financial and Housing Crisis of 2008+
· Case of Sexual Harassment
· Mishandling of Finances
· Insider Trading
· Poor and/or Dangerous Working Conditions
· Unfair/Illegal Hiring Practices
· Unfair/Unethical/Illegal Termination Practices
· Product Recalls
There are three main types of analytical reports: “causal analysis” (Why does X happen?), “comparative analysis” (Is X or Y better for our needs?), and “feasibility analysis” (Is this a good idea?). Your report should develop from one of these three approaches. A model report (Figures 15.2 and 15.3) appears on pages 606-621; consult Appendix A for information on grammar usage.
Guidelines for the Three Optional Analyses
These three approaches reflect different purposes, require different data to be collected, and result in different structures for organizing information in the report. For example, “causal” investigates why the event happened, isolating immediate and ultimate factors. “Comparative analysis” contrasts similar events to determine what differs in the factors or circumstances leading to the event and its outcome. “Feasibility” examines whether a proposed course of action is realistic or desirable, often contrasting several optional courses of action to argue in favor of one or another. No matter which type of analysis is chosen, the analytical report contains common features that lead to a set of conclusions and recommendations that grow logically out of the data.
Research (“Data Collection”)
Information (“secondary sources”) for this report must come from relevant, reliable, current sources (reports prepared by companies, academics, government agencies, and private organizations). In keeping with research guidelines, anticipate biases and be able to account for them. Thus, read informed opinions of different experts in the field who publish in professional journals, as well as comments and responses of community leaders published in national and international news sources. You may want to locate information printed in newsletters of organizations, public agencies, or community action groups. You must also collect information first hand (“primary sources”) by interviewing someone, distributing a survey, conducting a mini poll, or via an email posting. These two types of information – primary and secondary – will need to be summarized, paraphrased, quoted, analyzed, and interpreted within your report. Locate relevant information from a minimum of 4 different and reputable secondary sources, including professional journals, dissertation abstracts, conference proceedings, online databases, international news sources, or textbooks.
BASIC FORMAT FOR REPORTS:
1. A Letter of Transmittal (sample: Figure 15.2, page 606). As shown in the sample, this is an actual business letter. It is written to the readers of your Report, as a way to introduce yourself and your subject matter. It should include a BRIEF summary of your Report’s content. It should also include the appropriate heading and closing material. It should be no longer than 1 page.
1. A cover or title page (sample: page 606).
1. A Descriptive Abstract/an Executive Summary (sample: page 609). As shown in the sample, this is a brief summary of the main content of your report. It should be no longer than 1 page. *It contains basically the same summary material included in your Letter of Transmittal – just written in ‘stand-alone’ format (rather than letter format).
1. A Table of Contents and List of Illustrations (sample: pages 608-609).
1. The Body (sample: pages 610-617).
1. Conclusions (sample: page 618).
1. Recommendations (sample: 618). (These are usually incorporated into the conclusion.)
1. Graphs, Charts, Illustrations (throughout report).
1. References/Work Cited (sample: page 619).
1. An Appendix (or Appendices) – which MAY include any of the following (depending on the PURPOSE and AUDIENCE of YOUR report:
9. survey or interview questions
9. transcription of an interview
9. an evaluative summary
9. a copy of a thank you letter addressed to one of your primary sources
*Refer to Little, Brown Compact Handbook (or a similar reference guide) for MLA and APA formatting information.
*THE FINAL REPORT IS DUE FRIDAY, May 3, 11PM.
· As you work on this Project, I want you to imagine that you are preparing this Report for a committee of readers that is comprised of administrators, managers, upper-level officials of a company that is interested in your subject matter. They hope to improve an aspect of their company’s working environment, and have asked for help in accomplishing that goal. To that end, you have prepared this Report. Because this committee is made up of several very busy professionals, it is imperative that you grab their attention (both individually and collectively) right away. This does not have to be an ACTUAL company and committee; you may create all of that – for the purpose of this Project.
· In order to immediately grab the attention of your readers, you must make sure that your Report is VISUALLY APPEALING AND ACCESSIBLE. Utilize white-space. Make sure to spread your text out: use bullet-points, incorporate pictures, graphs, etc. into the body of your text. Basically, do not completely fill your pages with written text.
· Effectively use visual text – in order to support and strengthen the purpose of your Report, and to make it interesting to look at.
· Remember: How your Report looks is almost as important as what your Report says.