This report begins with the documents you included in your Document Chart. For this report, you will decide on three significantly different documents and complete a more in-depth analysis of each document concluding with a discussion on these documents written for a hiring committee. Based on the application information you submitted for a job in your career area, you have made it to the second step in the review of applicants process. You have been asked to submit a report and a presentation:
- A report in traditional Word format that describes the important purposes, audiences, genres, styles, and other specialized aspects of writing in the field you chose. More info is provided below.
- A digital presentation based on the info from the Word report. Info for the digital presentation is provided in the Document Analysis Presentation description.
The purpose of this report is for you to examine in depth important documents produced by/for individuals in your future career field and relay the information to a specific audience. This is your opportunity to show the hiring committee that you are informed and up-to-date regarding the types of documents that are used in your career area. The assignment addresses SLOs 1,2,3.
- First decide on three (3) significantly different documents from your Document Chart.
- Use the memo report on pages 186-8 (4th edition 163-5) as the model for your report.
- Make sure to review pages 181-5 (4th edition158-182) on how to write reports.
- So far we have looked at the style of the documents gathered, but for this report (and to get the job) you will need to gather some more information. You won't need a lot more info. What you use for this report will be more about what the best info is related to the documents and career area you are discussing. So rather than thinking in terms of how many sources/what types of sources to use, think about what will be interesting to the committee, and what will show the committee that you know what you are talking about. Some things you might look for include:
- Are there any current trends in how these kinds of documents are being used?
- Are there current (within the last year) discussions of good/failed uses of these kinds of documents?
- How do these documents help to get the job done?
- What ethical considerations/guidelines need to be followed?
- How does the need to communicate within digital environments affect the development/design/delivery of documents?
- Is there a need to consider some type of international/transnational audience?
- Don't limit your thinking about where you would look for information to what you may have had to do for other coursework assignments. This is not your typical "research" paper you've probably done too many times. Good info comes from many places. Don't forget options such as
- Talking to someone who is currently in a job/using these types of documents (and you would list the person as an interview in your reference list)
- Listservs related to the career area
- Guidelines for writing in a certain area. For example, writers who work as technical writers probably use the IEEE standards for writing technical reports, which will also include ethical guidelines.
- You have a model to follow from the text, but you will have to decide how to arrange and present your information. You will definitely want to use headings. Pay close attention to the info under "Developing Reports" on page 185 (4th edition 162). I will not tell you exactly how to write your report. You may be used to that kind of direction for much of the writing you do in your coursework, but in the real world, writers have to decide how to present/organize info.
- As you discuss each of the 3 documents you chose for the report, I would suggest that you briefly describe the document. Your audience needs this context to be able to understand and follow the other things you say about the document and writing in your field. Use the info from the Style Heuristic to help you with this part. This is not about reporting everything you put on the worksheet though. Think about your audience and what info would be most information/interesting to the committee and summarize the info so the readers will have a context for what the document is. After that you can talk about the document using the other info you gathered to learn more about this type of document and writing in your field.
- Use examples to make your points clear. You never want your readers to have to guess about what you are trying to convey to them, and examples are always very helpful in providing a context that the reader can connect to and better understand the info. An important area where most beginning tech writers stumble is the need to support what is being discussed in the documents, especially reports. For example, in this Document Analysis Report it is not enough to say “The journal article uses specific jargon, where the website uses a more reader friendly language.” And then go on to the next topic. There should be an example taken from the documents to support the statements you are making. “Examples of these are from the article, when the author says, 'Zombies are caused by an extremely virulent mutant virus' and from the website, 'Zombies are caused by blue cooties'”
- As you explain points, another good way to help your reader understand is to use Screen Shots in your document. They are easy to do. Just Google how to do screen shots based on whatever computer/program version you use.
- Make sure that it is completely obvious where your information comes from. Appendix B provides information on using sources in a report. Consider these as “reports using multiple sources of information” (p. 382/4th edition p. 347). Choose which System (APA, Chicago, IEEE) you want to use to document your sources of information. Use the Memo on pages 209-218 in the 4th edition as an example of how to list your sources. The memo is longer than the one you are to follow, but this longer memo has the references at the end, so that will give you an example of how to do that part. (For the 3rd edition just look for the longer report in the chapter on "Technical Reports.")
- A major part of technical communication is providing the reader enough information so the reader can decide on something based on the document. In this case you want the hiring committee to decide you are the best candidate because you have the best and most applicable info about writing in your field. Chapter 4 provides information on achieving a readable style, which is an expectation of the report. An important area of Chapter 4 is on The Paragraph from pages 57-60 (4th edition 50-55).
- Appendix A (p. 369) (4th edition p. 334) provides information on "Grammar, Punctuation, and Usage." This will be a formal document and will be graded as thus so make sure you do a good job of editing the entire report.
- Submit each version of the report as a pdf.