Final Report Assignment Explanation
Your decision on a topic should be one that you take some time to consider. You need to make sure that the scope of your endeavor is reasonable for the amount of time that you have to complete the project. Weekly assignments early on in this process will help you ensure that you have a strong topic to work with, and intermediate assignments will help you assemble all the necessary components to be successful in this endeavor.
A research report is a different type of document than you might have encountered in other courses up to this point. It is not like an argumentative essay, where you are arguing for your impassioned opinion, like you might write in a paper about animal abuse or the death penalty. This type of document requires a more objective take on your discussion, while still firmly outlining your take on your research.
To create this document, you will need to ask a question about something related to your major; read relevant, current articles to get information about the subject; perhaps interview an expert or two on the subject; and write about the answers to your original question that you have discovered in your reading. This writing should be done in a clear, objective manner, aided by strong, relevant visuals. And, above all, a research report should be useful to other people.
This project is NOT intended to be a technical manual or a set of directions or a list of data. You will pose a problem, investigate it, taking careful notes as you read, and then organize your findings into a coherent document that explains what you have been investigating, what you have found, and what recommendations, if any, you can make.
You may discover that your original question cannot be answered, at least not by you, because it would require too much technical expertise, or you may find that your question cannot be answered because the answer is not known. These are both perfectly valid conclusions to your paper, so long as you show how carefully you have proceeded and document why the question cannot be answered.
Formal Report Components:
The final document will include:
- Front Matter: Letter of Transmittal (addressed to the primary audience of your report) and Title Page
- Body: Introduction Report Body/Discussion Sections (particular sections will be determined by your topic and report type), Recommendations, and Conclusion
- Back Matter: Reference list
- AT LEAST TWO RELEVANT VISUALS are required for this report. You do not have to create your own unique graphic or picture: a graph, table, or chart will do just fine. And, you may use a relevant visual from your reading, so long as you cite its sources in your paper. Each visual must be labeled, referred to in your text, and discussed thoroughly in the text. In short, it must be a meaningful part of the overall paper. The key is relevance–a visual should add to the text, be fully discussed in the text, and help the reader to take in information at a glance. This is not simply a way to improve the aesthetics of your document. (Please note: If you use an image you find online, it is your responsibility to ensure that it is a high quality, non-pixelated image.)
- DOCUMENTATION will be the most important aspect to a strong report. You are going to be relying on the knowledge from the experts and scholars’ work you are reading, and you need to make sure you give them credit for their ideas. To do that, your report must thoroughly document all your outside research through parenthetical in-text citations and your Reference list. As with other assignments this semester, we will be using APA for this assignment. I will provide you more useful tips about documentation as we move through the semester.
- YOU WILL ALSO COMPLETE A FULL DRAFT of your report before submitting the final version of your document. This will allow you a chance to use my feedback to make appropriate adjustments to your document. This draft will be worth 50 points of your final grade.
- THE FINAL REPORT SUBMISSION DRAFT cannot be submitted until after I have approved and returned your draft version with suggestions. NO RESEARCH REPORT WILL BE GRADED UNLESS I HAVE ALREADY READ AND RESPONDED TO THE DRAFT.