Book Title
M: Business Communication 3rd Edition

978-0073403229 Chapter 8 Critical Thinking Questions

April 5, 2019
Critical Thinking Questions
1. What kinds of reports do you expect to write in your chosen profession? Why? What will
the likely purposes of these reports be? (LO1)
The goal here is to get students to realize that the nature of the profession they have chosen will
influence their report-writing responsibilities. If they are in accounting, they can anticipate
2. Generate a hypothetical situation relevant to your field in which a business research report
would be needed. Write realistic problem and purpose statements for the report. (LO1).
Answers will vary but relationship to the research question should be clear.
3. What are three to five subtopics for your hypothetical research problem (Question 2)?
Answers will vary but relationship to the research question should be clear.
4. Which of the following are secondary research sources and which are primary? Why?
a. Information from The Wall Street Journal about the unemployment rate.
b. Information from a focus group of potential customers about a new online ordering system.
c. Information about an industry’s use of social media collected by following a blog.
d. Information about salaries collected from members of the listserv of a professional
e. Information about the courtesy of the service staff gathered from a survey of the customers.
5. Assume that you’ve been given the task of writing the report on the topic you generated in
Questions 2 and 3. What kinds of Internet research could you do to gather relevant
information? What search terms would you use? (LO4, LO5)
6. Find an article on the Internet that gives advice about conducting some aspect of business
operations (e.g., improving teamwork, managing employees, communicating with potential
customers). Using the advice in the book, evaluate the credibility and usefulness of the
article. (LO6)
7. Follow a business-related topic on Twitter. What kinds of information can you find that
might help solve a business problem? (LO7)
8. Which databases or other resources would be good sources of information for each of the
following subjects? (LO8)
a. A certain company’s market share
b. Whether or not a company is being sued
See the resources under “How do I find information about companies?” Annual reports,
c. Viewpoints on the effect of deficit financing by governments
d. The top companies, by sales, in a certain industry
e. Strategies for a successful job interview
f. The job outlook in a certain industry
g. Recent trends in business-related technology
h. The potential world market for a certain product
i. Government regulations for incorporating your business
j. The qualifications of a new CEO of a company
9. Explain the difference between quantitative and qualitative research, and describe a sample
situation in which each would be appropriate. (LO9-LO13)
Quantitative research is concerned with numeric data, statistical testing, and generalizing research
10. Explain the difference between random sampling and convenience sampling. Give an
example of when each type of sampling would be feasible and appropriate. (LO9)
A truly random sample would give every member of the population an equal chance of being
pilot tests.
11. Explain the difference between closed-ended and open-ended survey questions. (LO10)
12. Point out the problems in the following sample survey questions. (LO10)
a. How often do you shower?
b. (First question in a phone survey) Which Democratic candidate do you favor, Jean Adams
or Seth Rubins?
c.Do you consider the ideal pay plan to be one based on straight commission? Or straight salary?
d. What kind of gasoline did you purchase last time?
e.How much did you pay for clothing in the past 12 months?
f. How often do you eat dessert with your noon meal?
13. What is scaling? What is the difference between rating and ranking? (LO10)
14. Define observation as a research technique and give an example of a business problem that
might warrant observational research. (LO11)
Observation is seeing with a purpose. It consists of recording data on the subject of investigation
15. Define experiment as a research technique. (LO12)
16. Why does the controlled before-after design give more helpful information than the
before-after design? (LO12)
The controlled before-after design helps account for other influences. In this design a control
17. When would you use a focus group or personal interview to gather information? What are
the advantages and disadvantages of each? (LO13)
A focus group can allow for a group of individuals to generate interesting and useful data. In an
18. What are the basic ethical guidelines for conducting business research? Why are such guidelines
important? (LO14)
19. Jim’s boss asked him to investigate why sales for the last quarter were low. Jim interviewed one of
the sales managers about the problem, and she complained that the new people didn’t know how to
sell. Jim then wrote a report in which he identified the new people’s deficient skills as the problem
and recommended that more training be provided for them. What errors in interpretation do you
see in Jim’s report? (LO15)
20. Explain the concept of outlining as a division process. (LO16)
21. You are writing a report on the progress of your local cable company’s efforts to increase sales of
five of its products through extensive advertising in print and online newspapers and magazines
and on television, YouTube, radio, and social media. Discuss the possibilities for major headings.
Evaluate each possibility. (LO16)
22. In what ways can the format of the table of contents improve reader comprehension? Find some
examples of helpfully formatted tables of contents and explain what makes them effective. (LO17)
You can use the table of contents for the sample report in Chapter 8 to conduct this discussion, but
23. Explain the difference between personal and impersonal writing. Which is “better”? Argue both
sides. (LO18)
Personal writing uses personal pronouns and a prevalence of “who does what” sentences. Impersonal
24. Explain the difference between the present-time viewpoint and the past-time viewpoint. Is it
incorrect to have different tenses in the same report? Give examples to make your point. (LO18)
25. “Reports are written for business executives who want them. Thus, you don’t have to be concerned
about holding your reader’s interest.” Discuss. (LO18)
26. Collaborative reports are always better than reports written by an individual because they use
many minds rather than one. Discuss. (LO19)
Collaborative reports have the potential to be better than reports prepared by an individual, but they do
not always turn out that way. Assuming that the collaborative process is properly planned and managed,
27. “Disagreements in groups are counterproductive and should be avoided.” Discuss. (LO19)
Discourteous disagreements or those based on pure stubbornness are indeed counterproductive. But too
much agreement during the report-writing process is counterproductive, too. Each group member should