Module 21 - Proposals and Progress Reports
Part 1: Key Lecture Points, Teaching Tips, and In-Class Exercises
What is a “report”? LO 21-1
Many different kinds of documents are called reports.
As PP 21-4 and PP 21-5 show, reports come in many shapes and sizes.
They can be formal or informal in nature. A good definition of a
report is “a written document designed to inform, analyze, or persuade
an audience about an issue or problem.” Common types of reports are
Recommendation (or problem-solving)
In-Class Exercise: Have students go to your college
library or their workplace or search the Internet for
examples of reports. Have them bring their findings to
class. Give the students 5-10 minutes to identify the kinds of reports these are.
How do they know? Next, have them examine the reports for language and
content. Which are most effective? Why? What qualities or features can be
used as models for their own report writing?
Figure 21.1 (p. 343) shows the three levels of reports. In particularly, students should pay
attention to problem-solving reports (also called recommendation reports), which are very
common in the workplace.
What should I do before I write a proposal? LO 21-2
Finish at least one-fourth of your research!
There’s no point in writing a report if there’s nothing important to discuss. In most cases,
reports will solve a problem the organization has—finding more efficient ways to
manufacture a product, locating a better alternative to a current practice, or purchasing a
cheaper material the organization needs. Before any of that happens, the organization
(principally, the writer) must first determine what problems exist.
Good report problems are real, important, and specific. They grow out of real problems. In
the “real world,” these problems may be brought to the writer’s attention by a supervisor. In
other cases, the writer may notice problems that could be solved.
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