Informal Report
LEARNING OBJECTIVES:
1. Understand that a business report is an orderly communication and as such a report is given some care in preparation.
2. Recognize that the objective quality of a report is its unbiased approach to the facts presented.
3. Understand that the basic ingredient of the report is factual information – events, records, and various forms of data that are communicated in the conduct of business.
4. Appreciate that the report seeks truth, regardless of its consequences.
5. Gain an understanding of the use of objectivity, and logical consistency as factors that determine effectiveness.
6. Understand that as report writers research is valuable in the establishment of credibility.

The information needs of business must of course, be communicated. Because in business time is of value, report information must be communicated clearly and quickly. Communication must be crafted to fit the minds of the intended audience. Specifically, it must be adapted. Adapting to the readers means visualizing the readers, determining who they are, what they think, what they know about the subject, what their education levels are, and how they think. Then it involves writing to fit these readers.

Of all the tasks you must perform as a report writer, communicating the report story to those who should receive it is the most critical. Regardless of how well you work on other parts of the report, unless you communicate the results of your efforts, you fail in your objective. And communicating is not easy!

PREPARATION ASSIGNMENT:Start by studying Chapters 1, 2, and 3 in Lesikar/Pettit and Chapter 1, 2, and 3 in NelsonStudy Notes. Reading this material will help you see the “big picture.” In other words it will help you understand the end product, that of the informal report. It is not enough to communicate your research results you also need to be able to present the results objectively, placing them logically and consistently in time, and structure and relate them so they tell a coherent story. All of these elements along with your interesting writing style will help you in developing an effective report.
Read through all of this assignment. Read though what you need to do and make sure you print a copy of the Rubric at the end of this assignment that you will attach to the assignment.

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ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW:As a business person you will be asked on many occasions to write reports. Remember that reports can take many forms but for this assignment we are going to be writing an informal report. Remember: A business report is an orderly and objective communication of factual information that serves some business purpose. The basic ingredient of your report will be factual information – events, records and the various forms of data and authoritative research that are communicated in the process of conducting business in any organization.
In any business organization, your satisfactory performance of work will usually be enough to communicate your intellectual capacity for low-level promotions. For promotions of high-level assignments, however, you will have to impress your superiors with your intellectual capacity for these assignments. With that said remember you are writing the report to the executive committee and your boss who is president of OXY Chemical. Reread the case below.
The set up: You are the administrative assistant for the president of Oxy Chemical plant
CASE: The Oxy Chemical plant employs a large number of people – 975 to be exact. It specialized in producing and distributing chemicals for industrial use. Indeed, the company’s total quality orientation requires commitment and dedication from all Oxy team members to assure excellent and consistent products and services for all of its customers.
At the moment, drug use among employees seems to be a concern for Gay Mongan, president of OXY, and her management team, all vice presidents of line and staff departments within the company. You are an administrative assistant to President Mongan. Although you attend all executive staff meetings, you are an ex officio nonvoting member.
At the last weekly meeting, the executive committee discussed at length the problem of illegal drug use on the job. All members seemed firmly committed to the concept that company goals could not be met if employees used illegal substances (employees using prescription drugs were excluded). In addition, the committee noted that hiring and continuing to employ workers who used drugs would be contrary to the corporate citizen image the company had worked to attain. Therefore, the committee wants to move forward in its thinking to develop a drug testing policy for Oxy employees. But it does not want to alienate workers and thus attract union organizers. Oxy has been nonunionized for the 20 years of its existence, and the executive committee wants to keep it that way.
President Mongan assigned you the responsibility of conducting an investigation and preparing a report for the committee. She said, “You can see the discomfort we all face with this drug testing issue. But for the good of everyone concerned, it must be done. It’s a given that we will have a policy, but first we need to have a sample of our worker’s opinions about the issue of testing. I suggest you do a short survey before the committee acts. They can use your findings to word the final policy. I will need your report next week.”
Additional case information for the informal report:
Back in your office, you thought seriously about the assignment. You decided to ask a select group of production and white-collar employees one basic question with a number of possible answers.
After conducting the investigation, you now have the results neatly tabulated in Table 1. The next step will be to write up the meaning of these data in memo form for the executive committee. You will use the indirect format and present and interpret (compare, contrast, etc.) the facts.
Production and white-collar employees’ opinions on when drug testing is justified
When do you think it is justifiable to require current employees to take a drug test (Mark as many as may apply)?
Percentage of RespondentsProduction WorkersWhite-Collar WorkersUpon being hired (pre-employment testing)63%82%Anytime, as with random testing16%42%Periodically, as upon returning to work or a regular physical exam
46%
39%Whenever the employee has been involved in an accident
31%
30%When an employee on the job appears to be under the influence of drugs
62%
72%Never12%04%No opinion02%01%(n = 315)(n = 96)

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THE ASSIGNMENT:
AssignmentPoints PossibleDate Due? Part 1Writing the problem statement20June 10? Part 2Purpose Statement10June 11? Part 3Audience Analysis20June 12? Part 4Informal Report50June 16Total 100
PART 1: The Problem Statement provides the opportunity for the report writer to consider the situation and to break it down into meaningful parts.
Writing the problem statement: In order to develop the problem statement we first need to examine the situation, determining if the problem requires an analysis or a reporting of information, answering a set of questions and writing the problem statement, identifies the problem and helps the report writer create clarity concerning the direction that the report will need to take in order to tell the “story.”
Consider the questions:
1. What must I accomplish with this message?
2. Why is this message important or imperative?
3. Who is the subject of this message?
Now write the problem statement. Your problem statement is due at the beginning of class Tuesday, June 10 at noon. Late papers will not be considered.
PART 2: Determining the purpose of the message. A full understanding of the purpose will assist you as the report writer in developing a clear and meaningful report.
Determining the purpose of the message:
Before starting an audience analysis, the purpose of the message must be clearly developed for the report writer. For example, does the writer want to inform, to persuade, or to present an analysis of a situation or problem? The purpose of the message must be extremely clear to the writer. If the purpose of the message is not clear to the writer, the writer will not be able to convey that purpose to the reader.
What is the purpose of the report? Write a complete statement that provides a clear declaration of the purpose of the report you are writing. Your purpose statement is due at the beginning of class on Wednesday, June 11, 2013 at the beginning of class. Late papers will not be considered.
PART 3: The audience analysis allows the report writer to determine how to approach the reader(s) for the best results.
Doing the Audience Analysis:
When conducting an audience analysis, the writer determines the following:
• Who are the primary readers of the message? Is the primary reader your supervisor, a colleague at the same level as you, or a subordinate? Is the reader a decision maker?
• Who are the secondary readers of the message? Again, what is the relationship of the secondary reader(s) to the writer?
• Determine the demographics of the primary and secondary reader(s). Demographics are the statistics concerning the reader(s) such as age, education, gender, or income level.
• Determine the psychographics of the primary and secondary reader(s). Psychographics refers to the attitudes of the reader(s) toward you and your topic. While attitudes are important, psychographics includes other areas such as the beliefs and values held by the reader(s) that could influence actions.
• Analyze the extent of the topic knowledge held by the reader(s). In other words, how much background of the topic must the writer provide before progressing to the basic message?
• Categorize the message expectations of the reader(s), to the extent possible. What are the readers expecting to see? To get a good idea of reader expectations, review your assignment and review company custom for such messages. Reader expectations could determine content, length of report, language, and formality.
Once the audience analysis is complete, the writer will have a better idea of whether to approach the reader or readers using a direct or indirect logical arrangement of content. In addition, the writer will have a better understanding of the basic content to include, the language level to aid the reader(s) in understanding the content, and the formality necessary to satisfy the reader(s) and company custom.
Considering all of these questions develop your audience analysis. Your audience analysis is due Thursday, June 12 at the beginning of class. Late papers will not be considered.
PART 4: The Informal Report
Writing the Informal Report:
Prepare a well-thought-out memo that the executive committee can use in its policy-determining function.
Do your authoritative research this is also known as due diligence. Report writers want to assure their audience that they have done their homework and that they know what they are talking about.Remember this will improve your credibility with your readers.
HINT: You should want to know how other companies handle drug testing and the kinds of policies they have concerning drug testing for current and new employees. Additionally, information about how other companies handle drug testing will provide you with language that may help you connect with your readers. If you haven’t already done so, some sites you will want to visit are listed below.

http://www.shrm.org/TemplatesTools/Samples/Policies/Pages/CMS_010858.aspx

http://www.dol.gov/elaws/asp/drugfree/drugs/screen92.asp

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/drug-testing-laws-indiana.html

http://www.testcountry.com/StateLaws/Indiana.htm

These are just a few sites that might prove helpful to you. You should use caution as you research and choose only sites that are credible.
When we research we need to include a “Bibliography” as part of our report. Your “Bibliography” should be on a separate page and follow the last page of your report before the Rubric. See the example of a Bibliography on pages 246 through 248.
Using the outline below you need to format your report and start writing.
Outline Informal Report

It is easy to make a case for writing this report in the direct format but remember though the executive committee doesn’t have a lot of time to read still this is a sensitive topic. You are concerned that some of the members of the committee are not especially receptive to the idea of drug testing based on their concern about unionization. Your credibility as the writer is not especially low but it is not high either because of your position. It is clear from the case that the executive committee will want to see your analysis so you will be writing the report in the indirect format. An informal report organization that is written in the indirect format includes much of the same information as a formal report. However, the introduction tends to be shorter and headings are used only for the factors. An informal and indirect organization is illustrated below:

I. Introductory Paragraph(s)
A. Authorization
B. Larger picture of problem (background)
C. What you did
D. Why it was done
E. Areas of information investigated (factors)
F. How information was gathered
G. Criteria for decisions (if necessary)
H. Shortcomings (if needed)
I. Preview of report contents
II. Information in Body (use headings ) Problem Statement
A. Information gathered
B. Information analyzed
C. Suggested action
III. Closing Paragraph(s) (statement of goodwill, request for feedback, and helpful information such as contact numbers)Need a Professional Writer to Work on this Paper and Give you Original Paper? CLICK HERE TO GET THIS PAPER WRITTEN

Readers look at your documented evidence and valid reasoning and conclude that what you say is true or not! Never underestimate your audience. If you include even one suggestion of deceptive wording or of fraudulent reason they will be suspicious of your entire report. This is the reason you, as the report writer, are seeking to be painstakingly objective. This is the only way you can maintain your credibility. For this report we will define objective writing as writing in the third person.

Relationships develop between readers and writers when we use first- and second-person. However, for this assignment we want to remember that we are writing the report to our supervisor and to high ranking managers. According to the text book, “Writers using first or second person, the argument goes, may not be a through in testing a truth as they would if they were using third person.

PersonalImpersonalAs you requested, I investigated the concerns of developing a drug policy for Oxy Chemical Company.As you requested an investigation was completed concerning the development of a drug policy for Oxy Chemical Company.We need to be careful as we craft our drug policy as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a set of guidelines that private companies do not have to follow but would provide us with a stable legal position for the company if the court got involved (Labor).The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a set of guidelines that private companies do not have to follow but would provide a stable legal position for the company if the court got involved (Labor).In addition, other regulations are in place to protect our employees. For instance, our employees are protected under disability discrimination for their medications that are prescribed to them for their disability.In addition, other regulations are in place to protect the employee. Employees are protected under disability discrimination for medications that are prescribed for any disability.
Read your entire report outloud.The best way to proof is to read out loud. We tend to catch mistakes when we hear them.
Print your report. Print your responses and questions and attach a copy of your cover sheet and the rubric (found on page 6 of this assignment). You must turn in your “Informal Report Draft” on Monday, June 16. As always all assignments are due at the beginning of class prior to 12:00 on exceptions.Late work will not be accepted!
Your Informal Report:
? Your report should be typed.
? Your report should have standard margins.
? Your reportshould not have any grammar or spelling errors including typos.
? Your report should utilize an easy to read font, such as Times New Roman, in 12 point type.
Your work should utilize a standard memorandum format with the standard memo information in the upper left-hand corner of the first page and a logo for your company prominently displayed on the first page only:
? TO: (to whom are you writing the memo)
? FROM: (this would you your name) followed by your handwritten first and last initials
? DATE: (the date the report is due)
? RE: (the subject of your report)

Writing in BEIT 336: This is a class clearly focused on report writing in the context of business. Your writing should reflect a professional level which includes proper use of the English language (grammar, punctuation, spelling, verb and subject agreement, etc.) and demonstrates the ability to write an organized, well-developed report that conforms to the guidelines of the assignment. If you have concerns about your writing, ISU has two writing centers one is located in Root Hall and the other is located in Cunningham Library both are available to you for assistance. Papers that are not well written will receive no more than a “C” grade and due to the content may receive a lesser grade in accordance with the guidelines of the assignment.
WARNING: Do not come to class with the idea that you will print your report and turn it in at 11:00. I promise you that you will most likely be standing in line at the beginning of class and one of two things will have occurred; either the printer will have broken down, or the line will be long with your classmates standing in line in front of you. At that point it will be 11:00 and we will have started class; you will be considered late for class and counted as tardy and your work will be considered late and may not be accepted.
RUBRIC:

Assignments that do not meet the “threshold requirements” listed below will receive no more that the grade of “C” even if all other requirements of the rubric are met.

1. The report is clearly written in standard memorandum format with the logo for the company prominently placed on the first page only.
2. The report contains the hand written initials of the report writer.
3. The report is written in indirect order and is clearly an informal report.
4. The research data (the table) is directly referenced and the findings discussed. The table is included and the in-text reference to the data in the table is located near the table itself.
5. The report is written entirely in third person and does not deviate from this objective format.
6. The report reflects research that directly supports assertions and findings.
7. The report meets the mechanical requirements spacing, margins etc.
8. All of the sections of the report are detailed.
9. The report contains a separate “Works Cited” page that provides assurance that research was done.
10. This rubric is attached to the back of the report and the correction guide is attached behind the rubric.
This paper is worth 50 points total. Your paper will be graded on the following criteria:
Points5It is clear from the appearance of the report that the outline was used.15The report contains an introductory paragraph that orients the reader and includes authorization, background, what was done, why it was done, factors, how information was gathered, criteria for decisions, shortcomings, and a preview of the report contents.
15The body of the report contains headings including the problem statement, information gathered, information analyzed and suggested action.
15The closing paragraphs contain a statement of goodwill, request for feedback, and helpful information such as contact numbers.

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BEIT 336 Report Correction Guide – Informal Report
Any number marked on your report correlates to the following error/correction

A. Format Errors
1. Wrong format
2. Inappropriate subject (not clear; too vague)
3. Need initials next to your name
4. Need business memorandum w/logo
5. Wrong block style
6. Wrong heading format (see study notes p. 18)
7. Should be single-spaced
8. Header left at bottom of page w/o text
B. Report Structure, Transition & Structural Aid Problems
9. Need preview sentence
10. Poor report structure
11. Poor heading (too general or awkward)/no heading
12. Need parallel phrase/heading construction
13. Awkward topic sentence. Need better setup.
14. Awkward or abrupt transition. Relationship not clear. Need transition word(s) or sentence
15. Incomplete thought
16. Need better summary and/or conclusion
17. Need more concrete recommendation (implementation)
18. Need closing (goodwill and contact information)
C.Wording and Sentence Construction Errors
19. Do not use case wording
20. Incorrect word selection: inappropriate, too abstract, cliché or not in proper context
21. Awkward or confusing wording/unclear meaning
22. Redundant or wordy wording
23. Same verb/adjective/adverb in same or adjacent sentences
24. Excessive passive voiceD. Improper Writing Style
25. Too colloquial(improper business report style)
26. Improper tone
E.Grammar Errors
27. Missing article
28. Run-on sentence and/or need to make into a separate sentence
29. Incomplete sentence
30. Dangling modifier
31. Incorrect or non use of a pronoun or lack of an antecedent
32. Possessive confusion
33. Tense confusion/inconsistency
34. Plural/singular confusion
35. Incorrect spelling
36. Capitalization error
37. Punctuation error
38. Improper use of numbers in text (See text p. 320)
F.Information Interpretation & Presentation Errors
39. Illogical phrase or sentence
40. Contradictory statements
41. Faulty causal inference/logic
42. Basis of comparison not clear or absent
43. Misinterpretation of case information
44. Too vague: be specific (give specific date, task information; explain problems and solutions in detail)
G. Graphic Aids Errors
45. Missing or poor lead-in and/or discussion before/after graphics
46. Split graphic
47. Poor graphic aid quality
48. Graphic aid should be used to enhance writing, not substitute it

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