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Report Assignment: Investigative Report on a Career and the role of Writing in that Career

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Report Assignment: Investigative Report on a Career and the role of Writing in that Career

Report Assignment: Investigative Report on a Career and the role of Writing in that Career


No matter what field you work in, you will encounter and likely write reports. In addition, you will be expected to have certain writing skills and to be able to write in other genres. For this assignment, you will work on both: writing reports and discovering more about writing in your discipline.

To understand the role of writing, however, you and your reader will first need to understand the main duties of that career position. For this assignment you will write a report on a career and the role of writing in that career.

Keep this in mind, especially if an entry-level employee does not do much writing: many people are not promoted into management because of “poor” writing skills. Right now, you may not be thinking of becoming a manager. That is completely understandable. But, at some point, whether for money, mental stimulation, or the ability to make more of a difference, you may want to move up the company ladder. And thus, a better focus of this report might be, What kinds of writing do managers in my field do?

Research Questions: What roles and functions will you perform in your career? What is the role of writing and how is it valued in that career, especially by managers and other leaders?

Two major tasks will be unpacking the question and then determining how to find reliable sources.

Option: According to many sources, companies claim that a significant portion of their employees (including recent college graduates) lack the writing skills necessary for the work world. The problem is, few sources identify what this means. As an option, you could conduct research on what employers mean by “writing skills.” In other words, what kinds of writing abilities are employers looking for?

Assignment Characteristics

Audience: Your instructor, who is interested in the duties and types of writing you will do in your future career.

Genre: Report. As a genre, reports seem rather straight forward. The key is presenting your information in a linear, concise, understandable, clear manner. As you conduct your research, you may come across advice or instructions. Be very careful to not to let the advice style seep into your writing. Don’t advise; report.

Purpose: Ostensible purpose of the report: To inform your reader as much as you can in 1500 words about a career and value of writing in that career.

Purpose of the writing assignment: 1) To increase your awareness of the role of writing in your profession. 2) To develop your report writing skills.

Length: About 1500 words of body text. Report Formatting, including headings, citations, and a bibliography in a common citation format (Chicago, MLA, APA).


Paper Requirements

Your paper must include the following items:

  1. Approximately 1500 words of text
  2. Headings and sections
  3. Citations (A final draft without citations, earns an automatic F.)
  4. A bibliography of your sources

Research Requirements    

Consider interviewing appropriate individuals and conducting other forms of primary research (observations, studies, questionnaires). You should also use reputable sources.

Your final draft is worth 15% of your course grade. As stated in the Course Syllabus, your grade for formal writing assignments will reflect the quality of writing and research, not merely the time and effort expanded. In general, I will consider the kind and quality of research you have done, your interpretation, the persuasiveness of your observations, and the organization/format/style/mechanics of the report. Again, keep in mind that you are reporting information not dispensing advice.  (Why would I mention this twice?) Also, use third person, not “you, my, I, your,” etc.

Research Report—Grading Criteria                          









·      Introductory elements provide context and solid starting point for reader




·      Provides a basic definition of the position and then describes what the person does.




·      Findings from research summarized and presented




·      Complete (includes all sections)




·      Information is accurate




·      Discusses how writing valued in your career.s




·      Contains information from at least 5 sources.




·      Relies on strong, reliable sources. (Be careful here, for many articles on the internet are written not by experts but by ghost writers paid to do the most basic research so that a website has an article to attract clicks [which equals money].)




·      Contains citations for every idea that came from a source




Formatting & Style




·      Finds ways to avoid the use of “I”




·      Uses your own words to summarize ideas (quotes are rare or nonexistent)




·      Formatting is reader friendly (sections, headings, visuals, bibliography, captions, etc.)




·      Is in paragraph form (not bullet points)




·      Paragraphs tend to be short




·      Shows attention to details of grammar, spelling, and punctuation (few to no typos or errors; no serious grammatical problems that interfere with understanding.




·      Uses principles of business style to establish clear, reader friendly prose.




·      Wording is precise.




·      Reports rather than advises.




·      Uses principles of layout to establish clear, usable, and even aesthetically pleasing reading experience.




·      Is divided into sections with headings.




·      Follows conventions of American usage and punctuation (commas and periods inside the terminal quotation mark, em-dashes, etc.)




·      Uses consistent citation/bib formatting here. (See if you can break away from MLA and use Chicago, IEE, CSE, etc.)








·      Evidence of significant revision as expressed in differences between drafts and in reflection memos and letters










The content of the report you write is meant to make you aware of the writing expectations of your discipline. Here are some questions you might answer when conducting research:

  1. What communication—especially writing—skills do leaders (managers, CEO’s, directors, etc.) in your future career value?
  2. How can writing and other communication skills contribute to your growth and success in the field?
  3. What kind of writing will you likely do? What genres?
  4. How often will you write?

Sources to Consult

Finding strong sources for this report may be a challenge, while you can do some general internet searches, try to use more reputable sources, which include

  • Trade journals
  • Professional organizations
  • Interviews with professionals in the field
  • Experts’ writing about that field
  • Academic Journals

Keep in mind that you may come across an article on the internet that you cannot access. In about 50% of such cases, you can access the article through the library database. If you are off campus, you will need to download Pulse Secure. Or go to the library homepage and click on Access VPN.


Writing the Introduction

The introduction (about a moderate size paragraph) should discuss the purpose and the research methods—and perhaps the contents of the report.


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