Technical Article/Report Project

The technical article/report project will help you to apply your technical writing knowledge to researching and writing an organizational problem or need, or an important issue within your major area of study. The choice of the project is yours, pending my approval of the proposal. If you plan to remain in academia, you may write an article about an issue of importance to your field of study, applying relevant research and theory to that issue. You may also choose to write a grant proposal requesting time, funding, or other support for your research. If, on the other hand, you plan to work in industry within your field of specialty, you may want to write a technical report about a need or issue within a place of work. The final project may be any form of report, proposal, article, or study. Past projects have included feasibility studies, research proposals, recommendation reports, and manuals.

The parameters for an appropriate project are that it involves substantial research, revolves around a technical issue within your area of specialty, and is substantial enough to sustain a quarter's worth of work. Most of the final reports produced for this assignment are about 10 pages in length (a few are larger).

For this project, you will need to complete the following:

The proposal should be a memo proposing a topic for your project. The topic will be one of your own choosing based on first-hand knowledge of a technical issue or problem in your major area of study or place of work. The proposal usually takes 1-2 pages of typewritten text. You may wish to attach any material related to the project if you have begun this work already or if there are guidelines constraining your work from another audience.

Your proposal should have these parts (which may be rearranged as you see fit):

  • introduction
  • a statement of the topic for research (or the options--some of you may be trying to define a problem)
  • a description of the document you will produce as the end result of the project
  • an explanation of the significance of the work
  • a description of the background of the project or the constraints surrounding it

Project Plan
Unlike other projects in this class, you will have the responsibility to set your own deadlines for this project. The project plan should reflect your plan for working on the project. The project plan will be a short report in memo form (about 2 pages text plus attachments), persuading me that you

  1. have a plan for doing this project,
  2. know what sources and/or materials you will need,
  3. can develop your methods and materials to fit your needs, and
  4. are credible person to complete this project.

I will also be looking at how you consider your audience and situation in your decisions.

The project plan should include:

  • a summary of work completed to date (if applicable)
  • a description of the final document's purpose and scope
  • a list of your research questions/hypotheses
  • a description of research and writing tasks involved in the project
  • a description of the audience(s) --or possible audience(s) for the project
  • a time chart/schedule for this project (with dates)
  • list of initial materials/sources & justification

Progress Report
The progress report will be a brief memo updating me on your progress on the technical report. Its purpose is to persuade me that the project is on track or to persuade me that you are capable of handling any problems that might be occurring. In addition, it serves to inform me of your general progress so that I can better help you finish the project and answer any questions you might have. The progress report should not be longer than one page.

This progress report should contain:

  • a summary of the project's topic and purpose
  • work completed
  • work remaining
  • problem areas or questions

Final Report
The final report should be a finished report ready to hand over to the audience within your field of study or place of work. The type of report you turn in will depend on the type of project you're working on. For example, it may be a recommendation report, a proposal, a detailed progress report for an on-going project, or a research report. This report will be handed in with a cover memo written to me describing the project and evaluating the project's impact on the audience and/or organization involved. There may also be a letter or memo of transmittal to the specific audience to whom the report is written. Most final reports average 10 pages of body text, excluding attachments and numerical/supporting data and documents.

Oral Presentation
The oral presentation will be based on your final report and will be given to our class. You will give the presentation as if you were presenting the final report to the actual audience for which it was written. You will be expected to have visuals and handouts prepared for this 10 minute presentation.


Total Project 45%