Lesson 2:1


UNIT 2: 1

WEEK FOUR  Formal Report & Proposal writing


  • Study writing techniques for Proposals and Formal Reports
  • Study the research process
  • Brainstorm ideas for a formal report


  • Instructor’s Blog
  • Technical Communications:
    • Peer reviewing and editing: 93 – 93,99
    • Peer review reports: 489 – 490
    • Chapter 7:  Thinking Critically about the Research Process
    • Chapters  21 & 22: Formal Reports and Proposals
    • Follow the example of a Proposal on pages 543 – 544.
    •  NOTE:  Through out these pages you will occasionally be directed to refer to specific pages in past chapters – please be sure to do so
    • 301-Hand-out-Formal-Report-Topics1-6-6

2: 1 Assignments: 

PLEASE SEE Due dates on our Course Schedule

  • Formal report proposal addressed to your professor and posted on your Team forum.
  • An email memo to your Instructor alerting her to the post –to be posted on your Team Forum page before midnight [late assignments will loose 0.5 points per day]
  •  Peer review of a Formal Report proposal on your Team Forum.  [late assignments will loose 0.5 points per day]

Instructions for Assignments:

Research  Proposal for a Formal Report

Please begin by re-reading pages 543 -44  where you will find an example of a Proposal for a Formal Report.

In this unit, your task is to do some thinking – brainstorming – about the kinds of volunteer, community, or workplace experiences you might possibly draw upon for your formal report. The report is intended to investigate, analyze, and recommend action on a problem, an inefficiency, or a deficiency in a public setting (a workplace, a volunteer or community organization) of which you have recently been a part. For our purposes, “community organization” can also include the various communities (programs, clubs, learning facilities) at UBC.

This research proposal is being composed for your professor.

Step 1: Read the assigned pages and the attached Hand-out on how to select your topic and keep these questions in mind:

  • Which settings are of most interest to me given the purpose of the report?
  • Which specific problem, inefficiency, or deficiency can I usefully explore, analyze, and help to improve through reasonable recommendations for change?
  • Which topics am I able to explore objectively and dispassionately without resorting to personal criticism of individuals or groups?
  • Can I narrow a topic so that I can investigate it effectively and thoroughly within the target length of 12 -15 pages double spaced?
  • Is this a topic I can illustrate effectively with graphics?
  • Is this a topic I can write about without running into problems of confidentiality?
  • Is this a topic reflecting my recent, relevant, and researchable experience?

Asking the right question

After reading the chapters on the research process and Formal Reports, you need to consider your experiences in the workplace, as a volunteer, or a student. Identify a system or procedure that is problematic in some way: inefficient, environmentally dangerous, socially discriminating, unhealthy, or some other similar category relevant to the situation you choose.

  • What questions do you need to ask in order to investigate the problems?
  • What questions do you need to ask for an analysis on the best ways to solve the problem?

While you are brainstorming:

Be sure to consider your audience right from the beginning. Give particular attention to the example of a letter of transmission in our textbook. While you are writing this proposal for your Instructor, your Formal report will be addressed to specific readers; not to your instructor.

Because your proposal is for your instructor you will need to include background information and details about your reader.

But, again, the final report will be addressed and written for a specific reader or readers who have the authority to act on your recommendations.

The ultimate purpose of the report is to make detailed recommendations according to your investigation and analysis.

Primary sources for research:

Carefully review the sections in our text that discuss primary sources and consider what types of data gathering you can use for the topics you are brainstorming.

You will need to schedule yourselves accordingly; gathering data via interviews and surveys is time consuming and designing your interview questions and/or surveys will become a priority once you have settled on your topic for of investigation and your proposal has been approved by your Instructor.

As always, please feel free to ask any questions or alert me to any confusions via our CHAT page or personal email message. Thank you and enjoy.

Step 2: Use the example of a research proposal on pages 543 – 544 –– and, refer to Part 3 of our text: Organization, Style and Visual Design for reference as you draft your proposal and think about the shape of your proposed Formal Report.

Step 3: Post your proposal on your writing team forum. 

Step 4: Compose an email  memorandum for your professor summarizing your proposal and post the memo on your Team Forum page.

 Peer Review of Research Proposal


  • to carefully examine the overall document and consider your partner’s writing techniques and strategies in terms of narrative analysis, organization, and layout
  • analyze the material for evidence and ideas and note specific highlights AND weakness
  • it is as important to comment on all elements of the document; taking note on excellence as well as offering comments that indicate suggestions for improvements.
  • to indicate  clearly where you think editing is necessary and explain why please

STEPS to follow:

  1. As a writing group, decide who is going to partner with whom; it is good to switch around your partners.
  2. Carefully read the entire document taking note of places where you are confused or have a question
  3. Read the document a second time with a focus on technical errors or omissions: grammar, missing titles or incorrect citations, omissions in terms of the definition assignment requirements.
  4. Organize and outline your peer review following the guidelines for writing informal reports (pages 543 – 544)
  5. Write your Peer Review report following the guidelines on page 490 And refer back to Chapters 10 & 11.
  6. Post your Peer Review report on your writing team forum and include a link to your partner’s assignment at the bottom of the page.

Please post any questions you might have about this assignment on our CHAT page, thank you.