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Formal Report

As with all assignments, read, print, highlight, reread carefully!

As a crucial first step, and as soon as you possibly can, read chapter 21, on formal analytical reports: you will need information from the chapter to build a successful formal report.

The formal report is a collaborative project larger in scope than any single assignment we've done so far, and its grade counts double what any of the collaborative or individual projects have.

The project leader for this assignment is Patty Harrison, and she will be in touch right away about scheduling a planning meeting.

The assignment:

Develop a formal report on paper recycling, with particular attention to recycling programs at Georgia colleges and universities and offering brief recommendations for implementing more comprehensive paper recycling efforts at Middle Georgia State. MGA currently does some aluminum can and plastic bottle recycling, but little extensive recycling of paper (if any). Your report should cover only paper recycling, and you should consider in your recommendations where recycling collection points would be most successful and the least inconvenient for faculty, staff, and students. See report specifics below.

Project requirements:

  • You must have at least two meetings, one early in the week and one later (Friday absolute latest, Thursday more ideally). How you do these meetings is up to you: in person, by Hangouts or Skype, or three-way telephone call, but do let me know when they are scheduled and how you plan to conduct them (I will not attend, however, unless you invite me).

  • You should construct a planning sheet spelling out all key components of the report with deadlines and work assignments as we have done for the last two collaborative projects.  You can use one of the existing planning documents as a template, or you can use some other format entirely, but do be sure that it accounts for all phases and aspects of the report and gives specific deadlines. I would think this sheet would be the responsibility of the project leader, but all three of you can certainly contribute or offer suggestions.

  • You should compose an audience and use profile sheet, with the audience being various MGA administrators, both in physical plant and in the business office. As part of this profile, you should include a succinct "audience and purpose statement" (see Technical Communication pp. 18 and 497).

  • You must conduct significant and moderately extensive research, including brief personal interviews with university staff in areas that make sense (in areas likely to generate significant paper recycling (the library, large academic units such as English, etc.). Your works cited list should include between 12-15 quality sources (use only credible sources from the web, and you'd probably do well to consult scholarly or government publications in addition to merely web-searching). See Technical Communication pp. 497-500 on adequate, balanced, and unbiased data.

  • Visuals are not required, but if they are effective in reporting the information you discover, by all means, include them.  Be sure that any visuals are truly impactful—nothing "cute" or frivolous would be at all appropriate.

  • Do not at this point get too involved with specifics of cost, who will administer and service recycling collections across campus, etc. Those matters will be more pertinent in our last assignment of the semester, the Formal Proposal due during the week of final exams. . . .

  • I have created a new Google Docs folder for this report and given you all editing privileges. You do not have to use this project folder, though you should avoid having dozens of email exchanges throughout the week.  If you decide to communicate primarily through email, limit your communications to a reasonable number of messages and in defined time ranges (for submission of drafts, for revision suggestions and revised drafts, and for final editing). 

  • You are doing this project yourselves, but you can always use me as a resource!  I will be happy to help as much as you'd like me to.

  • Each of you should submit identical final reports in a single PDF document to the Formal Report dropbox in D2L The project leader should email me the audience and use profile as soon as it is completed.

Report specifics:

As an early step in the process, you will need to determine exactly what questions to research.  You will consider additional matters, but three of particular importance are a) whether paper recycling is truly beneficial to the environment, b) what does the actual paper-recycling process involve (beyond collection of the materials), and c) is the carbon footprint produced by paper recycling outweighed by its supposed or potential benefits to the environment.

The final draft of the report should include each of the following, in order:

bulletTitle page
bulletTable of contents
bulletList of tables and figures (if any)
bulletAbstract (100-150 words)

bulletExecutive summary (300-350 words)
bullet12-15 (not 9-10) page report (the text of the report itself should be roughly 3100 words minimum).
bulletAppendix (if needed)
bulletGlossary (if needed)

bulletBibliography (Works cited list in MLA style)

Separate from the report, include a transmittal letter addressed to Nancy Stroud, MGA's Executive Vice President for Finance & Operations.

Use me as a resource to help with any part of this report! Email me if you have quick questions or to set up a meeting or phone call if needed.

Each of you, separately, submit the finished product, comprised of transmittal letter and the full report in a single PDF, to the Formal Report dropbox in D2L.