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Technical Writing for November 14th, 2013


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  • 1. TODAY 1) 2) 3) 4) Anderson on researched reports The carry over- report -> proposal Grab your report by the ankles and shake it! And for next time…
  • 2. In Chapter 24 Anderson tells us all about writing empirical research reports. Wait, wait, you say! Dr. Phill! We did that! Why are we going backward? Hang on.
  • 3. Introduction Objectives Method Results Discussion Conclusion RECOMM—WAIT! WHAT?—ENDATION *clears throat* Recommendation
  • 4. Superstructured These are Anderson’s key questions to ask yourself: 1) Why is your research important to us? 2) What were you trying to find out? 3) Was your research method sound? 4) What results did your research produce? 5) What is the significance of those results? 6) What do you think we should do?
  • 5. So… … this is a second important superstructure. In fact this is not precisely the sort of report that you did, as we wrote our reports to build to the proposal. The report that Anderson suggests is a bit different, but working from it, we can bully down your current reports to figure out what is needed and what will be useful for the proposal.
  • 6. How to “shake down” your report to find the skeleton of your Proposal deep down inside.
  • 7. Step one: look at your report. Hi, there, report. How you been?
  • 8. Based on your audience: Why is the research important? If you told us in the report– keep that. If you didn’t, that’s one thing you need to add.
  • 9. What did you want to find out? Did you? What you found out = big part of proposal.
  • 10. Was your research method sound? In other words, don’t take forever doing it, but tell us HOW you found this stuff out.
  • 11. What did you find out? This is your support. Your ethos. This is why you get to give us advice. You now know something we don’t, or have arranged things we know in a way we didn’t think to. SHOW IT OFF.
  • 12. What’s significant here? Think about that day we talked about what makes something significant vs. coincidence or an anomaly/outlier.
  • 13. Example of data. Imagine there’s a survey of 100 Miami students about the Redhawks mascot vs. the Redskins mascot. Data on next slide:
  • 14. 55 people prefer the new mascot for reasons of equity and morality, but they feel it is poorly designed. 12 People like the old logo design but find the old mascot abhorrent. 1 person loves the old mascot and tells you emphatically that every “Indian” he’s ever met loves it, too. 2 people think we should just use the Block M and call ourselves “Miami.” One said it and the other emphatically agreed, adding “that’d be rad as hell.”
  • 15. The green points are useful and meaningful; they represent views that at least a tenth of your sample held. The red ones are not statistically relevant, and the anecdotes included (the one person’s faulty logic and the one participant just agreeing with another who broke the research protocol) are red herrings.
  • 16. Okay, so what are you going to recommend to us?
  • 17. And after you know that, you paradoxically go back to this good ol’ superstructure from the last PPT:
  • 18. Introduction Problem Objectives Solution Method Resources Schedule Qualifications Management Costs
  • 19. So you then can determine the problem– it’s the reason you want action. And you have objectives– the action you want to see. So now you just need to pull this all together with a set of resources that lead the reader TO the action you desire, and just like that your data in report form became the best proposal ever.
  • 20. So there’s this joke… …by a guy named Mike Birbiglia. He talks about being a kid, and being afraid to dive into deep water, but another kid from his neighborhood compelling him, in spite of his fears and trepidations, by offering him the most simple, but undeniable instruction ever. Armed with today’s knowledge, I offer you that same message.
  • 21. But now… ..seriously. Do it. Use these tools—the superstructure, the questions, the other superstructure– to extract the useful material from your report and to build the outline for the proposal. Ask your classmates or me if you need some help.
  • 22. For next class… For Tuesday: bring as much of a rough draft of the proposal as you have done. We will workshop the proposals twice– with one half of each day next week. Also, your reports are due in PDF format today. Don’t forget!