Your goal for this project is to describe the problem in detail using as much information as you can gather from as many different sources as are useful. That means you are looking at research gathered by others (e.g., government agencies, non-profit organizations, professional and academic experts), but also you will gather your own data by contacting experts and asking impacted population for their perspective. You will produce a memo that reports your findings, giving readers a robust understanding of the problem you have researched.
Upon successful completion of this module, you will be able to:
- Engage with a problem-based scenario similar to those found in the workplace
- Develop research skills appropriate for addressing a specific problem
- Integrate research into a project deliverable
- Develop professional and technical writing and editing skills
- Practice writing for a specific purpose and audience
- Produce a specific genre of professional discourse (informational report)
Sample Problems: [Instructors: You can supply the topics relevant to your course]
- What is the optimal register layout for Starbuckâ€™s at USF to reduce lines and wait time?
- What is the optimal speed limit for roads on the USF Tampa campus to reduce accidents and delays?
- Which brand of battery will best serve the needs of USFâ€™s Digital Media Commons for their equipment that takes video/photographs underwater?
- Which internet browser performs the most efficiently for an organization with tens of thousands of users (such as USF)?
- Electric car charging stations at USF campuses
- Background information: Put the problem in context. What does the audience need to know to understand why the problem is a problem?
- Explanation of the problem: Describe the problem in detail. What is happening?
- Causes of the problem: Describe the factors contributing to the problemâ€™s occurrence. Why is the problem happening?
- Impacted Population: Describe the people most directly impacted by the problem. Who is the problem happening to?
To conduct your research you may wish to use any of the following methods and resources, or anything else that helps you explain the scope of your problem:
- Newspapers (local, university, national)
- Reports from government agencies, universities, and/or NGOs
- Scholarly research
- Facts and statistics compiled by government agencies and/or NGOs
- Interviews with experts and/or impacted individuals
- Surveys (social media makes doing surveys easy)
- A report in memo format that describes your problem in detail using all the research you have conducted. The memo should have the following section headings:
- Background Information
- Explanation of the Problem
- Causes of the Problem
- Impacted Population
- Works Cited
- Research Plan: A memo that identifies the problem you have selected and your plans for researching it, including research methods and potential sources for each required topic listed above.
- Research Progress Report: An update that describes a) the research youâ€™ve done to date; b) which topics that research applies to; c) what you have left to do before completing a draft