Worth 14% of your course grade
- July 17: Post details on your choices for the project
- July 21: Drafts due for peer review
- July 22: Due date for Project #2 (no forum posts will be due that day)
The Project Assignment
You will do a thorough analysis of the writing in your field. You will survey the kinds of writing people in your intended career do and come up with a comprehensive list. You’ll provide a short description of the different kinds of writing, identify the typical audience and purpose, and classify the kinds of writing, matching the items to the chapters in our textbook. Optionally, you can add an in-depth analysis of one piece of writing from your field as well.
Think of your audience for this project as yourself. Your goal is to learn about the characteristics of the kinds of writing you will typically do in the workplace. A year from now, if you were in the workplace, you should be able to come back to this analysis to remind yourself of the kinds of features to include in a text you are writing.
Step 1: Decide on field of study.
Several of you have double majors, minors, and/or special concentrations. To focus for this assignment, I want you to choose one specific area, rather than trying to cover everything you are studying. In fact, you can narrow things even further by thinking of the job you want to pursue when you graduate. The goal of this project is for you to identify and analyze the kinds of writing you will do when you graduate. Here are some options to help you decide:
- If you are working at a job or internship this summer, you can choose that position.
- If you worked at a job or internship previously that fits your career goals, you can choose that position.
- If you know exactly what job you want to pursue, you can choose that position.
- If you have observed someone doing a job you are interested in, you can choose that position.
- If you want to learn more about a career option, you can choose that position (but it may require some research).
- If you are completely tired of thinking about your career, you can choose a position related to a club or organization you have been a part of (e.g., membership chair for a sorority, regimental officer in the VTCC).
You will tell me about your choice in a forum post on July 17. Details on that assignment will be included in the blog post for that day.
Step 2: Set your goals for the project.
You have the opportunity to aim for the grade you want to earn in this class. The options below outline what you need to do for the grade you want to receive.
C project: Investigate the kinds of writing people in your intended career do and create a spreadsheet that provides details on at least 5 different kinds of writing. For each item in your spreadsheet, include a short description of the kind of writing, identify the typical audience and purpose, and classify the kinds of writing, matching the item to the chapters in our textbook. I started a sample spreadsheet you can use as a model. Your spreadsheet should be complete, well-written, and include no spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors.
C- project: A C project that has a few flaws in spelling, grammar, or punctuation, OR that has problems with sentence structure, OR that seems incomplete or underdeveloped.
C+ project: A C project that shows a bit more effort. You might include links to examples of each kind of text you include on your spreadsheet. They do not have to be texts you have written. Any publicly available example will do. Be sure not to violate any NDAs you have signed.
B project: Complete the C project, but include details on at least 10 different kinds of writing (an increase from 5). Your spreadsheet should be complete, well-written, and include no spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors.
B- project: A B project that has one or two of the following problems: (1) a few flaws in spelling, grammar, or punctuation, (2) problems with sentence structure, (3) seems incomplete or underdeveloped, or (4) does not find 10 truly different kinds of writing.
B+ project: A B project that shows a bit more effort. Include links to examples of each kind of text you include on your spreadsheet. They do not have to be texts you have written. Any publicly available example will do. Be sure not to violate any NDAs you have signed.
A project: Complete the above-average (B+) project above. In addition, choose one of your example texts and write a 1 to 2-page memo to me that analyzes the text based on the characteristics of technical communication explained in Markel, pp. 6–11. There is a list of example analysis memos at the end of this page. Your spreadsheet and your analysis memo should be free of spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors.
A- project: An A project that has one of the following problems: (1) one or two errors in spelling, grammar, or punctuation, (2) problems with sentence structure, or (3) broken links on the About.me profile. Note: Any work that is incomplete or that contains multiple errors will not earn an A or an A-.
Professionalism Reality Check
As always, no grade is guaranteed. Your work needs to be error-free, fully-developed, and ready to share with the intended audience. Be sure to proofread your project before you submit it.
Step 3: Create your project.
Do any research necessary to gather details for your project. You can rely on your own experience in the field, talk with coworkers or teachers in your major, and do online research. Create the spreadsheet (and optionally the analysis memo) to organize the information you gather. Ideally, create your spreadsheet in Google Drive rather than another word processor to ensure that the formatting is correct.
Step 4: Complete the project reflection memo.
In addition to your spreadsheet (and analysis memo, if you choose to write one), you will write a short (usually no more than one single-spaced page) informal memo that explains the choices you made for Project 2. Among other topics, you may want to answer the following questions:
- What grade level did you aim for, and how well do you think you met the requirements?
- What do I need to know to understand the information you have included and the details you have used?
- If you left anything out, tell me why you made the decision you did.
- Why is the design effective? Why are the visuals effective?
Write this memo to me, using specific details from your spreadsheet to help me better understand your work. Tell me anything you want me to know about your project before I read it.
Step 5: Submit all the documents in Scholar.
When you are finished with the project, you will write your reflection memo in the Assignment tool on Scholar and give me the Google Share link(s) to your spreadsheet (and optionally to the analysis memo). I will provide more details in the blog post for the due date (2014/07/22).
Additional Resources from the Purdue OWL
If you’re unfamiliar with the idea of analysis, these pages from the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue can give you some basic background information:
You can also find help with various technical writing topics at the OWL website.
Example Analysis Memos
These examples are a bit longer than the optional memo you can write if you are aiming for an A, but they demonstrate the kind of information you should include. Notice how some of them use headings more effectively than others.
- I – Rhetorical Analysis Memorandum by Bruce Yang
- Basic Rhetorical Analysis by Crystal Bennetch
- Assignment Number One – Rhetorical Analysis by Michael Macheski
- ANALYSIS OF EXXON MOBIL’S BROCHURE by SRINATH YELAMARTY
- Rhetorical Analysis of Castellated Beam Leaflet by A. Schreffler
- Rhetorical Analysis of Science Fair Booklet by Bryan Chambers
- Analysis of OSHA Technical Document by Michael Scruggs