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Collaborative Research Plan

Page history last edited by Jared 9 years, 4 months ago

Collaborative Research Plan


Rationale.  Your ability to successfully collaborate on projects will benefit you in both your academic and professional careers.  The ability for teams to answer research questions in a way that will make a particular communication both persuasive and usable will also be a valuable skill in both your educational and career environments.  This assignment will help you to learn how to identify, assemble and analyze the information you will need in order to complete your collaborative technical report project.


Assignment. Working in teams of 3-4 students, create a 3-5 page Research Plan in the form of a memo written to your instructor.  Use the memo format provided in Anderson, Chapter 23 (pp.470), and the Chapters on Report Genres (24 on Proposals, 25 on Empirical Research Reports, and 26 Feasibility Reports). The purpose of the memo will be to convince your instructor:


  • that your team has a viable project for your chosen technical report, either a Proposal, Empirical Research Report, or Feasibility Study

  • that your team has identified and described the rhetorical situation for your proposed report project including topic, audiences and purpose/goals,

  • that your team has identified audiences---both primary and secondary---for your technical report,

  • that your team has identified effective criteria by which problems and solutions might be evaluated,

  • that your team has identified appropriate research questions which might lead you to valid primary and secondary sources for the completion of your technical report,

  • that your team has identified preliminary research resources toward the completion of your technical report and that each researcher can justify his or her research methodologies to an audience of concerned stakeholders,

  • that your team has established a timetable for the successful completion of your project, including a required draft review by your instructor,

  • that your team has created a team plan designed to describe the responsibilities of the members as well as guide the team to a successful completion of the project.


Assignment Process:


Step One:

Identify a topic and a suitable genre of Technical report.  Briefly, and somewhat generally, what is the question, issue, problem or challenge you want to investigate and resolve? What genre of report (Proposal, Empirical Research Report, Feasibility Study) is most suitable to this topic and why?


Using the appropriate chapter from Anderson, initially describe your Report's Goals in a brief paragraph. 


Step Two:

Use the "Writer's Guide" for "Defining Your Communication's Goals" (pp. 62) to discuss:



**For the "READER'S PROFILE" section, identify at least 3 probable audiences for your technical report project.  These include your instructor as the audience for the memo and at least one primary and one secondary audience for the technical report.  Make sure that you have identified at least one primary (stakeholders and decision makers) and one secondary (advisors or implementers) audience (Anderson Chapter3).  Additionally, briefly describe who you are in relation to your proposed audiences.  What is your position and why have you been chosen to investigate and resolve this particular problem?



Step Three:


First, discuss your primary research methods by identifying the probable types of primary research that will help you write an effective, reader-centered communication.  List at least 2 possible types of primary research per researcher and explain what ones will be most useful to your inquiry and why. See Markel p. 117.  


Next, discuss your secondary research methods by identifying the types of research media and research tools you will use. See Markel p. 117.  Explain why these probable types of secondary research will help you write an effective, reader-centered communication.  Be sure to include the use the library tab for English 3050 in discussing your search for sources (which you can find under RESEARCH GUIDES, then ENGLISH, then ENG 3050/3060) as this asks you to use suitable databases and search engines through the library website.   


Then, list at least 2 research questions per researcher which might lead you to valid secondary sources for your technical report.  Use Markel p. 118 to note both the "Type" of each question, and the suitable "Research Technique".


Then, list at least 2 possible sources per researcher and explain why they will be useful to your inquiry. If your secondary sources come from the internet, they must be from credible professional sites.



Step Four:

Create a team plan (Anderson, Chapter 19, pp.394)which will guide your team through the successful completion of the project.  Include in your team plan the kind of technologies you plan on using in order to draft and revise your documents (such as our wiki, or any other technologies you may use). Also include the following kinds of information needed to guide the team to a successful completion:


  • What are the specific duties for each team member?

    • Who will be team leader?

    • How is each team member qualified for his/her role?

  • How are individual members accountable to the team?

    • What if a team member is habitually absent or late to meetings?

    • What happens if a team member does not finish his/her work?

    • What happens if a team member submits poor quality work?

  •  How will you ensure all researched information will be correctly cited and documented using APA style (Anderson, Appendix A)?


Finally, establish a timetable for both your research and the completion of your project.  Use a graphical illustration for your timetable (Anderson Chapter 14).


Format. Your Research Plan should be written in memo format (Anderson, Chapter 22, pp. 550-552).   Your page design should be appropriate to each section of the plan:  use headings, lists, parallel structure, white space, and visuals to present and interpret information.  This is the first of two assignments requiring a collaborative effort and it will be awarded a team grade (every member of the team will receive the same grade).


Learning Outcomes.  The Learning Outcomes associated with this assignment are as follow:


  • Writing and Designing

  • Reading and Analyzing

  • Researching and Documenting

  • Using Technology and Media



Collaborative Research Plan ENG 3050 Rubric




General Description

Assignment Specific


Audience & Purpose

How well did you analyze the likely audiences for this communication? How well did you tailor this communication to that audience?

Is your document useful and persuasive for these intended audiences?

Has the appropriate audiences been identified in both the memo and in the proposed project?


(Your instructor as the audience for your memo and both primary and secondary audiences for the proposed project).

Is the Rhetorical Situation is thoroughly described?



How thoroughly did you investigate the subject(s) of this composition?  

Did you select an appropriate and ethical research method?

Do you show the results of that research in this text?

Is the Research Plan is solidly based on adequate research?



Does the Research Plan include research questions for both primary and secondary sources?



Does the research include information about probable primary research and credible secondary sources?



Content & Organization

Does your content support your claim / purpose, and is it usable for your audiences?

Do you employ the appropriate superstructure for this audience and purpose?

Do you employ standard forms of technical organization (i.e., moving from general to particular, writing in a descending order of priority)?

Does the Research Plan present specific and usable information throughout?


Does the Evaluation section list criteria that might help your readers gauge the effectiveness of your proposed solutions?


The organization reflects a descending order of priority throughout and remains consistent throughout?


The Research Plan presents a complete team plan designed to outline the responsibilities of the members as well as guide the team to a successful completion of the project?



Format & Design

Is this document usable, attractive, and easy to navigate?

Do you make effective and persuasive use of relevant visuals and graphics (labels, captions, color choice, etc.)?

Do you make effective and persuasive use of page design (e.g. white space, quadranting, headers, etc.)?

Your document exhibits good page design in all sections?
Visuals are well-integrated with text in the sections of the plan?
Sources are properly cited and documented in APA style?



Grammar & Style

Do you write in an effective and efficient technical prose style (e.g. spelling, grammar, concision, tone, accuracy, etc.)?

Grammar and mechanics are perfect, and style is appropriate to a professional audience?




Points Possible


Total Score





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