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Learning Outcomes from the Analytical Report Unit Understand what makes reports effective (in general) Be able to articulate a purpose statement Be able.

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Presentation on theme: "Learning Outcomes from the Analytical Report Unit Understand what makes reports effective (in general) Be able to articulate a purpose statement Be able."— Presentation transcript:

1 Learning Outcomes from the Analytical Report Unit Understand what makes reports effective (in general) Be able to articulate a purpose statement Be able to create a structure for decision making Be able to engage in critical analysis and to draw conclusions from your analysis of data Be able to create a report and include its necessary components

2 Analytical Reports Are about Thinking Your ability to engage in “critical anslysis” implies that you can do the following: Articulate questions Search appropriate sources to address those questions Articulate your evaluative criteria Evaluate and interpret your findings Draw conclusions and make recommendations

3 Class Activity Think about an important, recent purchase you made. How did you go about making the decision?

4 Information vs. Persuasion vs. Analysis An informational report simply relays information –No problem to be solved except the need for more information –Contextless, audienceless = fictional A persuasive report implies a lack of context –Consider how an outcome will be different depending on its context –Persuasive reports usually involve hypothetical ideal situations An analytical report provides a foundation for decision-making. –Who cares about the information in the report? –Why do they care?

5 Analytical reports are all about coming up with the best course of action in any given situation.

6 Why are purpose statements important? They clearly identify the subject and scope of your report. They indicate the report’s purpose to its readers. Provides a “clear focus” for your report Allows you to define the content and organization of the report Tells readers how the report will fulfill their need(s) for information

7 The format of a purpose statement You should articulate your purpose statement in a single sentence. –“The purpose of this report is...” Make reference to the problem you address in the report Explain how your report will address the issue at hand.

8 Canadian geese are interesting birds.

9 Canadian geese are remarkable for their ability to fly and honk simultaneously.

10 Canadian geese are interesting birds. Canadian geese are remarkable for their ability to fly and honk simultaneously. Canadian geese are causing problems for cities and golf courses.

11 The purpose of this report is to recommend strategies that cities and golf courses can take to deal with the problem of the increasing Canadian geese population.

12 Class Activity: Identify the true purpose statement(s). 1.LED lighting is a feasible alternative to fluorescent lighting. 2.In this report, I evaluate the feasibility of LED lighting as an alternative to fluorescent lighting. 3.LED stands for light-emitting diode. 4.The purpose of this report is to consider whether LED lighting is a reasonable alternative for fluorescent lighting.

13 Class Activity: Identify the true purpose statement(s). 1.Yucca Mountain is the United States’ best option for the disposal of nuclear fuel wastes. 2.Nuclear fuel waste should be stored underground. 3.I don’t think we should use nuclear fuel. 4.The purpose of this report is to consider alternatives for nuclear fuel waste disposal and to recommend that the U.S. move forward with its plans to bury nuclear fuel waste in Yucca Mountain.

14 Class Activity: Identify the true purpose statement(s). 1.The purpose of this report is to recommend that MSU use student fees to support the proposed new campus recreation facilities. 2.MSU should use student fees to support the proposed new campus recreation facilities. 3.The purpose of this report is to evaluate the feasibility of MSU’s proposal to build new campus recreation facilities. 4.Students cannot bear the additional costs proposed by MSU’s administration.

15 MSU parking Gage Complex cafeteria food Chronic wasting disease Samuel Alito Nutrasweet Skateboards and sidewalks Employee absenteeism Green construction Dual processor systems Christopher Columbus More...

16 Class Activity Write two purpose statements on the same subject. One statement should be for an informative or persuasive report and one statement should be for an analytical report.

17 Class Activity: Identify key words in purpose statements that indicate an analytical report

18 The Structure of Decision-Making in Analytical Reports NOT pro/con NOT hypothesis-based An analytical report implies an openness to discovery, which hypotheses and pro/con decision-making structures do not accommodate –What is the reason? –Which is the best? –Is this a good idea?

19 Situation: you’re in the choir and you’ve volunteered to do some work to consider the possibility of having the choir participate in a European tour in Consider how the following decision-making structures impact the results of the report: Pro/con Hypothesis Is a 2007 European tour feasible (i.e. a good and practical idea)?

20 Choir trip: Pro/con argument ProsCons Would give choir members a chance to broaden their boundaries. Expensive Would increase the stature of MSU’s choir. The choir’s last trip was to Europe. Would be a good experience for the members and directors. Next year’s seniors wouldn’t be able to participate.

21 Choir trip: Hypothesis Hypothesis: The MSU choir should participate in a European tour in Decision-making structure: Reason #1 it should participate. Reason #2 it should participate. Reason #3 it should participate.

22 Choir trip: Feasibility 1.Is Europe the best place to go? 2.Is 2007 the best time to go? 3.When in 2007 would we tour? 4.Which choirs would participate? 5.How would we fund the trip? 6.Are members and directors in support of the idea? 7.Are there any political problems involved in having the choir take a 2007 European tour? 8.Where, in Europe, would we perform?

23 Types of Reports for Decision-Making The text identifies three types of reports for decision-making: 1.Causal analysis (why does “x” happen?) 2.Comparative analysis (is “x” or “y” better?) 3.Feasibility analysis (is “x” a good idea?) Each of these types of reports is driven by different key questions.

24 Structure of a Causal Report Why does “x” happen? 1.Identify the problem. 2.Identify possible causes of “x” happening. 3.Evaluate those causes. 4.Identify the most likely cause. 5.Recommend a course of action. Scenario: Employee morale at Company Yuck is low. Why? And what can the company do to increase morale?

25 Structure of a Comparative Report Is “x” or “y” better? 1.Identify the problem. 2.Identify “x” and “y” (and “z”...) 3.Identify evaluative criteria. 4.Evaluate “x,” “y,” and “z” according to your criteria (see p. 639, #4). 5.Recommend “x,” “y,” or “z.” Scenario: Company Yuck plans to purchase a new die-cutting machine. Which machine will be best?

26 Structure of a Feasibility Report Is “x” a good idea? 1.Identify the problem. 2.Identify “x” as a prospective solution. 3.Evaluate “x” according to as many criteria as seem relevant/important. 4.Recommend “x” – or not. Scenario: Company Yuck is considering implementing a wellness program for its employees. Should they?

27 See page 639 for incredibly useful “Guidelines for Reasoning through an Analytical Problem.”

28 Making a Compelling Argument Avoid bias Present an accurate and balanced argument by fairly and ethically considering the data you find in your investigation. Explain why your criteria/questions/possible causes are important – why they’re the right criteria. Weigh criteria/questions/causes evenly, giving each the same consideration/critical evaluation. Make sure that your recommendation is consistent with your findings. Don’t conveniently disregard disagreeable data as you formulate your recommendation.

29 Analytical Report Format: Introduction Engage and orient the audience Provide brief background Identify your topic’s origin and significance Define or describe the problem or issue Explain the report’s purpose Briefly identify your research methods Explain data omissions List working definitions but if you have more than two or three, place them in a glossary List the topics you have researched Briefly preview your conclusion

30 Analytical Report Format: Body Describe and explain your findings Present a clear and detailed picture of the evidence, interpretations, and reasoning on which you will base your conclusion Divide topics into subtopics Use informative headings as aids to navigation (See page 639 and the previous slides for decision-making structures)

31 Analytical Report Format: Conclusion Summarize to accurately reflect the body of the report Offer an interpretation consistent with the findings in the summary Present recommendations that are consistent with the report’s purpose, evidence, and interpretations. Do not offer new facts in the conclusion.


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