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Topic: Informative Report
Order Description
Your Informative Report will be 5–8 double-spaced pages and will be structured, as many formal reports are, in extended memo format [For a refresher on memo format, see pg. 103]. It will be directed to a particular public official to whom you will provide information about a topic that relates to race in U.S. society. You must incorporate at least five credible sources that you find through independent research. You may also utilize the sources found in this chapter, but these must be in addition to the outside sources.
The purpose of an informative report is to synthesize information from several sources and present it in an informative and readable fashion. This type of writing is common in diverse settings, including businesses, non-profits, and governmental organizations. For example, Congress has an entire department, the Congressional Research Service (CRS), that it directs to find information prior to informational and policy related hearings as well as when requested by individual representatives and senators. Here is the first of many research tips in this unit: CRS reports are public information available to you through the library, and are an excellent source of information for your own report. In rough terms, you will be doing exactly what the CRS does when directed to research a topic. You will assemble the best available sources and information. You will objectively summarize those sources and that information. Then you will synthesize your research and summaries into a single report containing what you have learned. As we work on developing strong research practices, we will discuss how to choose the best sources and how to provide the best, most reliable evidence to your audience.
WHO WILL READ YOUR REPORT?
At the heart of informative writing is the issue of audience: who needs to know the information you have found and why do they need to know it? For this assignment, you will be writing to a public official of your choice. You could write to officials at this university, local officials, state officials, or officials back in your hometown. You could write your congress- person, your senator, or the President of the United States. Each of these audiences requires different information, however.
For example, if you are writing to the President of Kansas State University, you might provide a synthesis of information on how race structures access to education. However, you have to think about what information is most useful to this particular reader. While national data might provide some insight, racial demographics vary between states, so you might look instead for more specific data to the state of Kansas. In general, you should always seek to tailor your information most specifically to the population you are addressing (i.e. state data for state officials, national data for federal officials). Additionally, you will want to consider what your target audience likely already knows, and tailor your informa- tion to provide the most important and relevant information for that particular audience. You will also need to be attentive to how current your information is, making sure that you are providing relevant information on which an elected official might act. For example, while the education segregation levels in Kansas in 1967 may be important information, it may not be especially relevant to the current President of Kansas State University in consid- ering Your Informative Report will be 5–8 double-spaced pages and will be structured, as many formal reports are, in extended memo format [For a refresher on memo format, see pg. 103]. It will be directed to a particular public official to whom you will provide information about a topic that relates to race in U.S. society. You must incorporate at least five credible sources that you find through independent research. You may also utilize the sources found in this chapter, but these must be in addition to the outside sources.
The purpose of an informative report is to synthesize information from several sources and present it in an informative and readable fashion. This type of writing is common in diverse settings, including businesses, non-profits, and governmental organizations. For example, Congress has an entire department, the Congressional Research Service (CRS), that it directs to find information prior to informational and policy related hearings as well as when requested by individual representatives and senators. Here is the first of many research tips in this unit: CRS reports are public information available to you through the library, and are an excellent source of information for your own report. In rough terms, you will be doing exactly what the CRS does when directed to research a topic. You will assemble the best available sources and information. You will objectively summarize those sources and that information. Then you will synthesize your research and summaries into a single report containing what you have learned. As we work on developing strong research practices, we will discuss how to choose the best sources and how to provide the best, most reliable evidence to your audience.
WHO WILL READ YOUR REPORT?
At the heart of informative writing is the issue of audience: who needs to know the information you have found and why do they need to know it? For this assignment, you will be writing to a public official of your choice. You could write to officials at this university, local officials, state officials, or officials back in your hometown. You could write your congress- person, your senator, or the President of the United States. Each of these audiences requires different information, however.
For example, if you are writing to the President of Kansas State University, you might provide a synthesis of information on how race structures access to education. However, you have to think about what information is most useful to this particular reader. While national data might provide some insight, racial demographics vary between states, so you might look instead for more specific data to the state of Kansas. In general, you should always seek to tailor your information most specifically to the population you are addressing (i.e. state data for state officials, national data for federal officials). Additionally, you will want to consider what your target audience likely already knows, and tailor your informa- tion to provide the most important and relevant information for that particular audience. You will also need to be attentive to how current your information is, making sure that you are providing relevant information on which an elected official might act. For example, while the education segregation levels in Kansas in 1967 may be important information, it may not be especially relevant to the current President of Kansas State University in consid- ering the role of race in present day college admissions in Kansas.
The reason we are writing to public officials is that, as our readings will begin to explain, the ways in which race structures American society are not accidental nor are they the con- sequence of actual differences between people of different races. Instead, the realities that we live in are the product of history and public policy. Because of this, the disparities that we discuss must necessarily be addressed, at least to a substantial degree, through public policy as well.
WHAT ARE THE OVERALL OBJECTIVES?
By the end of this assignment, you should be able to do the following:
Narrow a topic to one that is manageable and researchable for the given genre and purpose
Identify an audience for which the topic is relevant and significant, and be able to explain why this audience is interested in your findings
Research your topic using integral, appropriate, and relevant sources
Evaluate the appropriateness and credibility of your research sources
Understand, synthesize, and paraphrase source material accurately and correctly
Connect your analysis of the source material directly to your audience’s needs
Integrate the outside sources properly and smoothly into your own writing
Follow proper report format
Use proper in-text citation strategies for avoiding plagiarism
Apply the basic principles of MLA formatting
Construct a properly formatted MLA Works Cited page
RATIONALE
This assignment relates directly to several of the Undergraduate Student Learning Outcomes at K-State, including knowledge, diversity, communication, and academic and professional integrity. Most importantly, this writing task asks you to pay attention to your readers and to figure out how your topic is significant to them. In English 200, as well as other classes that demand serious academic writing, you will be expected to write for different audiences, evaluate the credibility and suitability of research sources, and find effective ways to organize and integrate these sources.
Unit 4 Final Workshop:
Introduction:
• What structural issue of race is the report dealing with?
o How can you tell?
o Does the author need to state their main idea more clearly?
• Who is this report written to? How can you tell?
o Does this audience seem to be appropriate for the focus of the report?
• Does the author include a thesis statement that forecasts the focus of the research?
o Does the thesis statement include specific information about what institutional issue the report will be looking at?
o Does the thesis include which population, or any other specific information such as region, that will be discussed?
Body Paragraphs:
• Does each body paragraph start with a topic sentence?
o What is the main idea expressed in each topic sentence? Does this main idea reflect a structural issue of race?
o Does the remainder of the paragraph follow the main idea expressed in the topic sentence?
• Does the author use quotations/statistics/pieces of evidence from their articles?
o Do they properly attribute the article? As in, is the author and name of the article included in the sentence?
o Are these pieces of evidence related to the overall main idea expressed in the paragraph? Are they related to institutional racism?
• How does the author explain the data to the audience?
o Is there a discussion of how the evidence relates to institutional racism?
o Does the author explain how this relates to the focus of the paragraph?
Conclusion:
o Does the author relate the main focus of the informative report?
o Does the author explain why the information is important to the audience?
o Is it clear that the author is still discussing institutional racism?
Formatting:
• Is there a header with a to, from, date, and subject line?
• Is the audience listed in the “to” line appropriate for your author’s paper?
• Is the paper broken up into clear headings?
o Does the information presented in each section correspond to the heading?
• Is there a work cited page?
Proofreading:
o Is the paper free of grammatical, and spelling, errors?
o Does each paragraph remain focused on one idea/topic?
o Is the paper organized in a way that makes sense to you?

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