Analytical report

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ENGL 202D Major Assignment:

Analytical Report



For your major course project, you will research and write an analytical report that compares and/or contrasts two realistic alternatives, and recommends a preference between the two for a theoretical client, management, or other professional entity similar to the ones you expect to encounter in your professional future.


In order to do so, envision yourself early in your professional career. Fabricate a theoretical, but realistic and entirely plausible professional situation, in which you must compare and/or contrast two alternatives of substance (products, actions, techniques, theoretical approaches, applications, etc.) for a professional entity you are either employed by, a member of, or obligated to in some manner. This could be your boss, an agency providing grant money, a client you have been hired by, etc. (The term “client” will be used below to refer to this entity.)


You will detail your rhetorical situation and seek permission to move forward in your Proposal assignment. See the Proposal prompt for additional details.


After your project is approved, you will continue forward with the report project.  You will research and draft the document within the conventions of the formal report genre. You will turn in one professionally bound copy of the Analytical Report by the due date, complete with a transmittal memo to your instructor, graphics and visuals, appropriate front and end matter, as well as filing an electronic copy of the report to the drop box in Angel.


Analytical Report Assignment

For the analytical report assignment, you will write a document that compares and/or contrasts two alternatives of substance (products, actions, techniques, theoretical approaches, applications, etc.) that will act to solve a problem for a theoretical client by providing a recommendation based on a comparative, causal, or feasibility analysis (or a combination of the three types of analysis).


Although you are doing your analysis for a theoretical report and client, the alternatives you will be choosing between must be real, or have a substantial basis in reality. Spend some time investigating your options and creating a client, rhetorical situation, and realistic choices to fit the “situational parameters” of this assignment. It is also imperative to replicate a plausible situation, imitating what you can expect in your professional future as closely as you can.


Remember, your analytical report is worth 300 points, or 30 % of your overall grade.


Guidelines for Selecting Report Topics

Your analytical report will help the report’s readers make an informed decision about a realistic choice they must make, a problem that needs solving, or a situation that needs resolving.


The type of report you produce for this assignment will be determined by the rhetorical situation, or “case,” you fabricate, and by the focus of the investigation that situation will require. Consider using one of the following types of analysis for your report project.


A comparative analysis, deciding between competing products to perform a needed task, service, or to solve a problem:

  • The report might compare and contrast two competing products, investigate how the features or components of each will perform within the situational parameters, and recommend one product over the other.

A feasibility analysis, determining whether a solution is feasible (in terms of budget, resources, likelihood of success, etc.):

  • The report might investigate whether X is a feasible solution to a client’s problem and, based on the results of the investigation, make a recommendation to implement X, pursue another alternative, or to continue with the status quo.

A causal analysis, determining the likely effect of a course of action a client is considering taking:

  • The report might investigate precedents for taking the course of action, analyze the likelihood of various effects if the client pursues that course, and make a recommendation to pursue the course of action or not.

A combination analysis, using the different forms of analysis above to reach a conclusion about a problem or opportunity:

  • Many report topics will combine the above possibilities to answer a question or evaluate an option.

General Report Requirements

The general report requirements are as follows:

  • Length: The body of the report should be approximately 6-8 pages, single-spaced, not including the front and end matter (title page, executive summary, table of contents, list of illustrations, appendices, exhibits of data, bibliography/works cited pages, etc.).
  • Visuals: Use a minimum of three visuals, unless you have arranged otherwise with your instructor.
  • Format: Format your report as a professional document. Use single-spaced paragraphs with double spaces between paragraphs. Use at least two levels of headings in addition to the title (main sections and subsections), with appropriate formats for each level. Use headers and/or footers.
  • Research: Include at least four credible sources of information for your data.
  • Citations: Provide complete citations for all sources of information, including interviews and onsite visits. Use the internal citation appropriate for your profession or client. If you cannot find out what is the standard citation style in your field, use APA style citations.
  • Copies: Submit one bound copy of the report and one electronic version. Note: If you want your report back prior to next semester, please provide a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

Content Requirements: The Elements of the Formal Report

Virtually all government agencies and businesses produce formal reports of one type or another. A formal report is a public presentation of the best efforts of the company or agency; companies, therefore, try to demonstrate their excellence through the superior quality of their reports. A formal report generally includes the following components:


  • a transmittal letter or memo (not usually bound with the report)
  • the front matter (title page, executive summary, and table of contents)
  • the body of the report
  • the end matter (supplemental material placed at the end of the report: bibliography and appendix)

You will develop your report for the client and other audiences identified in your project proposal; however, for this assignment, you will write the transmittal memo to your instructor rather than to the client. The transmittal letter or memo will work similarly to how your cover memos work for other assignments throughout the semester. You will explain to me what you did to accomplish your tasks for the report, what writing choices you made along the way in order to put together your analysis as appropriate to your specific rhetorical situation.


We will discuss specifics of front and end matter and formatting issues once we get closer to the report deadline. In the mean time, begin by conducting research and putting together your analysis. The rough draft of the report does not have to be properly formatted yet, but the major content of the report should be taking shape by the first due date below.




Monday, April 20                   DA: Initial Report Draft (to work on in class)


Wednesday, April 22              DA: Analytical Report Draft: Complete Body (you may still be working on front and end matter)


Monday, April 27                   DA: Analytical Report Draft: Complete


Friday, May 1                        MA: Final Bound Copy of Analytical Report Due


NOTE: The final report must be turned in on time! The standard late work policy does not apply to this final project. You should be working on this report from now until the end of the semester. Get started early!


Note: I will be collecting samples of student writing to share with future classes. If you do not want your work to be used as an example in the future, please tell me so in your transmittal memo.




Report Grade:                       /300


/55       Basic Completion and Formatting


/3         cover

/3         page numbers

/8         table of contents

/6         at least 3 visuals

/3         visuals labeled

/3         list of figures / visuals

/10       headings & subheadings

/5         executive summary

/6         complete body of the report (6 – 8 pages of text)

/8         end matter /citations



/45       Transmittal Memo and Rhetorical Situation

(Analysis and appropriate handling of writing choices to address the needs of the audience, purpose, and context)



/80       Content / Support / Analysis / Research (with citations)




/60       Organization / Structure




/30       Style (Cohesion, Concision, Tone, Readability, and Usability)




/30       Basic Clarity, Grammar, Mechanics, and Professionalism