Assignment Showcase: Field Research Report (Jessie Moore)

Mar 14 2007

Assignment Showcase: Field Research Report (Jessie Moore)

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Reports typically synthesize information in an effort to inform or explain; in other words, a report writer selects and organizes information about a topic and conveys that information to the reader in a more accessible manner.

Before you compose your report, you will need to gather and select information to include. Your information should come from field research that you have conducted in relation to your topic. Field research might include interviews, surveys, or observations. For instance, if your topic is what you perceive as limited parking for students on campus, you might:

  • Interview a representative of the Elon Physical Plant to learn about maintenance issues associated with existing parking facilities;
  • Interview a university administrator to learn about previous investigations of parking issues on campus, as well as the administration’s current stance on parking;
  • Survey students and/or faculty and staff to learn about their specific parking-related concerns; or
  • Observe the use of two or more parking lots on campus.

The form of a report can vary, depending on the audience and their needs. A writer might convey synthesized information in an article, a fact sheet, a lab report, a brochure, a web site, a memo, or an academic report, just to name a few possible forms. Since your classmates and I are your audience for this task, I would like you to practice using the form of an academic report. Once you’ve completed your research, you should write a report that includes:

  • An introduction that explains what research questions you attempted to answer;
  • A literature review that explains what you’ve already learned about the topic based on your research for your annotated bibliography;
  • A methods section that explains how you conducted your research;
  • A results section that identifies the findings of your research;
  • A discussion section that interprets your results; and
  • A conclusion that summarizes your main findings and explains how you might integrate your results into a proposal on your topic.

Chapter 7 of A Meeting of Minds discusses synthesizing ideas, which will help you prepare the literature review section of your field research report. Class discussions will help you prepare to compose other sections of your report.

A completed draft of your Field Research Report is due on Wednesday, March 15th. Your final draft is due on Friday, April 28th, as part of your portfolio.

As always, I encourage you to visit the Writing Center for assistance with any stage of your writing process. I also am available during office hours, or by appointment, to visit with you about drafts of your report or to answer questions.

Evaluation Criteria

Needs Improvement Good Excellent
Introduction Includes minimal, if any, introduction to your research subtopic and research questions. Readers may be confused about the purpose of your report after reading your introduction. Introduces your research subtopic or the research questions that you attempted to answer, but not both. Attempts to introduce the main ideas addressed in the report, but might benefit from additional revision. Introduces your research subtopic and the research questions that you attempted to answer. Provides your reader a roadmap for the rest of the report.
Literature Review Includes minimal, if any, discussion of your archival sources. Does not relate the information from the sources to your own field research. Errors in MLA citations prevent the reader from identifying your source use and locating your sources. Discusses the sources you found for your annotated bibliography, but does not identify connections between individual sources or relate the information to your own field research. Some MLA citations contain errors that could confuse the reader about your source use. Explains what you’ve already learned about the topic based on your archival research for your annotated bibliography. Discusses how the source information relates to your own field research. Skillfully synthesizes sources. Correctly uses MLA citations to identify your sources.
Methods Contains minimal explanation of how you conducted your research (subjects, procedures, etc.). Explains how you conducted your research, but readers might want more elaboration or detail. Explains how you conducted your research. Provides sufficient elaboration and detail.
Results Research findings are absent or are hard to identify. The presentation or organization of the findings could be stronger. Identifies the findings of your research, but might benefit from revisions to enhance clarity and/or coherence. Identifies the findings of your research in a clear and coherent manner.
Discussion Includes minimal, if any, discussion of the research results, or poor organization makes it difficult for the reader to understand the discussion. Discusses the significance of the research findings, but does not link the findings to your campus topic of concern. Explains the significance of the research findings and examines how the findings are relevant to your campus topic of concern.
Conclusion Provides only minimal summary of your field research, or fails to connect your research to your campus topic. Would benefit from extensive revision. Summarizes your field research and partially explains how you could integrate your work into a research-based proposal, but might benefit from further revision. Clearly and coherently summarizes your field research and explains how you could integrate your work into a research-based proposal.
Organization Organization is difficult to follow. Required components are not easy to recognize. Reader might be confused by the structure of the paper. Overall organization is easy to follow, but between-paragraph or within paragraph transitions could benefit from revision. Overall organization is strong. Between-paragraph and within paragraph transitions are effective and help the reader understand the writer’s organization.
Style and Editing Errors interfere with the reader’s understanding. Sentence structure would benefit from extensive revision for clarity. Paper would benefit from proof reading. Some sentence structures would benefit from revision for clarity. Errors exist, but they do not interfere with the reader’s understanding. Sentence structures are clear and coherent. The writer’s style is effective for the purpose and audience. The paper includes few, if any, errors.


Date Preparation/Homework for Class Activities During Class
M, 2/27
  • Read New York Times article, “To:”
  • Discuss reading email etiquette
  • Introduce Field Research Report Assignment
W, 3/1
  • Read 19a (pp. 330-340) in Handbook
  • Write a paragraph identifying the type of field research that you plan to conduct and explaining why it is the best choice for investigating your topic.
  • Discuss field research methods
  • Draft research materials
F, 3/3
  • Revise research materials and bring to class for peer response/testing.
  • Read Chapter 7 in Meeting of Minds
  • Test research materials
  • Discuss synthesizing sources and in-text citations
  • Analyze examples of synthesis
M, 3/6
  • Complete Synthesis Worksheet
  • Bring sources to class
  • Drafting strategies: Synthesizing Sources
  • Discuss strategies for reporting Methods
W, 3/8
  • Draft the Methods section of your Field Research Report and post it to the Methods Section discussion board
  • Continue conducting your field research
  • Discuss strategies for reporting Methods, continued
  • Examine section draft for completeness
  • Discuss strategies for reporting  results
F, 3/10
  • Complete your field research
  • Read 17 (pp. 313-321) in Handbook
  • Draft the Results section of your Field Research Report and post it to the Results Section discussion board
  • Discuss visual representations of research findings
  • Practice creating visual representations
M, 3/13
  • Create at least one visual to include in your Field Research Report
  • Draft the Discussion section of your Field Research Report and post it to the Discussion Section discussion board
  • Discuss strategies for discussing results
  • Discuss strategies for introducing your report
W, 3/15
  • Complete your Field Research Report Draft
  • Write a Response Request Memo
  • Post your Field Research Report Draft and your Response Request Memo to Blackboard
  • Complete a Peer Response memo for your assigned partner
F, 3/17
  • Read pp. 90-108 in Handbook
  • Reread your drafts and comments
  • Complete Mid-Semester Assessments on Blackboard
  • Complete Revision Worksheet on Blackboard
M, 3/20 – F, 3/24: Spring Break—Enjoy!

This schedule is subject to change. Updates will be announced in class and posted on Blackboard. Check Blackboard often for the most up-to-date information.

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