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WRTG 394 – Advanced Business Writing
Professor Carol Cron
WA-2: Background Review and Synthesis of the Literature
for Recommendation Report
Your second writing assignment will be a background review and synthesis of the literature
for the topic of your recommendation report.
This assignment is designed to help you prepare for the final assignment in WRTG 394 – a
recommendation report, in which you will do the following:
define a problem or issue in your workplace or community persuasively and accurately
make a recommendation to solve the problem or issue
Steps to Take in Completing this Assignment:
1. Review the list of possible topics for your recommendation report on page 3 of this set of
assignment instructions, and choose a topic that interests you and is relevant to your work
or personal environment. If you wish to choose a topic that deviates substantially from
this list, please contact the professor for permission.
2. Locate at least seven articles on your topic. At least four articles should come from
scholarly journals or credible trade journals. You should use OneSearch through
UMUC’s Library and Information Services or individual databases through the library for
3. Take notes as you read through the articles, and write a synthesis of the articles. The
synthesis will be 1,000-1,400 words on seven articles. This is about 150 – 200 words per
article. Indicate points of interest in the article, and describe how the information will be
relevant to your recommendation report.
4. In your assignment, you will group the themes of the articles. For example, if have
collected seven articles on the topic of paperless offices, you might find that three major
themes emerge from your review of the seven articles:
Benefits of transitioning to a paperless office
Common reasons for resisting the move to a paperless office
Costs of transitioning to a paperless office
Length and format of your paper:
As noted above, your background review of the literature on your topic must be 1,000-1,400
words in length. Please do a final word count and indicate at the bottom of your paper the word
count. (See below as an example.) Your literature review may be single or double spaced. ALL
citations must be in APA format. Corrections to citation formatting will be provided in the
feedback so that you can make them perfect before you submit your recommendation report.
Examples of Topics and the Role of this Assignment:
You might write a report on any one of the following topics. Please note that these are
examples. You do not have to choose from this first set of topics. They are provided here to
help illustrate this assignment. These ideas include what you might search for in terms of
supporting material. Note that in your subsequent writing assignments you must indicate
how the issue you selected is a specific and definite problem in your office or situation.
A report to your manager at work suggesting that more teleworking options be given to
employees at your workplace
o Some research studies on teleworking would be very persuasive.
o You must show that teleworking will solve a specific problem or problems in your
organization (such as crowded office space).
A report to your supervisor at work suggesting that e-mail be used less frequently for
communication and that another application be used to improve communication
o Some articles from credible trade journals on transitioning to alternative
electronic communication would be beneficial. In addition, articles that
demonstrate the problems with email communication would add to the argument.
o You must show that your specific office has problems in communicating by e-mail
and indicate the benefits of using alternative communication systems for your
workplace environment (such as people don’t read e-mails in a timely manner).
A report to your manager at work suggesting that your office become paperless
o Some scholarly literature on paperless offices would be effective.
o You must show that your specific office can go paperless and indicate the benefits
of your specific office going paperless (such as removing and/or not buying file
cabinets and related space constraints).
A report to the board of directors at your townhouse community to argue that a
playground area in your community should be built (or renovated/expanded)
o Some scholarly or trade journal articles on the benefits of playground areas for
communities, the benefits of exercise for young children, the effect of such
playground areas on home values, etc. would be effective.
o You must show that your specific neighborhood will benefit from renovations to
its playground (such as safety issues with the equipment, or having a healthy
activity for children to do).
A report to the manager of your unit at work noting that recycling facilities in the
workplace should be improved.
o Some scholarly articles or studies on the challenges of and benefits to
implementing recycling facilities in organizations would be persuasive. Of
course, there are varieties of recycling programs. The articles you find would
help define what type of recycling program you would propose.
o You must show that your specific work environment lacks adequate recycling
facilities and show how it will benefit from improved recycling facilities (such as
saving money on trash, projecting a better ecological image to the community.)
Topics to Help You Come Up with Ideas on this Assignment:
Some possible workplace research topics are the following. These are examples to help you get
started. Please contact your professor to have other topic ideas approved.
Going to a wireless network
Going to a paperless office
Switching from Windows to Linux (or other similar switch)
Installing/upgrading company firewall
Establishing an employee leave donation program
Establishing an equipment donation program for used computers, etc.
Establishing a company recycling program (paper, etc.)
Education/retraining for your employees
Establishing a program for millennial workers (e.g., training on certain aspects of
etiquette, on understanding other generations, etc.)
Designing a training program for workplace safety issues
Redesigning employee performance evaluations
Developing a work-at-home (telecommuting) policy
Developing a flex-time policy
Redesigning your office to make better meeting areas or quiet work spaces
Establishing on-site day care or providing other child care benefits
Providing gym membership or creating an on-site workout facility
Creating or improving a tuition assistance program
Accommodating needs for employee(s) with specific health issues (i.e., migraines)
Establishing a Habitat for Humanity (or other group) chapter at your organization
Some students have chosen topics outside of their workplaces, such as the following:
• Starting a neighborhood watch program
• Starting a mentoring program at your place of worship
• Changing traffic patterns around your child’s school
• Starting a PTA website for your child’s school
• Installing a tot lot in your neighborhood
• Constructing a crying baby room at your place of worship
• Offering ESL courses at your place of worship
• Increasing participation in a military family support group
• Introducing a youth sports program to a school or community
Word count: 1,141
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