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Materials and Assignments for English 305, Technical Writing: Assignments

Assignments, Rubrics, and Student Support

Ethics and Clarity in Writing

Ethics of Writing

PART A: Preliminary Research

I) Read the newspaper article from the Charleston Gazette about a scientific study; its included in this week’s module.  Summarize the main point of the article in three to five sentences.

II) Now, collect evidence from the newspaper article before searching for the original study.

  • One of the authors of original study?
  • Date range when original study was published?
  • Journal in which original article appeared?
  • Trade name of drug?
  • Use Google to find generic name of drug; this is the name that will be used in the original peer-reviewed article. What is it?

III) Now, use Summon to find the original peer-reviewed article; you’ll find a link to Summon in this week’s module. Give the article’s citation in APA format:

IV) Describe how you searched for the original peer-reviewed article: give search terms used, limiters, what you tried, how you needed to revise your search, and so on.

V) Read the abstract of the original peer-reviewed article. Discuss in detail the differences and similarities between the abstract and the newspaper article.

VI) Now, read a rebuttal to this study:

Doctors, patients, and the drug industry

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b463 (Published 05 February 2009)

http://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/11/02/clinical-trials-therapy-versus-medication-even-tie-medication-wins

  • What problems do the authors point out about the original study?

VII) Now, using what you know about this case (names of the major players, the journals involved, and so on), find an article or blog post current with this controversy that addresses the issue.  This article or blog post should not simply repeat what happened but should offer new evidence or an informed opinion or new reporting.

  • Citation of new source:
  • Summary of new source: address any new information or opinions outlined in this new source:

PART B: Reflecting on Ethics

I) In a few paragraphs, outline the ethical issues presented in this case. Think back to the issues outlined in the video “What’s the Deal with Peer-Reviewed Journals?” Could the participants have behaved more ethically? How so? Would you want a loved one to take Lexapro after s/he had suffered a stroke? Explain and defend your points.

PART C: Revision for Clarity and Concision

I) In a separate document or page, rewrite (not re-edit) the newspaper article so that it more accurately reflects the study and the issues surrounding it. 

Include a reflective memo outlining the choices you made revising this new article.

 

 

Levels of Achievement

Criteria

Excellent

Good

Satisfactory

Needs to be Improved

Correctly recognizes and names all of the parts of a periodical citation.

 

2 Points

1.5 Points

1 Points

0.5 Points

Identifies pertinent bibliographic information in a news article.

 

2 Points

1.5 Points

1 Points

0.5 Points

Successfully locates the full text of the article in a library database using bibliographic information.

 

2 Points

1.5 Points

1 Points

0.5 Points

Locate blogs written by the author.

 

2 Points

1.5 Points

1 Points

0.5 Points

Apply APA to cite sources correctly.

 

2 Points

1.5 Points

1 Points

0.5 Points

Describe search strategy.

 

5 Points

4 Points

3 Points

2 Points

Prose: clear sentences with varied structures; easy-to-follow organization; uses strong verbs; correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

 

5 Points

4 Points

3 Points

2 Points

___________________________________________________________

Infographic Assignment

Infographics, Professional Analysis Memo

For this assignment, you will create an infographic, a visual representation of the information and data, for your Professional Analysis Memo. Consider your audience to be either high school seniors or first-year college students who are trying to decide upon a major. Create your infographic with the information needs of this audience in mind.

You will also write a reflective memo explaining your design choices: what information you chose to highlight and why, design and color choices, layout, and so on.

Your infographic will be evaluated on how effectively you integrate your text and visuals as you present your information in a primarily visual format. You should consider using bulleted lists instead of long blocks of text, but be careful not to oversimplify your data. Remember to add photographs, tables, drawings, charts, or any other visual elements that make it easy for your reader to understand your information.

Be sure to consult the readings in the Module 3 Readings folder and the LifeHacker article, “How to Create Stunning Infographics in 30 Minutes or Less.”

Also check the links to infographic generators on the web; you can find the links under Resources for This Assignment in this week’s module.

 

 

Levels of Achievement

Criteria

5=Excellent

4=Good

3=Satisfactory

2=Needs Improvement

Content: Covers topic in-depth with details and examples. Subject knowledge is excellent. Provides information for follow-up—where to find further information.

4 Points

3 Points

2 Points

1 Points

Graphics are related to the topic and make it easier to understand.

4 Points

3 Points

2 Points

1 Points

Attractiveness: Makes excellent use of fonts, colors, graphics, effects, etc. to enhance the presentation.

4 Points

3 Points

2 Points

1 Points

Mechanics: No spelling, punctuation, or grammar errors; no questionable word choices.

4 Points

3 Points

2 Points

1 Points

Reflective Memo: effectively explains design choices-what information is highlighted and why, design and color choices, layout.

4 Points

3 Points

2 Points

1 Points

 

_____________________________________________________________________

Professional Analysis Report

Professional Analysis Memo

For this assignment, you will do research about your potential career and produce a memo that gives a reader informational background about your chosen profession or field. You should research specifically the following information:

  • any Library or internet resources that are specifically helpful to people entering this profession
  • professional associations and conferences
  • trade and peer-reviewed journals
  • social media resources

As you research, it will be helpful to read widely so you can draw from a number of different sources. Remember, if you quote or paraphrase a source, you must give that source credit. We will discuss documentation styles later in the course, so for now, cite your sources in the way you believe they should be cited.

This memo should include the following sections:

Introduction: Discuss what your chosen area or field is and why you are interested.

Job Description: Consult the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook website (http://www.bls.gov/ooh/) about your field. Search the site by using a job title in your field (librarian, professor, real estate agent). You may have to try using different synonyms for your chosen career. For the memo, summarize, in your own words the following:

  • kinds of positions that are available, at entry-level and above, and what kind of training and experience each requires
  • tasks required for these positions
  • salary range, especially for entry-level positions and for a career average (if this differs by geographical location, note that)
  • market for this career (are employers scrambling to find people? are there a lot of out-of-work professionals?)

Professional Associations and Conferences / Meetings: Give web addresses for professional associations for your field. Remember that a professional association is an advocacy group for people in that profession, not a company who hires people in that profession. For example, the American Library Association is a professional association for librarians while the Library of Congress hires librarians.

Discuss the mission of your chosen professional association. Other questions to consider include: Who may join it? What are the membership fees? What are the benefits for members? When and where are meetings held? Are there regional associations? Does the association produce any publications? Include any other information that you believe is relevant.

Professional Trade Journals / Peer-Reviewed Journals: Review journals and trade publications. Find and examine one or two issues of one peer-reviewed journal and one or two issues of a trade journal related to your field.

How often are these journals published? Who seems to be the audience for each one? In other words, how specialized is this journal? What types of articles are in each journal? How would these journals be of help to someone in your field? Include any other information which you think would be relevant.

Social Media: What are the best social media resources for this profession? Find at least one blog and one twitter feed: who are the authors? Why the authors are experts? What kinds of information they share. Include any other information that you think would be relevant.

 

Criteria

Excellent

Good

Satisfactory

Needs to be Improved

Introduction: discusses chosen area; why you are interested

 

2 Points

1.5 Points

1 Points

0.5 Points

Job Description: discusses available positions (entry-level and above), and required training and experience; explains required tasks; lists salary range, (especially for entry-level) and career average (notes any geographical differences)
 

4 Points

3 Points

1 Points

0.5 Points

Professional Associations: lists web addresses; discusses mission; explains who may join, the membership fees, and benefits for members. Identifies where meetings are held, regional associations, and any publications produced; includes other relevant information

 

3 Points

2 Points

1 Points

0.5 Points

Professional Journal: lists title of journal; publication schedule; identifies audience (how specialized is the journal); discusses types of articles; discusses its relevance to someone in your field; Includes other relevant information

 

3 Points

2 Points

1 Points

0.5 Points

Social Media: adequately discusses the best social media-blog and twitter

 

3 Points

2 Points

1 Points

0.5 Points

Prose: clear sentences with varied structures; easy-to-follow organization; uses strong verbs; correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

 

5 Points

4 Points

3 Points

2 Points

_____________________________________________________________________

Research Scenario Assignment

Module 5: Annotated Bibliography; Background Report; Recommendation Report with Graphical Presentation.

I) Annotated Bibliography

For this assignment, you are to find 10 sources relevant to your research scenario. Your sources should be current, relevant, authoritative, accurate, and have an academic or informative purpose.

For your citations, use APA or MLA format.

Your annotations should summarize each source in enough detail that someone who has not read the source can understand its content and relevance to your scenario.

II) Background Report Directions

Write a factual and objective report detailing background information related to your scenario.  Your report should refrain from making any judgments or evaluations about the scenario. As you consider the structure of your report, review Chapter Nine: "Using Nine Reader-Centered Patterns for Organizing Paragraphs, Sections, and Chapters" (pp. 204-229 in your text).

Consider using graphical elements to enhance your report.  Include in-text citations and Works Cited (MLA) / References List (APA).

III) Final Report and Visual Presentation

Check your assigned research scenario for further instructions.