Writing the Report Proposal Professor Stevens Amidon Department of English and Linguistics, IPFW
Purpose • When approaching any genre of writing, you should ask yourself, and any writing task, you should ask yourself: • “What is the purpose, or exigency of this writing?” • The purpose of a research proposal is to describe your research plan
Basic Requirements of the Assignment • Follow the memo format of the example I passed out • Proposal is due next class • Proposal will probably be two-three pages long
Proposal Section 1: Top Matter • “Top Line”: Interoffice Memo, XXX Corporation You should be using a real company based in the US • “To line”: make up the name of your boss. For example, Her title might be: Director, International Expansion • “Date line”: Today’s date • “From Line”: Your names. Your title is “staff researcher” • “Subject Line”: your research is a feasibility study, or a marketing plan. You need to give your study a name, or describe it in the subject line.
Proposal Section 2: Authorization and Background • The scenario I handed out describes the basic background information. You may invent dates of staff meetings. • Use this section to quickly summarize the focus of your research: “to study the feasibility of Hewlett Packard opening an ink jet manufacturing facility in Malaysia, for the purpose of sale in the growing Asian market.”
Proposal Section 3: Statement of the Problem • The problem is the central focus of your research and the report you will write • A short one or two sentence description will suffice • Example: Capacity limitations, labor and shipping costs make export of Hewlett Packard’s printers to the growing Asian market a very difficult task. I propose to study the feasibility of opening a manufacturing plant in Malaysia to build Hewlett Packard printers for the growing Asian market.
Proposal Section 4: Purpose of the Study • Whereas the problem defines what is to be investigated, the purpose identifies why the research should be conducted • When the report is finished, the purpose guides the formulation of recommendations • Example: Hewlett Packard has historically manufactured its printers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the European union. Those locations were ideal, because they are in or near the major markets where HP sells most of its products. However, the rapid growth of the information economy in Asia suggests that Asia may be an ideal location for HP to expand its markets. • Following the example of past market expansions, it makes sense for HP to identify potential manufacturing locations near the Asian markets. However, before sending a team to research and identify potential sites, HP needs to understand the business climate, market potential, and cultural practices of the nations of this region. This particular study will focus on Malaysia.
Proposal Section 5: Scope • The purpose of the scope is to narrow your focus, and to identify the specific research questions you will seek to answer • Example: To determine the feasibility of operating a manufacturing facility in Malaysia, the following questions must be answered: • Is Malaysia centrally located in terms of today’s Asian market for IT hardware? For the future growth of the market? • Does Malaysia have the skilled workforce necessary to operate such a facility? • How will HP’s corporate culture fit into the native culture of the nation? • Does Malaysia have the transportation infrastructure to support shipment of the products to other nations in the Asian market? • What type of support could be expected from the government and people of Malaysia for such an expansion?
Proposal Section 6: Delimitations • Delimitations are boundaries or restrictions you place on the study. • Example: This research will be delimited in the following ways: • This study will be limited to secondary library research. No interviews will be conducted, and the researcher will not be traveling to Malaysia for “first-hand” observation. • This study will focus on the major items identified in the research questions identified above. It will not conduct an in-depth analysis of corporate regulations and tax policies.
Proposal Section 7: Limitations • Limitations are potential shortcomings and inadequacies of the study. • Example: The short time period required before final delivery of this report (June 15, 2006—about 10 days), and the other responsibilities of the researchers will limit the thoroughness of the coverage of this topic. The lack of primary research means that this report is relying upon the reliability of primary research which has already been conducted.
Proposal Section 8: Data Collection and Analysis • The purpose of this section is to describe how you plan to gather and analyze data • Example: Data will be gathered by library and internet review of secondary sources. Information will be collected from websites, reference books, and journal articles describing the business climate and culture of Malaysia. • Data sources will be analyzed in terms of the credibility of the primary data. • Data will be analyzed in terms of its impact on the research questions listed above. • At least three secondary data sources will be cited in the body of the report.
Proposal Section 9: Time Required • Here you should write a schedule for your project. You have a basic schedule on your assignment sheet which describes due dates. You should write a more detailed schedule based upon your own priorities. • This should be a “real schedule” which assigns certain tasks to each team member, which you intend to follow.
Proposal Section 10: Resources Needed • This will be short, and while you may make up your “salary,” the hours and resources used should be described in detail: • Examples: • Total Researcher time: 25 hours @ $50 hour: $1250 • Library access: • 3 hours at Helmke Library, IPFW • 5 hours at Allen County Public Library, Downtown branch • Internet access • 3 hours, high speed access, IPFW computer lab • Again, you should estimate your time needed as realistically as possible
Proposal Section 11: Presentation of the Results • Research is not complete until the information you gathered has been disseminated. • Example: • A final written draft of the report will be delivered on June 15, 2006. • An oral presentation of this report will be made on (April 19, April 20).
Proposal Section 12: Request for Approval • Research can consume substantial resources, so it is essential that your plan directly request the approval of your superior. You should request a response by a certain date, and should give contact information in case the reader has questions.