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Unit 4:  Research Communication


Start where you left off in part two of the Everyday Communication Unit, in which you were asked to write a persuasive memo based on an idea you would like to see implemented in your job (e.g., a way to increase productivity, improve service, increase business, or improve working conditions).  For that assignment, you wrote a routine miscellaneous memo requesting action and persuading your audience that your idea is worthwhile. 

Now, your audience – the person, people, department, etc. with the power to approve the project – has responded that they are intrigued and would like to begin a more formal process toward implementing your idea.

Planning Proposals are common in professional or corporate environments where supervisors may ask an employee to write up a project proposal before that project is launched. In this unit, your goal is to demonstrate to your audience that you are sufficiently prepared to undertake the process of working your way toward the final project with a good understanding of the background knowledge you will need to acquire and the work still to be done.


Part One: Project Proposal

Your Proposal should include the following:

-A cover page with the working title of your project, your name, and your instructor’s name.  A title that identifies the issue/topic/problem/solution accurately and engages readers’ interests. 

-An abstract that summarizes your project (approximately 100 words) acting as a brief description of the problem you will attempt to solve/address with the final project.  The abstract must engage its identified audience – the person/group/agency with the power to effect the proposed change(s) or whose mind(s) must be changed – with the problem by presenting it clearly, and showing that it is interesting, problematic, and significant. The abstract also introduces the hypothesis: the plan you intend to propose.

-A purpose statement with your rationale for the project.  Why is this project important to you?

-A qualification statement that explains the experience, preparation, and special qualities you bring to the project.   

Part Two: Progress Report Memo

Along the way, you will report to your audience by submitting a memo that informs on your progress.  The purpose of this memo is to give an update on the work being done while also piquing the audience’s interest in said work.

Part Three: Annotated Bibliography

For this part of the assignment you will conduct research and write an Annotated Bibliography to support your proposal.  With this annotated bibliography, your goal is to demonstrate to your readers that you are sufficiently prepared to undertake the process of working your way toward the final project with a good understanding of the issue, background knowledge you will need to acquire, and the work still to be done. 

Write a Three-Sentence Evaluative Annotation for each of your sources.  Once you have completed this work, go back and draft a Critical Preface for your Annotated Bibliography.  

Critical Preface: 

– Your preface should provide a contextual overview that shows the purpose of the annotated bibliography and suggests its value and significance to the reader.  There should be a clear research question and reference to the dates when the information was compiled, as well as an overview of the number of items in the bibliography and the scope of material included.

Rhetorical Context (Sentence 1): 

– Verification or critique of the authority or qualifications of the source’s author.

– The point of view or perspective from which the work was written. For instance, you may note whether the author seemed to have particular biases or was trying to reach a particular audience.

Description (Sentence 2): 

– Explanation of main points (summary) and purpose of the work (basically, its thesis) which shows among other things that you have read and thoroughly understand the source.

Analysis (Sentence 3): 

– Comments on the worth, effectiveness, and usefulness of the work in terms of both the topic being researched and your own research project.

– Relevant links to other work done in the area, like related sources, possibly including a comparison with some of those already on your list. You may want to establish connections to other aspects of the same argument or opposing views.

A good annotated bibliography…

– encourages you to think critically about the content of the works you are using, their place within a field of study, and their relation to your own research and ideas.

– proves you have read and understand your sources.

– establishes your work as a valid source and you as a competent researcher.

– situates your study and topic in a continuing professional conversation.

– provides a way for your readers to decide whether a source will be helpful to their research.

– could help interested researchers determine whether they are interested in a topic by providing background information and an idea of the kind of work going on in a field.


I will be looking for proposals that…

· present the author as a serious, trustworthy, informed, fair, and credible writer and  


· clearly present the problem in all its complexity and significance,

· clearly state the author’s rhetorical purpose and rationale for the project,

· demonstrate rhetorical knowledge (by making appropriate choices about structure, 

 style, voice, document design and by using the three basic rhetorical appeals).

· clearly identify how the final project will attempt to change minds, win support, and/or 

 propose a logical and achievable solution.

Submission Instructions

Final Proposal w/Ann Bib and Prog Memo will be submitted in class on tba*


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