Let’s say she interviewed a health care professional on possible solutions Research Paper
MARKETING REPORT INTRODUCTION A marketing report directed toward a real audience based on an actual problem, situation, or need at a particular company or organization is a great way to introduce you to the working world of marketing. The report–the final document consist of a series of required documents– records (primary) and secondary research, draws conclusions based on that research, and offers useful recommendations based on the specific needs of the company. The purpose of the report is to solve a problem, address a situation, or fulfill a need at a real company. This series of required documents involves students in the working world, allows you to write for different audiences and purposes, teaches you how to locate scholarly and professional sources to solve a real problem, if applicable it introduces you to the processes of primary research. You may feel quite anxious about your ability to write a marketing report. But at the end of the semester, I hope you can use your reports and you can actually present your class work to your employer. Therefore, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you use and commit to a real problem, situation, or need at your current job or at a previous job and you need to start early on the project. MARKETING REPORT PROJECT ASSIGNMENT SHEET This series of assignments is based on an actual problem, situation, or need you have experienced or are experiencing now at a real company. Topic Selection and Some Detail Work You have been assigned to a particular company. You are going to be “an expert” of that company in the class. You will need to select a problem(s) that is complex enough that it would require a formal business report. Choose one that is related to your major, future career plans, or present job. Design a realistic context for your marketing report and use the company/organization, or individual who you think might need this marketing report. Direct your report to a specific, real audience and I will assume you work for the company, are a member of the organization, or are an outside consultant. While you will not be required to actually present your report to your audience, many of you probably will. You will attach a printout of a database search for the secondary research you will use in the marketing report. Also make sure you mention this attachment in your report. Remember that the sources you will use in your report must be current and reputable with the emphasis on information from scholarly and professional journals in the field. Use a minimum of four substantial sources (at least two must be scholarly or professional). Also make sure that the secondary research materials will actually be available for you to use. Marketing Report Your marketing report is a record of your research. This record documents (your primary and) secondary research, draws conclusions based on your research, and offers logical recommendations to solve the problem, situation, or need. Your marketing report will also include other report components such as a title page, table of contents, executive summary, and reference page. You will use in-text citations following the APA/MLA documentation style. Document and “frame” all paraphrased and quoted materials using signal phrases as appropriate. Make sure you put direct quotations in quotation marks (in-text citation). The four (or more) sources listed on the reference page must be cited in your report. Your report should be a minimum of five single-spaced pages. This five-page minimum does not include the title page, table of contents, executive summary, or reference page. Your report will be evaluated as follows: Organization Marketing Report Evaluation Guidelines Information is very organized with well-constructed paragraphs and subheadings. 15 points _________ Quality of Information Information clearly relates to the main topic Achieves the purpose of the research paper It includes several supporting details and/or examples Contains sufficient data, supported by concrete detail Includes relevant data Shows evidence of sufficient research Achieves overall effectiveness 55 points _________ Sources and Writing Style APA/MLA All sources (information and graphics) are accurately documented in the desired format Shows good organization Includes coherent and unified sentences and paragraphs Uses transitions effectively Attributes sources clearly and correctly (in-text citation, work cited etc) Accurately summarize the article(s)/source(s) 15 points __________ Mechanics No grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors. Includes correct capitalization 5 points _________ Paragraph Construction All paragraphs include introductory sentence, explanations or details, and concluding sentence 5 points_________ Internet Use Successfully uses suggested internet links to find information and navigates within these sites easily without assistance 5 points_________ Bonus points Achieves exceptional merit _________ TOTAL POINTS 100 points _________ Quality of Information Title page 2 includes the title of the report; the name, title, and organization of the individual receiving the report; the writer’s name, title, and organization; and date submitted Table of contents 2 is easy-to-read; includes proper primary and secondary headings that match the headings in the report Executive summary 4 includes the purpose, research methods, conclusions, and parallel recommendations Introduction 3 includes background information to explain the problem or need; previews the structure of the report Body of report 20 presents the findings of the primary and secondary research using an appropriate organizational plan with logical and parallel headings; uses proper APA documentation with appropriate and accurate paraphrasing and summarizing; cites at least 8 sources from scholarly or professional journals Conclusions 4 draws logical conclusions based on the research; tells what the findings mean Recommendations 10 applies the conclusions to the original problem or need of the specific organization to develop useful, logical recommendations; uses parallelism References page 5 uses the proper APA form; all references cited in the text must be on this page and all references cited on this page must be cited in the text Uses correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar 5 Total possible points 50 Points SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPLEMENTATION In this assignment, it is IMPORTANT that you choose relevant topics to write. Remember that you CANNOT use the fictitious audiences. The problem, situation, or need must be real and the marketing report must be directed to a real audience. You also must be sure that you will be able to conduct (primary and) secondary research. An example of primary research is an interview with your boss, co-worker, or customer. A secondary research is a typical research (reading and summarizing) that you do for a typical college level paper. I strongly encourage you to gather and read you research articles very early in the semester. This is not a project you can successfully complete a few days before it is due. Unfortunately some you will have difficulty to pour 100% of your efforts to complete this assignment. These students usually find the marketing report assignment to be very difficult. We do not call the assignment a “paper,” and I like to refer to it as a professional, marketing report. Keep remembering that you need to consider the real audience the report will be addressed to and to keep focused on the goal of offering recommendations in the report to solve the problem or fulfill the need. There is ALWAYS a problem(s) or issue(s) to be solved at your assigned company. Another important message that I want you to know is the usage of popular periodicals such as BusinessWeek, Time, Newsweek etc. instead of scholarly and professional journals as your secondary sources. The most important reason that is why you need to use scholarly and professional sources — your recommendations will only be as good as the research you have conducted. Just think about your real audience of your marketing report for a minute. If you ask your audience whether he or she would actually pay someone (in this case is you) to conduct research in BusinessWeek, Time or Newsweek when the magazine might be read while waiting in a dentist’s office, the answer probably is no. You can also use appropriate internet sources (NOT Wikipedia), government documents, and articles in anthologies, but please start with scholarly and professional articles located in appropriate databases. At San Diego Miramar College, we have excellent scholarly and professional articles available for you to research from the comfort of your sofa at home. You just need to click your internet browser to https://www.sdmiramar.edu/library/databases Use your student’ ID to access the articles. Please do not say that you cannot find any scholarly and professional article on the topic that you are interested in. If you have any problem in finding articles that you are interested in, please contact the librarian directly at (619)388-7310. They will be more than happy to assist you. It’s also important to make sure that you have conducted extensive secondary research before you begin your primary research. Some students see the assignment as an academic exercise and only think about primary research as something they “have to do” rather than as a means to offer recommendations to solve a problem or fulfill a need. You must have a reason for conducting the primary research and certainly would not ask an expert questions that could easily be answered through general secondary research. The goal of primary and secondary research must always be to offer useful, logical recommendations in the report. Writing the persuasive request to me (not required, but strongly suggested) helps you clarify your project in terms of the real audience and the research methods you will use. It is also a good way to illustrate differences in audience. Writing the report is the most challenging. Finding an appropriate organizational pattern for your particular topics and research is difficult for inexperience (with no working experience or limited working experience) students. However, it is not impossible. Some of you may want me to tell you exactly how to set up this section (the pattern – the outline). But my answer will be and will always be “it is your job to find a plan and use parallel, helpful headings”. Utilize your textbook. DO NOT become frustrated and discouraged. Enjoy the process! You just need to get through it. It is a good idea to start early to organize your plans (the outline of your report) based on your research findings. See the pattern in your research articles and use it as a plan for you completing this assignment. For example, let’s say a student is writing a report on eliminating stress at her office. As she looks through her research articles, she finds the information falling into the main categories of causes of stress, symptoms associated with stress, effects of stress, and possible solutions. These topics become the preliminary headings of the body of her report. Let’s say she interviewed a health care professional on possible solutions. This interview information could be presented under the “possible solutions” heading along with the secondary research. But if she constructed a questionnaire to see how much stress the employees felt in her office, she would have to present this information under a separate heading apart from the secondary research. After students have successfully documented their research in the body of the report, the conclusions will logically flow out of this research. And, of course, applying the conclusions to the specific organization will help the writer develop useful recommendations. Writing the other components of the report will be fairly easy once the report is completed. This project is challenging. However, most students are quite proud of their accomplishments and by the end of the semester. I hope you are going to tell me, “I never thought I could write something like this” and brag about it at work! HINT OF QUESTIONS THAT YOU CAN USE TO EVALUATE YOUR OWN WORK Below are questions that you can use to evaluate your own work/progress. Use it improve your work. Questions for the persuasive request 1. Does the writer begin with a direct opening that suggests the purpose of the memo? 2. Does the writer discuss why the problem/need is relevant? Offer some suggestions. 3. Does the writer discuss the real audience the proposal and report will be addressed to? 4. Does the writer indicate what secondary research has been conducted? Does the writer indicate what primary research he or she will be able to conduct? Has the writer received permission to conduct primary research? 5. Does the writer specifically ask for approval? Questions for the proposal 1. Look at the introduction. How exactly does the writer “hook” the reader? Why would the reader want to continue reading this proposal? What’s in it for him or her? Could you suggest another way to “hook” the reader? 2. Look at the background, problem, purpose section. Does the writer specifically identify the problem/issue and discuss the goals or purposes of the project? Where could the writer be specific about the problem or goals? Would the reader be convinced the problem exists or issue needs to be explored? Why or why not? Offer any suggestions to make this section more persuasive so the reader will keep reading. 3. Look at the proposed plan, schedule section. Does the writer specifically indicate what primary and secondary research he or she will do to solve the problem or explore the issue? Has the writer mentioned the attached printout of an appropriate data search? Has the writer clearly indicated what the reader will get in the completed report? How exactly will this plan benefit the reader? Does the writer include a schedule of activities or a timetable? Offer any suggestions to help the writer improve this section so the reader will be convinced the writer knows how to solve the problem or address the issue. 4. Look at the staffing section. How does the writer explain exactly why he or she is qualified to solve the problem or address the issue? Does the writer offer any suggestions to convince the reader that the writer has the right credentials to solve the problem? Remember this section must be real; the writer cannot “make up” any credentials. 5. Look at the budget section. How does the writer handle the costs associated with this project? 6. Look at the closing. Does the writer specifically ask for authorization for the project? How does the writer motivate the reader to act? Why is it easy for the reader to act? Does the writer include an end date? Would the reader know exactly how long the offer is valid? 7. Does the writer use the correct business format for a letter or memo? What should be changed, deleted, or added? 8. Does anything look “funny” to you? Indicate possible spelling, punctuation, or grammar errors. Do the headings make sense? Questions for the report 1. Look at the title page. Does it include the name of the report in all caps? Does it include the name, title, and organization of the individual receiving the report? Does it include the writer’s name, title, organization, and date submitted? Let the writer know what is missing. Also check the title. Does the title state the subject and purpose of the report? 2. Look at the letter or memo of transmittal. Does it announce the report and give a broad overview of the primary and secondary research? Does it highlight the findings and recommendations? Does it acknowledge help from others? Does it appear to acknowledge the personal relationship the writer has with the reader? 3. Look at the table of contents. Are the headings logically arranged with secondary ones indented? Is the “body” of the report arranged logically? Are the headings listed on the table of contents the same as the headings used in the report? 4. Look at the executive summary. Does it tell the purpose of the report? Does it briefly describe the research methods-primary and secondary? Does it summarize the findings or draw conclusions based on the primary and secondary research? Does it enumerate the recommendations using parallel constructions? Make sure the writer compose an effective summary for a busy executive. In real life, usually people write the executive summary at the very end. 5. Look at the introduction. Does it give the background information to explain the problem or show the need for the report? Does it discuss the significance of the report? Does it clarify the boundaries and preview the structure of the report? Remember that an introduction should help orient the reader to the report. 6. Look at the body of the report. Make sure this part of the report is NOT called the “body.” Is this section arranged logically with primary and secondary research presented? Does the writer use the proper APA/MLA in-text citations? Is it clear where the source information begins and ends? Does the writer use page numbers for direct quotes? Does the writer put direct quotations in quotation marks? Are the four sources listed on the references page cited in the text? Does the writer include topic sentences, transitions, and “roadmaps”? How could the writer revise headings or rearrange information so it is easy to understand the results of the research? 7. Look at the conclusions section. Does the writer draw conclusions based on the primary and secondary research presented in the report? Does the writer tell what the findings mean or make generalizations? 8. Look at the recommendations sections. Does the writer apply the conclusions to the original problem or need? Does the writer offer parallel recommendations that are specifically applicable to the organization and the problem or need? 9. Look at the REFERENCES page. Does the writer use the proper APA/MLA documentation style? Is the list arranged in alphabetical order? Are the book and journal titles underlined or put in italics? Does the writer use initials and last names? Does the writer use a period after every entry?