English 3050: Project 1 Professional Communication Practices Project

English 3050: Project 1 Professional Communication Practices Project

English 3050: Project 1 Professional Communication Practices Project Description This project provides you with an opportunity to learn about the communication practices of a professional who currently holds a position that you hope to hold in the future. To successfully complete this project, you will need to identify a professional who you would like to interview, request an interview with that professional, conduct your interview, transcribe your interview, and then write a report on your interview findings. Identifying a Professional to Interview You will identify at least 2 suitable interview candidates: one primary candidate and one back-up candidate. The video lecture associated with this module will help you identify and select strong interview candidates. However, you may want to consider identifying suitable interview candidates by: ï‚· asking friends and family for referrals ï‚· calling businesses or agencies that specialize in your profession for recommendations ï‚· searching the internet for members of professional associations and societies in your field In general, I do not recommend that you interview someone with whom you are very familiar. If you have questions about the appropriateness of a potential interview subject, please check with me. Emailing Dr. Gogan Once you have identified two professionals–one primary and one back-up–to interview, please email Dr. Gogan (Brian.Gogan@wmich.edu) for approval. In your email, list the names, titles, organizational affiliations, and contact information for each of your choices. Requesting an Interview You will write a memo that you will use as a framework to request—via email, phone, skype, etc.—an interview with your interview candidate. Your memo should anticipate the questions that your interview candidate will have and it will provide you with a framework for your future conversations. We will analyze sample requests and discuss the parts of a strong request. Conducting Your Interview You will conduct a face-to-face interview, video conference interview, or phone interview with your interview candidate, during which you will ask him or her about his or her communicative practices and how those practices contribute to the organization for which he or she works. Interviews cannot be conducted over email, since using email to ask questions extinguishes the “back-and-forth, question-and-answer” that is characteristic of an interview—an email “interview” is actually a questionnaire. To help you structure your interview, you will compose an interview guide. Your interview guide should include questions that are structured to yield the kind of information your reader is looking for in your report. In other words, you’ll want to keep the interview on target with the purpose of your written report. When you begin to draft the report, you don’t want to discover that you have gathered a lot of information, but that the information isn’t really relevant to the report you are being asked to produce. Your interview guide should also organize your questions from the most important questions to the least important questions, since your interview candidate probably won’t have an unlimited amount time to speak with you. Transcribing Your Interview You must document your interview by taking detailed interview notes and/or recording the interview. Soon after— immediately, if possible—you will transcribe your interview. A transcription is a complete record of the back-andforth exchange that occurred during your interview. Transcriptions allow researchers to be accurate and ethical in their data collection and they also facilitate thorough data analysis. Your transcription will be submitted to Dr. Gogan. Reporting Your Findings After you have conducted your interview, you will write a four-page report that explains: (1) the on-the-job communication practices/habits of your interview candidate; and, (2) the way in which this person’s communications fit into—and contribute to—the overall mission of his or her organization or profession. Your report should allow your reader to easily locate your major findings and provide enough supporting detail that your reader can see how you arrived at each finding. We will assess the strengths and weaknesses of some existing reports during class, but you’ll want to provide your reader with background on the industry you researched and your interview candidate’s particular employer, company, or agency. You’ll also want to explain your rationale for Dr. Gogan English 3050: Professional Writing selecting your interview candidate, given your career goals. Consider different approaches for organizing your report—that is, different ways that you can establish a hierarchy and chunk information. You may choose to include a charts or table in your report (in order to help your reader process information efficiently), but be sure to include adequate information that will help your reader understand that visual. Project Goals This project is designed to: ï‚· Give you a chance to network with professionals ï‚· Allow you to differentiate between academic communicative practices and workplace communicative practices ï‚· Expose you to the interview as a method of workplace research ï‚· Offer you an opportunity to practice the principles of reader-centered communication Audience Your professor, who wants to learn about your interview subject’s communication practices and understand the way in which this person’s communication advances the work of his or her organization. Format Throughout the project, the following revised documents will be submitted to Elearning Dropboxes: ï‚· Report (4 full pages, single-spaced) ï‚· Revised Request Memo (1 page) ï‚· Revised Interview Guide (1 page) ï‚· Interview Transcript and Documentation Grading Criteria This project involves many interim deliverables (e.g., request memo, interview guide, and interview notes/transcript). Since your success on this project depends upon your successful completion of these deliverables, all of these deliverables be completed in accordance with our calendar and submitted to their respective dropboxes. Failure to complete or submit these deliverables may result in a failing (“E”) project. Your report is the culminating piece to this project and I will evaluate it holistically—in terms of how all of its parts work together. Outstanding reports will: ï‚· Exhibit reader-centered writing, which is free from distracting errors ï‚· Share reader-centered information, which strikes an appropriate balance between detail and brevity ï‚· Demonstrate reader-centered organization, which mobilizes language and document design for direction Ideal Interview Window: Week 3 through Week 5 Reader Reviews via Eli Review: ï‚· Request Memo (Week 2) ï‚· Interview Guide (Week 3) ï‚· Interview Finding (Week 6) ï‚· Entire Report (Week 7) Due: Week 8