350 points (35% of grade)
In this final unit you will propose and conduct a feasibility study. The process will require you to create two interrelated but oft-confused documents — a proposal and a report. You will also brief us on your process and findings during the final two weeks of the semester. You’ll start by identifying a real client from a real organization that has a real problem. An academic department/unit, nonprofit, professional group, sporting organization, community or religious group, dorm/apartment manager, or members of your fraternity/sorority are all potentially good choices for something like this. Previous student have chosen to research
- Fundraising options for Otto’s Army
- Moving Funk n Waffles to additional or alternative locations
- Inventory shrinkage for a local deli in Rochester
- Web presence for a small carpenter’s business in Westpoint
- Rebranding and marketing strategies for a local retailer
- Frozen pipe problem for an local landlord
- Alternative lock systems for dorms at SU
- Improving employee communication at a specific Petsmart location
- Expanding the services of Hans Oriental Market to better reach SU’s international community
- Using social media for PRIDE’s student outreach
- Developing a new initiative for Nike that expands on customized shoes
- Using various CMSs for BLISTS
- Improving recruitment strategies for a sorority
- Exploring various student activities for the Chabad House
- Rethinking a meeting environment at a small fashion designer in NYC
If you chose to conduct a study for a family business, that’s also acceptable, but it’s not okay to conduct a study for your family (e.g. for your parents re: the best way to get your older brother out of their guest room).
Worth: 75 points.
Due: November 6
Proposals propose. In the first part of the unit you will compose a 2-3 page proposal for your client, requesting permission to conduct a feasibility report that responds to the organization’s needs. Approaches may vary, but all proposals will articulate the client’s problem/needs/goals, suggest criteria for potential alternatives, and provide methods for meeting those objectives (i.e. accounting for time, resources, qualifications, etc.). You will transmit this document to the client and cc me. The key to the proposal is to identify a problem that’s easily identifiable to the client but complex enough that your research will sustain a 5-7-page report. Click the following slide for more info on the proposal’s structure:
The Feasibility Report
Worth: 200 points
Due: December 8
Reports report. The feasibility report is a specific genre that helps audiences make informed decisions that respond to specific problems. Although authors supply information to clients, it is important to think of the report as a persuasive document that must be credible and convincing enough that the recommendation is adopted. Even though a client might know the organization’s problem very well, laying out the details of the problem at the beginning of your report will convince them that you understand it accurately. In addition to describing the issue, your feasibility report will include some discussion of possible choices (sometimes called “alternatives”), establish criteria for making decisions, narrate methods for analyzing possibilities, and make unequivocal recommendations. The reader should come away from your report knowing what you recommend and feeling convinced by that recommendation.
The body of your report must be 5-7 pages in length (this does not include front or back matter — the cover and title pages, executive summary, appendices, or references). It should be formatted using 11 or 12-point type, single-spaced paragraphs, spaces between paragraphs, 1-inch margins on sides, 1 inch margins top and bottom, and should include illustrations, graphs, and/or sidebars to make the key points of your report stand out. Information must also be “chunked” into meaningful sections with appropriate heads and subheads. Design the document framework using appropriate headings so the reader can flip around in it rather than just read it front-to-back. Time is precious—don’t count on your reader’s full attention.
By the end of the day on Monday, December 8, email me your entire package (all docs) as a single pdf attached with the appropriate filename: your last name + the assignment name (e.g. Johnson_feasibility.pdf). In the body of the email use 300-500 words to explicitly but informally introduce me to your report. Tell me about your process, clarify the context or any decisions you made based on your audience, tell me what’s new since your briefing (if anything), and predict what what will really happen as the result of your research.
Worth: 75 points
Due: November 18, 20, or December 2
During the last two weeks you will also brief the class on your report process. You will design a slide presentation using professional slideware (Powerpoint, Keynote, Prezi or even iMovie) that conforms to the minimalist rules from Presentation Zen: no bullets, limited text, and heavy graphics. You’ll supplement the visuals with your voice.
In terms of delivery, you’ll be expected to do three things within 5-7 minutes. First, you’ll describe your audience and your project’s importance. Some members of the class may know your project, but most are hearing about it for the first time. Take a few minutes at the beginning to fully explain for whom you are writing the report, their values, the organization’s problem, and the decision(s) you are helping your client consider. Next, you’ll illustrate your research process. What are your criteria and how did you determine them? What methods did you use to evaluate those criteria? What was this process like? Include successes, missteps and/or serendipitous moments. Finally, you’ll identify your recommendation and explain your rhetorical choices in presenting them to your client. In other words, what is the recommendation and how are you choosing to present that recommendation persuasively to them?