Writing Assignment #2
Background Review and Synthesis of Literature
TOPIC: Recommending the purchase of standing desks for employees
For this assignment, you will select a focused topic (MY TOPIC IS Recommending the purchase of standing desks for employees) and conduct secondary research (or “find literature”) on that topic. Then provide a 1000-1400 word background review and synthesis of the literature that you find. Review the related grading rubric.
Review the related grading rubric.
• Task: Complete the following:
o Select a focused topic for writing assignment #4.
o Research that topic for this paper.
o Write a synthesis of the articles.
• Length: 1000-1400 words.
• Format: APA
• Sources: At least seven sources from scholarly or credible trade journals on the topic.
• Writing Process: You will submit a draft of the essay to the assignment folder. The draft will not be graded. The instructor will provide comments to it. After receiving comments from the instructor, you will submit the final draft, which will be graded.
For writing assignment #2 (this one), consider the specific focused problem you will address and synthesize research on the topic.
How This Assignment Informs Future Assignments in WRTG 394
You will find that your synthesis will be a helpful component of your final research-based report. In fact, if your synthesis is well written, you might be able to take parts of it and copy them into sections of the final report. The skills and strategies you gain from writing the background review and synthesis of literature will be very valuable in writing your final research-based report.
This assignment is designed to help you prepare for the final report in WRTG 394. Keep in mind that your final report will persuasively and accurately define a problem–in your workplace, community, or a social/political problem in society–and propose a solution or solutions to that problem. You really must pick a problem now. You will need to convert your problem topic into a narrow thesis for Assignment’s 3 and 4. Read my definition of a thesis in Announcements.
For example, let us assume that you are considering writing a report to the Dean of The School of Arts and Sciences at UMGC to recommend that UMGC move from LEO as its learning management system (LMS) to a different learning management system. In preparing to write this type of report, you might complete the following: Conduct library research on the topics of learning management systems for schools, online teaching, and effective teaching in an online environment.
What do We Mean by Synthesis?
See my Announcement on how to do a literature synthesis.
In a background review and synthesis of the literature, you don’t take a stand on an issue. You just review what the articles say on the issue, dividing the arguments made in the articles into THEMES (with their own section titles). Let one research source lead you to other relevant articles. Draft a paper by synthesizing sources (from you research notes) by first looking for similar “themes” among the authors and consolidating them and determining “how they relate to one another.”
For example, let us assume that you conduct library research on the topic of learning management systems (LMS) for schools, online teaching, and effective teaching in an online environment. You might find that three major themes emerge from your perusing of the seven articles:
• common reasons for resisting the move to a new LMS
• impact on faculty members when transitioning to a new LMS
• impact on students when transitioning to new LMS
Selection of Topics
Again, identify a problem in your workplace, community, or a social/political problem in society (see list posted in Announcements). Determine your thesis for a solution to that problem. Then, do related research and synthesize it.
You will need a clear thesis soon after you pick your topic, so you may e-mail me to brainstorm about that asap if you wish to. See my Announcement on drafting a thesis.
a. Workplace or community problem
Examples of Topics for Writing Assignment #4, the Research-Based Report
A student could write a report on a number of topics. The following are some examples. Please note that these are examples of topics. You are not required to choose any of them. They are provided here to help illustrate this assignment.
• a report to your supervisor at work suggesting that email be used less frequently for communication and that another application be used to improve communication
• a report to your city council suggesting a new smart traffic light system for parts of the city
• a report to the program chair of your major at UMGC to suggest changes to one or more of the classes required in the major
• a report to the manager of your unit at work noting that recycling facilities in the workplace should be improved
b. Social/political problem in society
See list posted in LEO Announcements.
Additional Topics that Previous Students Have Used
Some possible workplace research topics are the following. These are examples to help you get started. Please contact your instructor to have other topic ideas approved.
• Making a change in the computer infrastructure at your workplace
• Establishing a drug policy
• Establishing an employee leave donation program
• Establishing an equipment donation program for used computers, etc.
• Establishing a company recycling program (paper, etc.)
• Education/retraining for your employees
• Recommending the purchase of standing desks for employees
• Designing a training program for workplace safety issues
• Redesigning employee performance evaluations
• Establishing on-site day care or providing other child care benefits
• Providing gym membership or creating an on-site workout facility
• Creating or revising a charitable contribution policy
• Creating or improving a tuition assistance program
• Accommodations needed for employee/s with specific health issues (for example, migraines)
Some students have chosen topics outside of their workplaces, such as the following:
• Getting additional lighting in the neighborhood
• Changing traffic patterns around your child’s school
• Starting a PTA website for your child’s school
• Constructing a crying baby room at your place of worship
• Offering ESL courses at your church
• Increasing participation in a military Family Support Group
• Introducing a youth sports program to a school or community
• Changing the design of a class for your university
• Changing the learning management system for online classes for your university
Length of Your Paper
As noted above, your background review of the literature on your topic should be 1000-1400 words in length.
The sources should be cited throughout the paper in APA format and listed in a References page at the end of the paper in APA format.
Guides to Help You in Writing this Assignment:
See readings and sample (#2) papers.
Please read the sample paper in our class from Tom Student.
Submitting the assignment:
You will submit a draft of the essay to the assignment folder. The draft will not be graded. The instructor will provide comments to it.
After receiving comments from the instructor, you will submit a final draft, which will be graded.
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