You are on page 1of 266

WUC 203/03

Unit 3
Writing Skills for
University Studies
Writing Reports
and Proposals

Unit Overview
What is a report? A report is information gathered and organised in response to a
request. This factual information is the result of research, analysis and investigations
which you arrange in an appropriate and orderly format and present objectively in
written form. Interpretations and conclusions should be a part of reports and they
are always supported by facts.

Report writing is commonplace especially in the business world today.


Almost all organisations (ranging from business organisations to
government agencies) use reports. We all write and read reports at
some time or other in our careers. Report writing is a routine to
many workers who are sometimes required to write daily
and/or weekly reports.You may have written a sales report, a progress
report, or an incident report. Some organisations may have their own
standard formats for certain types of reports. As such, it is important
that you be able to classify reports as well as write good reports to be
effective at your workplace.

There are different types of reports. The classification is usually made based
on the style, the purpose, and the format of the report. Informal reports
(sometimes referred to as short reports) are obviously shorter
and less formal, while formal reports or long reports are longer
and divided into different parts. The company report you
receive from public listed companies is an example of a formal report while
the weekly report you submit to your supervisor would usually be an
informal report.

Reports can also be classified according to purpose.


Reports can be informational or analytical. Sometimes,
specialised informational reports have to be written
because they cater to different objectives.
The written report meets limitless needs. Reports may be
written to maintain a permanent record of events, to keep
people in an organisation informed of developments, to
facilitate planning and decision making, to fulfil legal
requirements, and for a wide variety of other purposes.

Although there are so many types of reports, the


report writing process is basically the same. The
major difference lies in the style and the format of
the report.
A proposal includes a detailed plan of action that a
writer submits to a reader or a group for approval.
Proposals are a very important part of job-related
writing as their acceptability could lead to better
working conditions, additional jobs, and better
sales.

This unit takes you through the entire process of


report writing and the writing of proposals. You
will be attempting a large variety of activities
related to the writing of different types of reports
and proposals.
These activities are planned to help you
write effective and impressive reports as well as
proposals at your workplace.

Unit Objectives

By the end of Unit 3, you should be able to:


1. Identify the different types of reports and proposals.
2. Write a variety of informal and formal reports using the
appropriate format.
3. Write a variety of informational and analytical reports using
the appropriate format.
4. Write a variety of policy statements.
5. Write a variety of proposals.
6. Use the different key terms related to reports and proposals.

3.1 Informal reports

Objectives
By the end of this section, you should be able to:
1. Identify the differences between informal and formal reports.
2. List the steps involved in planning informal reports.
3. Choose the most appropriate way of organising informal reports.
4. Select the most appropriate writing style for informal reports.
5. List the various formats for presenting informal reports.
6. Write informal reports for a variety of situations.

Introduction
Written reports are usually classified into two broad
categories " the informal or short report, and the formal
or long report. There are some differences between the
two categories of reports. It is generally true that formal
reports are lengthier and informal reports are shorter
though it is not necessarily related to the length of the
documents.

In the very technical sense, the formal report normally comprises


many parts starting from a title page to a table of contents, and finally a
summary. Because of the complex structure of the report, more time and
effort have to be spent in the preparation.
A formal report on whether a new drug can be safely used for the treatment
of hypertension may take months or years to prepare, and would involve a
lot of time, effort and money. Similarly, an annual report to shareholders of a
public listed company would be categorised as a formal report as it is
prepared based on reports by workers from different divisions.

Informal reports are shorter. They are usually simpler in


structure in the sense that they are not made up of so many
parts. Informal reports are usually more personal and direct.
They are usually routine reports written on a daily or weekly
basis for specific purposes which concern the organisation.Your
report to your sales manager would be classified as an informal
report.

The table below shows the differences between an informal and a formal
report

Informal report
Can be prepared in a day or a few
weeks.
Use an informal and personal
style.
Are usually made up of just a few
parts.
Are usually short (1 5 pages).

Formal report
Take months or years to prepare.
Use a formal and impersonal
style.
Are made up of many parts.
Are lengthier.

Both categories of reports are audience-driven as they are prepared because someone
has asked for them.You do not write a report just because you feel like doing so.
Your report should therefore be focused on your audience and the context.

Another common factor shared by the two categories of


reports lies in the entire process of planning and organising
the reports. This section discusses the planning and
organisation of both formal and informal reports.
We will discuss the process of preparing informal reports,
followed by the steps taken in the preparation of formal
reports. This will help you to differentiate between formal
reports and informal ones more easily. You will be attempting
a large variety of activities to help you in the writing of both
formal and informal reports.

Planning informal reports


The skills required for the writing of informal reports are
amongst the most important because you can expect to prepare
these reports quite often at the workplace. Even though
informal reports are usually not lengthy, you must allow for
careful planning, drafting and revising if you want to be sure that
the report you write is concise and effective.

Informal reports are written for a variety of reasons.


Routine reports provide information about planned,
ongoing, or recurring events. These would include field
trip reports, inspection reports, sales reports and
progress reports which we will cover in section 2 of
this unit.
Some informal reports such as incident reports are not
written routinely because they provide information
about events which the writer did not anticipate. These
could be reports on accidents, breakdowns and delays.

Such reports tend to be more informative than persuasive although


there are always exceptions as all reports are structured according to
the needs of the receiver(s).
Such reports can be written in different formats ranging from memos
to letters and manuscripts.

Informal reports are written for readers who need


information to get a job done.
Do not get the impression that they can be finished
quickly merely because they are informal. In writing
informal reports, it is necessary to go through the
different stages of the report writing process.

The following diagram summarises the steps in the writing of informal


reports:

Identifying the problem


When you are asked to write a report, you need to identify the problem and
the purpose of the report. You must know why you are writing the report
and what you want the reader(s) to do after they read the report..
It is advisable to start by stating your purpose or your goal.
Examples:

1. This report is to identify the main cause of the accident.


2. The purpose of this report is to identify the three main
reasons for the fall in sales figures.
3. This report will answer the question Is the technical
department understaffed?

Identifying the audience


It is also advisable at this stage to identify your audience.
You need to know who is going to read your report. Different
people may have different opinions on the subject and the
writer of the report. As you decide on your purpose, you also
need to bear in mind the needs of your audience.
Remember that the report you write must use language that
is appropriate for your readers so that they will consider your
report seriously.

Activity 3.1
Study the following situations and identify the purpose or goal of
the reports that have to be written.
1. A worker in the factory has been injured in an accident while at
work. The worker had to be hospitalised. As his immediate
superior, you are asked to write a report for the manager as
well as for the insurance company which will pay for the hospital
charges. Decide on the purpose of each report.
Report for the manager:
_________________________________________________
Report for the insurance company:
_________________________________________________
2. The organisation you work for is unable to manufacture enough
vehicles to meet orders which have been accepted. During
the last six months, the organisation has been faced with staffing
problems as well as with a shortage of parts. As the head of the
production department, you have been asked to write a report
for the manager. Decide on the purpose of this report.
_________________________________________________
3. Your company would like to market a new line of sports products
some time during the year but is uncertain about the most
suitable time for the launch. You have been asked to write a
report. What would be the purpose of your report?
_________________________________________________

Suggested answers to activities


Feedback
Activity 3.1
1. Report for the manager:
This report is to identify the cause of the accident and to explain
action taken to compensate the injured worker.
Report for the insurance company:
This report is to describe the extent of the injury sustained by the
worker during an accident at the factory.
2. This report is to identify the two main reasons for our inability
to meet orders.
3. The purpose of this report is to identify a suitable date for the
launching of our new line of products.
4. Select the ideas that you want to include.

Determining the scope and the schedule


Determine the scope of your report before you proceed further. How much are
you going to include in your report? If the purpose of your report is to find out if
the technical department is understaffed, then do not waste time and effort
writing about staffing in other departments or the financial standing of the
organisation.
When you have decided on the scope of your report, prepare a schedule for the
writing of the report. Your schedule should indicate the steps that need to be
taken and may be in the form of a chart or a list. It is necessary to indicate in the
schedule the timeline for each stage of the report writing process.

Some routine weekly reports (e.g., reports on sales figures or reports on staff
performance) should obviously be prepared over a shorter time frame.
The following is an example of a schedule for the writing of a report.

The research you conduct and the sources of information you use will
determine the quality of the report. Carefully collected data can enhance
the credibility of your report.

Developing a preliminary outline


You need to decide on a preliminary outline so that information you collect
can be properly organised. Means (2001) suggests that you arrange material
for informational reports using one of the following five ways:
1. Chronological order
2. Order of importance
3. Logical order
4. Category
5. Geography order

Remember that the preliminary outline you choose is not necessarily the
format you will be using when you present your report. The preliminary
outline is just to help you organise whatever information you gather in
the course of your research.

Collecting data
Research is a process where you work to discover
interesting and rewarding information regarding the
subject you are writing on.
Research is classified into two categories:
1. Secondary research
2. Primary research

Secondary research
Secondary research is based on information collected by
others and probably published in books or periodicals. It is
the least costly and most accessible source of information.
However, secondary research is only useful if you know
what to look for and where to look.

Libraries provide different sources of secondary material ranging from


magazines and books to audio-visual materials. You can also conduct
secondary research by referring to past reports on similar topics, contacting
government departments and competitors, or sourcing for up-to-date
information on the computer database.
Trade directories, encyclopaedias, government publications, and some
Internet sites can be very helpful. It is most important to make sure that the
secondary sources you refer to are reliable.

Primary research
Primary research is firsthand research which results
in new findings and original information. Data based
on actual tests or on personal observations are
more reliable and will enable you to write more
effective reports.

Interviews with the layperson or the specialist as well as questionnaires


and surveys may be time-consuming but they help to give you a more
accurate picture of the subject you are reporting on.

Certain information can be best determined by asking


questions. If you plan to conduct a survey as part of your
research, decide on the format and the delivery.
You may wish to ask questions in an interview or over the
telephone. You may also present your questions in printed
form.
You also have to decide who to include in your survey. You will
have to select a sample if the group involved is too large.
Sometimes, a mail survey or an email survey can be useful
when you need a larger sample.

If you are preparing a questionnaire, remember that your objective is


to obtain accurate and relevant information for very specific purposes.
Not everybody will answer the questions in questionnaires truthfully. So,
do bear this in mind when you analyse the results.
In designing a questionnaire, try to use only one page and limit your
questions to a maximum of twelve. You can ask closed questions which
invite respondents to choose from alternative answers. These include
Yes/No questions, multiple-choice questions and ranking
questions. You may want to ask open questions which will invite the
respondents to respond in their own words.

An example of a closed question:

Do you drink soya bean milk? Yes/No


Closed questions are easier to compile and to analyse but they limit the
responses as to what are provided in the questionnaire. Open questions
encourage individualised answers but analysis of the answers will be more
time-consuming and will need much objectivity.

An example of an open question:

What do you think of Scent shampoo?


In preparing a questionnaire, remember to use familiar and neutral vocabulary. It
is meaningless asking a respondent if they prefer polyunsaturated cooking oil
when you are not sure if they understand the term. Questions should be short,
simple and strictly neutral.
Make sure you do not use suggestive language which may influence the
response. Questions such as Do many doctors recommend this milk powder?
may result in distorted answers. In place of questions, you can use statements for
ranking purposes.

The following is an example of part of a questionnaire with open questions:

1. What do you expect of a good shampoo?


_____________________________________________________________
2. In what ways did the product meet your expectations?
_____________________________________________________________3.
In what way(s) did the product fall short of your expectations?
_____________________________________________________________
4. What do you like best about the product?
_____________________________________________________________

The following is an example of a questionnaire with closed ranking


statements:

Please rate your stay at our hotel so that we can serve


you better in future.
Excellent Good Moderate Poor
Check-in process

Cleanliness of rooms

Hotel facilities

Food

Service

Activity 3.2
Analyse the situations below and decide on the methods you would
adopt to conduct research for the reports you have to write.
1. Your company, which runs a chain of fast food outlets, plans
to open another three outlets in Penang and Kuala Lumpur. You
have been asked to write a report so that the company can decide
on suitable locations. What methods would you use to conduct
research?
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________

2. The international organisation you work for would like to invest


in Malaysia. You have been asked to write a report on employee
welfare and benefits in Malaysia so that your company can make
a decision on whether to proceed with the plan. How would
you conduct research to gather information for the report?
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________

Activity 3.2
1. I would firstly conduct secondary research to find out the
location of the most densely populated areas in Penang and
Kuala Lumpur. I would also conduct secondary research to find
out the number of fast food outlets in these areas and how
successful these outlets are. I would then follow up by
interviewing a sample group in each of these areas regarding the
need for another fast food outlet there.
2. I would consult the Labour Department of Malaysia about
government regulations on employee welfare.

Activity 3.3
You work for an airline. Prepare a questionnaire for distribution to
all passengers who board flights on your airline. The questionnaire
is meant to help you prepare a report on how to improve the services
provided by the airline. Decide on the type of questions you would
ask and make sure that they are worded in simple correct English.

Activity 3.3

Please rate the services of this airline so that we can make our
flights even more pleasant for you.
xcellent Good Moderate Poor
Check-in process

Boarding procedure

Service of in-flight attendants


Meals served on the flight


In-flight entertainment

In-flight reading material


Punctuality

Analysing data
Information you collect is only useful if you analyse and present it correctly. A
person who interprets data effectively needs to have good analytical skills as well
as be objective.
Bias in the interpretation of results should be avoided at all costs. Bias may arise
due to preconceived ideas which may be either favourable or unfavourable. The only
remedy is to be constantly aware of the possibility of bias that is usually related to
race, gender, age, religion or other forms of prejudice.
Make sure that you compare only data that is logically related. For example, you
cannot compare property prices today to property prices twenty years ago if you do
not take inflation into consideration.

View your own analysis from a critical point of view. No matter how much time
you have spent analysing the data collected, always try to be a critic of your own
analysis as well. It would be wise to discuss your analysis with others to make sure
that your interpretation is sensible and objective
.
Reliable statistics can help to make your report more credible and convincing but
pages of statistics will only confuse the reader. It is the duty of the person writing
the report to analyse the general meaning of the figures and then to present only
necessary statistics to give credibility to your report.
Several interpretations of data collected may be possible. So, it is necessary to select
the interpretation with the most merit and draw conclusions from that interpretation.
Recommendations are only made if they are asked for.

Writing the report


After having completed the various steps in
planning the informal report from
identifying the problem to collecting and
analysing the data, it is time to write the
first draft of the report. The final stage would
be to edit, revise, and then proofread the
report. The process of writing a report is
similar to the process of writing the essay
which was discussed in Unit 1.

Organising informal reports


The purpose of organising information that is collected is to make it easy
for readers to understand the report. Effective organisation of informal
reports normally requires you to include just the right amount of
information in the most appropriate places.
The organisation of an informal report is not as elaborate as that of a
formal report.

Direct and indirect order


Informal reports are usually organised in one of the
following orders:
Direct order
Most informal reports are written in this order
where the main idea is presented
first, followed by supporting information.
Everybody values time at the workplace
and a report with the main idea at the very
beginning saves time.

Indirect order
This order is only used when you expect a negative response
from the reader. In this case, you present the supporting data
and reasons first, followed by the main idea.
For instance, it would be wise to use this approach if you are
proposing an idea which you believe your superiors may not
respond positively to.

The report outline


Once you have analysed the data, take another look at your
audience and your purpose. Proceed to decide on the
structure that will be most effective in helping you to achieve
your goal. You can refer to the preliminary outline you have
prepared when you are collecting data and revise the outline
based on the data that is collected.
Most informal reports are usually made up of four main
sections. Give each section a clear heading that will tell the
reader what to expect. The way these headings are
arranged will depend on whether you are using direct order or
indirect order to present your report.

An example of an outline for an informal report using direct order:


Note that in this outline, the main ideas are listed immediately after the
introduction.

1. Introduction
This report will determine if the new staff incentive programme is
successful and identify measures to further improve the
programme.
2. Main ideas
2.1 The new staff incentive programme is working well.
2.2 Staff development programmes should be introduced.
3. Findings and supporting details
3.1 The salary scale of all categories of workers is favourable as
compared to those in other organisations.
3.2 Overtime incentives for all categories of workers are well
accepted.
3.3 85% of staff interviewed are interested in educational and
development opportunities.
4. Conclusion/Closing

An example of an outline for an informal report using indirect order:


In this outline, the main ideas are listed after presenting the findings and supporting
details.
1. Introduction
The purpose of this report is to explain the large staff turnover in the
company
and to identify solutions to the problem.
2. Findings and supporting details
2.1 The salary scale of all except management level staff is unfavourable as
compared to those in other organisations.
2.2 80% of all staff are unhappy over low overtime rates.
2.3 80% of all staff are dissatisfied with promotion opportunities.
3. Main ideas
3.1 New staff incentive programmes for lower level staff should be
introduced.
3.2 The staff salary scale should be revised.
4. Conclusion/Closing

Activity 3.4
Prepare an outline for an informal report to determine the reasons
for the fall in consumer sales in the organisation over the months of
July to September in 2014. Identify steps to overcome the problem.
Assume you are the sales manager and that the report is for the
general manager.
Organise the information according to categories.
1. Introduction
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
2. Reasons for the fall in consumer sales
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
3. Steps to overcome the problem
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
4. Conclusion
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________

Activity 3.4
1. Introduction
The purpose of this report is to determine the reasons for the
fall in consumer sales in Zen Corporation over the months of
July to September in 2014 and to identify steps to overcome
the problem.
2. Reasons for the fall in consumer sales
a. Prices of twenty of the most popular consumer products
were increased by 5% in July 2014.
b. No new consumer products were introduced in the months
of July to September in 2014.
c. No festive

3. Steps to overcome the problem


a. Prices of most popular consumer items should not be
increased.
b. A variety of new products should be introduced.
4. Conclusion
With the most popular consumer products offered at lower
prices and with a greater variety of products for sale, consumer
sales should increase especially from October to December in
2014 when several festivals will be celebrated.

Writing style
A report written in the appropriate style and one that fits the
readability ability of the
reader is a report which will be well received. Choice of words,
length of sentences
and arrangement of paragraphs all contribute towards an
effective report.
The following are some aspects to consider in the writing of
reports:
1. Use of pronouns
2. Choice of words
3. Sentence structure
4. Placement of topic sentence

Use of pronouns
Informal reports can be written in a more personal style where you can use the
first person pronoun I and the second person pronoun you when you are writing
for readers of the same rank. However, in an impersonal report, it would be
more appropriate to use the third person pronoun like he, she or they when
writing to someone of a higher rank or someone in another organisation.
Examples:

Informal
1. I suggest that we consider better pay for the staff.
2. We should purchase more computers for the company.
Formal
1. They (The staff ) would like their salary scale to be revised.
2. The company (It) would benefit from the purchase of more
computers.

Choice of words
Use words which you are sure the reader will understand. Avoid unfamiliar words
and heavy expressions which may make your writing difficult to read. If using
specialised terms, make sure your reader can understand them; otherwise, explain
the terms.
Use concrete words and avoid abstract terms like a majority and a sizable profit.
Avoid words which show any form of bias towards race, gender, or religion.
Examples:

Poor choice of words


1. If a customer pays in cash, he will be given a 5% rebate. (Genderbiased)
2. A decent profit was made. (Abstract)
3. During the preceding year, the company operated at a financial loss.
(High-sounding)

Sentence structure
Keep sentences short. This does not mean that you write only sentences with four
to five words. There should be variety in the length of sentences. Most importantly,
the sentence length must cater to the reading level of the audience you are writing
for. Ensure that there is no repetition or redundancy, and the sentences follow
grammatical rules.
Examples:
Poor sentence structure
1. Modern, up-to-date technology will be used. (Repetition)
2. After reaching a deadlock in the negotiation an independent arbitrator was
employed. (Grammar)
Correct sentence structure
1. Modern technology will be used.
2. An independent arbitrator was employed because the parties had reached a
deadlock in the negotiation.

Placement of topic sentence


A well-written paragraph will always have a topic sentence expressing the main
idea.
The topic sentence is usually the first sentence of the paragraph in most reports
as it tells the reader the main idea straightaway. Sometimes, the topic sentence is
placed right at the end of the paragraph when you plan to draw a conclusion
based on the supporting ideas given earlier.
Examples:
Topic sentence at the beginning of a paragraph
The majority of economists expect the first quarter inflation results for Malaysia to
increase by 5%. Of the 120 economists interviewed, 83% see the consumer index
growing, 10% see a stagnant growth and 7% see a fall in the index. Of this group,
nearly all (90%) believe that the government will take measures to keep inflation
in check.
Topic sentence at the end of a paragraph
The significant role of foreign investors should not be overlooked. At present,
foreign investments in the stock market represent 33% of total market value. In fact,
three international investment funds have recently agreed to invest in our market.
Thus, total market value is not likely to decline.

Components of informal reports


Informal reports are similar to academic essays " they are made up of three basic
parts: the Introduction, the Body, and the Conclusion.

The introduction

The purpose of the introduction is to inform the reader what


the report is about.
The length of the introduction depends on the purpose of the
report, and its format.
If the report is in a memo or letter format, the introduction may
just be a short title line, or made up of a few sentences.
For slightly longer informal reports which may be in the form
of manuscripts, your introduction may include additional
information such as overview of the main ideas or findings that
you will include in the body of the report.

The body

The body is usually the longest part of the report. This is


where the findings are presented. Some may wish to include
the recommendations here.
This section of the report has to be well-organised following
the outline you have planned. For the report to be readerfriendly, give headings and subheadings to the various
findings presented in the body of the report. You can see
examples of these headings in the various samples
throughout the unit.

The conclusion
As in most forms of writing, the conclusion is your final opportunity
to reinforce your idea and to impress or convince the reader. If you
are using direct order, this is the place to re-emphasise your main
idea(s).
If you are using indirect order, then your conclusion is based on the
findings or data presented in the body.You may choose to state your
recommendations here instead of in the body of the report. If you
have several recommendations, you may want
to present them as a list.

Formats of informal reports

Reports can be written for people within the same organisation,


or for persons outside the organisation. Most informal external
reports are formatted as letters, while most informal
internal reports are written in the form of a memo. Lengthier
reports (both external and internal) would normally be
written in the form of a manuscript.

Letter reports
If the report is meant for someone outside your organisation, you will usually
use the letter report. As the term implies, a letter report is a report written using
the letter format. Letter reports usually deal with shorter problems that can be
presented in 1 5 pages. However, this does not mean that longer reports
cannot be written using this format.
Letter reports are usually more personal, and pronouns such as I, you, and
we are often used, although there are always exceptions to the rule. As with
other reports, the writing style should be clear and meaningful.
Letter reports may be arranged in both direct order and indirect order. Indirect
order is usually preferred if the report has to be mailed, as it will be an initial
reminder to the reader as to how it originated.
Example:

As authorised by your board of directors on 18 July 2014, this report reviews the
training opportunities for your employees.

If you choose to use direct order, you should begin with a subject line
which includes keywords to identify the problem.
Example:

Subject: Report authorised by the board of directors on 18 July


2009 on training opportunities for employees.

Irrespective of the order you select to write the letter report, remember that all
components of reports should be included. You will need the introduction to
explain the purpose of the report, and to mention who asked for the report. You
proceed to write the body of the report where you can present your main
idea(s) and your findings. The conclusion may mention some expected followup action from the reader and must always end on a goodwill note. Include
headings (and if necessary, subheadings), for each part of the report.
The following is an example of a short informal report, presented in a fullyblocked letter format:

Freeway Event Planner


16 Jalan Max
10400 Penang
Tel: 04-2291228
18 September 2014
Mr. Ronald Lim
President
Sunshine Residents Association
3 Jameson Road
10200 Penang
Subject: Report on regular activities for members of Sunshine Residents
Association
Here is the report you requested on 15 July 2014. After talking to 100 ordinary
members and five committee members of Sunshine Residents Association, I
recommend that you consider the following activities for 2015.
Tai-chi classes:
80% of the members interviewed suggested regular keep-fit activities. 62% of these
members are senior citizens who are not working, and 66% of those interviewed
showed an interest in having regular tai-chi classes in the mornings.
Karaoke sessions:
62% of members interviewed showed an interest in singing. The respondents were
from different age groups, ranging from working adults to retired seniors. Evening
karaoke sessions held in the community centre would attract a large turnout.
Conclusion:
Our interviewers have come to the conclusion that the members are willing to pay
a maximum of RM60 per month for the activities.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance in organising the
activities.
Sincerely,
Azizah Hassan
Manager

Memorandum reports
Memorandum or memo reports are widely used within organisations. Most
memo reports are between people who know one another, and are therefore
written informally. However, if you are writing to someone of a higher rank in the
organisation, then a more formal writing style may be required.
Memo reports normally need no introduction. Most memo reports are written on
standardised formats that are usually stipulated by the organisation. All the
required information can be easily identified immediately as most standard
formats place the subject at the top of the page.
Example of a standard format for a memo:

MEMORANDUM
To:
From:
Date:
Subject:
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________

Manuscript reports
Manuscript reports are usually longer and can be used either within the
organisation or sent to external parties. The main reason these reports
are not written as memos or letters is due to its length. It would be easier
to read lengthy reports with lots of information when they are written in
manuscript form under several headings and subheadings.
The components of a manuscript report are essentially the same as
those of other reports with an introduction, a body and a conclusion. The
only major difference would be that the body of the report will include
much more information that is normally presented under several
headings and subheadings.

Activity 3.6
Decide on the format you would use for each of the following reports
and provide a reason for your choice.
1. A weekly report on the performance of sales personnel to the
sales manager of your organisation.
_________________________________________________
2. A report to explain a delay in the delivery of goods to the
manager of another company.
_________________________________________________
3. A report on customer expectations commissioned by an airline
company.
_________________________________________________
4. A report to justify purchases of each of fifty items on the
inventory for the general manager of your company.
_________________________________________________
5. A report by the officer-in-charge of traffic offences for the chief
police officer on the number of traffic violations in the month
of August 2014.
_________________________________________________

Activity 3.6
1. A memo report.
2. A letter.
3. A manuscript.
4. A letter or a manuscript.
5. A memo report.

Summary

In this section, you were introduced to the differences between


informal and formal reports. The focus in this section here is on
informal reports.
You learnt the various steps on planning an informal report, the
ways you can organise the report, and the appropriate writing style
to adopt.
You learnt that an informal report is similar to an academic essay
with its three parts " the introduction, body, and conclusion. The
major difference is that the report requires the use of headings and
subheadings so that the readers can locate the parts they need to
read easily.
You also analysed the three formats for presenting informal reports
" the letter, memorandum, and manuscript formats.

Self-test 3.1
1. Explain the differences between a formal report and an informal
report.
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
2. Explain when you need to use direct order and when you need
to use indirect order when writing informal reports.
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
3. Name the three formats that are used in the writing of reports
and explain when you would use each format.
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
4. Why are headings an important part of formal reports?
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
5. Why do we need to state the purpose of the report in the
introduction?
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________
________

Self-test 3.1
1. The formal report normally comprises many parts " starting
from a title page to a table of contents and finally a summary.
It is very complex in structure. A lot of time and effort needs
to be spent in the preparation. The informal report is shorter
and usually simpler in structure. It is not made up of so many
parts. Informal reports are usually more personal and direct.
They are usually routine reports written on a daily or weekly
basis for specific purposes which concern the organisation.
2. Direct order is used when the report is lengthy. Since time is
valuable at the workplace, a report with the main idea at the very
beginning helps the reader to get the main idea at once. Indirect
order is used when you expect a negative response from the
reader. In this case, you present the supporting data and reasons
followed by the main idea.
3. Letter reports are meant for parties outside your organisation.
Memo reports are used within the organisation. Manuscript
reports are used when the report is made up of many pages and
needs to be divided into several sections and subsections.
4. Headings are an important part of formal reports which are
usually lengthy because readers can select to read what they
want based on the headings.
5. The readers need to know what the report is about before they
proceed to read the details.

3.2 Formal reports


Objectives
By the end of this section, you should be able to:
1. Identify the major features of formal reports.
2. List the components of formal reports.
3. Use the most appropriate approach to present information in formal
reports.
4. Select the most appropriate style for writing formal reports.
5. Select the appropriate format for writing formal reports.
6. Write formal reports for a variety of situations.

Introduction
Formal reports are usually quite lengthy, and they are concerned with major
issues and investigations. Formal reports are sometimes required by top
management or agencies. Although the steps involved in the planning of a
formal report and an informal report are the same, the formal report can be the
result of weeks or even months of hard work.
It is neither possible nor practical to discuss in detail the writing of a formal
report in this short unit as this topic is a subject by itself. However, it is useful
to know the basics of formal reports so that you will know what it involves
when reference is made to formal reports in the course of your work. For all
you know (without your realising it), you might even be in one of the
committees or sub-committees set up by your company to prepare a formal
report.

Features of formal reports


Some of the basic differences between informal and formal reports have been
discussed in the section earlier. However, there are several features in formal
reports you need to know.
1. Scope
The formal report is written after an in-depth study of a problem and
therefore can have very major implications. A factory plant may be relocated
to another country or a company may decide to change to a completely
different line of business as a result of a formal report.

An informal report normally examines one part of a problem while a formal


report covers a very extensive range of topics related to a major issue. A
master plan to solve transport problems in Penang or Ipoh would be in the
form of a formal report, whereas a proposal to introduce a new bus route
would be in the form of an informal report.

2. Research
A formal report requires comprehensive research which will provide
readers with required detailed documentation. Research can be
conducted using a combination of the methods we have discussed earlier,
and the findings analysed by specialists in the area. This is both a timeconsuming and expensive process. Research conducted for informal
reports are usually much less complex and normally do not involve much
expenditure.

3. Format
It does not make sense to present a lengthy formal report in
the form of a memo or a letter. The formal report is normally
divided into various sections with many headings,
subheadings, and appendices. The headings and
subheadings make it easy for the readers to go straight for
the parts which they wish to read. We will be discussing the
format of the formal report later in this subsection.

4. Time-schedule
The formal report may be commissioned by an agency or a
company, and the findings may become a record for future
reference. Because of the amount of research and other
related work that have to be put in, the formal report
may take months or even years to complete while an
informal report may be written sometimes in a few hours.

5. The audience
The people reading the formal report will be higher up on the
hierarchy while those reading informal reports will normally be
your immediate superiors or your other colleagues. Company
directors and ministers may read formal reports.

6. Collaborative effort
While the informal report can be researched and prepared
by an individual or a small group, the formal report normally
requires collaborative effort involving several committees.

Activity 3.7
Listed below is a list of objectives of different people or organisations
asking for reports to be prepared. Indicate against each objective
whether a formal report or an informal report is required.
1. To determine whether a new factory should be set up in China.
________________________________________________
2. To decide whether the working hours of civil servants should
be reduced.
________________________________________________
3. To check if employees in the company are happy with
remuneration benefits.
________________________________________________
4. To determine whether the company should employ foreign
workers.
________________________________________________
5. To decide whether every employee should have access to a
computer.
________________________________________________

Feedback
Activity 3.7
1. Formal report
2. Formal report
3. Informal report
4. Informal report
5. Informal report

Components of formal reports


A formal report can be divided into three major
parts " with each part comprising
several headings:
1. Preliminary section
Letter of transmittal or memo of transmittal
Title page
Acknowledgements
Table of contents and table of illustrations
Executive summary

2. Body
Introduction
Findings usually presented in several
major divisions
Summary, conclusion and/or
recommendations
3. Supplements
Appendix
Bibliography

Preliminary section
The preliminary section provides information about the body of the
report. It
comprises the following:
1. A transmittal letter or memo of transmittal which you would
send together with the report to the person who asked for it. This is
usually a direct message " something like Attached is the report ...
2. A title page showing the title of the report and other information
which will give identity to the report. You should include complete
identification of the writer and the recipient of the report. You should also
indicate the date the report is prepared.

3. A table of contents showing the main headings and the


page numbers.
4. An executive summary which gives a synopsis or
summary of the report.
The major points are mentioned in an executive summary so
that busy executives can view the main points immediately
without having to read every detail in the report.

The body
The body of the report is made up of the following parts:
1. The introduction explains the purpose of the whole report. It prepares
the reader for the report proper. The objective is usually phrased as a question
or in the infinitive form.
Example:
To assess the consumer market for canned durians in China.
What advertising devices should be controlled?
You may include the scope of the report, the history and limitations in this
section of the report.

2. Findings and analysis usually presented under


several major headings form the major part of the report.
This part of the report normally mentions the
methodology used to collect information. The information
collected is then presented in relation to the problem.
3. Summaries, conclusions or recommendations where
recommendations are sometimes drawn from conclusions
made on the findings. Depending on the purpose of the
report, the conclusion may be merely a summary or may
offer recommendations.

Supplements
Supplements can include one or both of the following:
1. An appendix normally includes information related to the report.
It provides supplementary information that supports the report. Sample
questionnaires or a glossary explaining terms may appear in this
section. Charts and graphs which directly support the report should be
in the body of the report and not in the appendix.
2. A bibliography (sometimes called references or works cited)
acknowledges the sources of information mentioned in the report. This
is especially necessary if the research has involved library research.

Direct and indirect approaches


Just like an informal report, the formal report has two approaches to present its
information " direct or indirect.
1. Direct approach
In the direct approach, summaries, conclusions or recommendations come
first. The supporting facts come later.
Example:

The working hours of employees in financial institutions should be


increased. This conclusion is reached after a thorough investigation over
the past month.
This recommendation is supported by a study of the working hours and
overtime work over the past month:
1. Employees in financial institutions work five days a week.
2. They work a total of 35 hours each week.
3. 90% of employees in financial institutions work an average of 8 hours
overtime every week.

2. Indirect approach
The indirect approach starts with the findings and then comes to a
conclusion. This approach usually has a longer introduction.
Example:

Investigations on the working hours of employees in financial institutions


over the past month reveal the following:
1. Employees in financial institutions work five days a week.
2. They work a total of 35 hours each week.
3. 90% of employees in financial institutions work an average of 8 hours
overtime every week.
The above findings lead to the conclusion that working hours of employees
in financial institutions should be increased.
Most formal reports are written using the direct approach so that readers
are presented with the main points at the beginning. However, if you expect
a negative response to your report and you feel you may need to persuade
your reader to accept your idea, then an indirect approach can be used.

Writing style
Most formal reports are professionally written, and the writing style adopted is
impersonal and objective. Here are the most important rules to follow:
1. Avoid personal pronouns
In grammar, the first person and second person refer to pronouns. The first
person pronouns are I, we, me, us, my, mine, our, and ours. The second person
pronouns are you, your, and yours.
Writing in the first and second person makes the writing sound personal
and informal. A formal report should not be personal. Avoid referring to
yourself in a formal report:
Reference to yourself

No reference to yourself

I conducted the study


In this report, I recommend
I propose that

The study was conducted


In this report, it is recommended
It is proposed that

2. Avoid expressing opinions


In writing formal reports, avoid phrases that express opinions. The writing
should be objective, i.e., without any expression of personal opinions.

Expressing opinions

Objective

I think
In my opinion
I believe that
It is my view that

It appears that
Research shows that
The statistics reveal that
It is clear that

3. Adopt an impersonal and objective style


For a formal report to be professional, it should therefore be written in an
impersonal and objective style.
Personal

Impersonal and objective

After studying the advantages


and disadvantages of investing in
overseas markets, I have come to
the conclusion that your company
should limit investments to
Malaysia.
You will not have to worry about
fluctuating currency exchange
rates and you will be investing in
familiar territory if you limit your
investments to Malaysia.

A study of the advantages and


the disadvantages of investing
in overseas markets lead to the
conclusion that Meiki Enterprise
should limit investments to
Malaysia.
Fluctuating currency exchange
rates
can be risky. Furthermore, it will
be
safer investing in familiar
territory.

Activity 3.8
Rewrite the following parts of reports so that they are more objective,
impersonal and more suitable for a formal report.
1. We observed that sales in your Kuala Lumpur outlets increased
by 5% over the last month while sales in your other regional
outlets fell by over 6%. We think your company should reduce
the number of outlets in other regions.
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
2. After studying the unemployment rate of graduates from this
institution, I have come to the conclusion that you need to
upgrade the facilities, the staff and the reputation of the college.
If you can improve on the reputation of your college, then your
graduates will be more marketable.
________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
3. I think that a lot needs to be done by your government. Firstly,
you should allocate a budget to upgrade and maintain public
washrooms. Secondly, you should impose a penalty on members
of the public who vandalise public washrooms. Thirdly, you
should conduct regular spot checks.
________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________

Activity 3.8
1. A study on sales of Caesars Shoes showed that sales in Kuala
Lumpur outlets increased by 5% over the last month while sales
in other regional outlets fell by over 6%. Caesars Shoes should
reduce the number of outlets in other regions.
2. A study of the unemployment rate of graduates from Green
College leads to the conclusion that Green College should
upgrade its facilities and its staff. These steps will improve the
reputation of the college and contribute towards more
marketable graduates.
3. A study of public washrooms in the state leads to the conclusion
that the government should allocate a budget to upgrade and
maintain public washrooms. The authorities should conduct
regular spot checks and impose a penalty on members of the
public who vandalise public washrooms.

Format of formal reports


Most formal reports are written following specific formats " some of which are
designed by the organisation itself.
The physical appearance of a report definitely has an effect on the reader. If the
report is a neat and well-arranged document, a favourable impression that the
work has been professionally done is immediately created. Alternatively, an
untidy and poorly organised report will create a negative impression, and that
may indirectly affect the receptiveness of the reader to whatever information is
conveyed.
With the aid of computers, reports can now be very effectively presented. It is
always worth the time and the effort to remember these guidelines:

1. Cover
Choose a cover that is suitable for the report you have written. Reports are
usually read by a large number of people and a sturdy cover with proper
binding would be more practical.

2. Paper
Paper usually comes in various sizes. A4-sized paper (i.e., 8.5 inches
by 11 inches) is more commonly used for formal reports. White paper is
normally used for most reports, but certain organisations may prefer to
use coloured paper to identify work from different departments.
3. Layout
Top and side margins are usually one-inch for double-spaced texts.
Sometimes, a wider top and side margin may be used to give the page
more white space when the text is written in single-spacing. Enough
white space in every page makes the document easier to read.

4. Headings
Headings are titles to various parts of a report. Headings lead the reader
through the report. First-level headings are used to start off major
sections, and second-level headings deal with sub-topics under each
first-level heading. The arrangement of first-level and second-level
headings should be consistent so that readers can distinguish at a glance
the major headings and subheadings.
Ensure that you start all headings with the same part of speech and that
the headings are parallel in structure. For example, if you use a noun for
one first-level heading, then you should use a noun to start all first-level
headings. Similarly, if you use a verb to start a second-level heading,
then make sure all your second-level headings start with a verb.
Example:
Measures to improve cleanliness
Engage the services of a cleaning agency.
Arrange for daily garbage disposal service.
Steps to improve staff productivity
Allocate a larger budget for staff benefits.
Ensure better staff promotion prospects.

Activity 3.9
Rewrite the following headings and subheadings of a report so that
they are parallel in structure.

How to improve greenery


Planting more trees.
Do not allow the removal of old trees.
Improving the landscape
Employ a professional landscaper.
Foreign workers can be employed.

____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________

Activity 3.9

How to improve greenery


Plant more trees.
Do not remove old trees.
How to improving the landscape
Employ a professional landscaper.
Employ foreign workers.

Graphics and visuals


Most formal reports make use of graphics and
visuals to illustrate the findings.
However, graphic and visual aids should only be
added if they help the reader to understand the
information better.
You may read in detail about this topic in
Incorporating graphics and visuals in
Unit 4.

Summary

In this section, you were introduced to the writing of formal


reports.You learnt about the features and components of
formal reports.You also learnt that selecting either the direct
or indirect approach to presenting your information depends
on how you think your readers will respond to the report.
You also learnt that in writing formal reports, you need to
adopt an impersonal and objective style " and the rules to
follow to achieve that style.

Self-test 3.2
A formal report can be divided into three major sections, with each
section comprising several headings. Identify the headings for these
three sections:
1. Preliminary section
______________________________________________
______________________________________________
______________________________________________
______________________________________________
______________________________________________
2. Body
______________________________________________
______________________________________________
______________________________________________
3. Supplements
______________________________________________
______________________________________________

Self-test 3.2
1. Preliminary section
Letter of transmittal or memo of transmittal
Title page
Acknowledgements
Table of contents and table of illustrations
Executive summary
2. Body
Introduction
Findings usually presented in several major divisions
Summary, conclusion and/or recommendations
3. Supplements
Appendix
Bibliography

3.3 Writing Informational and Analytical Reports


Objectives
By the end of this section, you should be able to:
1. Identify the differences between informational and analytical reports.
2. List examples of informational and analytical reports.
3. Identify the major features of informational and analytical reports.
4. Select the appropriate format for writing informational and analytical
reports.
5. Describe the differences between alphanumeric and decimal outlines.
6. Write informational and analytical reports for a variety of situations.

Introduction
All reports are written for a special purpose and they are categorised according
to the purpose for which they are prepared.
The table below gives you an idea of how reports can be categorised.

Informational reports provide the reader with information. The purpose of


the report is definitely to inform but this may be coupled with another purpose. The
informational report may inform and then persuade. Alternatively, it may inform so
that an opinion can be justified, or so that a decision can be made. Means (2001)
uses the term managerial report to refer to the informational report.
Informational reports are used by people of all levels in the workplace to give
others (both inside and outside the organisation) the information they need. For
example, you could inform your manager about the progress your team is making.
Your manager may use your report to inform a client when a product will be ready
for delivery.

Although most informational reports fall within the category of informal reports,
there may be exceptions to the norm. Informational reports are usually direct and
to the point. They tend to be more personal and are usually written in the past
tense as they tend to refer to events which are over or completed. The present
tense should be used for something that is still in progress and the future tense is
used when referring to actions which need to be taken in the future.
Example:

At the meeting of department heads on 30 October 2014, you requested to provide


information about the fringe benefits of our factory workers in comparison to those of
other organisations. The aim of this report is to present the information required and
suggest steps which can be taken to improve the current situation.

Analytical reports (sometimes referred to as scientific reports or technical


reports) are written to report on projects which need extensive research and
analysis. They present data, analyse the problem, draw conclusions, and make
recommendations.
Because of the scope of such reports, they normally take a lot of time to
prepare. They can be presented as either formal or informal reports. Most
analytical reports are quite lengthy and they are written objectively.

Activity 3.10
Decide if each report is to be analytical or informational for the
following situations.
1. An organisation deciding on the most appropriate piling system
to be used for the building of a bridge.
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
2. A drug company studying the side effects of a drug to treat
diabetes.
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
3. An organisation deciding whether to employ more staff.
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
4. A company deciding whether to promote some staff members.
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
5. A hotel checking on occupancy rates for the month.
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________

Feedback
Activity 3.10
1. Analytical report
2. Analytical report
3. Informational report
4. Informational report
5. Informational report

Informational reports
Informational reports are regularly written workplace
documents. You may have
written a progress report, a report on a member of the staff,
or a report on an incident at the workplace. You may be one
of those who have to write periodic reports " daily, weekly or
monthly. A good working knowledge about the writing of
informational reports is therefore necessary to function
effectively at the workplace.

Informational reports are sometimes


categorised and given different names such
as:
Staff reports
Status or progress reports
Audit reports
Periodic reports
Field trip reports
Incident reports

Irrespective of the names given to the reports, they share basically the
same formats and outline. The difference lies in the purpose and therefore
in the content of the reports.
1. Report format
Informational reports can be written as memos or letters. They are
sometimes written on standard company forms or following a standard
format that has been decided on by the organisation. As discussed, a
memo format is usually used for internal reports, and a letter format is
normally used for external reports. A report that is that is longer than six
pages are normally prepared in as a manuscript.

If the organisation has a standard form for the report, blank spaces are
usually provided so that the information gathered can be added in. Some
organisations have different report forms for different purposes. For
example, there may be a form to report incidents, and another form to
record daily sales figures. If you work for an organisation which has ready
forms for reports, make sure you use them.
An example showing the format of a letter report was given in the
subsection on the formats of informal reports. You will notice that in letter
reports there are several headings within the letter.

The same applies to a memo report. The format is basically


the same as that for other memos except that there are
usually headings to help the reader to follow the report
more easily.
Depending on the nature and the purpose of the report, the
headings may vary but terms like Introduction, Summary
and Findings are very regularly used.

Below is an example of a memo report:


Bethoven Cars
To : Jane Augustine (General Manager)
From : Yusuf Ali (Personnel Manager)
Date : 20 October 2014
Subject : Request for additional computers in the sales department
Introduction
On 1 October 2014, the sales manager requested for an additional five
personal computers in the sales department on the grounds that sales
personnel have to wait to access computers for routine duties.
Findings
There are currently 15 computers shared by 35 sales personnel in the sales
department. Fifteen of the sales personnel are stationed in the showroom
every working day, and the rest work outside of the office. All sales personnel
return to the office to record their sales and to check on the availability of
stock on the computer database at the end of each working day.
Sales personnel who return early and those stationed in the showroom
can complete the necessary work on the computer earlier, but those who
return just before the end of the working day have to wait for their turn to
use the computers.
About five sales personnel have to stay on for an extra one hour after work
to complete their work on the computers.
Conclusion/Recommendation
Based on the findings, I believe that another five computers are required
by the sales department.
Yusuf Ali

An example of a standard report form to report faulty computers:

Computer Fault Report Form


Date: _________________________ Time: __________________________
Department: __________________ Workstation number: ____________
Circle the problem area(s): Monitor Keyboard Mouse
Software CPU Printer
USB port Modem Compact disc drive
Other problem areas (if any): ______________________________________
Describe the problem(s) in detail: ________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
Reported by: __________________ Department: ___________________
Follow-up Action
Attended by: __________________ Date: ____________ Time: __________
Action taken: ___________________________________________________

2. Report content
Many informational reports are written for people within the
organisation.
Reports on progress in a project and periodic reports written to
provide information at regular intervals are the more commonly
prepared informational reports. These reports are usually
written using direct order and presented under the following
headings:
Introduction
Summary
Objectives
Findings
Analysis
Conclusion
Recommendation

Introduction
The first part of any report is the introduction. Sometimes,
just completing the template of the memo provided by
most word processing software is enough. The template
normally shows the words To, From, Date and
Subject. The information given would be adequate
introduction especially for regular reports written on a
daily or weekly basis.

Summary
The most important part of the report (i.e., the summary or the abstract)
normally comes after the introduction. Most busy executives do not have
time to read every word in the many reports they receive. A summary
gives a shortened version of the objective, the major findings, the
conclusion and the recommendations (if any). Unlike in essays, the
summary is placed at the beginning of a report and not at the end.

Objective
The purpose or the objective of the report is clearly stated in usually a single
sentence. This should be a very clear statement showing the reader what the
report is attempting to do.
Example:

This report is to determine the number of customers who have


withdrawn their orders during the month of July 2014.

Findings
Your findings are revealed under the heading Findings or Details. Because
we usually collect more information than required, there tends to be a
temptation to include unnecessary data here. Be very careful to present only
data and information that are relevant to the objective.
Arrange your findings in an appropriate order. Avoid vague or extreme terms
when you report your findings.
Example:

Vague

Most of the staff members are satisfied with the new


working hours.

Specific

90% of the staff members are satisfied with the new working
hours.

Analysis
An analysis of the results is presented. This section is
sometimes combined with the findings as it may be easier
to relate your analysis to your findings as you write the
report.

Conclusion
A conclusion is drawn, and this is based on the findings
and the analysis.

Recommendation
This section is sometimes coupled with the conclusion as recommendations
are made based on the conclusion. This is a very important part of the
report. Do remember that recommendations should only be given when
they are asked for.
Be specific in your recommendations. Also, make sure your recommendations
are grammatically correct and phrased to show confidence. Use of words
such as should and could will give the impression that you are confident
of your suggestions.
Examples:

Vague

1. I recommend that the budget for travel next year be


increased so that the problem may be improved.
2. Someone should be sent to check on the security guards
regularly.

Specific

. I recommend that the budget for travel next year be increased to


RM25,000. This should solve the problem.
2. The Chief of Security should be sent to check on the security guards
regularly.

Activity 3.11
Rephrase each of the suggestions below so that they are grammatically
correct, specific and show confidence.
1. I think that you may want to add more computers to the office.
_________________________________________________
2. We suggest that planes may not take off when the Air Pollution
Index is too high.
_________________________________________________
3. Each worker may be asked to work overtime.
_________________________________________________
4. We think you may buy a new water dispenser for the office
instead of repairing the old one.
_________________________________________________
5. Somebody can be appointed to check all office equipment
weekly.
_________________________________________________

Activity 3.11
1. I think that you should add ten computers to the office.
2. We suggest that planes should not take off when the Air
Pollution Index is 9 or above.
3. All workers should be asked to work overtime.
4. We recommend that you buy a new water dispenser for the
office instead of repairing the old one.
5. The technical chief should be asked to check all office equipment
weekly.

Activity 3.12
The four paragraphs below are parts of a report under the headings
Introduction, Finding, Conclusion, and Recommendation.
Identify which part of a report the paragraphs belong to.

3. Pagination
Most informational reports are usually short and no pagination is
required if the report is only a one-page document. Do note that it is
necessary to number the pages if there is more than one page to the
report.
Where you decide to place the page numbers depends on whether the
organisation you work for has any preference. Look at the reports you
receive or ask your superiors. Page numbers are usually placed on the
upper right hand corner or at the bottom centre of the page.

4. Drafting the report


After you have conducted your research, you need to classify the data
collected and analyse the results. Then, you need to identify what to include
and what to exclude in the report you will be writing. Remember to be as
objective as possible when you select and interpret information.
Decide on the most appropriate format before you draft your report. Are
you going to write a memo, a letter, or merely complete a ready-prepared
report form? Decide on the organisational pattern of your report. Are you
going to use chronological order, the order of importance, geographical
order, logical order, or categorical order?

5. Composing field trip reports


At the end of an assignment out of the office, you may be asked to prepare
a field trip report. You may have to describe what you saw or what you
accomplished during the field trip. Irrespective of the duration of the trip,
you will have to write an informational or factual report.
Health officers from local councils go out on field trips to check on food stalls
for a few hours at times. At the end of the trip, a report has to be written.
Similarly, a team may be sent to raid dealers of pirated DVDs, and a report
will also have to be written at the end of the day.
The five Ws " Who, What, Where, When and Why " will have to be
covered in the report. In the introduction, you need to mention who went
as well as where and why you went. In the findings, you will need to show
what you found. In the conclusion, you may need to explain what action
was taken and why such action was taken.

The five Ws " Who, What, Where, When and Why " will
have to be covered in the report. In the introduction, you
need to mention who went as well as where and why you
went.
In the findings, you will need to show what you found. In
the conclusion, you may need to explain what action was
taken and why such action was taken.
Example of a field trip report written in a memo format:

To : Lenny Lim, Chief Engineer


From : Ajay Gopal, Senior Road Works Engineer
Date : 15 September 2014
Subject : Resurfacing roads in the inner city
Introduction
On 14 October, Ali Hassan (Road Works Engineer) and I visited the inner
city. We drove around the area where the roads have to be resurfaced to
check on the progress.
Summary
The road resurfacing project in the inner city is behind schedule and the
contractor needs to be reminded of the deadline and the penalty for late
completion of work.
Findings
Most of the roads have not been resurfaced. There were only three workers
working on the roads throughout the inner city. These workers were unable
to explain the delay.
The contractor was nowhere in sight. When I contacted him on the phone,
he said he was facing a shortage of material.
Conclusion
The project is scheduled for completion by 30 September, and it is obvious
that the project will not be completed on time unless work progresses very
aggressively within the next two weeks.

Activity 3.13
Go on a field trip to hawker centres or food outlets in your area and
write a field trip report on cleanliness for the Head of the Health
Department of your area. You can use the following questions as a
guideline to help you in the writing of the report.
1. Where, when and why did you go?
2. What did you see?
3. What conclusion did you reach?
4. What suggestions do you have based on your findings?

To : Maria Yusuf (Head of Health Department)


From : Jeffrey Ong (Health Officer)
Date : 15 November 2014
Subject : Cleanliness of food outlets
Introduction
Jane Julienne, Hans Lim and I visited five food outlets in Gurney
Drive, two in Batu Lancang, and three in Air Itam on 14 November
2014.
Summary
Only 50% of the food outlets meet our standard on cleanliness. We
need to remind the food outlets about our cleanliness ruling and
to impose fines on those who do not meet our standards.
Findings
Workers in five of the ten food outlets visited were not wearing
aprons, gloves and caps as required by the council.
Three of the food outlets used disposable plates and cutlery and
two food outlets had staff that cleaned the plates, bowls and cutlery
with clean tap water. In the other food outlets, food was placed on
top of banana leaves which were reused or in plates which were
rinsed in the same pail of water.
Conclusion
Steps need to be taken to improve on cleanliness in the food
outlets. I suggest that we send letters to all food outlets to remind
them of our ruling on cleanliness. A task force to conduct regular
checks on food outlets should be formed.

6. Composing progress reports


Very often, workers have to write progress reports to keep the higher
authorities aware of how a project is coming along. The management needs
to be kept updated about any delays and problems so that appropriate action
can be taken.
When writing a progress report, you will have to give an overview of the
project in the introduction. You will then need to give details about progress
made and about any obstacles encountered. In the conclusion, you can
mention your expectations or your plans for the future.
Example of a progress report written in a letter format:

Gorgeous Art Gallery


311 Jameson Road
50110 Selangor
15 October 2014
Encik Abdullah Hamid
Curator
National Museum and Art Gallery
50566 Kuala Lumpur
Dear Encik Hamid,
Introduction
The artists you selected are painting the local heritage buildings you
identified. Work began in July on the understanding that each artist should
have five paintings ready for viewing by 30 October.

Summary
Progress on the paintings commissioned for the National Museum and
Art Gallery is proceeding on schedule. The paintings should be ready for
viewing by 30 October 2014.
Details
We encountered problems obtaining permission from some owners of the
heritage buildings initially as some of them would not allow the artists into
their homes. This problem has been solved as they have come to realise the
huge benefits this project will bring to them.
Conclusion
Work is nearly complete and all the fifty paintings should be ready on
schedule. I expect to deliver the entire lot of fifty paintings to the National
Museum and Art Gallery on 30 November 2014.
Sincerely,
Reagan
Reagan Ang

Activity 3.14
Think of a task your manager or supervisor has asked you to
complete. Write a progress report on the project. The following
questions can be used as a guide to help you in preparing your report.
1. When will the task be completed?
2. What does the task involve?
3. What has been achieved so far?
4. What problems have been encountered?
5. What will be achieved in the future?

To : Sean Pillai, Manager


From : Jess Lim, Project Manager
Date : 20 October 2014
Subject : Renovation of conference room
Introduction
The contractors and members of our Interior Designing team met
on 1 September 2009 to discuss the design and the specifications.
A decision was reached after a week and work began on 20
September 2014.
Summary
Renovation work at the conference room is slightly behind
schedule. However, we should be able to speed up the work and
complete the renovation by 30 October 2014.
Details
The floor has been carpeted and work on lightings has also been
completed.
We faced a delay when we did not receive the stained glass we had
ordered for the windows on time. However, we have been informed
that the item will be delivered tomorrow. The contractors have
hired extra workers to make sure work is completed on schedule.
Conclusion
Renovation works should be ready on schedule and the conference
room should be ready for inspection on 30 October 2014.

7. Composing inspection reports


You may need to inspect work, procedures and equipment in the course of
your work. Some inspections are conducted on a routine basis while others
are conducted when a problem arises. Many inspection reports include
recommendations.
Some organisations have prepared forms for routine inspection reports so
that the person conducting the inspection just needs to complete the form
after each inspection. Other organisations prefer informational reports to
be written after each inspection.

The summary should include what you think of the procedure or the
equipment you are inspecting. The introduction should mention the
purpose of the report. You can describe the procedure or equipment and
analyse the steps or parts in your findings. Finally, you may wish to make
recommendations in your conclusion.
Example of an inspection report written in a memo format:

To : Anjita Pillai (Plant Manager)


From : Jennifer Goh (Security Supervisor)
Date : 15 September 2014
Subject : Security in Mainstream Electronics
Introduction
As instructed by the Board of Directors on 10 September 2014, I checked
the security system in Mainstream Electronics.
Summary
The security system in Mainstream Electronics is far from satisfactory.
Findings
Five of the twelve door sensors are not working. The windows are not linked
to the central alarm system. One security guard controls entrances and exits
from the main gate. When the guard is away from the gate for meals, there
is no one to manage the main gate.
Conclusion
The security system is inadequate and needs to be improved. The door
sensors should be repaired and the windows should be linked to the
central alarm system. An additional security guard should be stationed at
the main gate.

Activity 3.15
Analyse any equipment or mechanical device used in your office.
You may look at the personal computer, the photocopy machine or
any other equipment. Using the following questions as a guideline,
write an inspection report for your superior.
1. What is your opinion of the equipment?
_________________________________________________
2. What is the purpose of the inspection?
_________________________________________________
3. What are your findings?
_________________________________________________
4. What are your recommendations?
_________________________________________________

To : Andy Williams (Department Head)


From : Jason Lim (Technician)
Date : 20 October 2014
Subject : Inspection of department photocopier
Introduction
I checked the photocopier to see if it needs to be replaced or
upgraded as you requested yesterday.
Summary
The photocopier in the department needs to be changed.
Findings
A modern photocopier includes a number of paper trays which will
allow you to copy onto different paper stock such as letterheads,
A4-sized transparencies and legal size paper without having to
reload the machine. The photocopier in the department has only
one paper tray. The tray has to be removed and replaced each time
different paper stock is required.
Your department staff makes photocopies on standard A4-sized
paper, the company letterhead, transparencies, and also on F4sized paper. A total of about 1,000 copies on different paper stocks
are printed weekly for use by the department.
Conclusion
The photocopier in use is inadequate. It is not cost-effective to
upgrade the machine. I suggest that the present copier be replaced
with a digital photocopier with multiple paper trays.

Activity 3.16
Answer the following questions on informational reports.
1. What is the purpose of writing an informational report?
_________________________________________________
2. Name the three formats that are used in the writing of
informational reports.
_________________________________________________
3. Name the basic parts of an informational report and explain
the types of information you would include in each part.
_________________________________________________
4. Explain the type of information you would expect to find in
the summary of a field trip report.
_________________________________________________

Activity 3.16
1. An informational report provides information required by the
reader so that a decision can be made or so that action can be
taken.
2. The informational report can be written as a memo or a letter.
It can also be written on prepared report forms.
3. The basic parts of an informational report are the introduction,
summary, findings, analysis, conclusion or recommendation.
The introduction shows who the report is from, when it is
written, for whom it is written and the subject of the report.
The summary gives a shortened version of the objective, the
major findings, the conclusion and the recommendations (if
any). The findings usually provide information collected
during the study and is sometimes combined with the analysis.
The conclusion is drawn based on the findings and the analysis.
A recommendation is made where relevant
4. The summary of a field trip report should indicate whether any
action needs to be taken.

Analytical reports
The analytical report (sometimes referred to as the technical report or
scientific report) covers a very wide scope, and would usually involve
collaborative work involving a group of people. A technical report involves
extensive research, investigation and analysis. It is usually formal.
An analytical report normally defines a problem, presents data and
information to support an analysis. It also draws conclusions and makes
recommendations based on the data.

As mentioned earlier, data can be collected through primary or secondary


research.
Do be mindful of information overload when you are searching for secondary
information. You may find yourself loaded with information which may or may
not be related to your report because of the vast amount of material that is now so
easily accessible through the Internet. Be resourceful and selective when you
conduct your research.
As with informational reports, there are also many types of analytical reports.
Companies prepare lengthy formal annual reports for their shareholders. The
analysis of alternatives report analyses problems and discusses alternative
solutions.
The systems white paper report supplies readers with information related to
technology. The difference between these reports is again in the purpose and the
content.

1. Report outlines
Means (2001) suggests that you use a preliminary outline to help you at the
early stage. You can use one of the following preliminary outlines to help
you analyse information you have collected.
Preliminary outline
Hypothesis
Using this method, you can identify possible causes to a problem and pose
them as hypotheses. You proceed to formulate a series of questions to prove
or disprove each hypothesis.
For example, if you are writing a report on why there is a large turnover of
staff in your organisation, you may come up with a series of hypotheses and
questions which can serve your purpose.

Examples:
1. Staff salary is too low (Hypothesis 1)
a. What is the salary scale of our staff?
b. What is the salary of staff in similar organisations?
c. How important is salary to staff members?
2. The organisation does not place enough emphasis on staff
welfare
(Hypothesis 2)
a. What welfare benefits do we give to our staff members?
b. What welfare benefits do staff members in other organisations
receive?
c. How does the workforce rate staff welfare benefits?

Alternatives
You can arrange your preliminary outline this way if you
have several alternative solutions to your problem.
For example, you need to write a report on which
department should get a bigger budget.
One alternative would be to look at the number of staff
members in each department. Another alternative perhaps
would be to look at the productivity of each department.

Examples:
1. Number of staff
a. Supermarket division
b. Fast food division
c. Fine dining division
2. Income generated
a. Supermarket division
b. Fast food division
c. Fine dining division
Staff benefits
1. Salary
a. Low compared to those in similar organisations.
b. Increment small compared to those in other organisations.
c. No payment given for overtime work.
2. Health benefits
a. Limited to RM100 per month.
b. No dental benefits.
c. Hospitalisation and surgical charges fully paid by the insurance
company.

When you are ready to write your report, you can decide on one of two
outlines:
1. Alphanumeric outline
2. Decimal outline
Alphanumeric outline
The alphanumeric outline divides a topic into sections marked with
Roman numerals, capital letters, numerals, and lowercase letters:

I. Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV, V)


A. Capitals (A, B, C, D, E)
1. Numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
a. Lowercase letters

The example of a report below has four levels of subdivisions using


the alphanumeric outline:

REPORT ON THE SUITABILITY AND RELEVANCE OF THE TRAINING


MATERIALS
I. INTRODUCTION
II. FINDINGS
A. Suitability and relevance of the training materials
1. Materials that were suitable and relevant
a. IT materials
b. Company procedure materials
2. Materials that were unsuitable and irrelevant
a. Out-of-date IT materials
b. Out-of-date procedure materials
3. Quality of the training materials
a. Printed materials
b. Digital materials
B. Effectiveness of the training personnel
1. In-house trainers
2. Part-time trainers
III. RECOMMENDATION
A. Cost effectiveness of the course
B. Parts of the course to be retained or changed
a. IT materials
b. Company procedure materials
C. Parts of the materials to be retained or revised
a. Printed materials
b. Digital materials
D. Changes to the training personnel
1. In-house trainers
2. Part-time trainers
IV. CONCLUSION

Decimal outline
The decimal outline is now popularly used in business and scientific
writing.
Instead of Roman numerals and alphabets, decimal outlines separate topics
by decimal numbers.
The above report using the alphanumeric outline can be rewritten using
the decimal outline as in the example below. Note that if there appears
to be a lot of subdivisions, it may be neater to have some parts combined.
REPORT ON THE SUITABILITY AND RELEVANCE OF THE TRAINING
MATERIALS
1.0 INTRODUCTION
2.0 FINDINGS
2.1 Suitability and relevance of the training materials
2.1.1 Materials that were suitable and relevant
2.1.2 Materials that were unsuitable and irrelevant
2.1.3 Quality of the training materials
2.2 Effectiveness of the training personnel
2.2.1 In-house trainers
2.2.2 Part-time trainers
3.0 RECOMMENDATION
3.1 Cost effectiveness of the course
3.2 Parts of the course to be retained or changed
3.3 Parts of the materials to be retained or revised
3.4 Changes to the training personnel
4.0 CONCLUSION

Be consistent in your preparation of an


outline. If you write a complete sentence for
the first point, then use complete sentences
for the rest of the points. If you use a phrase
to explain one point, then use phrases
throughout for all your points.

Activity 3.17
Revise the following outline so that there is consistency. Rewrite the
report below using both the alphanumeric and decimal outline.
High protein diet
1.1 Diet varieties
1.1.1 High protein, high fat and low carbohydrates.
1.1.2 Eat a lot of high protein, low fat and moderate carbohydrates.
1.2 Advantages
1.2.1 Leaves the person feeling full.
1.2.2 You lose weight faster.
1.3 What are the disadvantages
1.3.1 Weight lost is from water.
1.3.2 Causes a high intake of saturated fats and leads to coronary
heart problems.

Activity 3.17
Alphanumeric outline
High protein diet
A. Diet varieties
1. High protein, high fat and low carbohydrates.
2. High protein, low fat and moderate carbohydrates.
B. Advantages
1. The person feels full easily.
2. The person loses weight faster.
C. Disadvantages
1. Weight loss is from water.
2. Coronary heart problems are caused by a high intake of
saturated fats.

Decimal outline
High protein diet
1.0 Diet varieties
1.1 High protein, high fat and low carbohydrates.
1.2 High protein, low fat and moderate carbohydrates.
2.0 Advantages
2.1 The person feels full easily.
2.2 The person loses weight faster.
3.0 Disadvantages
3.1 Weight loss is from water.
3.2 Coronary heart problems are caused by a high intake of
saturated fats.

Alphanumeric outline
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
Decimal outline
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________

2. Parts of an analytical report


The format of an analytical report varies as it depends on the purpose and
also on the organisation. Reports of fewer than six pages can be written as
memos or letters but longer reports are normally prepared in manuscript
form.
Most analytical reports comprise the following parts
Title page
The report title, the writers and the date of the report are usually presented
in an attractive manner on the title page.

Letter of transmittal
This is the short letter that is sent together with the
report itself to the person who has requested for the
report.
Table of contents
The topics in the report and the pages on which
they appear are shown clearly on this page so that
the reader can more easily refer to the topics
that they wish to.

Summary or abstract
The purpose of the report, the research methodology, the
major findings, and the conclusions or recommendations are
summarised here. The summary normally does not exceed
one page and is written in paragraphs. The points
are not bulleted or listed so as not to create a fragmented
effect. Most busy executives who have no time to read the
entire report will at least read the
summary.

Body
The body gives a brief introduction of the topic and states
the purpose of the report. It also explains the scope of the
project and the research methods used. Again, depending
on the purpose of the report, there may be sections
devoted to experimental results and problems encountered.
Headings and subheadings are always used in the body of
the report to help break up long paragraphs and to show a
flow in the content. Analytical reports are objectively written
in the third person and do not contain any bias.

Conclusions and recommendations


This is where the data gathered is analysed and recommendations
made based on the findings. There may be several conclusions and
recommendations. When this is the case, there could be a section on
conclusions and another on recommendations. Unlike the summary at
the beginning of reports, conclusions and recommendations are
explained very carefully and in much detail.
Acknowledgements
This section allows you to acknowledge the people or organisations that
have helped you in your study. This section can be omitted depending
on how your study has been conducted.
References or bibliography
A list of all your references should be included here. You will find a
reference list at the end of every unit of your course material.

Activity 3.18
Rewrite the following sentences so that they are objective and
unbiased.
1. We tested the drug on people of three age groups from our
country.
_________________________________________________
2. You may be interested to know that there is a chemical reaction
when this solution is applied to leather products from your
company.
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
3. They decided it would be better for you to take the product off
the shelf.
_________________________________________________
4. We think you will have to inject further capital into your
company by asking your shareholders to take up rights issues.
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
5. We discovered that the fault lies in the contaminated fat that
you add to your product.
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________

Activity 3.18
1. The drug was tested on people of three age groups in Malaysia.
2. There is a chemical reaction when this solution is applied to
leather products from your company.
3. It would be better to take the product off the shelf.
4. Further capital should be injected into your company by asking
the shareholders to take up rights issues.
5. The fault lies in the contaminated fat that has been added to
your product.

Summary
In this section of Unit 3, we discussed the differences between
informational reports and analytical reports. We also looked at
different types of informational reports, the outlines as well as the
format of informational and analytical reports. You were reminded
of the writing style used in the preparation of these reports.
You attempted several activities related to the writing of
informational and analytical reports. You also wrote different types
of informational reports.
Considering that reports play a big role in workplace writing, you
obviously cannot avoid reading or writing reports. We do hope
you will approach report writing with a positive attitude now that
you know how informational and analytical reports are prepared.

Self-test 3.3
Answer the following questions.
1. What is a letter of transmittal which accompanies reports?
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
2. What should be included in the conclusion of an informational
report?
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
3. To a busy executive, which part of an analytical report would
be most important? Why?
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
4. Rewrite the following sentences so that they are suitable for
inclusion in reports.
a. We think there is little accuracy in the 30-day sales forecast.
_____________________________________________
b. The new building is three stories high, solid brick
construction and a corner lot.
_____________________________________________

Self-test 3.3
1. A letter of transmittal is a short letter sent together with the
report itself to the person who has requested for the report.
2. The conclusion should include the findings, an analysis of the
findings, and recommendations (if any).
3. The summary would the most important part of a long report to
a busy executive as it summarises the most important findings
and ideas. Thus, a summary makes the long report more easily
readable for a busy executive.
4. a. Based on our analysis, there is little accuracy in the 30-day
sales forecast.
b. The new building is a three-storey corner lot made of solid
brick.

3.4 Writing Policy Statements and


Proposals
Objectives
By the end of this section, you should be able to:
1. Explain the purposes of policy statements and how they are phrased.
2. List the different types of proposals and their purposes.
3. Select the most appropriate format for writing the different types of
proposals.
4. List the various parts of proposals.
5. Write policy statements and proposals for a variety of situations.

Introduction
Policy statements indicate company policies and provide guidelines that
employees may refer to in the day-to-day operation of the organisation.
Proposals provide a detailed plan of action submitted to readers for
approval. A good working knowledge of these workplace documents is
necessary to function effectively at the workplace.
Policy statements are normally written for a purpose and formulated after
much research. They have been included in this section because new
policy statements are normally formulated as a result of reports or
proposals.

Some organisations compile all their policy statements into manuals which prove
very useful to employees as a source of reference. You will obviously give your
superiors a better impression if you refer to policy manuals to find out about the
appropriate course of action regarding routine matters rather than asking them
repeated questions every time you encounter a problem.
New policies are introduced from time to time. These are presented as policy
statements which are circulated to all staff members and added on as a
supplement to the policy manual of the organisation. You will have to read and
understand policy statements at your workplace. You may be asked to compose
policy statements if you are in a management position.

Policy statements
Many organisations keep a policy manual where guidelines on
company operations are clearly recorded. Company policies in the
manual are regularly updated and employees refer to the manual to
check certain policy statements so that they canmake decisions.

1. Purpose
Policy statements are usually written to standardise procedures and issues in
organisations. For example, there may be a policy statement on dress code,
working hours, and overtime pay.
The board of directors or the owners of an organisation decide on the policies,
and usually the work of writing the policy statements is assigned to someone
in the management team or to a technical writer. As all policies must comply
with the laws of the country, lawyers are sometimes engaged to review the
policy statements prepared to ensure that they do not violate any laws.
Most policy manuals contain information on the organisation as well
as information related to personnel. The company goals and objectives,
department responsibilities as well as personnel duties, and benefits are
normally included in the policy manual.
Some organisations will give new employees a copy of the policy manual.
Some will leave it to new employees to refer to the manual themselves when
they are unsure of certain matters.

2. Writing policy statements


Policy statements should be written positively as they are meant to guide
the employees and not to threaten them. Statements which are phrased in
an autocratic style may create a negative impact.
Phrase your statements carefully and make sure that they are firm, positive
and tactful. You can ask someone in the office to read the statement you
have written and see the impact it has on the person.
Example:
Autocratic

Unpaid leave of over seven days will never be allowed.

Positive

Employees are entitled to unpaid leave of up to a


maximum of seven days in each financial year.

Activity 3.19
Rephrase each of the following policy statements so that they sound
positive.
1. Please be sure to dress smartly when you are in the office and
when attending an official function. We do not want to have
to ask you to leave the office because you are not properly attired.
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
2. Make sure you park in the lot allocated to you. Otherwise, we
will tow your car away.
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
3. There must be no eating and drinking in the office. You can
only eat and drink in the cafeteria.
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
4. Medical expenses will only be paid by the company if you are
hospitalised. All other medical and dental expenses will be paid
by employees.
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________

Activity 3.19
1. Employees should be dressed smartly when they are at the office
and attending official functions.
2. Employees are to park their cars only in the lots allocated to
them.
3. Food and drinks are not allowed in the office.
4. The company will pay all medical expenses incurred during
hospitalisation. Other medical and dental expenses are to be
paid by employees.

All company policies must be approved by top management personnel. If you


are a technical writer or a member of the management staff, you may be asked
to compile all policy statements into a policy manual for your organisation if it
does not already have one. It is more likely that you may be asked to write a
new policy statement for circulation to the staff when management decides to
introduce a new policy. The date the policy will take effect should also be
clearly indicated.

Example 1:
New Policy No. 321: Dress Code
All employees are expected to be in smart office-wear during working hours at the
office from Mondays to Fridays.
Men are expected to wear long-sleeve shirts and dark long pants. Ladies are
expected
to wear dresses with long sleeves, and below-the-knee-length skirts or pants.
Employees may be more casually dressed in jeans and T-shirts during work after
office hours or on Saturdays.
Policy effective: 2 January 2015

If the policy is to replace an old one, indicate this clearly at the top of the page.
Example 2:

Replacement for Policy No. 32: Smoking


In keeping with the Environment Clean Act, the Board of
Directors has adopted
the policy that there should be no smoking in the office as
well as in the cafeteria.
Policy effective: 1 December 2014

It is always wise to include a short statement justifying the introduction of a new


policy. This is because the new policy may not be welcomed by the employees.
Example 3:

New Policy No. 326: Fuel Surcharge


Fuel Surcharge Rules imposed by the Aviation Industry
require a fuel surcharge to be paid by all passengers who
travel by air. In an effort to comply with the rules, the Board
of Directors has adopted Policy No. 326: Fuel Surcharge.
All staff entitled to free holiday trips will pay the fuel
surcharge when travelling by air. Policy effective: 1 February
2015

Activity 3.20
Write a policy statement to inform staff members of a new policy
that the company will reimburse them a petrol subsidy of 50%.
The company used to subsidise staff for all petrol used. Since this
is not a policy which will be welcome, include a short statement
to justify the policy.
Replacement for Policy No.:
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________
____________________________________________________

Activity 3.20
Replacement for Policy No. 62: Petrol Subsidy
As a result of rising petroleum prices, and in an effort to cater to the
welfare of employees, the Board of Directors has adopted the policy
that the company will subsidise staff with a petrol subsidy of 50%.
Policy effective: 1 September 2014

Proposals
At some time or other, you will also need to write proposals whether they are
solicited or unsolicited. Proposals can lead to improved working conditions and
a more efficient business environment. Your superiors will definitely appreciate
your proposal if you have a suggestion which will benefit the organisation. As
proposals are plans that are presented to decision makers, you will need to
write effective
proposals which can convince your readers to accept your ideas.

1. Purpose
Proposals are usually written to offer a solution to a problem. Proposals require
persuasive writing skills as you need to show the readers that conditions will
improve if the proposal is accepted and implemented. Readers will only
accept the proposal if they are thoroughly convinced that the benefits far
outweigh the money, time and effort which will have to be spent.
Proposals are plans submitted to people who have the authority to make
decisions. Proposals must be detailed and practical.
They must be audiencecentred since they are persuasive in nature. Write with
your readers in mind and view budgets and other issues from their perspective
when you write.
Most people are not immediately receptive to change. Hence, you must show
the readers how the changes will benefit them as well as the organisation.

2. Types of proposals
Proposals are normally classified into two main categories " unsolicited
and solicited proposals:

A solicited proposal is requested by someone, whereas an unsolicited


proposal is a proposal sent to someone who did not request for it.

Writing proposals
1. Unsolicited proposals
There are two types of unsolicited proposals:
a. Internal unsolicited proposals
b. External unsolicited proposals

Internal unsolicited proposals


The primary purpose of such proposals is to offer a realistic and constructive
plan to help your organisation function more efficiently. At your workplace,
you may come across a more effective way of doing something or you may
think of a practical solution to a recurring problem. Even though you have
not been asked to write a proposal, you can take the initiative to do so if you
believe that your proposal will be of benefit to the organisation.
For example, you may have noticed something which poses a potential risk to
the environment or to the workers. You can come forth with an unsolicited
internal proposal which your superior(s) may appreciate.

Do remember to be sensitive to office politics and tread


carefully. Remember that your superior will expect to be
convinced that the problem exists and that the solution you
propose is the best. When writing an unsolicited proposal,
do not expect your readers to automatically agree with you
that a problem exists. There is a high chance that the
readers may regard your proposal as a challenge to their
ability.

Before you write your proposal, consider the effect your plan will have on
your superior(s) and to other departments. Never submit a proposal
without
sufficient supporting details. Internal unsolicited proposals are normally
written in the form of a memo and may include certain elements of a
report:
Title
Introduction
Recommendation or Solution
Conclusion

Title
A title indicates clearly that the document is a proposal. The title should be
specific and limiting.
Example:
Broad unspecific title

Idea to improve parking

Clear limiting title

Proposal to solve parking problems at


Denise Factory

Introduction
An introduction explains the problem clearly. The introduction should be
concise and also provide sufficient background information so that your
audience can appreciate the rationale of your proposal. Remember to be
objective and not to offend the reader.
Example:
Lengthy
introduction

You know that staff members in the factory have great


difficulty finding places to park their cars. This is because
there are not enough parking lots on the factory grounds.
As a result, many of them park along the highway. This is
against the law and many have received summons and
paid a lot of fines.

Concise
introduction

As you are aware, there are insufficient parking lots on the


factory grounds. Many of our staff park along the highway
next to the factory and receive regular summons.

Activity 3.21
Write a title and a brief introduction for each of the following
situations.
1. The factory workers need new uniforms. Except for the new
workers who are given three sets of uniforms when they join, the
rest are using the uniforms given to them five years ago. Many of
the uniforms are faded and many are torn. This gives our factory
a bad image. As a result, when they have to attend meetings,
workers change into their own casual attire which may
sometimes not be appropriate.
Title

______________________________________

Introduction

______________________________________
______________________________________
______________________________________
______________________________________
______________________________________
______________________________________
______________________________________

2. The machines in the office are not properly maintained. Many


of the computers which are not working have not been repaired
for weeks. We need a maintenance procedure to make sure that
equipment is regularly checked. We have to attend to this
problem as many of us cannot work efficiently when things are
not functioning. We cannot complete our work promptly.
Title

______________________________________

Introduction

______________________________________
______________________________________
______________________________________
______________________________________
______________________________________
______________________________________
______________________________________

Recommendation or solution
A recommendation or solution describes the steps that can be taken to solve
the problem or improve a procedure. Be specific and mention exact figures
where they are relevant. Depending on the situation, this may be presented
under several subheadings such as Staffing, Budget and Schedule.
Since the proposal is unsolicited, do remember to be as objective as possible.
Never challenge the ability of the reader in any way. Do not try to show that you
have done something which obviously your superior should have done.
Example:
Poorly worded
recommendation

You may not realise that there is a vacant 2-acre plot


of land adjacent to our factory. I have checked and
found that the land belongs to the local council. They
are willing to lease it out for RM 1,000 a month. I have
asked them and they say they can clear the land and
mark the parking lots for an additional RM1,000.

Objective
recommendation

Using the vacant 2-acre plot of land adjacent to our factory


for parking would solve the problem. The land belongs to the
local council which is prepared to lease it out for RM1,000 a
month. The council is prepared to clear the land and mark the
parking lots for an additional RM 1,000.

Activity 3.22
Compose a recommendation or solution to each of the situations
listed in Activity 3.21.
1. ________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
2. ________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________

Activity 3.22
1. Supplying factory workers who have been with us for over two
years with three sets of new uniforms will solve the problem.
As new workers are supplied with uniforms when they join the
company, those who joined during the last two years are still
able to use their uniforms. This will incur an expenditure of
RM1,500.
2. Asking the maintenance department to check office machinery
and equipment weekly will rectify the problem. No additional
expenditure will be incurred.

Benefits or justification
Benefits or justification explains how the proposal will benefit the reader or
the organisation. If expenditure is involved, this will need to be justified. Be
specific, thorough and objective.
Example:
If we lease the council land for use as a car park, parking problems would
be solved. Other benefits include:
An additional 300 parking spaces will be created.
Senior management staff can use the car park on the factory grounds.
The other 250 workers can use the car park on council land.
Visitors will be able to park in the extra 50 spaces.

Activity 3.23
Compose the benefits for each of the solutions you gave to the
situations listed in Activity 4.21.
1. ________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
2. ________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________

Activity 3.23
1. If we supply three sets of uniforms to each of the factory
workers,
the problem of improper attire will be solved.
Properly attired workers project a good image of the
company.
Employees can wear their uniforms when they are attending
meetings.
2. If the maintenance department were to check the office
machinery and equipment weekly, there will be greater
efficiency
amongst the staff.
Staff members will be able to complete their duties promptly.
Staff members will have time to attend to additional duties
as they do not need to wait for equipment to be repaired
before they can do their work.

Conclusion or summary
A conclusion or summary summarises your proposal and includes a request
to carry out the proposed action. As you are asking for your plan to be
approved, be polite.
Example:

Parking problems are a major concern among most staff


members. I believe the benefits to the staff, visitors and the
company in general far outweigh the expenditure that will
be incurred. I hope you will consider leasing the
vacant land from the local council.

Activity 3.24
Compose the conclusion for each of the solutions listed in Activity
4.21.
1. ________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
2. ________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________

Activity 3.24
1. The old uniforms are a major cause of concern among the
factory workers. I believe the benefits to the staff and the
company in general far outweigh the expenditure that will be
incurred. I hope you will consider supplying factory workers
who have served over two years with new uniforms.
2. The faulty machines are a major cause of concern amongst
the staff. I believe the benefits to the staff and the company
are tremendous. I hope you will consider asking the maintenance
department to conduct weekly checks on the machines and
other office equipment.

External unsolicited proposals


External unsolicited proposals are usually sales proposals. They are normally
used as a marketing tool to sell products and/or services to your organisation
and are usually written as letters.
Your audience will be top executives who have the authority to make
decisions. They may view your proposal rather sceptically as most of them
will not know you or your organisation.

Readers need to be persuaded to accept the fact that there is a need which you
can meet. You must also be able to convince the reader that your organisation
can provide the best service and/or product.
Unsolicited external proposals consist of several sections and the content
you include in your proposal depends on each specific situation.

Introduction
The introduction normally comes in one or two paragraphs and should
prepare the readers for the proposal proper. You need to indicate your
purpose. You may explain (where applicable) how you learnt of the
problem.
You can also briefly mention your solution in the introduction
Example:
While servicing the photocopier in your department last week, it occurred
to me that you might be interested in purchasing a new photocopier which
is more efficient and reliable. Since you purchased your photocopier five
years ago, new technology has made available energy-saving photocopiers
with many new features at reasonably low costs.
Based on our servicing records, we believe that the A12Riscophotocopier
will satisfactorily meet your needs for the present and well into the future.

Body
The body of the proposal should give a description of the service and/or
product you are selling. This is the most important part of your proposal
because readers need to know all the facts before they make a decision.
Show the cost and explain to customers what they are getting for the money.
Special features and advantages should be included here. If it will make your
document easier to read, you can include subheadings as well.
Example:
Features
The A12Risco photocopier prints 100 copies per minute. It has multiple
feeder trays which will allow the use of different paper sizes.
The A12Risco photocopier has a keypad which allows only authorised users
with special codes to use the copier.
The A12Risco photocopier offers top quality colour print in addition to black
and white. It also has an enlargement and reduction function which will
allow you to increase or decrease the size of your document by 50% to 200%.
The A12Risco photocopier measures 3' by 3' by 3' and will occupy half the
space of your present copier.
Your cost for each copy will be reduced to 1 sen compared with the current
cost of 3 sen.
Maintenance
We provide a three-year warranty on the product. Our service centre is open
24 hours a day, six days a week.
Cost
The product is priced at RM3,500.We will install the photocopier for free.

Conclusion
The conclusion may stress the major benefits of your service and/or product
or the reliability of your organisation. You may suggest for the reader to
contact you and you then encourage him/her to approve your proposal.
A proposal is persuasive by nature. At the same time, it is important not
to make the readers feel that you are trying to rush them into a decision.
Example:
Risco has been supplying and servicing copiers for 50 years. We are
dedicated to giving our customers fast and efficient service.
We hope you will find this proposal acceptable. Please do not hesitate to
contact me for information on the A12Risco photocopier.

Activity 3.25
Your company conducts training courses covering a variety of
areas. Your company has conducted courses at Merci Multimedia
Corporation. You noticed during a recent training session that
Merci Multimedia Corporation has brought in a lot of foreign
factory workers who cannot speak English. Write a proposal to
Merci Multimedia Corporation suggesting that your company be
engaged to conduct English conversation classes for these workers

Activity 3.25
Ace Training Consultants
323 Grane Avenue
12300 Penang
Tel: 04-2263421
The Manager
Merci Multimedia Corporation
Kulim Free Trade Zone
09000 Kedah
15 October 2009
Dear Mr Lim
Proposal to conduct English conversation classes for foreign
workers
While conducting training courses at your company recently, I
noticed that you have recruited many foreign workers who cannot
speak English. It occurred to me that you might be interested in
engaging us to conduct English conversation classes for these
foreign workers so that they can communicate with your other
staff members and understand instructions more easily and
accurately.

I propose a 12-week programme which should cater to the needs


of your company.
Class schedule
Classes can be conducted every evening from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
This will be after office hours and also after dinner.
Course content
The course will progress from simple greetings in the English
language to everyday conversational English that is geared
towards communication in the factory.
Course fees
Our charges for the 12-week intensive programme will be RM1
2,000.
Ace Training Consultants has been conducting training classes
for Merci Multimedia Corporation for over three years. We have
qualified and experienced trainers.
We hope you find this proposal acceptable. Please do not hesitate
to contact me for further information on the English conversation
programme.
Sincerely,
Joseph Ranjit
Joseph Ranjit
(Director)

Ace Training Consultants


323 Grane Avenue
12300 Penang
Tel: 04-226342 1
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________

2. Solicited proposals
A solicited proposal is written in response to a request. The
request can be
made over the phone, at a meeting, through a letter or a
memo.
There are two types of solicited proposals:
a. Internal solicited proposals
b. External solicited proposals
Internal solicited proposals
Some solicited proposals are within the organisation. For
instance, your
superior notices a problem and asks you to write a
proposal in relation to
that problem.

Example of a request for an internal solicited proposal:


Internal memorandum
To : Tony Adnan, Factory Manager
From : Jason Lim, General Manager
Date : 15 November 2014
Subject : Repainting the factory
Please prepare a proposal explaining if the factory needs to be repainted.
See if this can be done without affecting production.

You obviously need to check on the background of the issue, conduct some
research, analyse your findings and come up with a solution which you
think is best.
Usually, the person asking for the proposal is aware of the problem. There
will therefore be no scepticism on the part of the reader when the proposal
is presented.
These proposals are normally written in the form of a memo and would
normally include certain sections.

Title
The title will show exactly what the proposal is related to.
Example:
In response to your request on 15 November 2014, I have
prepared a proposal to repaint the factory.

Body
The body of the proposal will explain your plan. You may mention the
expenditure that will be incurred as a result of your proposal.
Example:
The factory was last repainted eight years ago for RM30,000.
The paint has peeled over the years and a fresh coat of paint
would incur an expenditure of RM300,000 RM310,000.
Painting of the factory will take about 30 days and workers
may have to work shifts while painting is in progress.
Production will not be affected.
An advertisement calling for tenders to take on the project
will be in all the dailies (i.e., daily newspapers).

Conclusion
The conclusion will be a request for you to proceed with the plan.
Example:
I hope you will approve the proposal so that I can proceed
with the necessary action.

Activity 3.26
You have been asked by your manager to submit a proposal to
relocate senior managers to three new branches overseas. Write the
solicited internal proposal in the form of a memo.
Memorandum
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________

Activity 3.26

Memorandum
To : Andy Lopez (Managing Director)
From : Jason Lim (Human Resources Manager)
Date : 15 September 2014
Subject : Proposal to relocate senior managers to new branches
In response to your request on 10 September 2014, I have
prepared a proposal to relocate senior management staff to our
new branches in Dubai, Perth, and Zimbabwe.

Background
Our company set up three new branches in Dubai, Perth, and
Zimbabwe in July 2014, and we still do not have senior managers
in all three branches.
Recommendation
We have five senior managers in Penang, three of whom have
indicated an interest in serving in overseas branches. Aileen Tan,
Ali Hassan and Ranjit Singh have been with our company for over
ten years and are eager to contribute their services.
Expenditure
Expatriate benefits based on current market trends will cost the
company USD30,000 monthly. The initial expenditure for travel,
freight and housing will amount to a total of USD20,000.
The three senior managers should be able to take on their duties
by 1 December 2014. In accordance with the Employment Act,
they have to be given two weeks notice to prepare for the exercise.
I hope you will approve the proposal so that the senior managers
can be informed and given sufficient time to prepare for the move.

External solicited proposals


Large organisations very often make requests for proposals that are often
referred to as RFPs. The organisations will usually identify a few companies
to prepare proposals. Sometimes, advertisements are inserted in newspapers
with a call for proposals.
It is actually an invitation to bid. Proposals are submitted by suppliers of
a service and/or product. For instance, a company may wish to determine
consumer interest in the posting of nutritional information in the
supermarket. An RFP can be made and proposals will be submitted by
companies which specialise in market surveys. These companies will propose
how they plan to carry out the survey and the company with the winning
proposal will be awarded the project.

Similarly, a fast food outlet can post an RFP to determine the beverage
they will supply with a standard meal to customers. Companies producing
beverages like Coca-Cola or orange juice can submit proposals. The proposals
will be thoroughly studied before a decision is made and the contract
awarded.
External solicited proposals are written for a wide variety of purposes. They
can vary from a proposal on aircraft maintenance to a proposal for web
development.
Visual or graphic aids can be included in proposals. For instance, you are
submitting a proposal to landscape a garden. You can have photographs
showing an artists impression of the project when it is completed. You may
also include photos of flowers you will be growing in the garden.

In the writing of external solicited proposals, writers do not need to convince


the audience that a problem exists. Writers only have to concentrate on
finding a workable, practical and acceptable solution. Successful proposals
will normally result in your company being awarded a job.
Most such proposals are quite lengthy and may sometimes exceed ten to
twenty pages. These proposals are usually in the form of letters. Some
proposals are formatted very much like formal reports with a letter of
transmittal, a title page, a page listing the contents and an executive summary
followed with background information, the scope of the project, costs and
a detailed plan of action.
Very senior personnel are normally engaged in the writing of such proposals.
So, you will not be writing an external solicited proposal in this course.
Nevertheless, you need to be aware of the existence and the role of such
proposals as you may be involved in the preparation of such documents as
you progress in your career.

Activity 3.27
Answer the following questions.
1. What is the purpose of writing proposals?
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
2. What is the purpose of writing an internal unsolicited proposal?
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
3. Name the different types of proposals.
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________
4. What attitude should the writer adopt when he/she writes
proposals?
_________________________________________________
_________________________________________________

Activity 3.27
1. Proposals are written to offer solutions to problems.
2. The primary purpose of writing an internal unsolicited proposal
is to offer a realistic and constructive plan to help your
organisation function more efficiently.
3. The different types of proposals are the internal unsolicited
proposal, the internal solicited proposal, the external unsolicited
proposal and the external solicited proposal.
4. The writer should be persuasive and objective when he/she
writes proposals.

3. Parts of a proposal
Proposals are usually made up of many parts or sections. Each section will
usually have a heading. There is no fixed rule as to what headings and
subheadings must be included in a proposal. There is usually a title, an
introduction, a body and a conclusion. What comes under each of these
headings depends on the nature of the proposal.
The following table shows possible parts of a proposal. The components
and the contents may vary.

4. Proposal format
Proposals can be presented as memos, letters or as formal manuscripts
with accompanying transmittal letters.
A rough guideline to follow would be to write internal proposals as memos,
and external proposals as letters or formal manuscripts (if necessary).
Internal proposals

memo

External proposals

letter, manuscript

A few rules that would help in the preparation of proposals would be


regarding layout and physical presentation. A sloppy-looking document
stands a good chance of being regarded as sloppy careless work no matter
how well prepared it is.
Leave sufficient white space and use headings for easy reading. Visual and
graphic aids can be added where they serve a purpose.

5. Qualities of winning proposals


To write a winning proposal, you must first know your audience. A proper
audience analysis may involve research on the company you are writing the
proposal for.
Know the audience/organisation
What are the company goals and objectives?
What is the company size and what are the resources of the company?
Has the company funded similar projects?
Are there records of previously successful proposals?

Tips
Describe the problem(s) and the proposed solution(s) clearly.
Demonstrate your strengths and expertise. Support with examples of
completed projects in your external proposals.
Stress benefits of your proposal to your organisation and/or to the client.
Be prepared to deal with scepticism towards unsolicited proposals.
Convince readers that your solicited proposal is superior to those of
others.
Provide sufficient details to help the audience make an informed decision.
Be as concise as possible.
Make sure your solution is practical and financially viable.
Check the accuracy of your message and ensure proper grammar and
spelling.

Activity 3.28
The following internal proposal is vague and unconvincing. It has
grammatical, spelling and structural errors. Rewrite this proposal
so that it is more objective, effective and receiver-oriented.
Memorandum
To : Jane Tan (Division Manager)
From : Tony Lopez (Junior Management Executive)
Date : 15 September 2014
Subject : Office documents
Since I start work six months ago, I have noticed a problem with
the way our division handles its documents. Files are everywhere
and it is sometimes difficult to search for letters which are left
unfilled. It took me more than 20 minutes to find a report for the
Human Resources Manager last week. Many people are unhappy
with this problem.
You should have a proper filing system. I suggest that you can buy
some filing cabinets and ask your secretary to file the documents
and to label them properly.
You can ask one of the other division head how they do it. I notice
that there is a proper system in other divisions.
As for the cost, you may be can check our budget. It should not
cost very much.
Please follow my plan.

Memorandum
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________

Activity 3.28
Memorandum
To : Jane Tan (Division Manager)
From : Tony Lopez (Junior Management Executive)
Date : 15 September 2014
Subject : Proposal to introduce new filing system for division
documents
As you are aware, the filing system used in our division is rather
confusing. Locating documents takes quite some time and this
tends to lead to delays.
Recommendation
Buying two filing cabinets and adopting a new filing system where
the documents are labelled and filed should solve the problem.
Budget
Two filing cabinets cost about RM550.
With the filing cabinets and labelled files, the problem of locating
documents will be solved.
I believe the advantages to the staff, the division and the
organisation far outweigh the expenditure. I hope you will
approve the proposal.

Case study 3.1


Read the following case scenario and answer the questions that
follow:
Jane works in a well-established gift shop in Kuala Lumpur. The
shop specialises in gifts for special occasions like birthdays and
Christmas. Most of the customers call up to place an order. However,
business has slowed down over the past few years. Jane thinks it is
partly because many people purchase gifts online. The gift shop she
works for has only a website highlighting their services and products.
Interested customers still have to telephone or visit the shop to place
an order. Jane believes very strongly that business would improve
tremendously if orders can be made online. Jane decides to write a
proposal to the owner of the gift shop.
1. What type of proposal will Jane be writing?
_________________________________________________
2. What format should Jane use for her proposal?
_________________________________________________
3. What would be a suitable title for her proposal?
_________________________________________________

Case Study 3.1


1. Jane will be writing an internal unsolicited
proposal.
2. She should write her proposal following the
format for a memo.
3. A suitable title would be Proposal to introduce
online
purchases.

Summary
In this final section of Unit 3, we discussed the role of policy
statements and proposals at the workplace.You learnt how to phrase policy
statements.You were introduced to the different types of proposals as well
as to the various formats used in the writing of these proposals.You were
also reminded about the importance of writing style in the preparation of
these documents.
You attempted a number of activities related to the writing of policy
statements and proposals.You also answered some questions on a case
study.
An understanding of policy statements will help you function better
at the workplace. Similarly, the ability to write effective proposals
will create a positive impact. Use the skills you have learnt to write
proposals you can be proud of.

Self-test 3.4
1. Rephrase the following policy statements so that they are
grammatically correct and positive.
a. All staff member have to clock in before 8.00 a.m. by swiping
your employee card on the new machine. If you do not do
so, you will be considered absent.
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
b. You are all not allowed to surf the Internet during office
hour.
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
2. Rephrase the following extracts from proposals so that they are
grammatically correct, objective, and clear.
a. The toilets in the office have not been clean regularly. The
flush system is not working. Some staff members use the
public toilets on the ground floor.
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

Self-test 3.4
1. a. All staff members are to clock in before 8.00 a.m. by swiping
their employee cards on the new machine.
b. Employees are not to surf the Internet during office hours.
2. a. As you are aware, the toilets in the office are not cleaned
regularly. The flush system is also not working. As a result,
some staff members have to use the public toilets on the
ground floor.
b. We have prepared an attractive and practical interior design
for your showroom. The unit will be furnished with imported
furniture and the built-in cabinets will be made from fine
quality teak wood.

b. We make an interior design for your showroom. It is


attractive and practical. We will furnish the unit only with
import furniture and the built-in cabinets will be of teak
wood.
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________
_______________________________________________

Summary of Unit 3
Summary
This unit has discussed in detail the process of writing reports
and proposals. You learnt about different kinds of reports and
proposals, and the variety of formats that you can use in writing
these documents at the workplace. We stressed the importance of
knowing your purpose when you write these documents. We also
emphasised the way you should phrase these documents. Policy
statements were also discussed.
You have attempted a variety of activities related to the writing
of reports, proposals, and policy statements. You prepared a
questionnaire for research purposes. You have also written a variety
of reports and proposals in memo and letter formats.
It is a fact that reports and proposals are very important workplace
documents. We write these documents so often that they are part
and parcel of our working life. Now that you are familiar with the
technicalities of report writing and the writing of proposals, we
hope you will make use of what you have learnt when you write
these documents at your workplace.
We hope you have found Unit 3 useful and practical, and that
you will apply what you have learnt when you write reports and
proposals at your workplace. We all take pride in our work. You
will definitely feel good when you know you have written a good
report or proposal.

References
Bovee, C V and Thill, J V (2013) Business Communication Essentials: A
Skills-Based
Approach, 6th edn, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Bovee, C V and Thill, J V (2012) Business Communication Today, 11th edn,
New
Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Dostal, J and Vincent, D S (1997) Technical Communication: A Guided
Approach,
Minnesota: West Publishing Company.
Enson, B (1995) Writing Technical Documents, Queensland: John Wiley and
Sons.
Fox, R F (1994) Technical Communication, New York: Harper College
Publishers.
Ingre, D (2003) Survivors Guide to Technical Writing, Ohio: South Western,
Thomson
Learning, Inc.
Kolin, P C (1994) Successful Writing at Work, DC: Heath and Company.
Lesikar, R V and Pettit, J D (1998) Report Writing for Business, 10th edn,
Singapore:
Irwin/McGraw-Hill.
Means, T L (2001) Communication for the Workplace, Ohio: South Western
Educational Publishing, Thomson Learning, In

1. Command of the language-grammar, spelling, omission


etc
2. Did not read instruction carefully no template,
answered both questions in Q1 nQ2
3.

No citation but have reference and vice-versa.

4.

Some instances of cut-and-paste.

5.

Word count exceed-Q2-more than 150

6. Etc, Etc

TMA 2
WANNA DISCUSS?

Instructions:
1. TMA 2 covers unit 2 on Different types of Texts and Unit 3 Writing Reports
and Proposals. You must answer both questions.
2. The first question requires you to write a 6 paragraph essay of 600-800
words,
double-spaced, Times New Roman, Font 12. For writing references follow the
spacing used by the Chicago style. The second question requires you to write a
report of about 600-800 words.
3. This is an individual assignment. No duplication of work will be tolerated. Any
plagiarism or collusion may result in disciplinary action, in addition to ZERO
mark being awarded to all involved.
4. Your TMA 2 deadline is Friday, 21st October 2016 by 2400 hours.
5. It will contribute 25% towards the total grade.

6. You DO NOT need to submit your Turnitin Originality Report to OAS anymore.
However, you are highly encouraged to passage your TMAs to the Turnitin
system before submission, to encourage honest academic writing but it is not
mandatory except for Project courses. Bear in mind that when you submit your
TMA in Turnitin the second time the system will usually take at least 24 hours to
send you the report.
7. The cover page and answers for both questions 1 and 2 must be done on
ONE
Microsoft Word document.
8. Finally zip the folder that contains your TMA file before submitting it to
the Online Assignment Submission (OAS).

Question 1(50%)
Given below is the topic for a problem solution essay.
Many people today believe that having tourists from foreign countries brings
about adverse effects. What are the reasons for this belief? What can be done to
change this negative attitude?
Write an essay of about 600-800 words.
Use 6 paragraphs for your essay:
Introduction, 2 paragraphs identifying the reasons, 2 paragraphs explaining what
can be done to change this negative attitude and finally the conclusion.
Give your essay an appropriate title.

Note: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ATTACH AN ESSAY OUTLINE FOR THIS


ESSAY.
It is important for you to cite and quote appropriately. Remember to list your
sources on
the References Page at the end of your essay. You must have at least 4
citations and 4
references for this part of the question. The references must be used when
doing your intext
citations in your essay. Use the Chicago Style of referencing. For more
information
on how to do proper referencing, please refer to the WOU university citation guide
which
has a detailed write up on how to do citations and referencing at
http://woulibrary.wou.edu.my/help/citeguides_wou.asp

SUGGESTED CHECKLIST AS GUIDANCE


1. INTRODUCTION THESIS STATEMENT
2. REASONS FOR BELIEF
Reason 1
Topic sentence Supporting sentences Reason 2
Topic sentenceSupporting sentences
3.Identification of solutions for change of attitude
Solution 1
Topic sentenceSupporting sentences Solution 2
Topic sentenceSupporting sentences
4. Conclusion
Appropriate title

In-text Citation
[In the text of the article]
(Chicago style)
(4 marks) Students must provide 4 citations
References
[At the end of the article]
(Chicago style)
4 marks)

Language (20 marks)

Question 2(50%)
Your department has recently introduced some new equipment. Your manager
has asked you to write a report, analysing the effects this equipment has had on
the department.
Write a report, including the following information:
a brief description of the new equipment
the two reasons it was introduced
the benefits it has brought to the department
any problems it has caused.

SUGGESTED CHECKLIST AS GUIDANCE


Format (6 marks)
To(name, Manager)
From
Title/subject
Headings for each category given in content)
1. Introduction
2. A brief description of the new equipment
Name and type of equipment
Supporting description
3. The two reasons it was introduced
First reason
Supporting sentences
2nd reason
Supporting sentences
4. Any problems it has caused
First problem
Supporting sentences
2nd problem
Supporting sentences
CONCLUSION

Language (20 marks)


If students only submit answers for one question, give them an opportunity
to re-submit on the OAS. They will need to apply for permission from the
CC. They can only re-submit after the CC has approved their request. If
there is no response after a few reminders and the deadline is over, grade
them only on the part submitted