Formal analytical research report | enc3254 | University of Florida

Writing and Submission Requirements

 Length:              1250 words minimum

Format:               APA or IEEE formal analytical report format

Submission:        Turn in to E-Learning as an attached document in Word or Rich Text format (doc, docx, or rtf).  For the electronic copy, name the file using your last name and the name of the assignment with no spaces (e.g.: SmithReport.doc). 

Assignment

Formal research reports are produced by both academics and career professionals to help non specialists understand complex content or to share research findings with others in their field. For career professionals such reports are often requested by supervisors to answer specific questions for decision makers. 

Your assignment is to use the formal analytical report format to write a well-researched report and a letter of transmittal addressed to the COO and the Public Relations Department of the power company you work for in the following scenario. Be sure to create informative, easy-to-interpret visual aids for presenting the survey results.

Your formal analytical report should examine recent scholarly literature on the health effects of electromagnetic fields, present an analysis of the survey results provided below, and draw conclusions that help answer the research question you identify in response to the writing prompt scenario. 

Your report must include:

  • a cover page,
  • a table of contents page,
  • a list of figures page,
  • an executive summary,
  • an introduction section reviewing the research literature on the health impacts of EMFs and ending with a focused research rationale/statement based on the writing prompt scenario,
  • a methods section,
  • an survey results section,
  • a discussion section providing analysis of the facts provided in the introduction’s literature review and the results section’s findings from the survey study,
  • a conclusion section with specific recommendations,
  • and a references page with at least five scholarly sources (peer reviewed academic journal articles or government agency reports).
  • You must also write a letter of transmittal to accompany the report according to the directions in the writing prompt below.

The use of a glossary or other appendixes is optional. The report will be graded on content, format, graphics, writing style, and grammar and it must adhere to the research request as it is presented in the scenario for the writing prompt below.

In brief, the introduction should discuss the context of your work in a literature review and establish the question the research seeks to answer. The methodology should precisely and accurately describe the manner by which you gathered the survey data (we’re pretending here that you collected this data) that will answer your research question. The results section should display your survey data logically and clearly, using graphics where appropriate. The conclusion should analyze the results in a logical manner, explain their ramifications, discuss the limitations of the study, and make specific recommendations.

Writing Prompt Scenario & Context

You work for the power company that provides electricity to the area in which you now live. Over the past few years, the company has received a growing number of letters and phone calls from customers seeking information about the possible harmful effects of electromagnetic fields.

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are created whenever electricity moves through a wire. Concern about the possible danger of EMFs first arose in the 1970s, when two researchers found a possible link between living near high-voltage power lines and a rise in the rate of childhood leukemia. Since then, many other scientists have investigated possible harmful effects of EMFs, including those created by household appliances, such as hair dryers, television sets, and microwave ovens. Public concern is great enough that, in some parts of the country, houses near high-voltage power lines sell for less than comparable houses in other neighborhoods. Also, in some locales, parents have insisted that power lines be moved away from schools.

Because the power company that employs you has continued to receive inquiries about EMFs, it has decided to initiate a public information campaign on the subject. Under normal conditions, the Public Relations Department would have conducted this survey research project, but it has an overabundance of other projects, so you have been asked to help with some of the preliminary work. Oliver Thomas, department director, has called you into his office to explain. Below is a transcript of your conversation:

Mr. Thomas: “In order to design an effective information campaign, we need to learn a number of things about our customers. Therefore, we’d like you to design and carry out a telephone survey for us.”

You: “What kinds of things do you want me to ask about?”

Mr. Thomas: “Well, for example, we need to find out how much our customers already know about EMFs so we can determine what we need to tell them. We also need to learn how concerned they are about EMFs. Researchers say that members of the public have a variety of responses to perceived health and environmental risks—ranging from acceptance to fear to outrage. To shape our messages effectively, we need to know what our customers’ present attitudes are. This information will also help us determine whether we should construct a public information program that responds only to inquiries or create a much more expensive one that might, for instance, reach every customer several times through a variety of media. In addition, we need to learn where to present our message. Should we rely heavily on television or newspapers? Magazine? Direct mail letters?”

After a pause, Oliver Thomas continues, “We also have the problem that our customers may not perceive us as a credible source for information about the health effects of EMFs. First, they may think we’re really not qualified to speak on the issue because we aren’t scientists. Furthermore, they may think that we aren’t a trustworthy source for information about the possibly harmful effects of our own service.”

You: “Anything else?”

Mr. Thomas: “There’s much more we could ask about, but these are the most important points. Furthermore, we want to keep our survey short. When telephone surveys are long, people are much less willing to cooperate. Besides, we don’t want to irritate our customers; many of them are already upset about the recent rate increase that the Public Utilities Commission authorized us to institute.”

You: “Fine. I’ll make a short survey.”

Mr. Thomas: “Oh, and one more thing. When you’ve completed your survey, you need to create a report on it, reviewing whatever other relevant research information we need to provide for our customers. The report should be addressed to the Chief Operating Officer, as well as to the Public Relations Department. The eight of us always look these things over together. Some of our people don’t know much about EMFs, so you’ll need to provide some background information, and whatever technical data about EMF exposure we can share with customers and regulators in the future. Also, everyone in the department likes to see the detailed survey results. I guess they think they may be able to come up with some novel interpretation of the data. And we’ll all want to know what you recommend.”

After drafting your survey questions and having them approved by Oliver Thomas, you made your telephone calls, obtaining the results given below.

Survey Results

Have you read or heard about electromagnetic fields?

Yes

88%

No

7%

Don’t know

5%

(This question was asked of 300 people. All subsequent questions were asked only of the 264 who responded “Yes.”)

Do you believe electromagnetic fields created by power lines and household appliances can harm human health?

Yes

48%

No

22%

Don’t know

30%

On a scale of 1 (least concerned) to 5 (most concerned), how concerned are you about electromagnetic fields?

1

16%

2

24%

3

37%

4

17%

5

6%

From what sources have you obtained your information about electromagnetic fields? (Choose all that apply.)

Magazines

68%

Television

53%

Newspapers

46%

Schools

30%

Work

24%

Conversation

22%

Radio

18%

On a scale of 1 (least qualified) to 5 (most qualified), how well qualified is each of the following sources to provide information about electromagnetic fields?

  Power Company                       Newspaper & Television            Local University

1  2%125%1  1%2  4%234%2  3%314%325%312%451%4  8%438%526%5  0%526%No opinion  3%No opinion  8%No opinion20%

On a scale of 1 (least qualified) to 5 (most qualified), how trustworthy is each of the following sources when it comes to providing information about electromagnetic fields?

  Power Company                        Newspaper and Television         Local University

1  6%1  3%1  1%223%2  5%2  0%338%319%3  3%417%431%452%5  2%528%535%No Opinion14%No Opinion14%No Opinion  9%

Writing and Submission Requirements

 Length:              1250 words minimum

Format:               APA or IEEE formal analytical report format

Submission:        Turn in to E-Learning as an attached document in Word or Rich Text format (doc, docx, or rtf).  For the electronic copy, name the file using your last name and the name of the assignment with no spaces (e.g.: SmithReport.doc). 

Assignment

Formal research reports are produced by both academics and career professionals to help non specialists understand complex content or to share research findings with others in their field. For career professionals such reports are often requested by supervisors to answer specific questions for decision makers. 

Your assignment is to use the formal analytical report format to write a well-researched report and a letter of transmittal addressed to the COO and the Public Relations Department of the power company you work for in the following scenario. Be sure to create informative, easy-to-interpret visual aids for presenting the survey results.

Your formal analytical report should examine recent scholarly literature on the health effects of electromagnetic fields, present an analysis of the survey results provided below, and draw conclusions that help answer the research question you identify in response to the writing prompt scenario. 

Your report must include:

  • a cover page,
  • a table of contents page,
  • a list of figures page,
  • an executive summary,
  • an introduction section reviewing the research literature on the health impacts of EMFs and ending with a focused research rationale/statement based on the writing prompt scenario,
  • a methods section,
  • an survey results section,
  • a discussion section providing analysis of the facts provided in the introduction’s literature review and the results section’s findings from the survey study,
  • a conclusion section with specific recommendations,
  • and a references page with at least five scholarly sources (peer reviewed academic journal articles or government agency reports).
  • You must also write a letter of transmittal to accompany the report according to the directions in the writing prompt below.

The use of a glossary or other appendixes is optional. The report will be graded on content, format, graphics, writing style, and grammar and it must adhere to the research request as it is presented in the scenario for the writing prompt below.

In brief, the introduction should discuss the context of your work in a literature review and establish the question the research seeks to answer. The methodology should precisely and accurately describe the manner by which you gathered the survey data (we’re pretending here that you collected this data) that will answer your research question. The results section should display your survey data logically and clearly, using graphics where appropriate. The conclusion should analyze the results in a logical manner, explain their ramifications, discuss the limitations of the study, and make specific recommendations.

Writing Prompt Scenario & Context

You work for the power company that provides electricity to the area in which you now live. Over the past few years, the company has received a growing number of letters and phone calls from customers seeking information about the possible harmful effects of electromagnetic fields.

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are created whenever electricity moves through a wire. Concern about the possible danger of EMFs first arose in the 1970s, when two researchers found a possible link between living near high-voltage power lines and a rise in the rate of childhood leukemia. Since then, many other scientists have investigated possible harmful effects of EMFs, including those created by household appliances, such as hair dryers, television sets, and microwave ovens. Public concern is great enough that, in some parts of the country, houses near high-voltage power lines sell for less than comparable houses in other neighborhoods. Also, in some locales, parents have insisted that power lines be moved away from schools.

Because the power company that employs you has continued to receive inquiries about EMFs, it has decided to initiate a public information campaign on the subject. Under normal conditions, the Public Relations Department would have conducted this survey research project, but it has an overabundance of other projects, so you have been asked to help with some of the preliminary work. Oliver Thomas, department director, has called you into his office to explain. Below is a transcript of your conversation:

Mr. Thomas: “In order to design an effective information campaign, we need to learn a number of things about our customers. Therefore, we’d like you to design and carry out a telephone survey for us.”

You: “What kinds of things do you want me to ask about?”

Mr. Thomas: “Well, for example, we need to find out how much our customers already know about EMFs so we can determine what we need to tell them. We also need to learn how concerned they are about EMFs. Researchers say that members of the public have a variety of responses to perceived health and environmental risks—ranging from acceptance to fear to outrage. To shape our messages effectively, we need to know what our customers’ present attitudes are. This information will also help us determine whether we should construct a public information program that responds only to inquiries or create a much more expensive one that might, for instance, reach every customer several times through a variety of media. In addition, we need to learn where to present our message. Should we rely heavily on television or newspapers? Magazine? Direct mail letters?”

After a pause, Oliver Thomas continues, “We also have the problem that our customers may not perceive us as a credible source for information about the health effects of EMFs. First, they may think we’re really not qualified to speak on the issue because we aren’t scientists. Furthermore, they may think that we aren’t a trustworthy source for information about the possibly harmful effects of our own service.”

You: “Anything else?”

Mr. Thomas: “There’s much more we could ask about, but these are the most important points. Furthermore, we want to keep our survey short. When telephone surveys are long, people are much less willing to cooperate. Besides, we don’t want to irritate our customers; many of them are already upset about the recent rate increase that the Public Utilities Commission authorized us to institute.”

You: “Fine. I’ll make a short survey.”

Mr. Thomas: “Oh, and one more thing. When you’ve completed your survey, you need to create a report on it, reviewing whatever other relevant research information we need to provide for our customers. The report should be addressed to the Chief Operating Officer, as well as to the Public Relations Department. The eight of us always look these things over together. Some of our people don’t know much about EMFs, so you’ll need to provide some background information, and whatever technical data about EMF exposure we can share with customers and regulators in the future. Also, everyone in the department likes to see the detailed survey results. I guess they think they may be able to come up with some novel interpretation of the data. And we’ll all want to know what you recommend.”

After drafting your survey questions and having them approved by Oliver Thomas, you made your telephone calls, obtaining the results given below.

Survey Results

Have you read or heard about electromagnetic fields?

Yes

88%

No

7%

Don’t know

5%

(This question was asked of 300 people. All subsequent questions were asked only of the 264 who responded “Yes.”)

Do you believe electromagnetic fields created by power lines and household appliances can harm human health?

Yes

48%

No

22%

Don’t know

30%

On a scale of 1 (least concerned) to 5 (most concerned), how concerned are you about electromagnetic fields?

1

16%

2

24%

3

37%

4

17%

5

6%

From what sources have you obtained your information about electromagnetic fields? (Choose all that apply.)

Magazines

68%

Television

53%

Newspapers

46%

Schools

30%

Work

24%

Conversation

22%

Radio

18%

On a scale of 1 (least qualified) to 5 (most qualified), how well qualified is each of the following sources to provide information about electromagnetic fields?

  Power Company                       Newspaper & Television            Local University

1  2%125%1  1%2  4%234%2  3%314%325%312%451%4  8%438%526%5  0%526%No opinion  3%No opinion  8%No opinion20%

On a scale of 1 (least qualified) to 5 (most qualified), how trustworthy is each of the following sources when it comes to providing information about electromagnetic fields?

  Power Company                        Newspaper and Television         Local University

 
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