SDSU Contact Information for Interviewee Interview Notes and Genre Texts Paper Discussion Board: Interview Questions Interview Notes/Texts for Analysis Due

SDSU Contact Information for Interviewee Interview Notes and Genre Texts Paper Discussion Board: Interview Questions
Interview Notes/Texts for Analysis Due
Presentation Slides
Final Draft Due Report with contact information for interviewee, interview notes and genre texts.

Audience: I am your audience. (The teacher)

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Requirements: Workplace report formats vary widely, so it’s difficult to give a page requirement for this assignment. Although your report will be single-spaced, I would suggest making sure that your workplace report equals a six-eight pages, typed, double-spaced paper. (1600-2000 words)

What is a Workplace report?

Although there is no single “workplace” or “professional writing” style, there are genre conventions and kinds of writing that happen in most workplaces. My brother, a mechanical engineer, frequently has to write reports to explain/justify the work that his team is doing. (He also frequently writes Patent applications, something he never imagined he’d be doing when he started as an engineer.) Students are nearly always surprised to discover that the career they are going into requires much more writing than they imagined.

This assignment requires you to produce a common workplace written document – a report. Part of the assignment for you will be to design your report format. (Based on information provided)

The information presented in the report is what you have learned about the conventions of writing (and reading) in that field.

Choosing Someone to Interview

Under usual circumstances, I require students to interview someone who holds a position similar to one they hope to have in the future. Due to our current circumstances, I’m not going to require you interview someone in your anticipated field. You may interview anyone who is far enough along in their careers that they write and/or edit the work of others. The purpose of this interview is to learn about the conventions of writing/editing in the interviewee’s field.

About choosing your interviewee, please keep the following in mind:

The person must be far along in their field. Someone in an entry-level position is unlikely to write enough. The farther one goes in their field, the more the writer are responsible for the writing of others.
While I am not flat-out banning interviewing professors, I will warn you that 1) it is actually a more difficult interview in many cases because the focus is on “workplace” writing conventions, which means going beyond research and papers and 2) many of your professors may be overwhelmed with moving classes online, etc. – so they may simply not be able to give you enough time.


Your report should have 4 major sections. You are welcome to organize within those sections however you choose, ideally using the form appropriate to your field. Whatever form you choose, your report must have different sections with headers and be single-spaced.

Part One—background information on the interview and your interviewee. When and how you conducted the interview, how long he/she has held his/her current position. What were the steps leading to this position? (250-300 words)
Part Two—what you have learned about writing in this field or discipline. This should be fully developed and consider all aspects of written communication. (500-750 words.)
Part Three—analysis of the texts you have collected. (500-750 words) See guidelines below. You might choose instead to incorporate information from your analysis into Part Two – either way is fine.
Part Four—Consider your writing future. What, if anything, surprised you about what you have learned? What will you need to learn to be a successful writer? What parts of writing in your future work concern you? What are you looking forward to? (250 words).

Conducting the Interview

Obviously, given current circumstances, these interviews will be virtual. However, they must be synchronous—that is, you will interview the person using Skype or Zoom or Facetime or…. What you won’t do is email a list of questions.

Rhetorical Analysis of Texts Common in the Field (Part Three above)

In addition to the interview, you will find two samples of writing in the field and analyze them rhetorically. (So the Rhetorical Analysis for this assignment is built in.)

You can compare/contrast the texts or write about them separately—whichever seems most logical to you. The meatier the document, the easier this assignment will be. (Choosing an email and a standard contract, for instance, wouldn’t give you much to work with.) Also, don’t be afraid of large documents like reports. You can answer the general questions as easily for longer documents as for short ones. For the textual analysis questions, you can work with specific sections of the document. Be sure to support your analysis with direct citations from the text.

You should work to answer most of the following questions (these questions should guide you, but you shouldn’t simply answer them in a list):

What is the document?
Where did it come from and who produced it?
Who is the intended audience (or audiences) for the text?
What is the purpose of the document?
How, if at all, are ethos, pathos and logos apparent in the text? What seem to be the values implied in the text?
What do you notice about the language (of course, the answer to this will help you address the above questions too)? Is there jargon? Euphemistic language and/or buzzwords? What is the tone of the text? Is there a voice—can you here the writer or is it meant to be more neutral?
Bonus: using Winston Weather’s Rhetorical Profile, how would you describe the level and texture of the writing? Be sure to explain your answer.

Considering the information above, what observations can you make about these texts overall? In what ways might they be seen to reflect the workplace or field that you are researching?

Workplace Writing, Sample Presentation Slides Assignment

Three Presentation Slides—40 points possible (For an cleaner view –


The goal of this assignment is to create five presentation slides that would be a part of a larger presentation to go along with your workplace writing report. You should think of the slides as examples of slides you would use to compliment the written report, if you were giving a presentation. (So don’t try to fit all the information in – use the guidelines from “How to Avoid Death by PowerPoint”)
The purpose is to give you practice creating presentation slides, based on the information presented in the TED Talk “How to Avoid Death by PowerPoint.”

Excellent! – A

Very Strong – B

Competent – C

Not Yet Competent

Criterion Value

Appropriateness of the material for a slide

There are excellent reasons for presenting the information visually

There are good reasons to present the information visually

The information could be presented as or more effectively through writing or the reason for the image isn’t clear.


Format, physical appearance

· Slides follow the advice presented in the TED Talk

· Slides are sophisticated in appearance

· Slides follow the advice presented in the TED Talk

Slides are clear and easy to understand

The ideas presented in the TED talk don’t appear to be considered.

Slides styles may be unprofessional or unclear.


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