Final Paper / Project

English 302: Final Paper / Project

(Worth 15% of your grade; due on April 30 at the beginning of the final)


Your final assignment in English 302 should demonstrate your understanding of the principles we have studied in this course and draw upon the various skills you have developed throughout the semester. Because each of you has a unique career path, a standard, one-size-fits-all final assignment would leave many of you disappointed. With this in mind, I propose to provide you with as much flexibility as possible in designing and carrying out a business-communication project that is relevant to your academic background and to your post-college life. Your final assignment for this course will fall under one of two broad categories:

Option One: Traditional Research Paper

If you choose the first option, you will identify a topic and explore it in detail in a ten- to fifteen-page research paper. You may use as a starting point one of the topics we have discussed this semester (e.g., the use of synchronous communication in the workplace, how online identity issues affect hiring practices, the changing nature of international business communication), or you may select a business-communication topic specific to your academic discipline or chosen career. Using both print and electronic sources, you will research and compile your findings, then present them in a paper designed to convince your audience to accept your position on the issue. In other words, it is not enough merely to summarize or synthesize several sources; you must try to persuade the reader. The paper should conform to APA or MLA format and should employ, at minimum, ten sources.

Option Two: Workplace Communication Project

If you choose the second option, you will identify an academic or workplace communication problem and attempt to solve it by creating one or more documents that could be used by a real organization, business, or individual. Although you may want to choose your current workplace as your project site, you could also offer your services to an academic department on campus, a friend’s workplace, or a non-profit organization in the community. However, the most important stipulation for this assignment is that the communication problem must be real, not hypothetical. Once you have identified the problem, you will consult with your client (and with Quinn) to determine the scope of your work for this project. For instance, you may determine that your client needs training materials for its new employees, a redesigned manual or handbook to improve efficiency, or a website to strengthen its online presence. Once all parties agree on how much work you will do, you will create the documents and write a short (1-2 page) transmittal memo to your client, explaining your rationale and instructing the client how to use the documents. Although this project will not be evaluated on strict APA or MLA style guidelines, your documents should reflect excellence in the principles of written, oral, visual, and electronic communication we have studied this semester.

Evaluation Criteria

Regardless of which option you choose, you will work with Quinn to develop personalized evaluation criteria for this assignment, in the form of a signed contract. Each student in the class will meet individually with Quinn twice—once at the beginning of the project to discuss your topic, the scope of your work, and the evaluation criteria Quinn will use to grade the assignment, and once near the end of the project to review your draft materials and discuss the changes you may need to make before submitting the final assignment.

Submission Procedures

When you are ready to submit your assignment, place electronic copies of all relevant materials into a folder named "Full Name Final" (for example, my folder would be called "Quinn Warnick Final"), then compress (or "zip") the folder into a single file. Upload the zipped file to the class website. In addition, please bring printed copies of your final paper or project to our final on April 30.