Writing Assignment #3
Proposal Memo to the Decision-maker
Summary of assignment
• Task: You will complete the following:
o Identify the decision-maker or group of decision-makers to whom you will write
o Consider the secondary research you conducted on your topic for writing
o Consider what primary research you will need to conduct for your research-based
o Write a proposal memo to your decision-maker asking for permission to conduct
• Length: 800-1100 words
• Format: A template for the memo is provided on page 2.
How This Assignment Informs Writing Assignment #4
This proposal memo is a preliminary step you take prior to writing your final paper, which is the
research-based report (writing assignment #4). Your final paper in WRTG 394 will be a report
in which you:
• define a problem in your workplace or community persuasively and accurately.
• propose a solution or solutions to the problem or issue.
As part of defining the problem and proposing a solution, you must conduct primary research.
You might also need to conduct some additional secondary research. In Writing Assignment #3,
the proposal to conduct research, you are persuading a decision-maker or group of decision-makers to authorize you to begin conducting this research that will end up in your final report.
The main purposes of the research proposal memo are to accomplish the following:
• Demonstrate that the problem you’ve identified for Project #4 is significant enough to
• Present a feasible plan or blueprint for your research.
• Set forth potential benefits to the organization or community from the research that
justify the use of time and resources.
Template for Submitting Your Memo
Note: Please use the format outlined below, including the headers provided in bold, for the
To: [Decision Maker Name(s) and title(s)] From: [Your Name and title] Date: [Today’s Date] Subject: Request to Conduct Research on […] Summary
[Write one or two sentences in which you mention why you are writing this memo.] What the Problem Is and Why It Needs to Be Investigated
[In a series of paragraphs, describe the problem to which you are going to propose a solution and
explain why you think this problem is important.] What Secondary Research I Have Conducted about the Problem
[In one paragraph describe secondary research you have conducted on the problem and solution.] What Primary Research I Will Conduct about the Problem
[In a series of paragraphs, describe primary research you will conduct on the problem and
solution.] Why We Will Benefit from My Research and Recommendations
[In one or two paragraphs, describe your recommendations to the problem/situation you are
describing. Include a description of the potential benefits that your organization or community
will incur by authorizing your research and considering your recommendation.] Conclusion
[In one or two sentences, conclude your memo by repeating the request for authorization and
reminding of the benefits of your conducting the research and considering your
Advice on Conducting Primary Research
When considering primary research, consider the strategies outlined in the following material
from weeks 3 and 4:
• “Strategies for Qualitative Interviews – Harvard University” (from week 3)
• “Designing Effective Questions and Questionnaires” (from week 3)
• “Writing Interview Protocols and Conducting Interviews” (from week 4)
Consider the following examples:
• If you are proposing that email be used less frequently for communication and that another
application be used to improve communication, you might interview fellow employees on the
situation, and you might take screen captures of alternative communication tools to illustrate how
they work and would improve communication in your office.
• For a report on proposing a new traffic light, you might take pictures of the intersection where
such a traffic light could be built, and you might interview residents to get their perspective on the
traffic light idea.
• For a report to the program chair of your major at UMUC suggesting changes to the curriculum,
you might interview or survey fellow students, interview or survey hiring managers in the field,
and/or interview or survey students who are majoring in the same field at another institution.
• For a report on recycling facilities, you might take pictures of the office environment to show that
current recycling facilities are inadequate, and you might interview fellow workers about whether
they find it easy to recycle materials at your office.
Examples of How to Make Topics Specific for the Final Report in WRTG
• If you wish to write a report to your supervisor at work suggesting that email be used less
frequently for communication and that another application, such as texting, be used to improve
communication, you cannot simply prepare a report on the benefits of texting in the workplace.
You must establish that your specific office has problems in communicating by email and
indicate the benefits of using alternative communication systems, such as texting, for your
• If you write a report to your neighborhood community association that a traffic light be posted at
a particular intersection, you cannot simply prepare a report on the benefits of traffic safety. You
must show that the specific intersection in your neighborhood needs a traffic light in order to
• If you write a report to the program chair of your major at UMUC recommending changes to the
curriculum, you cannot simply prepare a report on the benefits of a certain class. You must show
that the specific curriculum for your major at UMUC lacks something that your suggested
adjustment will provide.
• If you write a report on recycling facilities at your workplace, you cannot simply prepare a report
on the benefits of recycling. You must show that the recycling facilities at your specific
workplace are inadequate or need improving.
Submitting the assignment:
You will submit a draft of the memo to the assignment folder. The instructor will provide
comments to it and work with you on a second draft if necessary.
Proposal Memo to the Decision-maker
Writing Assignment #3