Writing in the Department of Speech/Language Pathology and Audiology I. Purpose The teaching of writing in this department has as its most general goals the development of the ability to organize thinking, to synthesize information from a variety of sources, and to express those thoughts clearly and concisely. These goals find their specific expression in the development of writing styles that are appropriate for the clinical and research needs of students as developing professionals. Thus, we find that style and interpretation must be tied very closely to accuracy and objectivity, so that the resulting products present factual material in any number of recognized professional writing formats, from clinical reports to research papers. I. Types of Writing Students do two types of writing at the undergraduate and graduate levels in this department: academic writing and clinical. At the undergraduate level, academic writing includes term papers. It is expected that students arrive in these preprofessional courses with some basic writing skills and the ability to use general library resources. Therefore, the techniques involved in writing such papers are not taught directly. Rather, students begin to use their observational skills, first gathering information about normal communicative behavior, then about impaired communication, then fitting their descriptions into the pre-existing term-paper format. Upper-division undergraduates then are taught further refinements of library research techniques (including on-line research) and the rudiments of journal-style writing, using the APA Style Manual. At the same time, they begin to learn clinical writing styles. At the graduate level, the expectations for academic and clinical writing will be commensurately higher. Expectations for clinical writing include development of a clear writing style that enables students to assert and defend diagnostic hypotheses, and that is also flexible enough to meet the needs of multilevel audiences as well as the expectations of different professional settings. Clinicians need to develop the ability to convey to readers accurate records of procedures followed and the results which were obtained. To facilitate this, student clinicians must develop a professional vocabulary as well as a descriptive vocabulary. The final product should be appropriate for all clinical purposes, including communication with professional referral sources. II. Assignments Each professor in the department individually develops criteria for his or her array of assignments and for grading. Most provide those guidelines both orally and in written forms, and clearly convey the criteria for grading. Special attention is given to topic selection for term papers, with some faculty giving both oral and written guidelines in class and frequently meeting outside of class to help students refine their initial ideas. Drafts are not accepted for term papers. To facilitate learning of the clinical writing style, supervisors routinely provide a “skeleton” or prototype of the report format for guidance. Supervisors do accept first drafts which they expect to be substantially accurate. They then return drafts promptly with specific comments, in writing, to guide revisions. III. Criteria for Marking All academic term papers are graded, and some faculty provide written criteria for their evaluations of those papers. While there is no formal departmental policy statement, all faculty adhere to certain general guidelines: 1. Appearance. Papers must be typed or word processed. 2. Mechanical Corrections. Many faculty penalize students for mechanical errors; other faculty provide written feedback on correctness but do not penalize. 3. Plagiarism. All faculty are alert to plaigiarism. 4. Due Dates. Due dates are adhered to rigidly; lateness affects students’ grades. D.Writing in Business and Management The Joseph A. Sellinger, S.J., School of Business and Management includes the Departments of Accounting, Economics, Finance, Information System and Decision Sciences, Law and Social Responsibility, Management, and Marketing. The seven department share two major curriculum objectives: (1) to present each student a body of knowledge, techniques, and applications relevant to the business and management profession; and (2) to provide greater depth in a particular business and management discipline both to enhance the student’s ability to perform effectively in a professional career and to help the organization for which the graduate works to achieve its goals and objectives. Students in business and management courses will use writing to gain and demonstrate understanding, to apply knowledge to problem-solving, to coordinate and express complexity, to communicate a clear picture of gathered information, and to persuade others. A student in a business and management course is likely to write any or all of the following types of presentations: a. research papers, involving hypotheses tested against facts and, often, graphs and other graphic forms b. term papers, applying techniques to a problem, as, for example, in designing management information systems c. essays or reports that explain principles, requiring expository writing and also graphics and flow charts d. summaries of articles and executive summaries of issues e. cases, consultant reports, and audit reports, written as they would be in real business situations, involving definite hypotheses about the situations portrayed. f. essay examinations g. problem sets h. practice memoranda, again written as they would be “in the field,” most often involving persuasive writing. i. advertisements or promotions j. system or program documentation Business organizations frequently use “the report” as a form for communicating a business plan or the results of a study or research project. You might use the following guide both in the real world and in classes where your assignment is to write a business report. How to Write a Report to a Business Person 1. There should be a cover letter or memo very briefly explaining the reason for the report and the reason for sending it to the person(s) addressed. 2. there should be a cover page. 3. There should be a table of contents. The importance of this requirement increases with the length of the report. 4. There should be an executive summary. It is to be brief, specific and complete. If properly written, a busy executive will not have to read further. The location, in the rest of the report, of details should be shown in case the executive needs more information. 5. There should be an introduction at the beginning of the actual report that starts after the items covered in 1. to 4. above. 6. At the end of the report there should be a summary or a conclusion. 7. The body of the report should be broken up by headings and subheads. Use as many as possible. The outline form used here is an example. Use tables and figures. For a long report use tabbed divider sheets. 8. As the executive summary is brief (but complete) so the body of the report should be as brief as possible. There should be an appendix for some tedious material and possibly the tables and figures. Do not use explanatory footnotes. 9. Many business reports do not require references, bibliographies or citations. A literature search or the use of secondary data sources may require citations. Use an appropriate style sheet for this purpose. 10. with the graphic potential of PCs, make liberal use of color and different type sizes. 11. Put the complete report in a binder. (In a business report or plan done as a classroom assignment, the binder, tabbed divider sheets, color and different type sizes may not be necessary. Ask your instructor.) Brevity, while being complete, is the key. The secret is to determine what should be in the report and what should not. Rank the material as to relative importance: 1. put the most important in the executive summary 2. put the next most important (plus the material from the executive summary) in the body of the report 3. put the least important (or more tedious) in the appendix. Avoid special terminology, jargon, and polysyllabic words. The goal is clear communication of complicated ideas.