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Analytical Report

Analytical Report
Guffey suggests that your value to an organization “rises considerably” if you can draw reasonable conclusions and make sound recommendations (p. 386). You’re being asked to do some hands-on research with two principal providers of online survey software and share conclusions and recommendations about their usefulness. In familiarizing yourself with research tools you may want to use for the business proposal, you will be prepared to discuss choosing online survey software among your team.

Situation
Your team has been discussing what primary research you need to support your business proposal project, and you all have decided to use interviews and a survey. After some discussion, you determine what you want to find out by using a survey and which individuals or groups you want to solicit as participants. The last task is to select an online survey client, and you have been volunteered to research what’s available and produce a report to distribute to the team before your next regular meeting. The report, in a memo format, should inform the team about two finalists, with your recommendation included.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Sign up for the free, basic plan for two online survey clients. Two suggestions are Survey Monkey at http://www.surveymonkey.com and QuestionPro at http://www.questionpro.com/. You may use others if you like, but just use two.
2. For each of the two clients, choose the option to create a new survey and produce an instrument intended for customer feedback.
3. Using each client, create the same three survey questions: one should be a multiple-choice question with one response possible, one a rating scale question, and the third a question type of your choosing. Use the available templates if you wish. The point is to sample how each software client works for three kinds of questions.
4. Print out a copy of the survey instrument you create to turn in with the report.

Write a report in which you compare the two products, addressing your team members to inform a decision about which one your team should use for the business proposal project. For example, you might discuss ease of use, visual appeal, screen load times, usefulness of the basic plan versus premium features, etc. You might include a decision matrix such as the example in Figure 12.3 of the Guffey text (p. 385). Perhaps you’ll use bullet points, something like the condensed findings shown in Figure 12.4 (p. 387). Use the memo format as Guffey illustrates in Figure 11.3 (p. 342).

There are two reasons to write your analysis and recommendations in a memo. First, with a memo in hand several days prior to the next meeting, team members will have time to read and digest the report so they can come to the meeting already briefed, ready to discuss the information and make a decision. Second, the memo can be included as archival information for your project’s post mortem, providing useful information for you or others the next time a similar project comes along.

The report can use a direct approach, because the topic is not controversial and the audience is receptive. Consider a plan for organizing: do you compare the two clients feature by feature, or do you fully discuss one and then fully discuss the other?
Requirements: For all drafts and the final version, use 12-point serif type with block paragraphs, left-justified and ragged-right. The initial draft should be double-spaced, approximately three pages long. The developed draft should be single-spaced, approximately one and one-half pages long. The final version should be single-spaced, approximately one and one-half pages long. Follow APA protocol. The paper copy of the final version should be neat, attractive, mechanically correct, grammatically sound, professional, clear, and concise. Follow the ten design tips from Guffey on page 396 and the techniques for readability on pages 170-172.

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