Smoking Gun Report
Your assignment is to analyze each of these memos and write a 700-800 word report showing how one is a good example of professional writing while the other is an example of poor professional writing. You will evaluate the memos in light of the situation, the style and the organization. Style, Organization, and Effective Communication
Choices in style and organization have a great influence on the way a document is received and how successfully it fulfills its intended purpose. The consequences of the author's decisions in these matters can be a matter of life and death. This is shown very clearly in the two "smoking gun" documents you will be examining for this assignment. The first memo is from D. F. Hallman, the manager of plant performance for Babcock and Wilson. The second memo is from R.M. Boisjoly at Morton Thiokol. Both of these memos have become famous as "smoking guns" since they played a major role in pointing out problems that were ignored and that eventually led to catastrophic consequences. Questions to Ask
What is rhetorical situation in each instance? Research the Challenger disaster and the Three Mile Island incident. •
What do you know about the author of each of these memos? Google them so you have some idea of their credentials. •
Examine the main ideas of each document. Begin by looking at the subject line to determine how well it reflects the purpose of the memo. Look at the introductory paragraph. Try to find a stated thesis and underline it. Where does it occur in the memo? In the beginning, the middle, or the end? How easy was it to find this main idea? If you had to search hard to find it, what does that indicate? •
Look at how the document is organized. Does it follow the logical pattern of introduction, body, conclusion? Is it coherent? Is it unified? Does the author use transitions or other methods to lead the reader from one point to the next? Does the writer indicate the importance of the...
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