Written Report

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A REPORT ON WRITTEN COMMUNICATION SKILLS
OF NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE STUDENTS
Prepared by: Ang Kar Yong Updated on: 3rd March 2013

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank my supervisor, Ms. Sylvia, for the valuable advice and support she has given me in the writing of this report. I would also like to thank her for her encouragement and guidance.

ABSTRACT This study was to investigate which aspects of written communication should take priority, and to provide the appropriate recommendations to improve on National University of Singapore (NUS) students’ written communication skills. It was requested by NUS on 8th February 2013. The investigation was done by Eka Training Group, supported by Centre for English Language Communication, National University of Singapore, in the survey data. The main findings were that many of the respondents believe inadequate written communication skills are the most common barriers to effective communication in their workplace, and majority of the respondents perceive that email writing is very important in their job. It was concluded that there is a need to improve on the email writing skills on NUS students. The recommendations are that NUS students should be trained on email writing skills to learn how to avoid some of the common pitfalls of email writing.

CONTENTS 1. Introduction 2. Literature Review 3. Methodology 4. Findings 5. Conclusions 6. Recommendations 7. Appendices List of Figures 1. Common barriers to effective communication 2. Types of writing skills and its importance 3. Frequency of different types of emails 4. Factors contributing to effectiveness of email 2 3 4 5 1 1 1 2 5 6 8

1. INTRODUCTION Background This report has been written because there is a need to improve the written communication skills off National University of Singapore (NUS) students before they graduate. It was requested by NUS on 8th February 2013. Objectives The objectives of this report are to analyse which aspects of written communication should take priority, and to provide the appropriate recommendations to improve on the students’ written communication skills. Scope This report examines the various aspects of communication skills in a workplace, focusing on written communication, with the emphasis on email writing skills. Email writing skills are seen as the most crucial writing skills in the workplace. It does not examines on other aspects of communication skills as they are examined in the various respective reports. 2. LITERATURE REVIEW The area of investigation has been commented on by various reports that are in agreement that the most common barriers to effective communication in the workplace are inadequate written communication skills. However, they have different opinions on which aspects of written communication that are most important and practical in the workplace. Due to the differences highlighted above, it was decided to investigate this issue focusing on the Singapore workplace and more importantly targeting the NUS students. 3. METHODOLOGY 188 respondents were chosen and surveyed by Centre of English Language Communication, National University of Singapore. This NUS CELC survey is part of a grant from Temasek Foundation for the project, “Capability-Building of Curriculum Developers for English Language Training and Professional Communication for University Faculty for ASEAN universities”, in which CELC is one of the seven institutions taking part. All content of this survey is owned by CELC NUS.

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4. FINDINGS In general, the findings indicated that inadequate oral communication skills are seen as the most common barriers to effective communication in a workplace. Referring to Figure 1. 59% of all respondents believe that inadequate oral communication skills are barriers to effective communication in their workplace; 56.2% of all respondents believe that it is due to the lack of interpersonal skills; and 50% of all respondents believe it was due to...
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