In this assignment, you will combine information from several sources

In this assignment, you will combine information from several sources and clearly and coherently explain something to readers who are not already familiar with the information. It builds on what you learned in ENG 101 about writing from multiple sources (e.g., summary, paraphrase, and quotation), but it also reinforces the critical thinking skills of analysis and synthesis as well as source citation.  Assignments 2 – 4 will require you to go beyond simply reporting information—which, by itself, is a crucial skill—to persuading readers to believe or do something.

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Assignment Instructions

1.     In The McGraw-Hill Guide (henceforth, TMHG), read Chapter 7, “Writing to Inform.”

2.     Write a 1,250 – 1,500 word informative report about some factual topic of interest to a group or organization to which you belong.  For example, students at CMU, employees where you work, members of specific club or professional organization, people who participate in a specific hobby or activity that you enjoy, etc.

      Your report should emerge from a synthesis of information from at least six (6)recent and authoritative sources, perhaps also combined with your own personal knowledge about the topic. Part of the challenge of synthesizing information from multiple sources is making strategic decisions about what information to include and what not to include; often, the latter decision is more difficult than the former. For example, if you were to explain global warming to students in a high school science class, consider why these readers might need or want this information.

See TMHG, Chapter 19, “Finding and Evaluating Information.”

3.     In addition to including information based on your own knowledge and experience, use a combination of quotation and paraphrase from your sources; however, no more than about 10% (125 –150 words) of your report should consist of quoted material. Instead, rely on summary and paraphrase. And as you should have learned in ENG 101, all information from sources—whether quoted, paraphrased, or summarized, whether words or images—must be cited. Keep in mind, though, that your voice, not your sources’, should be most prominent in your report.

See TMHG, Chapter 3: “Writing to Understand and Synthesize Texts.”

4.     Format your report in a way that is appropriate for your intended audience and purpose.  This assignment could take a form different from a traditional school “paper,” e.g., it might take the form of a web page, a brochure, an article in a newsletter or magazine, etc. Whatever final format it takes, develop the text for the peer draft as a print document.

See TMHG, Part Five, Chapter 17, “Choosing a Medium, Genre, and Technology for Your Communication.” 

      Your peers and I will help you decide on an appropriate format for your report, depending on what you see as its specific purpose and intended audience.

5.     Include any appropriate visuals that will enhance the effectiveness of your report. Use of visuals in this assignment is optional, and visuals might not count toward the total word count for the assignment; it will depend on what kind of visuals you use and whether you created them yourself or borrowed them from a source. All borrowed visuals must be cited. Do not include gratuitous visuals, such as clip art; include only visuals that convey relevant meaning and help readers understand the information.


See TMGH, Part Five, Chapter 18, “Communicating with Design and Visuals”; and the e-handbook, Part 1, Chapter 4, “Drafting Paragraphs and Visuals.”

6.     Cite sources using MLA, APA, or Chicago citation style.

See TMHG, Chapter 20, “Synthesizing and Documenting Sources,” and e-handbook, Part 4, Chapters 23 -26.

7.     Give your report a title that will be effective and appropriate for the intended audience and purpose. Select a specific audience and purpose for your report, and write them at the top of your paper so your peer reviewers and I will know.

8.     Save your A1 draft as a MS Word® document or in Rich Text Format using the following filename (MS Word® will add the .docx or .rtf suffix automatically when you save the file in that format):

YourfirstnameYourlastnameDraft1A1.docx                      [e.g., JohnDoeDraft1A1.docx]

YourfirstnameYourlastnameDraft1A1.rtf             [e.g., JohnDoeDraft1A1.rtf]

9.     Upload your draft to the File Exchange in your Group page on Bb by the due date for peer review.

See the peer-review instructions on the next page.

10.  After receiving peer feedback, revise your draft, save it with one of the following filenames, and upload it to Bb by the due date for instructor review.

YourfirstnameYourlastnameDraft2A1.docx                      [e.g., JohnDoeDraft2A1.docx]

YourfirstnameYourlastnameDraft2A1.rtf             [e.g., JohnDoeDraft2A1.rtf]

11.  After receiving instructor feedback, revise your draft, save it with one of the following filenames, and upload it to Bb by the final draft due date for instructor re-evaluation.

YourfirstnameYourlastnameFinalDraftA1.docx                [e.g., JohnDoeFinalDraftA1.docx]

YourfirstnameYourlastnameFinalDraft1A1.rtf                  [e.g., JohnDoeFinalDraftA1.rtf]

Peer Review Instructions for A1

To see the due dates for submitting your draft for peer review and for commenting on your group members’ drafts, see the “Schedule of Assignments, Exams, & Activities” on Bb. Don’t forget to save your draft using the filename stipulated in the assignment instructions above.

1.     Go to the File Exchange in your Group page, and download and save each group member’s draft to your computer or flash drive using a new filename for each draft.

For example, if you are Jane Smith and you have just downloaded the draft named JohnDoeDraft1A1.docx, save the draft with the following filename:


This way, both John and I will know that you are the group member who has commented on John’s draft. Each group member will obtain comments from every other group member, so you and your group members want to make very clear which files are which. Do this for each group member’s draft.

2.     Open each file, and read the draft on screen.

3.     Use the “Writer’s Workshop” questions on page 187 in Chapter 7 of TMHG to guide your review and comments.

4.     To provide comments on each group member’s draft, use the Insert Comment tool in MS Word® to insert comments in the right margin of the draft.

Note: If you do not know how to use the Insert Comment feature in Word, view the Microsoft tutorial, a link for which has been placed in the Course Materials page of Bb.

5.     Do NOT use Track Changes to edit or correct any grammar, punctuation, or spelling; however, if you think it necessary or helpful, remind the writer to proofread and edit the draft carefully before submitting it for instructor review.

6.     After reviewing and commenting on all your group members’ drafts (or at least all that have been uploaded to your group’s File Exchange during the review period), download all your drafts on which group members have commented, and use their feedback to revise your draft before submitting it for instructor review by the due date and time.


If you have any questions about peer review, please post them to the Q&A discussion-board forum.

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