Module 21: Writing Proposals and Analytical Reports
March 18 2012
- Feasibility (yardstick) reports assess the practicality of a plan or idea based on a set of
criteria established by the organization, or the writer.
- Used to evaluate the doabilty of myriad ideas, including new toy designs.
- Normally open by explaining the decision to be made, listing available alternatives, and
explaining the criteria.
- In the body of the report, evaluate each alternative according to the criteria:
o Discuss each alternative separately when one alternative is clearly superior, when the
criteria interact, and when each alternative is indivisible.
o Discuss each alternative under each criterion when the choice depends on the weight
given to each criterion.
- The purpose of business plans developed in feasibility reports is to prove that the business idea
is sound that the audience – banks, angel investors, or venture capitalists – should invest in.
What other kinds of reports will I be asked to write?
- You’ll be asked to write reports that analyze and justify information.
- Analytical reports – including feasibility, yardstick, and justification reports, and proposals –
organize and analyze information to persuade readers to accept the suggestions or
recommendations of the writer.
- All reports, regardless of length, include an introduction paragraph stating the report’s
purpose and scope, and summarizing the problems or successes of the project.
- All reports conclude with a summary of the writer’s key findings: this summary suggests next
steps, or recommends action, depending on the writer’s mandate and audience expectations.
- Justification reports recommend or justify a purchase investment, hire, or change in policy.
- If you can choose your headings and organization, use the direct, deductive, or good news
pattern when your recommendation is easy for your reader to accept:
o Indicate what you’re asking for and why it’s needed.
When the reader has not asked for the report, you must link your request to
o Briefly give the background of the problem or the need.
o Explain each of the possible solutions.
o Summarize the action needed to implement your recommendation. If several people will be involved, indicate who will do what, and how long each
step will take.
o Ask for the action you want.
- When the reader is reluctant to grant your request because actions will cost time or money,
use the indirect, inductive, or bad news variation of the problem-solving pattern:
o Describe the organizational problem (which your request will solve).
Provide specific examples (results) to demonstrate the seriousness of the
Company's Current Situation The Proposal Offers To: The Final Report Will Provide:
We don't know whether we should Assess whether change is a good Insight, recommending whether
change. idea. change is desirable
We need to/want to change, but we Develop a plan to achieve the A plan for achieving the desired
don't know exactly what we need to do. desired goal. change
We need to/want to change, and we Implement the plan, increase (or A record of the implementation and
know what to do, but we need help doing decrease) measurable evaluation process
o Prove that easier or less expensive solutions will not solve the problem
o Present your solution impersonally.
o Show that the disadvantages of your solution are outweighed by the advantages.
o Summarize the action needed to implement your recommendation.
o Ask for the action you want.
What should go into a proposal?
- What you’re going to do, how and when you’ll do it, and evidence that you’ll do it well.
- Proposals reports that describe a method for finding information, or solving a problem.
- Have 2 goals:
o To get the project accepted
o To get the writer accepted to do the job.
- Relationship Among Situation, Proposal, and Final Report
More on Sale Proposals
- For everything you offer, show the reader benefits, using you-attitude.
- Attention to details – including good visual impact and proofreading – helps establish your
professional image and suggests that you’ll give them the same care to the project if your
proposal is accepted.
- Provide a one-page cover letter with long proposals. Organze the cover letter this way:
o Catch the reader’s attention and summarize up the 3 major benefits you offer. o Discuss each of the major benefits in the order in which you mention them in the first
o Deal with any objections or concerns the reader may have
o Mention other benefits briefly.
o Ask the reader to approve your proposal, and provide a reason for acting promptly.
- Government agencies and companies issue Requests for Proposals (RFPs) when contracting
o Details the project and vendor requirements in a “form document describing… how the
contract companies should respond, how the proposals will be reviewed, and contact
Proposals for Class Reports
1) Purpose Statement
a. In your first paragraph (no heading), summarize in a sentence or two the topic and
purpose(s) of your report.
a. What organization problem exists? What is the situation?
b. What needs to change? Why?
c. What background or history is relevant.
a. Can a solution be found in the time available?
b. How do you know?
a. Who in the organization has the power to implement your recommendation?
b. What secondary audiences might be asked to evaluate your report?
c. What audiences would be affected by your recommendation?
d. For each of these audiences and for your initial audience (your instructor), give the