Research Summaries Exercise

Assignment Guidelines


The Research Summaries Exercise is an exercise for Project 2, Consulting Simulation, in Professional Writing, an undergraduate course on workplace writing. Now that your research proposal has been approved, your team will have two weeks to complete your research. This week your focus is on secondary research–i.e., research already done by other people and existing out there in the world at the library, online, etc. At the end of this week, your team will post a summary of its textual research findings.

For the Consulting Project, it’s not enough to just do a Google search and grab the first sources you find. You need to find a useful, relevant, current mix of authoritative research that helps advance your understanding of the problem and/or possible solutions.

Sources that might be especially useful include:

  • Industry journals
  • Scholarly journals
  • Annual reports
  • Government websites
  • Experts in the field
  • Competing company websites
  • Search engines

Your mission for this week is to collect all of the secondary sources you’ll need to answer questions/provide support for the research questions/tasks outlined in your research proposal.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Research Director: If your team has not already created a Team Bibliography document in your Team Workplace, create one now.
  2. Project Manager: Assign individual team members to the specific research questions/tasks outlined in your research proposal.
  3. Individual:
    1. Complete research on the topics assigned to you, and add your sources to your team’s shared bibliography.  For each source:
      1. Include a Citation: Paste a complete and properly formatted citation in the style your team is using. (You can use a citation generator like Zotero bib to generate citations if you wish.)
      2. Include a Summary: Write a brief (1-2 sentence) summary of the main idea of the article OR paraphrase the specific content/sentences you intend to draw on.
    2. Write a 1-page summary of your research findings and submit to your Research Director.
  4. Research Director: Write a 2-to-4 page executive summary of your team’s research findings based on the summaries submitted to you by members of the team. This summary should provide a high-level summary of the key points your team will use in the Results section of your recommendation report.
    1. Begin with an introductory paragraph that provides the background on your project.
    1. Follow with a subheading and 1-2 paragraph summary of all of the research results for each major research question.

Follow with a subheading for each major research question

  1. The Team Research Notes should be collaboratively authored. All team members should contribute to the Team Bibliography.
  2. Research Notes entered into The Team Bibliography should provide the citation information so other members of the team can quickly access the document.
  3. Follow conventions for writing with sources in business documents
Example 1 of Team Bibliography
Nutrition in school lunches / First Name & Last Name of Researcher“Fact Sheet: Calories in School Meals.” Nutrition Standards for School Meals | USDA-FNS, Accessed 4 Aug. 2019.The USDA introduced new science-based “right sized” meal plans intended to reduce childhood obesity by providing more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and lower-fat dairy and leaner meat options.
Food insecurity in the US / First Name & Last Name of ResearcherUSDA ERS – Key Statistics & Graphics. Accessed 4 Aug. 2019.6.5 million children lived in food insecure households in 2017.