Unit 3: Writing for a Professional Audience Length:

Unit 3: Writing for a Professional Audience Length: 1000 or more words (total) Audience: Readers in a professional or workplace context
In the first Unit Paper (the literature review), you had a chance to explore some writing in your field as a discourse community. My hope for this paper is that you are able to enrich your sense of how writing might work in your field: who writes, who reads, what writing looks like, what writing does.
For Unit 3, you’ll compose and revise a document that might circulate in your workplace, professional, or organizational environment. (A volunteer organization or club can also be the site of this kind of writing.)
The term professional is pretty broad, of course: almost any kind of writing, given the right context, might fit this description. It might help if you imagine that for this unit, you’re writing a document that helps people do their work better in an organizational context.
Such documents might include instructions, guidelines, and procedures; fact sheets; Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs); memos; forms and charts; and other kinds of writing that I have not imagined, but which are important for your own organizational life.
To start this project, you need think about your life in organizations and the kinds of roles you play. Whatever their particular form, most instances of workplace writing have certain things in common: • They focus on a single subject. • They are committed to accurate and ethical representation. • They place a high priority on clarity. • They waste no words.
All in all, these documents are designed to be useful. In addition, many, though not all, reference documents share additional features: • They may batch or “chunk” information into discrete units. • They may separate these units using headings and subheadings • They may employ figures, tables, or other visual aids.
Note on Citation: Some professional documents do not quote sources or cite them in ways typical of academic writing. For this unit paper, I’d like you write in imitation of a form appropriate to your field. If the kind of writing you are imitating does not include quotations, notes, or parenthetical references, do not use them yourself. Instead, include a bibliography on a separate page, with your acknowledgements. In addition, be careful that your document consists of your own language.
You can choose to create a new document or revise an existing document. The approach differs in each case. If you revise an existing document, put the document into electronic format (scan it or retype it) and use the “track changes” and “comment” functions to make changes. Then write a memo to the person responsible for the document making a case for the changes you would like to make.
In addition, both new and revised documents should include a memo to the class in which you put the workplace document into context: explain anything that needs explaining and help us read it effectively.
After peer review and revision, this unit paper will be somewhat multi-layered: it will include • A response letter • A context memo to the class • A piece of new writing to a workplace audience (a memo in the case of a revision, or another document in the case of a new piece); and possibly • A revised document with change markings
This is rhetorically complex, but potentially very interesting.

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