Marsh Style Guide Research Project:
I am writing to convey my consideration of your idea to redesign and update my 1987 Marsh Style Guide (MSG).
Currently, I am not totally convinced due to concerns about the cost to create and print new style guides for all my employees. I don’t know if I would get my money back from having employees use an updated style guide. Therefore, as a first step, I’d like you to write a research report addressing the two research topics below that address out-of-date and areas lacking such as:
• Topics relevant to my current employees, not the readers of 1987 (e.g., international communications, emailing, texting, gender neutral language, clear and concise writing, etc.)
• The 1987 design of the document
• The writing style of the content that was directed to an audience of typists and not the current audience of company executives
Your research report should summarize your findings of the below topics below and their impact as respects improving the current MSG.
Two Research Topics:
Topic 1. Comparison of the MSG with Current Corporate Writing Style Guides:
Topic Content and Document Design A document’s topics, format, and design all play an important role in getting readers to read and use a document – these must be current, informative, inviting and easy to read, and scannable. Therefore, using the links to current corporate style guides provided in attachments, compare and contrast these to the MSG as respects the following:
– What topics relevant to the current MSG
audience are covered in current style guides as opposed to the MSG?
– What’s outdated in the MSG due to technology or a more educated audience?
– How do current style guides use effective document design to make the document inviting
to read and scannable for their employees?
For the report summarize the differences you find in the areas of topics and design between the MSG and current style guides (tie in your research findings to the goal of making the MSG current).
Also include screenshots related to document design differences (no bigger than 3 inches high by the width of the page, otherwise include the screenshots in an attachment to your report).
As a topic summary, relate your research to specific ways to update and improve the MSG in these two areas.
Topic 2. Writing Clearly & Concisely:
Even if your writing is well organized with comprehensive content, there’s still more work. Because your readers are busy, they don’t want to waste time reading fluff that distracts from the main point and delays the reading (or worse, bores them). Therefore, you need to ensure that your workplace writing has clarity and conciseness in its word usage. In other words, you don’t want to deliver a lengthy report that could be summed up in fewer pages. By working to provide clear and concise writing, you’ll deliver the following:
Greater Effectiveness: Readers understand exactly what you’re trying to say
Concise Documents: These are easier to read, and they quickly get your ideas across (which is important in the professional world where readers often do not read an entire document)
Less Misinterpretation Clear language will ensure readers understand exactly what you want them to
For the report, utilize the attachments provided and web-based research to report on the following
subtopics of Writing Clearly & Concisely:
Topic 2a: Conciseness and Clarity in Business Writing
Too often, employees write to impress instead of writing to inform, and end up using 20 words when 10 would suffice. Research conciseness and clarity as respects writing in the workplace (e.g., concise business writing; business writing and conciseness; business writing+clarity, or some combination of the requested topic).
Topic 2b: Clichés, Jargon, Gobbledygook, and Buzzwords:
Using these types of wording and phrasing causes confusion and frustration to readers. Research these topics as respects their impact on business writing.
As respects the above two subtopics, research and report on the following three areas for both:
• The definition and impact of each topic on writing effectively in the business world (positive or negative)
• A sampling of examples (use attachments if necessary) for both
• Summarize the relevance of your research findings to the redesign and rewriting of the MSG, both in terms of how the guide is written and in terms of being included as new topics for my employees to Put the latter as a final subtopic for “a” and “b”
Report: Compile your findings into the following report package:
Written Package Overview:
1. A 5+ page* report (excluding cover letter, Title Page, and any attachments) that includes:
2. An Introduction informing the reader of the report’s contents and organization.
3. A Summary tying together the relevance of your research to improving the MSG for the current audience and justifies going ahead with updating the MSG.
4.Include recommended future actions.
5. Effective document design to create a clear organization and visual hierarchy and makes the
report readable and scannable.
6. Relevant screenshots and/or visuals (use the “Wrap Text” tool).
7. Any necessary attachment(s) to help explain your findings (e.g., screen shots too big for the report, etc.).
Include the following:
• Three (3) credible references no older than three years
o State why the reference ties into your report what is its relevance
o Cite your sources in-text as discussed previously. Format the sources so that I can recognize that it is a
source; what/who the specific source is; any relevant info such as date, title, and author; and, why brief
comment on why the source is credible (unless it’s obvious, such as major media, government agency,
• One (1) quote from a credible reference
• A reference to the historical context of the 1987 MSG in relation to the design and/or content of current style guides (refer to the MSG module for background on why the 1987 guide was developed and how it was used).
This is a research report responding to the client’s requested topics and how these specific topics relate to improving the MSG – this is not a broad overview report on how to redesign the style guide.
The sample project provided is just a sample, you can model the project after it but do not directly copy any information.
Current company style guides/possibly helpful links (optional):
The Elements of a Style Guide