U3: Identifying Business Messages


Unit overview  |  This unit extends Units 1 and 2 by taking a closer look at how a particular company/industry crafts arguments for specific audiences, especially given the context in which they are doing business and their communicative purpose. Students examine corporate annual reports, focusing on the letter to the shareholders for the ways in which the writer establishes credibility, examining the audiences addressed, claims made, evidence used, as well as the underlying assumptions, values, ideas, images, attitudes, and beliefs. Students write a report that discusses how these aspects are used to establish credibility with their audience, to accomplish their purpose, and to address specifics factors, values, or events that may influence how readers interpret its messages. In their analysis report, students synthesize information from the corporate annual reports, integrating analysis, summary, and direct quotes from the annual reports and the textbook to make and support their claims about the kinds of relationships the company hopes to establish and maintain. The goals of this assignment include:

  • To identify and analyze claims/arguments in business writing
  • To make claims and support those claims with evidence, using quotes and examples to create an argument
  • To create a well-organized and easy-to-follow report


  • Report (3–4 pages, single-spaced)

Chapter readings

  • Chapter 10: Writing Informal Reports
  • Chapter 2: Organizing your Information (review)
  • Chapter 3: Writing the Draft (p. 81–94)
  • Chapter 4: Revising the Draft (pick one or two concepts to review and apply)

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