USF Community Social Problem in Tampa Bay Area Research Summary Memo


Research in the workplace solves a problem. Tasked with a  problem in the workplace, you may be asked gather the information  necessary to fully understand the issue at hand, solve that problem (or  offer potential solutions), prove that your solutions are viable, and/or  test your solution(s). Doing this work requires different types of  research that go beyond simply querying a library database or using  Google. You often will need to speak directly to target populations and  audiences, and directly contact resources and experts in different  professions and in the community. You also may need information in  addition to or instead of scholarly resources. Local and national  journalism may add context and perspective. Professional experts,  government agencies, state and local authorities all may be relevant  sources, as are individuals in target populations. Essentially, research  in the workplace requires you to think critically and creatively about

The type of information you need; and

The best way to get that information.

Your job as a researcher is to address, explain, and/or solve a  problem using the most relevant and applicable methods and resources.  If a resource can supply information you need, then it is the right  resource for the job.

It’s also important when thinking about a problem your  researching to keep in mind that you probably aren’t the first person or  organization to deal with this issue. Look at other organizations,  groups, or communities negotiating the same or similar issue. Research  how those groups describe and deal with the problem. The perspective of  experience is invaluable to your work.


  • This project asks you to do workplace research into a local problem impacting USF or the surrounding community(Tampa).  Your goal for this project is to describe a local problem in detail  using as much information as you can gather from as many different  sources as are useful. That means you are looking at research gathered  by others (e.g., government agencies, non-profit organizations,  professional and academic experts, as well as local sources from USF or  the immediate community), but also you will gather your own data by   asking impacted population for their perspective. You will produce a  memo that reports your findings, giving readers a robust understanding  of the local problem you have researched.
  • To complete this project, you will choose a local problem occurring at USF or in the community. You can select a problem from the list below, or pick your own problem of a similar nature.
  • Sample Problems:

    ENC 3246

    What is the optimal register layout for Starbuck’s at USF to reduce lines and wait time?

    What is the optimal speed limit for roads on the USF Tampa campus to reduce accidents and delays?

    Which brand of battery will best serve the needs of USF’s  Digital Media Commons for their equipment that takes video/photographs  underwater?

    Which internet browser performs the most efficiently for an organization with tens of thousands of users (such as USF)?

    Electric car charging stations at USF campuses

    Once you have selected a problem, you will research the problem, to include the following topics:

    Background information: Put the problem in context. What does the audience need to know to understand why the problem is a problem?

    Explanation of the problem at USF/In the local community: Describe the local problem in detail. What is happening here?

    Causes of the problem: Describe the factors contributing to the problem’s occurrence. Why is the problem happening?

  • Impacted Population
  • : Describe  the people most directly impacted by the problem. Who is the problem  happening to? Be specific. Target a local population that could benefit  from intervention.

    To conduct your research you may wish to use any of the  following methods and resources, or anything else that helps you explain  the scope of your problem:

  • Newspapers (local, university, national)
  • Reports from government agencies, universities, and/or NGOs
  • Scholarly research
  • Facts and statistics compiled by government agencies and/or NGOs or USF
  • Interviews with experts and/or impacted individuals
  • Surveys (social media makes doing surveys easy)


  • A report in memo format that describes your  problem in detail using all the research you have conducted. The memo  should be 3-5pp long and have the following section headings:
  • The citation style you choose should be based  on the needs and expectations of your audience. You may want to get some  ideas by looking around online to see how citations were handled in  reports on similar topics. But your audience should determine what  citation style you select.

  • Be sure to offer consistent usage of citations throughout the report
  • Background Information

  • Explanation of the Problem at USF/In the Local Community
  • Causes of the Problem

    Impacted Population

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