For this ethnography, I decided to focus on the case report that I had to write with my group members for our Accounting 101 class. Because our report had to be written in the form of a business memo, there were certain writing conventions we had to follow. Most notably, we had to create a heading that stated “To: (Professor’s name)” on the first line, “From: (names of group members)” on the second line, “Date: (the due date of the assignment)” on the third line,” and “Subject: (case name)” on the last line. Then immediately below the last line of the heading was a solid black line that separated the heading from the body of the memo. Additionally, the body of the memo was suppose to read as one cohesive, yet concise, piece of writing rather than as numbered responses to each of the individually posed questions. Lastly, graphs, tables, and other types of exhibits were allowed, and maybe even encouraged, as a means to help summarize the information we were presenting. However, before completing this assignment, I was not aware of any of these conventions since I had never written a business memo before. I only became aware of them when the professors clearly laid them out in the instructions for the assignment.
Since this was an assignment for a class, a portion of my grade was at stake with this case report. Furthermore, what the goal or aim of this piece of writing was also very apparent: it was suppose to prove to our audience, our professor and possibly some teaching assistants, that we knew how to read various financial statements and use the information in those statements to make calculations and inferences.
However, despite the relative importance of this case report, my group and I did not start working on it until a few days before the due date. But this ended up being enough time because we managed to finish the report the night before it was due, and I think this was in large part due to the fact that we worked through the entire case together, rather than trying to split up the work and then trying to stitch everything together. However, the process of writing this was admittedly quite frustrating because the questions we were responding to were not entirely clear and one of my group members failed to pull his weight in constructing the case report.
But all of that is in the past now. All I can do is hope that the next time we have a case assigned to us, things will go better than this first time around.