HND Business: Graded Unit 2: Investigation
In order to successfully complete the HND in Business you must undertake an investigation of a business issue. This is a graded assessment and you will be given a grade for your work. Your grade will be determined by your mark:
Grade A — 70% – 100 %
Grade B — 60% – 69%
Grade C — 50% – 59%
If you do not achieve 50%, you will not succeed in this Unit.
You are required to investigate a business issue and to assess its implications for a business or a number of businesses. The investigation has three stages:
1 Planning stage — for this you must prepare a brief for your investigation and a devise a plan to carry it out. This stage carries 20% of the total marks.
2 Developing stage — this carries 60% of the total marks and requires you to produce a written report of your investigation
3 Evaluating stage — for this you must provide an evaluation of the effectiveness of all parts of your investigation. This stage carries 20% of the total marks.
You will be given handouts which describe what you have to do in each of the three stages.
You must provide a written account of your work for each of the three stages. You must complete the planning stage successfully before you can move on to the other two stages. This means that you must pass this stage by getting at least 10 marks out of the 20 available for your work. It you do not achieve 10 marks or more the first time, you will have to make alterations to your work and re-submit it. You must also gain 50% of the total marks for each of the subsequent two stages of the investigation. Therefore, to pass the investigation, you must pass each of the three stages. However, although you must pass the developing stage, you do not need to have succeeded in doing this before you go on to the evaluation stage.
You may find it useful to keep a diary during your investigation. This can help you to make notes on everything that happens as your investigation proceeds and enables you to have a record of what you 英国dissertation网did. If you do keep a diary, it will make the evaluation stage of your investigation, in particular, very much easier.
HND Business: Graded Unit 2: Investigation
Stage 1: Planning
Choosing your topic and planning your investigation
This handout covers the Planning Stage of your investigation. This has two aspects:
• developing a brief
• preparing a plan to carry out the brief
Both of these take place before the investigation begins. You will not be allowed to proceed with your investigation unless you have successfully completed this stage.
The following gives you advice on how to tackle both of these aspects. There is lot of information here and it is important that you read it carefully. Your lecturers will also give you advice and help.#p#分页标题#e#
During this stage of your investigation, you have to decide on a number of key points. In order to prepare a brief you must:
• pick a topic for your investigation
• set objectives for your investigation
• decide on what sources of information you will need to make use of in your investigation
• determine the methods that you will use to carry out your investigation
• devise some criteria which you can use to assess the implications of the issue that you have chosen
Once you have completed your brief, you must then work out a plan for your investigation. The various aspects of preparing a brief and a plan overlap so your choice in one area may well have implications for what you can do in another.
Overall, this is a crucial stage of your investigation. If you make good decisions at this stage, the rest of your investigation should proceed smoothly. It is well worth spending time and effort to do this stage properly and to get it right.
Picking a topic for your investigation
It is up to you to decide on the topic that you will investigate. Before making a final choice, you should discuss it with your lecturers. They can give you help and advice and may also give you suggestions for possible topics, if you find it difficult to make a choice.
You can choose a topic which relates to one organisation or one that can be linked to a number of organisations. However, your topic must meet the following criteria:
• It must be related to the Units which you have studied as part of your HND in Business. As long as this is the case, you can choose something which is from a mandatory Unit or an optional Unit. It may be something which links together a number of Units. You must be able to identify the topics and Units involved precisely.
• It must be a business issue. This means that it must be something which has implications for the way in which business activities are carried out. In other words, the topic must be something which could affect, or has affected, the way an organisation operates. The reason for this is that you have to assess the implications of the issue you select. You also have to specify the criteria which you will use to carry out this assessment.
• It must involve meeting the needs of customers. You must be able to identify who these customers are. Customers may be internal or external.
Possible investigation topics could be:
• a change within an organisation designed to improve service to a group of customers
• the use of a particular promotional activity — by one organisation or by more than one
• the impact of using a particular software package — again this could be conducted with reference to one organisation or more than one
• a decision to enter a new market
• developing and/or maintaining an organisational website — this topic also could be related to one organisation or to more than one#p#分页标题#e#
• methods of obtaining effective feedback from organisational customers
When choosing your topic, try to be as realistic as you can. Think carefully about what you can achieve in the time you have. Investigations often fail because people are too ambitious and try to do more than is possible in the time available. Remember that you have to allow time to gather information and to write up the stages of the investigation.
Setting objectives for your investigation
Your objectives should cover what you intend to achieve from your investigation. As a general rule, they should be as specific as possible and, if appropriate, include a time scale. You may find it helpful to http://www.ukthesis.org/Thesis_Tips/Proposal/begin with one main objective which relates to your investigation as whole. It could be something like:
• evaluate the likely advantages and disadvantages to organisation X of adding Product Y to its product mix
• analyse the impact on council tax payers of the introduction of a ‘one stop shop’ in area A to give advice on services provided by Council B
• assess the potential benefits to small craft businesses in area Y of a broadband internet connection
You could then supplement this with a number of other objectives, some of which could cover the process of your investigation. Some examples may be:
• collect data on each product in the current product mix (ie sales over last five years; sales outlets; promotional activity) by the end of April
• carry out a face-to-face interview with the Director of Services for Council B and the convener of the relevant Council Committee by 1 May
• interview a sample of owners of craft businesses using a face-to-face questionnaire during the final week of April
Some of these objectives cover decisions about the methods you will use, your sources of information and so on. This means that you are likely to begin with an outline set of objectives and refine them as you go through the various aspects of the planning stage of your investigation.
Choosing your sources of information
You need to think carefully about what sources of information are available to you. Some will be secondary information such as textbooks, magazine and journal articles and the internet. Others will be primary information such as data you collect from interviews or surveys. There are a number of principles which can guide your choice of sources:
• be selective — remember that you have to complete your investigation in a relatively short period of time so only choose those sources which you are confident that you will be able to access in the time you have
• choose those sources which you can access easily
• choose those sources which look likely to yield the most useful information as far as your investigation is concerned
• you have to explain why you have chosen the sources that you did, so make sure that you can do this#p#分页标题#e#
• remember that your choice of sources may well influence the conclusions that you can draw from your investigation
Deciding on the methods you will use in your investigation
You also have to decide on the methods that you will use to gather data and those which you will use to analyse and make sense of the data you collect. The methods you use to gather data will depend on the sources of information you choose. For example, a desk search is a suitable method of gathering data from textbooks or the internet. In many respects, the principles you should use here are the same as for deciding on sources of information:
• be selective — only choose those methods which you are sure you will be able to use in the time you have (remember, for example, that it takes time to make up and distribute a consumer survey)
• choose those methods which fit in with the resources you have
• choose those methods which will help you meet the objectives of your investigation as closely as possible
• you have to able to give reasons why you have chosen the methods that you have so, again, make sure that you can do this
• remember that your methodology will influence the conclusions that you can draw from your investigation, so try to work out what effects it will have so that you can refer to them in your report on your investigation
It is important to make sure that your sources of information and the methods you have chosen for your investigation fit closely together.
Devising criteria to assess the implication of the effects of the issue you have investigated
The most important aspect of this is that the criteria you choose must be related to the study that you have already done of your chosen topic as part of your HND. Again, you have to give reasons to justify your choice of criteria. You must make sure that the reasons you give are related to what you have studied in the course.
The criteria you choose will depend on the topic of your investigation. However, the following list gives some general suggestions that may help you to make your choice.
• the extent to which the effects are consistent with the predictions of a particular theory
• how far the effects enable the organisation to meet its objectives
• by how much do any benefits to customers outweigh any costs to them
• the extent to which the effects will help the organisation to address a specified problem
• how, and in what ways, the effects will enable an organisation to become more efficient
Between three and five criteria are likely to be enough to enable you to make a comprehensive assessment of the implications that the effects of the issue are likely to have.
Planning your investigation
All the above relate to the brief for your investigation. However, you must also devise a plan for it. In particular, you have to devise suitable time scales and identify the resources you will need. Your plan should be consistent with your objectives and the methods you have chosen for your investigation.#p#分页标题#e#
Some of the timescales will be determined for you. For example, your lecturers will give you dates by which you must hand in your work for each of the three stages of the project. You will, however, have to set other dates yourself. For instance, you will need to decide when you will complete the data collection stage of your investigation.
Remember that this is a plan and that, sometimes, plans do not work out as intended. So, if things do not work out as you intended, you may have to review your plan. Having a plan, though, can help you to keep on track.
Writing up your brief and your plan
In order to complete Stage 1 of your investigation, you must write up your brief and your plan. You will be told when your work is to be submitted.
Your brief must include the following information:
• title of the project
• objectives of the project
• statement of the issue to be investigated. This should cover how it involves meeting the needs of customers and who the relevant customers are
• reasons for the choice of issue which must be directly related to a topic or topics covered as part of the Group Award
• justification for the choice of business or businesses involved
• explanation of the sources of information which will be used for the investigation and why each has been selected
• explanation of how the investigation will be conducted with reasons for the choice of methods used
• statement of the criteria which will be used to assess the implications of the issue and the reasons why each has been selected. The criteria chosen and the justification for each criterion should be directly related to a topic or topics covered as part of the Group Award
Your plan must include:
• timescales for conducting the investigation, which should be related to the objectives of the investigation and should include both final and intermediate completion dates
• identification of the resources (including time) required to carry out the investigation
Marking your brief and plan
There are a maximum of 15 marks for the brief and five marks for plan. You must get at least 10/20 marks in order to go on to actually carry out your investigation.
You will be awarded marks on the basis of the following factors:
• the extent to which your brief and plan cover all the points required (see above)
• how well your sources of information and your methods fit together
• the extent to which your suggested methods are appropriate to your investigation
• how far your sources of information will provide suitable information to support your investigation
• the extent to which you have chosen innovative sources of information
• how realistic the objectives for your investigation are
HND Business: Graded Unit 2: Investigation
Stage 2: Developing
Carrying out your investigation#p#分页标题#e#
This handout covers the second stage of your investigation. This involves meeting the brief you have developed by carrying out your plan.
Like the planning stage, you have to write up your findings from the developing stage of your investigation. Your report should be 2,500–3,500 words long and should contain three main sections:
1 A detailed explanation of how the issue affects the business or businesses you have chosen for your investigation.
2 An assessment of the implications of these effects for the chosen business or businesses in terms of the criteria that you selected during the planning process.
3 A statement of the conclusions which you have drawn from the assessment.
Each section should be about the same length. So, you should aim to write 850–1,150 words for each part. To give you some idea of what this means, this handout contains about 1,000 words, including all the headings. So, each section in your report should be about the same length as this.
This handout looks at each of these sections. It concludes with some comments on writing up your report.
You will see, as you read through, that there is no requirement to describe in detail how you actually carried out the investigation.
Section 1: How the issue affects your chosen business or businesses
In this part, you should explain how the issue you have investigated affects the organisation or organisations you have studied. You must justify your explanation by making explicit reference to:
(a) data you have collected
(b) concepts you have covered as part of the Group Award
For example, if your investigation set out to identify advantages and disadvantages of something, then this section of your report will summarise the advantages and disadvantages that you have found during your investigation. For each one, you should explain why it is an advantage or disadvantage. You should support your explanation in two ways:
• with data (for example, positive responses to a customer survey)
• by reference to relevant concepts that you have studied as part of your HND (for example, something may be an advantage because it is consistent with the predictions of a theory or with research evidence)
You may find it helpful to present some of your data in appendices and refer to them in the main body of you report. Appendices do not count towards the overall word limit.
Try to identify a relatively small number of key effects and concentrate on them. Between four and six main points should be sufficient. So, if you are looking at costs and benefits, two of one and three of the other should be enough. If you have five substantive points, for example, you should aim to write 170–270 words on each of them.
Section 2: An assessment of the implications
In this part, you should assess the implications for your organisation(s) of the effects you have discussed in the first part of your report. You must use the criteria you set up during the planning process.#p#分页标题#e#
One way, therefore, to approach this section of your report is to take each criterion in turn and show how it can be used to evaluate the implications of the effects. If you prefer to take another approach, then you can do so as long as you use the criteria as the basis for your assessment.
Section 3: Conclusions from your assessment
In this final section of your report, you should summarise the conclusions you have drawn from your assessment in section 2 above. You must make sure of two things:
• your conclusions follow directly from your assessment
• your conclusions are directly related to the needs of customers
This section is about the conclusions you draw. You do not have to make any recommendations on any future action for the organisation(s) you have investigated.
One way to present this section is to list your conclusions and show how each one follows from your assessment and, where appropriate, how it relates to the needs of customers.
Presenting your report
Your report should be presented in a format suitable for a business report. You can choose any suitable format but it must contain:
• a contents page
• a summary
Marking of your report
Your report is worth a maximum of 60 marks. You get a maximum of six marks for the presentation of your report and a maximum of 18 for each of the three main sections. You must gain at least 30/60 marks in order to pass the investigation.
Marks are awarded on the basis of:
• the strength and validity of the reasons that you gave to support the points you make — for example, you will get more marks if you make explicit reference to topics from the HND Business and explain carefully how they are relevant to your point
• the way in which you make use of the data collected during your investigation — the more carefully you can use this to provide support for the points you make, the more marks you are likely to get
• how carefully you select the information to include in your report — you will not be able to include everything about your investigation in your report and so you will have to choose which points to include and which to leave out. You will get more marks if you choose those points which help you provide the strongest justification for what you say and which relate most closely to the objectives of your investigation
• the extent to which you have focused on your objectives during your investigation
• the nature of the explanations you give — the more logical and well thought out they are, the more marks you will be given
• the accuracy and relevance of the references you make to topics from the course — the better you do this, the more marks you will gain
HND Business: Graded Unit 2: Investigation
Stage 3: Evaluating
Evaluating the effectiveness of your investigation#p#分页标题#e#
This handout covers the third, and final, stage of your investigation. It covers your own evaluation of how effective your investigation has been.
Like the two previous stages, you have to write up your findings from this stage of your investigation. There is no specified length for the evaluation but it is worth 20 marks. On this basis, you should aim for about 800–1,200 words.
Your evaluation should contain four sections:
1 An assessment of the extent to which each of your original objectives for the investigation have been met.
2 A commentary on those aspects of the planning and developing stages which worked effectively and/or aspects of the planning and development stages which did not work as effectively as expected.
3 An assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the report of the investigation.
4 Recommendations for future investigations.
Each section, therefore, should be about 200–300 words long. This handout looks at each of these sections and concludes with some comments on writing up your evaluation.
Section 1: Meeting your objectives
In this section, you should consider how far each of your original objectives has been met. One way to tackle this is to take each of your original objectives in turn and give reasons to show why each was met or not met as the case may be. You should mention any modifications to your objectives that you made during the course of the investigation and explain why you did this and discuss how far the changes helped or hindered your investigation. You should also comment on any alternative courses of action that you considered but rejected.
You will get marks for the quality of your discussion and not for whether you actually succeeded in meeting your objectives. Marks will be awarded for valid and credible reasons and for well thought out and logical justification, which illustrates that you have reflected carefully on what has happened. It is better to be as honest as you can, even if things did not work out as well as you had hoped.
Section 2: Effectiveness of the planning and developing stages
In this section, you have to comment on those aspects of the planning and developing stages which worked well and those aspects which did not work so well. You have to cover your brief, your plan and your report separately. It may be a good idea, therefore, to divide this section into three parts and look at the brief, the plan and the report in turn.
Once again, your commentary must include reasons to explain why things went well or not so well. As with section 1, marks will be awarded for valid and credible reasons and for well thought out and logical justification. You must demonstrate, again, that both are the result of considered reflection on your experience of the investigation. So, be as honest and open as you can. You will not lose marks if you acknowledge that things could have been better: in fact, if you give sound reasons to support what you say, you may gain a very good mark.#p#分页标题#e#
Section 3: Assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your report
英国dissertation网You must cover at least one strength and at least one weakness in this section. There is no upper limit on the number of strengths and weaknesses that you discuss. However, you must support each strength or weakness with credible reasons so you are unlikely to have space to cover a large number of strengths and weaknesses.
Once again, marks will be awarded for valid and credible reasons and for well thought out and logical justification based on careful reflection of what happened.
Section 4: Recommendations for future investigations
In this final section, you must set out some recommendations for future investigations based on your experience in carrying out this investigation. Your recommendations should be based on the three sections above. They could refer to either or both of:
• your own personal development (eg in terms of the further development of skills you have used in this investigation)
• aspects of the process or product of the investigation (eg with respect to setting timescales, gathering information or possible future investigations)
The marks for this section will be based on:
• how closely your recommendations fit with your discussion in sections 1–3 above
• how well your recommendations illustrate that you have reflected on what has happened in your investigation
• the extent to which your recommendations follow from your reflection on your experience
• the coherence and credibility of your recommendations
• the extent to which your recommendations are well thought out and realistic
In order to pass your investigation, you must gain at least 10/20 marks for the evaluation stage.
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