Chapter 10 Planning.docx

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Business Administration - Accounting & Financial Planning
Business Administration - Accounting & Financial Planning EAC349

Chapter 10 Planning, Researching and Documenting Reports Report – a long document or something that contains numerical data; contains information needed to make plans and solve problems  Short report to a client – letter format; report to manager – memo format (1-2 pages)  Formal Reports: title page, transmittal and a table of contents  Informal Reports: letters, memos, fill-in-the-blank forms for routine report, e-docs etc. Proposals: suggest a method for finding information or solving a problem and help make decisions  Informative and persuasive 5 Steps in Writing a Report Define the Organize the Write the problem Research Analyze Data information report Timeline for Writing Reports  After defining purposes and assessing resources, define the scope of the report and so the information you need, methods of gathering it and analyzing, who is responsible according to timelines, monitoring and controls  Then do a feedback – what worked, what issues, what lessons learnt etc.  Writing report for a class project: o Plan to complete quarter of research before the proposal o Analyze data as you collect it o Prepare your list of sources and drafts of visuals o Save a quarter of time to think and write – if collaborative, need more time  Upfront planning for efficient use of time o Read some sample proposals and reports before writing one o Talk to readers to understand how much detail and formality wanted o Review earlier company/class reports o Articulate purposes, audiences and general constraints for each part  Fuller idea of the report, less time revising and fewer drafts Defining Problems Well-Defined Problem Meets the Criteria  Problem is o Real o Important enough to solve o Narrow but Challenging  Audience is o Real o Interested in the problem o Able to implement the action  Data, evidence and facts are o Comprehensible to you o Can prove recommendation will solve the problem o Available to you o Sufficient to document the severity Define the problem in terms of the time available to solve it  So if you have only 6-12 weeks to do a report, limit the scope Define the problem accurately since the way you define it shapes the solutions you find  E.g. marketing problem for a product or poor inventory management Purpose statement: can write after defining the problem; it makes these 3 things clear…  Organizational problem (O or T)  Technical questions that have to be answered to solve the problem  Rhetorical purpose (explain, recommend, request, propose) in terms of audience benefits Research Strategies  Having a research plan strengthens findings, reliability and cogency of the report which adds to credibility  Know topic, purpose, information gaps, reliable resources to better target search  Websites are marketing tools but not credible research sources  Secondary research: retrieves information that someone else gathered  Primary research: gathers new information; surveys, interviews, observations Finding Information Online and In Print  Save time by checking online and published sources  Print sources valuable – especially when want in-depth treatment of a subject  To evaluate research, consider o Validity o Reliability o Currency - Do findings remain accurate? May be something changed from the time it was published?  Keywords/descriptors: terms computer searches for  Boolean search: when you search three topics with “and” in between – when you are searching for an article with different topics o Or can help include articles that use the term fast food instead of restaurant  Words can appear in related forms. To catch all of them, use the database’s wild card or truncated code for shortened terms and root words Evaluating Web Sources  Authors: what person or organization sponsors the site? Author’s credentials?  Objectivity: site has evidence for claims? Gives both sides of the issue? Professional tone?  Information: complete? Based on?  Revision date: when was it last updated? Designing Questions for Surveys and Interviews Good questions  Ask one thing  Neutrally phrased  Avoid assumptions about respondent  Mean same thing to different people Phrase question that won’t bias the response or lead the respondent  Often and important mean different things to different people  Bias: e.g. asking whether manager has strong grasp of complex issues – males outscored. So say discusses complex problems with precision and clarity  Respondents agree more than disagree – agreement increases as survey goes along o Correct it by wording some questions to generate opposite response  Closed questions faster to answer and easier to score but not good for complex issues  Multiple choice questions – ensure one answer fits only one category (e.g. 10-25, 25-35) o Give several options for older respondents  Good survey specifies the context or allows the respondent to do so  Branching questions: direction different respondents to different parts of the survey  Easier questions earlier; harder or ones people less willing to answer – near the end  Pretest questionnaire to ensure directions are clear Conducting Surveys and Interviews Face to Face Surveys  Convenient for small sample in a specific location  Interviewer’s sex, race and nonverbal cues can bias results  People prefer not to say things they think interviewer will find unacceptable o Women more likely to agree sexual harassment a problem if interviewer a woman Telephone Surveys  Popular since closely supervised - read questions from a computer and key in answers  Results available in few minutes after the call  Limitation: reach only people with phones – excludes poor/young people o Unlisted numbers – survey takers use automatic random digit dialing  Women more likely to answer the phone – decide in advance who you want to talk to and ask for that person Mail Surveys  Reach anyone with an address  More willing to fill out anonymous questionnaire than give sensitive information on phone Online Surveys  Over the internet – contact people with emails, or ask people by mail or in person to log on  Don’t generate random sample when survey posted on a Website –site’s visitors similar  Interactive technology automatically sends over to next question on the branch  Less willing to participate since worry about privacy o Encourage participation by making the survey short To get higher response rate, contact non-r
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