Guidelines For Preparing Project Reports AP Assignment

Guidelines For Preparing Project Reports AP Assignment Words: 2235

No matter how perfectly a marketing research project is designed and implemented, if the results cannot be effectively communicated to the client, the research project is not a success. An effective marketing research presentation, whether visual or written or both, is one way to ensure that the time, effort and money that went into the project will be completely realized. The overall purpose of all reports is to provide the material on the basis of which decisions are made and problems are solved.

More specifically, a written marketing research report has four primary objectives: to effectively communicate the findings of the marketing research project, to provide an accurate interpretation of those findings’, to establish the credibility of the research project, and to serve as a future reference document for strategic or tactical decisions. Study projects are primarily done for the sake of the process. In the AP program, project reports are problem-oriented.

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It is thus the formulated problem which determines the professional content of the project. During the process of their project work, the project groups must, in the report as well as any presentations and peer reviews, demonstrate that they are capable of analyzing, documenting as well as formulating and providing solutions to one or several stated problems. One of the overall purposes of asking students to work on projects is that they get a chance to work with real problems and it enables them to put theory to practice.

Other purposes of project work are to give the students: practice in formulating goals and intermediate goals for projects as well as for participants knowledge of the process of planning and managing a project practice in dealing with conflicts knowledge of the ongoing co-operation between the individual, the group and the task understanding of the diversity of projects knowledge Of the principles Of the Start-up and finalization Of projects. To stay focused when working on study projects, it is important to formulate an overall strategy.

First and foremost, it is very important that you read the project guidelines carefully to ensure that all requirements are met. Before commencing the actual project work, you should carry out a problem analysis. Depending on the scope of the project, this process may be more or less comprehensive. In this process the basic concepts should be defined and the differing interpretations as well as the project group’s suggestions to the assignment text should be discussed. This phase IS a prerequisite for the formulation of the project description. 1 This booklet is an adaptation of guidelines written by Hell Seventeen and

Seven Well November 201 0 The problem analysis itself is not part of the actual project description, but forms the basis of the description. Finally, the project report must be systematically and logically organized. Furthermore, the report must also be linguistically correct and easy to read. In short, the project report must meet the same standards as are required in the business world: they must be accurate, reader-friendly and well argued. In what follows, the style and format of the marketing research report will be introduced. The design of the report will be identified, and the specific objectives of each section will be explained.

The formal requirements of the report will also be elucidated. 2. Project Description Prior to handing in the project report, the students must complete and hand in a project description, which is a preliminary account of the project’s methodological aspects, including 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Background description/problem area Purpose Problem forum elation Delimitation Choice of model and method Time schedule Sources, references and literature Items 1-5 correspond to the analogous items in the project report’s introductory section. These items will be described and discussed impressively below.

In what follows, the two last items will be described. 2. 1 . Time Schedule On the basis of the problem formulation and the choice of model and method, a time schedule in the form Of a calendar, a Giant chart or some other form with a statement of main activities, part activities and milestones must be prepared. It is important that you regard the time schedule as a tool. It must continuously be used to follow-up on the work done and be designed so as to fulfill its purpose. It must be outlined which sources, references and literature you expect to use in studying the subjects of the project.

This must be related to the choice of models and methods. 3. The Introduction The first chapter of the report – the introduction – must contain the following items: Background description/Problem area Problem formulation Choice of models and methods, including quality assessment and source criticism The introduction accounts for about 1/6 of the report. As mentioned above, your project has to be problem-oriented. That means that the problems which you state in your problem formulation are the focus of report. To get structure in your report, it is a good idea to focus on the problems individually throughout the report.

Say you have 45 problems in your problem formulation. What you should do is to send each problem through the different phases Figure 1: Problem-oriented Structure Here you state your problem(s) Here you delimit the problem following the below instructions Models and Methods Then you present the relevant data, techniques, and models which you use to analyze and solve the problem Quality Assessment Finally, after your analysis, you assess the quality of your solving the problem, emphasizing validity, reliability and source criticism The choice of these must be substantiated Source: Own production

By doing the above for each problem, you not only make your report problem-oriented, you also ensure structure and consistency in your report. It is important, however, to stress the fact that more often than not the different problems can be solved by means of the same models and methods. This you need to describe in your methodology. 3. 1 . Background Description/Problem Area The background description or the problem area 2 is a description of the background of the problem as well as an explanation of how the problem has arisen.

This item anchors the problem area of the project and thus serves as a larcenist of the relevance and importance of the questions raised by the project. It is imperative that the project group presents the context in which the problem formulation – and by extension the project – must be understood. A specification of the problem area serves this exact purpose. Here, ‘background description’ and ‘problem area’ are used interchangeably. 3 Furthermore, the project group must state its reasons for choosing to work on the topic in question.

Alternatively, the project group may also state why the company whom they are doing the project for wants the group to work n the topic in question. Under no circumstances is it acceptable to explain the choice of the topic with the fact that you are a student and therefore have no choice but to do the project! Also, please stay away from click©s such as “Because we find it exciting”. The background description must support the purpose and the problem formulation. As such, the background description does not have its own subsection but is a part of the report’s introduction.

The project group can, however, choose to have a subsection under the heading of either ‘Background Description’ or ‘Problem Area’, but then they loud still need to introduce the project in the introduction. This item corresponds to item 1 in the project description. 3. 2. The purpose It is important to state purpose of the project. The purpose explains what you want to achieve with the project and thus serves as the direction of the project. Naturally, the purpose must be fulfilled during the project period. The purpose of the report must be stated briefly and clearly.

The description should not exceed a few lines. The specification of the purpose is fundamental to the problem formulation and must be formulated so that it arms the basis of the project work in progress. The purpose does not have its own subsection but is part of the subsection of the problem formulation in the final report. 3 This item corresponds to item 2 in the project description. 3. 3. Problem Formulation After having stated the projects purpose, the problem formulation must state how the project group plans to accomplish this purpose in terms of problem- solving, i. . Which problems need to be solved, which questions need to be answered, and/or which hypotheses need to be verified/falsified in order to fulfill the purpose of the project? Writing the problem formulation may be a frustrating process. The main thing to consider is being specific. Your problem formulation must never be too broad; you will most likely end up with insufficient answers to your problems if you define them too broadly. In the problem formulation you must state one main problem/question which guides the project.

This main question/problem has to encapsulate the purpose of the project, meaning that answering this question or solving this problem entails fulfilling the purpose. Following the main question/problem you may choose to state 3-5 specific questions/problems which follow from he main question/problem, i. E. You formulate 3-5 questions or problems which will enable you to answer/solve the main question/problem, hence fulfilling the purpose. These are the questions/problems you will be dealing with in your report. Albeit, in the project description the purpose is specified on its own, i. E. In the project description the purpose does have its own section. According to Andersen (2008), problem formulations can be categorized as follows 1. Descriptive 2. Exploration 3. Diagnostic What 4. Explanation Why? 5. Problem-solving 6. Intervention-oriented How? So basically, problem formulations raise three different types of inquiries about what, why, and how. Naturally, a problem formulation may contain several or all of these categories.

Please note that the problem formulation need not consist of questions, but may be formulated as specific problems that need to be solved – or it may consist of both questions and problems. Also, the problem formulation can consist of hypotheses which have to be verified or falsified. All three entities may also make up the problem formulation. Make sure that your problem formulation is not linguistically vague. The deader must never be in doubt as to what it is that you are going to do. Your problem formulation must be very concise.

The reader must be able to remember and render it after having read it. If it is longer than – say – 10-12 lines, it will often be the case that it contains information which should have been stated in the introduction, background, delimitation or choice of model and method procedure. This item corresponds to item 3 in the project description. Basically, the delimitation tells what the report should not cover. As background for the delimitation this section could in very brief terms introduce what the project is planned to cover.

In any case, the delimitation must be founded in the problem you have chosen to solve. The delimitation must first and foremost be relevant, well argued and substantiated. In the case of business-related problems it has often been predetermined which market you should study and survey (geographically) and which product(s) you should investigate on this market. In addition to these predetermined limitations the delimitation must contain a time frame, i. E. How far forth and back in time should the problem be studied. It is imperative that you state the seasons for delimitation areas and aspects.

Also, it must be stressed that you should not delimit areas and aspects that are of no relevance for the report. If something is completely irrelevant for the project, then it should not even be mentioned. You only have to delimit areas and aspect that could have been relevant for fulfilling your problem formulation but which you for some reason or another do not consider in the report. Thus, you cannot delimit anything, stating your reasons as “because it’s not relevant for the report. ” Finally, in the delimitation you are not allowed just to exclude all the referentially demanding parts of the problem(s).

The problem and the delimitation must be logically linked. This item corresponds to item 4 in the project description. 5 3. 5. Methodology Methodology covers three aspects 1. Models and theories used to analyze the data 2. Data 3. Method procedure for collecting data Models and theories: What theories do you plan on using? For what Will you use them? Why did you choose them? Data: What type of data did you collect? Qualitative or quantitative? Methods: How did you collect your data? F-room whom did you collect it? Where did you collect it? Did you do field research or desk research?

As mentioned previously, the project must be problem-oriented. This also applies to your methodology. Your description of your methodology must be based in your problem formulation. For each of your stated problems and/or questions from your problem formulation, describe what models, data and methods you will be using for answering each question or solving each problem. Please note that quite possibly several problems can be solved by means of the same models and methods.

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