- September 24, 2014 at 12:43 am
Are you puzzled by your marker’s comments? Are you struggling to make sense of your feedback sheet and relate it to your work?
If there are some terms on your feedback sheet that you do not understand and are not in this article, please post them below and I will try and interpret them for you and add them to that list
(Note: only terms that you do not understand please – not general feedback where the meaning is clear – so just small quotes and phrases that are worded in such a way that you are not sure what the marker means!)September 24, 2014 at 1:56 am
I had picked Topic 8 and this is the feedback I got:
“… Unfortunately however you have not appreciated the relevance of referencing throughout your whole work and demonstrated that you have acquired the basics of it. This is important as referencing is an academic protocol that needs to be used to distinguish your work and ideas from those of others. In this respect you should be showing ALL sources when you use the information (this includes the annual report)…”
What on earth does this mean? I referenced statements in-text using the Harvard referencing system, added a bibliography with 11 references (including the financial statements of the two companies under discussion) and also referred at various points in the report to discussions I had had with company management. Any pointers as to what went wrong?September 24, 2014 at 8:42 am
Firstly I would like to thank you for all your help you are and have been offering to hundreds of clueless student like myself.
Secondly, this was my first submission and unfortunately I failed in 3 parts as follows:
1. Application of accountancy/business models (FAIL)
Your application of your Porters 5 forces model is weak. A lot more could have been made of Power of Customers and Threat of Substitutes given Tesco’s problems within the UK. There is little sign of referenced research in this section.
2. Evaluation of information, analysis and conclusions (FAIL)
Beyond your section on sales growth your financial analysis is little more than a description of ratio movement. This is not analysis, you need to be researching the way business decisions and strategies of the company have affected the results taking into account the effect of competitors, the market, the economy and government decisions. This research should provide your analysis and should be referenced on a consistent and regular basis throughout your RAP.
3. Information gathering and referencing (FAIL)
I understood what marker meant under this area.
Trephena, any ideas on how can I research on porters 5 forces analysis on parts mentioned by examiner are welcomed.
And regarding failure no. 2 other than sales growth analysis I could not find anything else other than to compare ratios with comparator and concluding good or bad. Considering markers comments please outline what I should be looking for.
Thank you again.September 25, 2014 at 12:58 pm
Taking a stab in the dark without reading your project, I would guess the following:
1) You might have proposed numerous reasons for the change in the ratios, which are all factually true, but lacked proper referencing and citations to show where you got those “ideas” from. In my experience, 11 references for a full research paper is too little. It is not uncommon for my students to turn in 40 to 70 references. This is because each “change” in the ratio over the THREE years needs to be supported facts that can be proven and substantiated. There is no way 11 references could satisfy that.
2) Given that you have referenced the two company’s three-year statements (that’s 6 references already), you only made 5 other references? Or did you forget to reference and insert the details of all 6 annual reports?
Hopefully this helps!
The Learning LuminariumSeptember 25, 2014 at 1:09 pm
Without looking at your project, I would find it hard to comment on your first point, as there is very little information given here on why your analysis is “weak”.
On your second point though, it was very common for students to describe the ratios by saying “it increased, that’s good.” or “the Revenue Growth has decreased. This implies that competition has gotten stronger”.
What is really required is something like this:
“Net Profit Margin has decreased for all three years. This is so as intense competition has forced prices down at ABC by 20% (XYZ, 2014). In addition, given that fuel is an essential component of production, the rise in fuel costs have driven costs of manufacturers across the board by at least 15% (REF, 2014). Comparing ABC to its competitor TTT, we notice the same trend…”
Notice how each reason is substantiated by a reference, and is given analysis into the reasons for change, rather than the change itself. Hopefully this helps you!
The Learning LuminariumSeptember 25, 2014 at 1:32 pm
Thanks a lot for your response. Now that the disappointment has receded a bit, I’ve done some research and I have some theories as to why I may have not made it.
1. Your second point on the shortfall of the number of references – I had listed 3 years’ worth of financial statements for each company as 1 reference each (2 references in total). The remaining 9 references were other sources of information. That could have been the first of the issues I suffered.
2. I looked over sample projects I found online and discussed my project with some friends who have passed the RAP in the past. One key thing I did not do was reference each number in my financial analysis (e.g. Sales for the year was xx in 2013 vs xx in 2012 … ), which I believe is largely what the marker was referring to.
Your point on the number of references (40-70) echoes what I found in my online research, however, I have also come across projects that have passed with 15-20 references total (counting the 6 annual reports as 6 references).
I think I have a plan of attack for my resubmission. Hope my findings help others too!September 25, 2014 at 2:28 pm
That’s great! All the best to you! 🙂September 27, 2014 at 2:37 am
Hi Hakeemwolfie and Adrian
I just want to ask something regarding this point @hakeemwolfie just made:
”2. … One key thing I did not do was reference each number in my financial analysis (e.g. Sales for the year was xx in 2013 vs xx in 2012 … ), which I believe is largely what the marker was referring to.”
I was thinking the point about referencing each number. That is quite painstaking and a lot to reference. Let’s say I stated several numbers (sales, expenses etc.) from the same source in the same paragraph i.e. ref (annual report, 2012)… Do I need to cite this with every number I mentioned in that paragraph or can I just cite this once at the end of the paragraph? @hakeemwolfie, what was your approach of citing it? Did you cite it at once in the end or was your mistake not to cite at all?
Any information you share will be helpful. Thanks in advance!September 27, 2014 at 2:49 am
Usually these figures will be in your appendix (excel sheet), so as you reference these numbers, it is acceptable to cite them at the end of the paragraph, (appendix 1) or (XYZ Annual Report, 2014).
Ideally some of these figures should also be in graphs, so it removes the necessity to insert an in text citation. The goal here is really to ensure that the examiner knows where the figures are derived from.
The Learning LuminariumSeptember 27, 2014 at 3:09 am
Thank you very much Adrian.
Do you know if the words appearing in charts pasted as pictures are part of the word count? (e.g. a chart made on excel pasted as a jpg image into the word document)
From reading the pack it appears to me that they would be counted but just making sure… in case I can save on word count like that.September 27, 2014 at 3:29 am
That’s a cheeky question! But we don’t blame you for trying. The word limit of 7,500 can be difficult to comply with, especially if you did a lot of research.
Strictly speaking, the words in charts, tables and graphs are included in the word limit. That is outlined when the requirements changed from 6,500 words to 7,500 words.
From our experience, we notice that they tend to let it go if it’s a picture with just a few words. (Say, less than 20) However, we would not encourage creating several tables that are choke full with words and then saving it as a picture. That would be risky because it would not be difficult for the examiner to see the student has gone over the limit. All he has to do is assume each table has 100words and add the number of tables with your official word count.
The word count is an opportunity to practice writing succinctly. It is a challenge but the skills picked up would be invaluable in the working world!
Hope this answer helps!
With love from
The Learning LuminariumSeptember 27, 2014 at 3:48 pm
Thanks for your encouraging words. It motivates me to re-work on my project.
I failed in two areas, and below are the feedback from marker;
1.Evaluation of information, Analysis and Conclusions
The area of weakness in the report concerns the link between financial results and sources relating to the business context. There are many instances throughout this report of unsubstantiated statements. Consider how the material in your business mode, and your industry specific KPI can be used to explain the changes you are identifying in your financial data. A good analysis requires an assessment of financial results in the context of the market, government, consumers, competitors and that is evidence based(reference) throughout.
2.Information Gathering and Referencing
This is a potentially good report and you make some interesting links but it is essential that you provided independent sources to verify your analysis. You need to widen your secondary data to business information sources, databases, press and trade journals and use those already sourced more effectively by cross-referencing between the business models and financial data. Internal cross-referencing is as important an academic skill as referencing to external sources.
I’m confused if the failure was lack of referencing. I’ve altogether 35 references (websites, books, journal), plus 6 bibliography. Is it insufficient?
Thank you!September 27, 2014 at 4:06 pm
@ no it was not failure for referencing – your evaluation was too superficial and probably just depended on ratios, calculations, statements of the obvious and company sources rather than looking at the bigger picture. See my article on Evaluation on our home pages for a few ideas.October 4, 2014 at 8:14 pm
Hi, do I get marker’s feedback if I passed – I cannot find it.
Thanks.October 4, 2014 at 9:37 pm
“Whilst you have significantly improved the referencing in the Porter’s 5 Forces and SWOT analysis sections, there remains a lack of referencing and over reliance on the annual reports in your Financial Analysis section. Other sources should be used to explain the trends that you are seeing. Having updated the financial analysis for a further year’s information, I find it interesting that the conclusion and recommendations have not changed at all. The financial analysis section should use a wider range of sources to explain the trends, which would in turn allow you to improve your conclusion and recommendations section of the project by drawing from this analysis”
|This was the comment from my 2nd submission. I have used enough references but I dont really know , what does the marker meant by references on Financial analysis section. I didnt references the chart and bar graphs , Is he asking me to reference those or is there any other way to reference information on financial analysis? Thank youOctober 5, 2014 at 12:41 am
It sounds to me that:
(a) your E&A was too dependent on company sources and lacked references from the business press and analyst reports. etc.
(b) You needed to show the sources for the information used in all graphs, tables and charts.
(c) You should try to link your models with the financial analysis (this not particularly easy with Porter’s 5Fs, which is why personally I don’t recommend it for T8). You will find the SWOT & PESTLE are far easier to apply in the practical context of trend analysisOctober 5, 2014 at 8:04 am
@janemphoto – if you pass you only get a grade. Marker feedback is intended to help students who have to resubmitOctober 7, 2014 at 1:09 pm
@trephena Could you please help me understand what i should do to pass my RR! I have failed in 2 areas, could you please help rectify them.
3. Evaluation of information, analysis and conclusions Fail
Reasons for fail and advice for improvement:
Even though you have put good effort in the project, there is still work to be done to achieve the pass standard in the following areas: Though your analysis appears well done, from time to time, readers of your reports will want to verify the accuracy of information you present, consequently it is good practice to include an appendix with the details of the interview i.e. with who and when it was taken place. In the absence of this information I am unable to verify the accuracy of your interpretations and analysis, consequently I cannot determine your contribution and so I have to fail you on analysis for this reason as well. Your business analysis areas are particularly very weak with only bullet points mentioned. In addition you have relied on your interview for most of the information which need to be verified. I would suggest you to drop primary data collection as it is completely acceptable to rely only on secondary sources in your next submission.
For this i’m not sure how to gain information on business analysis aspect such as the SWOT analysis and PESTEL analysis without the use of primary information. It is true that i did not mention the interviewee’s details in the questionnaire appendix but in the research report i did mention the interviewee’s name and designation. Also could you please let me know how i can validate my interview. I did use bullet points but made sure they were not one sentence answers.
6. Information gathering and Referencing Fail
Reasons for fail and advice for improvement:
You have included information from interviews. I could not see a statement of who these interviews were with. The value of information gathered depends on the insight your interviewees might have into the business development over the period. Please state the names and status of your interviewees and dates interviewed to support the validity of your research.
Would appreciate your help on this. I’m planning on resubmitting for the November 2014 session.October 7, 2014 at 1:38 pm
Thanks for your replyOctober 7, 2014 at 4:10 pm
@sajanth – the problem you have encountered (I presume you did T8 by the way) was that most students are expected to use secondary sources for this and most of your analysis was based on primary data e.g. an interview. This is a problem as it is very hard for a 3rd party to substantiate the validity of the analysis and conclusions when there is no written independent information that can be held up to scrutiny. In other words you are telling the marker that the reasons behind the company performance was because of such and such a reason and this is the case because the person you interviewed told you so. However unlike a written source, the marker cannot do an online search, find the source and see you have correctly interpreted the information and data.
I know some mentors (particularly those in Pakistan) encourage personal interviews whereas OBU would rather they did not as they introduce academic problems. So how do you get round this impasse? I suggest that you re-focus on using articles from the business & trade press and analyst reports wherever possible ensuring they are all well referenced. Use the CEO and directors reports from the annual report to help you with your SWOT & PESTLE.
Although you may use your interview it would be far more valid if you had a statement on company headed paper signed by the interviewee to back up your assertions as it would provide evidence (like independent audit evidence) that the interview took place with the named person. If you can do this then it might strengthen your position as with most academic work, the marker cannot just accept your word alone that such an interview took place if most of your report and analysis depends on it. For my Masters degree I referred substantially to a PhD thesis produced by student in the USA who had conducted personal interviews but she had (with the interviewees’ permission) retained audio records of the interviews and therefore these were open to further examination and verification by the examiners of Berkeley University. As the evidence was available for scrutiny by them she was both awarded her doctorate and it was acceptable for me to cite her findings. Without having this evidence her doctorate would not have been awarded as her work would not have been capable of substantiation – and that is your problem here.October 8, 2014 at 7:21 pm
I have failed my Research Report 2 times in
Presentation of Project Findings, Communication and Information gathering and Referencing
because of external data i used directly in my report to describe the models SWOT, PEST and Ratio Analysis i used in my project on topic 8 . this is the last submission examiner’s comments:
“Despite detailed advice from the examiner following your previous submission, you still appear to have copied substantially from other sources which you have referenced. The text in the analysis section of your report in this submission is virtually identical to your previous submission except for a few cosmetic changes to wording and changes in respect of the new financial year introduced (2013). In your next and final submission you need to re-write substantial portions of the project. You need to generate your own ideas based upon your research and then use your own wording to produce the report.
As has been pointed out by both markers and the previous moderator: extracting and reproducing words straight from books is unacceptable practice and it does not provide evidence that you are capable of using and thinking about information for yourself. You have done a good report here and this is its only weakness. Please use the information from your sources selectively, and where you do make direct citations they should be as brief and infrequent as possible and enclosed in quotation marks “like this” (as well as referenced). Above all show that you have considered the appropriateness of what you are writing by demonstrating that you have applied some thought to it, rather than just copying and pasting other people’s work into your report as a matter of routine. Use paraphrasing occasionally if necessary but apply some of your own critical thought in its application.”
Can you please explain me and help me how can i correct my mistake and make my report passable in next and final submission? Thanks for your time.October 9, 2014 at 12:57 am
@hamdi90 – what the marker is telling you is that too much of your work involves direct citations from articles/ annual report etc. (and the checking program has picked this up). Universities consider this to be bad academic practice because it does not necessarily show that you know or really understand what you are writing as you are repeating a lot of statements made by others. In fact they saying that you are close to passing but they need you to show that you can distill information from sources, make judgments and produce key points in your own words rather than using so much work that is cited directly.
Another point I have picked up is that it seems even though you have referenced you have not used quotation marks. Again this is considered bad academic practice as in effect it means that you are passing off someone else’s words as your own – which is plagiarism.
To remedy this they want you to think about what you are writing, and not include long passages from sources but rather use your own words to express the ideas and explanations in your research and evaluation. They expect any brief comments made by others to be in citation marks and referenced but the emphasis is on using these only occasionally as they expect most of your report to be in your own words. So think about the information you have gathered and assess it for yourself rather than copying something blindlyOctober 9, 2014 at 5:34 pm
Thanks for the prompt reply trephena. But i am very confused on how to evaluate the financial statements without using external information. for example i am doing analysis on net profit margin of a company, now i have to give reason for lower or higher NP margin and i got to know from the newspaper that due to lower fuel prices NP margin increased. Now if i write this in my own words and didn’t give reference, would not be this come under plagiarism?
I hope you understand my question but If you want i can share one of the ratio analysis with you to better explain my question.October 10, 2014 at 1:12 am
@hamdi90 – you have to give references for all sources, so you use the newspaper to get your ideas but do the explanations in your own words. With your explanation you would give the reference e.g. (Times, 2013). The reason for this is that your explanations must have a reference to show validity. It is not plagiarism when you show a reference and you can use small quotes using citation marks from articles again with a reference but what the marker didn’t like was that you had lots of long extracts and they wanted you to show you could think for yourself. So to pass reword, use only a few direct citations and show reference well. See the Appendix in the Information Pack on how to reference so you understand all the rules. Good luck!October 17, 2014 at 7:55 pm
in order to understand clearly i am giving an example of what i understand from your point.
this is the extract from a newspaper.
“Financial charges went down 76% to Rs19 million as the cement producer is consistently loading off short-term and long-term debts from its balance sheet.”
this is my analysis of the above extract
Another reason of higher net profit is the regular repayment of short and long term debt which resulted in very low finance charges this year.
Now is this correct or still count as i copied the material from outside source?
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