Evaluation is a process of forming judgments about something, in terms of its significance, size, quality or impact. It implies processes of measuring, appraising, estimating, and judging. In order to do this just looking at the organisations performance year on year is insufficient. It needs to be considered against the performance of similar organisations. Hence the use of comparator organisations, “benchmarking ” against the best in the industry, or using industry norms is required if one is to arrive at a more objective conclusion about performance – that is, establishing in relation to others performance, whether or not the performance of the organisation you have studied is judged as good or poor.
When considering performance, students also need to recognise that the judgments of different stakeholder groups are likely to be based on different criteria or indicators.
Shareholders will look at indicators related to capital growth and dividends;
Customers will tend to focus on a price/quality dimension –such as “value for money”;
Suppliers may be much more concerned with liquidity /longevity of a business relationship, and
Employees may be most concerned with those indicators related to increased security of employment and promotion opportunities, such as growth and liquidity etc.
Thus a perspective, which takes account of such different indicators and viewpoints, and includes both short and longer-term criteria, is likely to be helpful in evaluating performance. The actual perspective which is taken in this case will ultimately be determined by the specific objectives established for your research report.
The need to ensure that your report demonstrates the required analytical and evaluative skills will be important whatever your choice of topic area.
The suggested structure for the Research Report is as follows:-
PART 1 – Project objectives and overall research approach – approx. 1,000 words
The first part of your Research Report ‘sets the scene’. It should include the following:
- The reasons for choosing your project topic area and choosing the particular organisation that was the focus of your research work
- What you wanted to find out in your research work. i.e. your project objectives and research questions
- An explanation of your overall research approach. This should provide the reader with an understanding of the overall framework that you developed to meet your project objectives and answer your research questions.
PART 2 – Information gathering and accounting / business techniques – approx. 2,000 words
The second part of your Research Report should provide more detail about (i) the information that you have gathered and (ii) the accounting and business techniques you have chosen to apply to this information. It should include the following:
- The sources of information from which you have obtained relevant data
- A description of the methods used to collect information, including online access
- A discussion of the limitations of your information gathering
- Identification of any ethical issues that arose during your information gathering and how they were resolved
- An explanation of the accounting and / or business techniques you have used, including a discussion of their limitations.
PART 3 – Results, analysis, conclusions and recommendations – approx. 4,500 words
The third part of your Research Report should provide a detailed account of what you have found from the application of your chosen accounting and business techniques to the information that you have gathered. It should include:
- A description of the results you have obtained and any limitations
- Presentation of your results in an appropriate form e.g. tables, graphs, pie charts
- A critical analysis / evaluation of your results which includes an explanation of your significant findings
- Your conclusions about your research findings and how well you have met your project objectives and research questions
- If appropriate, recommendations on specific courses of action to identified individuals within your chosen organisation.
You must also include:
A LIST OF REFERENCES
Word count and appendices
You must stay within specific maximum word count of 7,500 words. The 7,500 word limit includes everything from the start of the title page, the table of contents, to the end of the conclusions; it does not however include the List of References and the Appendices. It does include all words in tables, graphs and pictures.
Skill and Learning Statement
The Skills and Learning Statement (SLS) is the opportunity for you to demonstrate that you have developed the key ‘graduate’ skills of self-reflection and communication. You will provide evidence of self-reflection by answering a number of questions. Your communication skills will be developed through the preparation and delivery of a presentation to your Mentor. You will submit a copy of the PowerPoint presentation that you used in your presentation to your Mentor as evidence of skills development.
Your SLS must be based on the following four questions:
- Reflect on what you have learnt from the meetings with your Mentor, including the presentation that you gave to your Mentor?
- To what extent do you think you have achieved the RAP research objectives you set?
- How have you demonstrated your interpersonal and communication skills during the project work?
- Reflect on how undertaking the RAP helped you in your accountancy studies and/or current employment role?
Presentations and slides
The SLS is also made up of two parts, one being a reflective statement covering four specific questions and the other a requirement to give a fifteen minute presentation containing 10-20 slides to the student’s mentor and provide evidence of this presentation.
The mentor will be asked to confirm that the presentation has taken place effectively and University will also require evidence to be submitted with the RAP. This evidence will consist of copies of slides used in the presentation. The presentation slides should ideally be in Powerpoint format.
Content and presentation of the slides
- They must be interesting, clear and easy to read.
- Graphs, pictures and charts may be included in addition to text.
- The presentation should start with a clear opening slide with the title of the presentation and your ACCA number.
- The slides should be designed to support the verbal presentation and should summarise the research report (including its conclusions and recommendations).
The markers and moderators are very experienced at being the recipients of presentations and so can easily make a judgement as to the likelihood of the slides being reasonably presented during a 15 minute presentation. It is not just the number of slides, it is also the content.
SO REMEMBER –
- The presentation should last 15 minutes
- It should be about your topic not the process of writing the report
- The presentation should summarise the research report (including its conclusions and recommendations).
- The slides should SUPPORT your presentation
- The slides should be interesting and clearly understandable
File size limits
Please ensure that all of the files you want to upload and submit online are less than 10MB. Please ensure that the Word document containing the answers to the four SLS questions is less than 250Kb. Your presentation slides should be uploaded separately, preferably as a PowerPoint document.
- The Research Report should be a Word document.
- The Reference list should be a Word document.
- Any financial statements can be uploaded as pdf documents in the Appendices.
- While your presentation slides should be uploaded as a PowerPoint document, the rest of your SLS should be a Word document.
- Any supporting spreadsheets MUST be uploaded as Excel documents in the Appendices.
[Please note that you cannot submit zip files.]
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