Full time MBA sessions
Session one: Finding and evaluating secondary data
- Information perspectives
- Evaluating your sources
- Using search resources
What is the information for?
Understanding the issues:
Learners are expected to use the ‘issue tree’ technique to identify the things they need to know to meet the client’s brief. They should have begun this process prior to the session.
Applying the issue tree technique should help identify the information you need to better understand the issues
Identifying who or what has a perspective on this required information can help us to find it
Information for understanding
When you first seek out information it is to help improve your understanding of the issues at hand
You should be open-minded and draw upon anything that helps deepen your understanding — while considering the credibility of the source
Information as evidence
Once you understand the issues you might want to contextualise and quantify the issue
A range of perspectives and types of information can help you to do this — borrowing the authority of your sources in doing so
Evaluating your sources
Encourage learners to think about how they judge the quality of information they use in any decision making process. These questions can often be grouped:
Reliability: how trustworthy is the source?
Objectivity: how neutral is the source?
Relevance: how applicable is the source?
NOTE: this example may change — discuss with requester
“Factors underpinning changes to energy consumption”
UK government forecasting; international organisations (eg, IEA); consultancies/analysts; scholarly business/technology literature
Evaluating the sources for understanding and as evidence:
Often the “quality” of a source depends on what you want to do with it. The more you want to do with it, the more questions you should ask of it
Search resources demonstration/explanation
NOTE: demonstrations dependent on running to time! If low on time talk through the different search resources available:
Library Search: great for accessing the huge breadth of scholarly resources the University subscribes to. Not as easy to use as other tools and does not return news sources, reports etc.
Google Scholar: quick and easy to use to find journal articles. Does not return news sources, reports etc.
Subject databases: specific databases for specific information types. Look at the Business and Management guide for more details.
Google Advanced Search: a good way to search the web in a systematic way. Particularly useful when comparing information from different organisations by using the domain field search.
Group discussion: what questions would you ask?
UK Government data
Scholarly article: Sustainable energy consumption and capital formation: Empirical evidence from the developed financial market of the United Kingdom
What questions might you ask of these sources and how might you use them?
In your project groups and from your WUH:
Take an issue that the client needs to know about — where the ‘how’ requires secondary data.
Consider a range of perspectives that will help you better understand and/or provide evidence on the issue.
For those sources, how might you use and evaluate them?
Help and support
Guide learners to the Library’s help and support, and signpost to future sessions on synthesising information and referencing.
Session two: Referencing in your writing
- Using evidence
- How and why we reference
- EndNote Online
Why is referencing important?
In your groups discuss:
Why is referencing important?
Why are we asked to do it in our academic work? Why is it important to our client? How do we use references when we read?
NOTE: slides 5 and 6 contain collated responses from previous year. Replace with new responses and update after session.
Using evidence in your writing
Drawing upon evidence, information, data/statistics, and other people’s ideas is part of the academic writing process
Referencing is simply making clear where those ideas have come from and giving the appropriate credit
Consistent and accurate referencing also makes clear when ideas are you own
Finding a balance
For any academic writing project you need to find the balance between describing what the evidence says, and your own voice in analysing the evidence, what it means and why it matters.
How to use evidence in your writing
There are different ways to use evidence in your writing. Most obviously is to quote the exact words. Be sparing with this and aim to use quotes impactfully — they can be a great way to get your point across but if over-used, don’t allow much space for one’s own voice. Paraphrasing is taking an idea andputting it into your own words, demonstrating a deeper understanding in the process. Summarising points to an idea in the evidence without going into deep analytic detail. It demonstrates your ability to recognise key points, the breadth of your reading, and allows you to synthesise evidence — something we will look at in more detail in the next session.
Referencing — how and why
Talk through Harvard Manchester examples.
Harvard Manchester guide
You don’t need to remember the information and format required from every source type — use the guide!
Give a very brief demonstration:
- Add a reference from Library Search
- Create a group and move the reference to that group
- Cite the reference in Word