Q Manual Essay

Student Q Manual Nell Kimberley and Glenda Crosling Faculty of Business and Economics Monash University First published 1994 Reprinted 1995 Second edition 1997 Reprinted with revisions 1998 Third edition 2005 Fourth edition 2008 Copyright © Monash University 2008 Published by the Faculty of Business and Economics Monash University Caulfield East Victoria 3145 Australia Contents Preface and Acknowledgements Chapter 1 Introduction 1. 1 1. 2 1. 3 Welcome Monash University Faculty of Business and Economics 1. 3. 1 Goals 1. 3. 2 Faculty structure 1. 3. 3 Departments and centres 1. . 4 Aims for learning at Monash University and in the Faculty of Business and Economics 1. 3. 5 Units 1. 3. 6 Role of lecturers/tutors 1. 3. 7 Role of on-line sources of information 1. 3. 8 Role of course directors/coordinators Additional important information 1. 3. 9 Faculty expectations of student performance 1. 4. 1 Attendance and participation at lectures and tutorials 1. 4. 2 Special consideration and extension of time for submission of an assessment task 1. 4. 3 Workload 1. 4. 4 Self-reliance 1. 4. 5 Time management Student assessment 1. 5. 1 Examinations 1. 5. Use of English dictionaries and calculators 1. 5. 3 Results 1. 5. 4 Marks and grades 1. 5. 5 Honours grading 1. 5. 6 Examples of grades and corresponding achievement levels 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 6 1. 4 1. 5 Chapter 2 Approaching study in the Faculty of Business and Economics 2. 1 2. 2 2. 3 2. 4 The study “mindset” Academic enquiry, discovery and independence in study Approaching study in the faculty disciplines Lectures and your learning 2. 4. 1 Preparing for the lecture 2. 4. 2 Reading before the lecture 2. 4. 3 Using Powerpoint slides 2. 4. Thinking about the topic and the subject 2. 4. 5 Talking to your classmates about your weekly topics Taking notes in the lecture 2. 5. 1 Recognising and recording the main points 2. 5. 2 Using abbreviations 2. 5. 3 Learning styles 2. 5. 4 Managing visual and spoken information 2. 5. 5 Losing concentration in the lecture 7 7 8 9 9 10 10 10 10 11 11 11 12 12 13 13 2. 5 2. 6 2. 7 2. 8 2. 9 After the lecture Tutorials and your learning Reading in your study 2. 8. 1 Reading to understand or comprehend 2. 8. 2 Reading for critical comment Checklist for studying faculty units and courses 3 14 14 15 16 16 Chapter 3 The research process: A basic guide 3. 1 The research process 3. 1. 1 Step 1: Understand the assignment topic/question(s) 3. 1. 2 Step 2: Decide what sort of information you need to complete the assignment 3. 1. 3 Step 3: Decide where to look for this information 3. 1. 4 Step 4: Develop and use a search strategy for database searching 3. 1. 5 Step 5: Evaluate the information found and revise the plan 3. 1. 6 Step 6: Presentation 3. 1. 7 Step 7: Final evaluation Using the Internet for research 3. 2. 1 Some further tips for productive Internet research 7 17 17 17 18 18 20 22 22 23 23 3. 2 Chapter 4 Academic writing skills 4. 1 4. 2 4. 3 4. 4 Characteristics of successful writing 4. 1. 1 Responding to the task Exam question, Accounting and Finance 4. 2. 1 Initial analysis, key terms and directions Structuring your writing clearly 4. 3. 1 Writing structure Forming and expressing your perspective on the task 4. 4. 1 “Crystallised response” 4. 4. 2 Plan the response Supporting your perspective 4. 5. 1 Paragraph structure 4. 5. 2 Use of references Presenting a consistent and logical response Expressing your ideas clearly 4. 7. Formal academic language 4. 7. 2 Some other features of academic language Checklist for academic writing skills 25 25 25 27 27 27 28 29 29 30 31 31 32 33 33 34 34 36 4. 5 4. 6 4. 7 4. 8 Chapter 5 Writing essays 5. 1 5. 2 5. 3 5. 4 Analyse the task Synthesise your information Plan the essay Reference the sources of information 37 37 37 37 38 Chapter 6 Writing a literature review 6. 1 6. 2 6. 3 6. 4 The nature of a literature review Procedure for completing a literature review Writing the literature review Checklist for a literature review 39 39 40 40 41 Chapter 7 Report writing 7. 1 The process 7. 1. Identify the purpose of the report 7. 1. 2 Identify the readers and their needs 7. 1. 3 Research the topic 7. 1. 4 Outline the report 7. 1. 5 Write the draft 7. 1. 6 Edit the draft 7. 1. 7 The finished product 7. 2 Report presentation and layout 7. 2. 1 Structure of a report 7. 3 Report writing checklist 42 42 42 42 42 43 43 43 44 44 44 46 Chapter 8 Case study method 8. 1 8. 2 Some general issues Problem solving case format 49 49 49 Chapter 9 Academic integrity and honesty: avoiding plagiarism in written work 9. 1 9. 2 What is plagiarism? Monash University Statute 4. 1 and policy regarding plagiarism 9. . 1 What happens when plagiarism is suspected 9. 2. 2 Students’ responsibility Using references appropriately in your written work Use of references in writing 9. 4. 1 Unsuitable use of references Suitable integration of references 9. 5. 1 Techniques for using an author’s ideas 9. 5. 2 A summary 9. 5. 3 Paraphrasing, or writing in your own words Conclusion 51 51 52 53 53 54 54 54 55 55 56 56 57 9. 3 9. 4 9. 5 9. 6 Chapter 10 Referencing 10. 1 10. 2 10. 3 10. 4 What is referencing? When should you reference? Why should you reference your work? Referencing using the APA style 10. 4. Creating in-text citations 10. 4. 2 Creating a reference list Footnoting 10. 5. 1 In-text citations using footnotes 10. 5. 2 Creating the bibliography 58 58 58 59 59 59 62 69 70 74 10. 5 Chapter 11 Presentation skills 11. 1 11. 2 11. 3 What is a presentation? Planning and preparation 11. 2. 1 Analysing your audience Presentation design 11. 3. 1 Objective 11. 3. 2 Content 11. 3. 3 Structure Visual support 11. 4. 1 Handouts Delivery 11. 5. 1 Methods of delivery 11. 5. 2 Rehearsal Nerve control 11. 5. 3 11. 5. 4 Your voice 11. 5. 5 Non-verbal communication Group presentations 11. 6. Team balance 11. 6. 2 Transitions 11. 6. 3 Support for the speaker 11. 6. 4 Your role as coach Evaluating the presentation Why do some presentations go wrong? 76 76 76 76 76 76 77 77 79 79 80 80 80 80 80 81 82 82 82 82 82 83 83 11. 4 11. 5 11. 6 11. 7 11. 8 Chapter 12 Exam strategies Preparing for exams 12. 1. 1 Establish the type of exam 12. 1. 2 Develop a broad understanding of the unit’s objectives 12. 1. 3 Develop summaries of topics 12. 1. 4 Review unit material and topics 12. 1. 5 Practise past exam questions 12. 1. 6 Multiple choice questions 12. 1. 7 Short answer and essay questions 12. . 8 Calculation questions 12. 2 Operating in the exam 12. 2. 1 Reading and noting time 12. 2. 2 Completing the exam Answering multiple choice questions 12. 2. 3 12. 2. 4 Completing written response questions 12. 3 Checklist for exams 12. 1 84 84 84 84 85 85 85 85 86 87 87 87 87 88 88 88 Q Manual Preface and Acknowledgements The purpose of the Q (for Quality) Manual is to provide new students with practical and easily accessible information regarding university-level study. As its name suggests, this publication is aimed at increasing your effectiveness as a student.

For many of you who have not experienced university level study, the Q Manual will provide you with ideas, suggestions and guidelines to enable you to achieve academic success by producing quality work, and getting it submitted on time. We suggest you read the Q Manual thoroughly and refer to it often throughout your course of study. The Q Manual commences with an overview of the Faculty of Business and Economics, its goals, structure and expectations regarding student performance, as well as important policy information about student assessment.

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The next chapter provides useful advice in relation to approaches to study at the university level. Then follows the bulk of the Q Manual, which focuses on research skills, academic writing skills, and in particular, chapters devoted to commonly required academic assignments, such as essays, literature reviews, reports and case study method. The section relating to academic writing and assignment preparation is followed by chapters covering academic honesty and referencing techniques. The final sections of the Q Manual cover oral presentation skills and exam strategies.

There are many people whose valuable contributions to this edition of the Q Manual must be acknowledged. They include (in no particular order): Andrew Dixon, Caulfield Campus Library David Horne, Caulfield Campus Library Owen Hughes, Faculty of Business and Economics Sally Joy, Faculty of Business and Economics Lynne Macdonald, Faculty of Business and Economics Michael Scorgie, Department of Accounting and Finance Claire Tanner, Faculty of Arts Our special thanks go to Lynne Macdonald and Claire Tanner for the many hours spent collating and editing the content and for coordinating production of the Q Manual.

Without your efforts and patience, this edition could not have been published. Sincere thanks also go to my dear friend and colleague, Glenda Crosling, who has collaborated with me for many years on a number of significant educational projects for the faculty. A dedicated educator, Glenda works enthusiastically and tirelessly, keeping an open mind, and most importantly, always retaining her wonderful sense of humour! Glenda also thanks Nell for her collegiality, dedication, inspiration and hard work on this and other educational projects.

Together, we have produced a publication that we hope will assist you in your studies. Finally, we wish you a stimulating, challenging and rewarding learning experience throughout your undergraduate and postgraduate studies with the Faculty of Business and Economics. Nell Kimberley Department of Management Faculty of Business and Economics January, 2008 Glenda Crosling Education Adviser Faculty of Business and Economics Chapter 1 Introduction 1. 1 Welcome Congratulations on your selection to study one of the courses offered by the Faculty of Business and Economics at Monash University.

This manual is intended to provide you with information on how to produce quality work and achieve the best possible results in your examinations. The major goal of the university is to assist you to obtain an excellent education so that you may take your place in society as a well-qualified graduate. It is important to note that while the courses provide the teaching support and the necessary framework for your studies, success can be achieved only through your personal commitment and dedication to hard work throughout all the years of your course.

The following information is aimed at familiarising you with the Monash University study environment and increasing your effectiveness as a Monash student, thereby enabling you to reach your potential. For those of you who are experiencing university level study for the first time, this manual will lay an important foundation and prepare you for a new world. 1. 2 Monash University Monash University was established in 1961 and named after General Sir John Monash (1865–1931). Sir John was a soldier, scholar and engineer, and the Commanding General of the Australian forces in France in World War 1.

In addition, as the first Chairman of the State Electricity Commission, he took on the immense task of overseeing the development of the LaTrobe Valley’s brown coal resources. Sir John was a man of wide interests and vast intellectual range. He was this country’s first Doctor of Engineering and exemplifies the University’s motto – Ancora Imparo (I am still learning). The university now has a population of more than 50,000 students from over 100 countries, who speak 90 languages. There are eight Monash campuses and two centres, in Italy and London. The primary pursuits of teaching and research are carried out in the university’s ten faculties.

The faculties, which each cover a specific body of knowledge, are: Art and Design; Arts; Business and Economics; Education; Engineering; Information Technology; Law; Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences; Pharmacy; and Science. 1. 3 1. 3. 1 Faculty of Business and Economics Goals The aim of the faculty is to use its scale, scope and unique internal diversity to become an international leader in the pursuit, dissemination and analysis of knowledge, particularly in the disciplines of accounting, banking, econometrics, economics, finance, management, marketing, and tourism.

By the application of such knowledge, its staff and students will contribute to the economic, social and commercial development of Australia and other countries in an increasingly globalised environment. 1. 3. 2 Faculty structure The Faculty of Business and Economics is the largest faculty in the university, with more than 17,000 students enrolled over five Australian campuses at Berwick, Caulfield, Clayton, Gippsland and Peninsula, as well as in Malaysia and South Africa.

In addition to a diverse range of undergraduate bachelors degrees, the faculty offers a comprehensive range of graduate courses including an executive certificate, graduate certificates and diplomas, masters degrees by coursework and research, the Master of Business Administration, the Doctor of Business Administration, the Master of Philosophy and the Doctor of Philosophy. Courses are delivered on campus, usually through lectures, tutorials and WebCT Vista, while offcampus students are catered for by distance education. 1 The Dean and the main faculty office are located on the Caulfield campus.

In addition, there are faculty staff located at the other campuses. Go to http://www. buseco. monash. edu. au/student/contact/ for location and contact details. 1. 3. 3 Departments and centres The Business and Economics faculty is subdivided into organisations that are responsible for particular areas of knowledge. There are six departments and two research centres. The departments are: Accounting and Finance, Business Law and Taxation, Econometrics and Business Statistics, Economics, Management, and Marketing. The research centres are: Centre of Policy Studies, and Centre for Health Economics.

They cover fields of study including accounting, banking, business law, business statistics, economics, econometrics, finance, international business, management, human resource management, marketing, taxation and tourism. Whatever your major or areas of study it is essential that you have an understanding of each of the disciplines and how they interact with each other in the overall operations of a business organisation. 1. 3. 4 Aims for learning at Monash University and in the Faculty of Business and Economics The university and the faculty recognise the needs of students for their lives following graduation.

As a Monash graduate you will be operating in a globalised and rapidly-changing world, and the university and faculty aim to develop in students’ attributes beyond the ability to understand and operate competently with course and unit content. The aims are that students will develop in ways that will enable them to: • Engage in an internationalised and increasingly globalised world; • Engage in discovery, analysis, integration and application for problem solving and learning with knowledge; • Communicate competently orally and in writing across cultures and settings, including their specific disciplines.

As you undertake your studies, you will notice an emphasis on these attributes and you will be engaged in activities and tasks to help you develop them. In the following chapters of this guide, we explain the influences of these attributes on your approach to study. 1. 3. 5 Units Each department offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate units. In a three-year undergraduate degree, there are twenty-four units, with four units to be taken in each semester (parttime students would normally undertake two units each semester). The unit leader or coordinator is responsible for the administration of the particular unit.

You can consult with your unit leader, and or coordinator in larger units you may also consult with the other lecturers and tutors. 1. 3. 6 Role of lecturers/tutors Lecturers and tutors have a key role as facilitators of your learning. They are able and most willing to help you with your studies and can be contacted using your student email account. Their email addresses are located in the unit outline. Alternatively, academic staff can be contacted during their consultation hours which are often posted on their door or outside the main dministration office. 1. 3. 7 Role of on-line sources of information Monash has adopted a learning management system which provides you with access to on-line unit information. The web contains information that you need to know for the unit, both of an administrative nature as well as useful material for your studies. 2 1. 3. 8 Role of course directors/coordinators If you are encountering academic performance issues, course progression and similar problems you should initially discuss these with enrolment officers or course advisers.

You may, occasionally, then be referred to course directors or course coordinators to help with these issues. Undergraduate students are referred to course directors or course coordinators by the faculty office and postgraduate students by departmental administration staff. If referred, course directors and coordinators are available during their consultation hours. 1. 3. 9 Additional important information The Undergraduate and Postgraduate Handbooks and the Student Resource Guide provide important information regarding various aspects of university life.

The Student Resource Guide is distributed to all students at the time of initial enrolment and is available on-line at www. monash. edu. au/pubs. It contains details of the university’s code of practice for teaching and learning, as well as grievance and appeals procedures. Further copies can be obtained from Student Service Centres on all campuses. An excellent resource for students is also available on-line via the student link on the Business and Economics Faculty webpage at http://www. buseco. monash. edu. au/student/.

The site contains links to important information regarding: courses and units, admissions and enrolments, schools and departments, exams and results, administration, study resources, calendars and timetables, IT and computing, support services, careers and employment, international students, and clubs and associations. 1. 4 Faculty expectations of student performance As students of the faculty, there are a number of units that you will study as part of your course. Although these units may have differing methods of assessment, the faculty has the following expectations of your behaviour and performance. 1. 4. 1

Attendance and participation at lectures and tutorials Lectures and tutorials are central to your performance in the university. Lectures provide the material you require in order to understand the overall nature and direction of the unit. Important concepts and analysis can be emphasised by the lecturer and put into context for the student. Tutorials are a vital part of your studies. They reinforce lecture material and provide you with an opportunity to discuss material presented in lectures, as well as to ask questions. Tutorials also provide you with the opportunity to develop your oral communication skills.

The material presented is not designed to give you one view on a topic but to facilitate your understanding of the issue under discussion. Where there are alternative views on an issue, you should learn to articulate, critically approach and assess these differing positions. 1. 4. 2 Special consideration and extension of time for submission of an assessment task Students need to use a Special Consideration Application when applying for Special Consideration for overall assessment, end-of-semester examinations, or additional assessment for a unit (or units) studied during the current semester.

Please refer to the following webpage for information on both faculty and university special consideration policy and procedures: http://www. buseco. monash. edu. au/secretariat/policies/spec-con. html Students who require more time to complete a piece of work should apply for an extension of time for submission of an assessment task. Reasons for special consideration include serious short term circumstances beyond the student’s control, such as illness, accident, personal trauma, family emergency or compassionate grounds. Applications should be discussed with the examiner/lecturer/tutor responsible for assessing the task.

Please refer to the current student faculty webpage for forms and further information: http://www. buseco. monash. edu. au/student/exams/specconsemester. html 3 1. 4. 3 Workload You are expected to undertake private study in addition to attending lectures and tutorials. Preparation of work to be discussed in tutorials is essential. You will also be required to complete assignments and projects and submit them on the due dates. When taking into account the work carried out during mid-semester breaks and exam weeks, you would expect to study more than thirty hours each week. . 4. 4 Self-reliance Compared to your school experience, at the university you are expected to be more independent and self-reliant. In contrast to teachers at school, lecturers and tutors usually teach large numbers of students, sometimes as many as one thousand. They are happy to assist you, but you need to approach the staff member and be clear about what you wish to discuss. It is also your responsibility as a self-reliant student to attend lectures and tutorials, prepare your tutorial work and submit all written work on time. 1. 4. 5 Time management

The expectation at the university is that you learn to manage your own time. This applies to full-time students who have a great deal of time available outside of classes, as well as for part-time students who have to balance work and study. The following chapter on study techniques in this manual provides, among other things, some helpful hints on how to best manage your time and get the most out of your career as a student. 1. 5 Student assessment Assessment in a unit may be made up of several components: a formal examination, essays, tests, assignments, oral presentations and tutorial participation.

Assessment details for each unit are provided in the unit guide that you will receive in the first week of each semester. The final mark that a student receives in a unit will be determined by the board of examiners on the recommendation of the chief examiner, taking into account all aspects of assessment. The rights of students to have assessed work re-marked are determined at the departmental level. A student can only be failed after the exam paper has been marked by two staff members. All results are reviewed by the unit leader.

You can find further information relating to the university’s assessment in undergraduate units and the responsibilities of examiners using the main policy bank link at: http://www. buseco. monash. edu. au/secretariat /policies/ 1. 5. 1 Examinations For details of examination regulations, please refer to the Monash University Calendar: http://www. monash. edu. au/pubs/calendar/ 1. 5. 2 Use of English dictionaries and calculators As English is the language of instruction within Monash University, foreign language translation dictionaries are not permitted to be used by students sitting examinations.

Calculators are permitted if specified on the examination paper, but some units may have a calculator restriction. Students are advised to familiarise themselves with any calculator restrictions applying in units they are studying. For permitted calculator(s) for examinations and units of study go to the faculty policy link at: http://www. buseco. monash. edu. au/secretariat/policies/calculator. html 4 1. 5. 3 Results At the end of each semester, following the completion of examinations, a board of examiners considers student performance as a whole before the results are published.

All undergraduate and coursework graduate students who pass are graded into the categories of high distinction, distinction, credit and pass. Honours courses use a different grading system, classified into first class, second class division A, second class division B, third class and pass. 1. 5. 4 Marks and grades Following is a list of marks and grades used within the faculty: 0–49 40–49 45–49 50–59 60–69 70–79 80–100 N NS NP P C D HD NE WH Fail Fail, supplementary exam awarded by Board of Examiners only to graduate students and under special circumstances Near pass is only awarded to undergraduate students.

It may be awarded for the last unit to complete a degree. Pass Credit Distinction High distinction Not examined. Used when a unit is taught over two semesters Withheld. Used, for example, when assessment is outstanding due to a special consideration application or incomplete assessment. DEF Deferred examination granted SFR Satisfied faculty requirements This grading system will be current until 2009. For amendments after this time go to: http://www. buseco. monash. edu. au/secretariat/policies/methods-assessment. html 1. 5. 5 Honours grading

Honours units are graded as follows: Below 50 50–59 60–69 70–79 80–100 Fail HIII HIIB HIIA HI 5 1. 5. 6 Examples of grades and corresponding achievement levels HD High Distinction 80–100% D Distinction 70–79% A very high standard of work which demonstrates originality and insight C Credit 60–69% Demonstrates a high level of understanding and presentation and a degree of originality and insight Thorough understanding of core texts and materials P Pass 50–59% Satisfies the minimum requirements N Fail 0–49% Fails to satisfy the minimum requirements General description

Outstanding or exceptional work in terms of understanding, interpretation and presentation Strong evidence of independent reading beyond core texts and materials Demonstrates insight, awareness and understanding of deeper and more subtle aspects of the topic. Ability to consider topic in the broader context of the discipline Demonstrates imagination or flair. Demonstrates originality and independent thought Highly developed analytical and evaluative skills Ability to solve very challenging problems Reading Evidence of reading beyond core texts and materials Evidence of having read core texts and materials

Very little evidence of having read any of the core texts and materials Knowledge of topic Evidence of an awareness Sound knowledge of and understanding of principles and concepts deeper and more subtle aspects of the topic Knowledge of principles Scant knowledge of and concepts at least principles and concepts adequate to communicate intelligently in the topic and to serve as a basis for further study Articulation of argument Evidence of imagination or flair. Evidence of originality and independent thought Clear evidence of analytical and evaluative skills

Well-reasoned argument based on broad evidence Sound argument based on evidence Very little evidence of ability to construct coherent argument Analytical and evaluative skills Problem solving Evidence of analytical and evaluative skills Some evidence of analytical and evaluative skills Very little evidence of analytical and evaluative skills Ability to solve non-routine Ability to use and apply problems fundamental concepts and skills Well developed skills in expression and presentation Good skills in expression and presentation. Accurate and consistent acknowledgement of sources

Adequate problem-solving Very little evidence of skills problem-solving skills Expression and presentation appropriate to the discipline Highly developed skills in expression and presentation Adequate skills in expression and presentation Inadequate skills in expression and presentation. Inaccurate and inconsistent acknowledgement of sources Source: University of Adelaide 2005 6 Chapter 2 Approaching study in the Faculty of Business and Economics Introduction Study at university is like a full-time job that requires commitment, and cannot just be added on to a range of other interests.

It differs in many ways from study in other educational settings. A major difference is the independence and self reliance expected of students in their study. This idea concerns: • Managing your time, balancing your study with other commitments. • Your approach to learning in your units. In this chapter, we discuss the implications of independence and self reliance for the way you approach your studies. Assistance with time management is also available from university learning and personal support services, go to http://www. monash. du/pubs/handbooks/srg/srg-266. html for faculty and campus contacts. 2. 1 The study “mindset” The units that you study present information, concepts and theories. It is expected that you will understand these fully. In addition, you must think critically and analytically so that you can evaluate and apply the knowledge, concepts and theories to different situations. You also need to think about the information from international and global perspectives, and to communicate your thinking clearly and appropriately orally and in writing.

This means that you must do more in your written work than merely describe the concepts and knowledge, which will not get you good marks. There are times when you do need to provide definitions and an overview of concepts and theories, but such information usually only functions as an introduction for your integration of ideas, critical analysis and application, in relation to the issue, topic and task. Integration of information and critical and analytical thinking are central to the idea of independence in study. It means that you take an objective approach to the knowledge, concepts and theories.

Such an approach is necessary so that you can: • Integrate sometimes contrasting ideas from a range of sources and develop your own perspective on an issue or topic in relation to these; • ‘Pull apart’ the knowledge in your units and explain how the parts all work together (analysis); • Evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, advantages and disadvantages of knowledge, concepts and theories for particular situations (critical approach). This emphasis may differ from how you approached your study in other educational settings. For instance, you may have expected there to be one right answer, or two sides to an issue or topic.

In your university studies, you need to understand that there are multiple views surrounding a topic or issue. The suitability of the view that you develop, often by synthesising several views, depends on the perspective from which you look at the issue. Such a concept of the relativity of knowledge applies to all the business and economics disciplines. In accounting, for instance, particular accounting situations are interpreted in terms of the Standard Accounting Concepts, and in econometrics and business statistics, a set of data is interpreted in relation to a particular purpose, or the needs of a particular user.

Your ability to operate in the way explained above is based on you understanding the nature of academic enquiry and discovery, as we explain in the next section. 7 2. 2 Academic enquiry, discovery and independence in study Academic enquiry and discovery are concerned with the development or advancement of knowledge in a field of study, which occurs through research and investigation. Students engage in academic enquiry and discovery, to some degree, when they integrate and apply knowledge, concepts and theories to different situations.

Thus, in university study, there are: • No absolutes • Knowledge evolves as researchers challenge, confirm or modify earlier understandings. When investigating an issue for an assignment task that is based on evidence from the literature, you need to overview and integrate the range of views surrounding the issue or topic. When you have formed your response and structured your written work to express this, you must indicate to your reader how you have arrived at that view. That is, the ideas and views that you read in the literature function as the ‘building blocks’ of your response.

In your writing, if you do not explain to your reader the evidence or the building blocks for your view, you are only expressing opinions. These are ideas unsubstantiated by evidence and are not valued in university study. Another perspective The manager has a range of roles that are significant in the operations of an organisation, and decision making is one of these (Mintzberg, 1979) One perspective Decision making is an important aspect but only part of the manager’s role (Lee, 2000). Decision making in the manager’s role

Further perspective Decision making is the foundation of a manager’s role (Brown, 2002) Figure 1: Multiple views of a topic or issue Figure 1 depicts the situation in relation to a topic in a unit that relies on views in the literature. Note how decision-making in the manager’s role is seen from different perspectives by different authors. In a unit such as econometrics and business statistics, you may be required to analyse a set of data from a perspective of, for instance, a marketing manager, or a city council.

Thus, the information in the data that would be relevant for the former would be on aspects such as sales, while for the city council which is concerned with providing services, the emphasis would be on the city’s population and its needs. Thus, in units that rely on data such as econometrics and business statistics, you need to analyse the data, form a perspective on the issue from the data analysis, and then select from your data to support the viewpoint you have developed. In a unit such as economics, it means being able to distinguish between facts and value statements. 2. 3 Approaching study in the faculty disciplines As you continue with your faculty study, you will realise that the approaches to knowledge in the disciplines of the faculty differ in some ways. Understanding such variation will help you adjust your thinking and approach across your units of study. This is particularly applicable if you are a double degree student and studying across two faculties. For instance, when you are studying a first year law unit in your Business and Economics degree, you will be presented with problem question assignments.

You approach and think about these, and structure information differently, than you would for essays in a unit such as management, or, for example, reports in a marketing unit. You are using different forms of data and evidence, and applying critical analysis in ways that are particular to the unit and its discipline. The approach that the disciplines take to knowledge is reflected in the way information is put together in the texts and in lectures. These exemplify the characteristics of the particular discipline.

To develop some understanding, you should think about your units in terms of: • The type of data and information used; • The way data and information is integrated, analysed and critiqued; • The way data and information is used as evidence in addressing issues and topics; • The way data and information is presented in written form. This will help you to develop the appropriate ‘mindset’, or ‘way of looking at the world’ that is characteristic of the discipline that you are studying and writing in. In the next sections of this chapter, we discuss learning through lectures, tutorials, reading, and working with your class mates.

This will help you to study efficiently and effectively. 2. 4 Lectures and your learning If you are an on-campus student lectures are a very important part of your learning. Broadly speaking, the lecture provides you with the general layout and important approaches for your topic for the week. Often, you will also be engaged in the lectures in activities that will deepen and expand your understanding of the topic. This will save you time in the long run, as you will leave the lecture with greater understanding of the topic, providing you with a clearer direction for your further work and study on the topic and the subject.

Even though you may be able to download Powerpoint slides, you should attend your lectures. The slides usually only provide a framework of the topic. It is in the lecture that fuller explanations and activities to increase your understanding and knowledge are provided. Attending lectures also helps you to feel part of the faculty and the university by giving you the opportunity to develop networks with other students. You will probably find that even a brief discussion of an aspect of the topic with a fellow student will help your understanding. To get the most out of lectures, you should approach them in a systematic way.

This means preparing before the lecture and following up on your understanding after it. 9 2. 4. 1 Preparing for the lecture As we have already explained, the units you study have different styles and emphases, as do your unit lecturers. You may feel ‘lost’ when you begin a unit because the ideas, and the language used to express them, are new and unknown. It may also take time to orient yourself to your lecturers’ individual styles of communication. If you are an international student recently arrived in Australia, you may have difficulty initially understanding the Australian accent.

Some of your lecturers may also have accents from other language backgrounds, which will take time for you to get used to. It is important in these situations to be active rather than passive by preparing for the lecture. Ways that you can prepare before the lecture are: • Reading about the topic from the materials listed in the unit outline; • Using Powerpoint slides for the lecture downloaded from the net as a guide for your preparation; • Thinking about the topic in relation to the subject; • Talking to your classmates about the topic and the subject. 2. 4. 2 Reading before the lecture

Before the lecture, you should try to get an overview of the points and issues to be discussed from your reading. Not all items on the reading list need to be read in full at this stage. Your purpose is to gain an overview of the ideas, vocabulary and phrases related to the topic. The text for the unit may be the most appropriate item for your pre-reading. You can also make a list, or glossary, of any new vocabulary and language which are specific to the unit, writing the meanings next to these. If English is not your first language, this practice will help you to become familiar with the opic’s specific language and concepts and is invaluable preparation. You may not have heard such language in spoken form before, especially with an Australian accent! 2. 4. 3 Using Powerpoint slides Students may think that the lecture slides will provide them with all they need to know about the topic and therefore not attend lectures. The slides however, are not a substitute for lecture attendance and usually only include the topic’s main points. If the slides are available before the lecture, you can use these to advantage in preparing for the lecture. You should aim to: • Preview the slides to get an overview of the topic. Use the slides in your pre-lecture reading to guide you to the relevant information for the topic. • Print out the slides (perhaps 2 per page) and fill in the details in the lectures. 2. 4. 4 Thinking about the topic and the subject The topics that you cover in your weekly program build up to form a wide and deep view of the unit. Placing the topics into the overall unit structure will help you study with understanding and meaning. This underpins your ability to integrate ideas and to think critically and analytically about your study material, as well as to evaluate and apply it to new situations in assignment and exam questions.

Thus, you should try to build a picture of the unit as a whole in your study. You can do this by: • Being aware of the objectives for your unit (presented in the Unit Guide) and relating your topics from week to week to these objectives. • Thinking about your topics from week to week, and asking yourself how they relate to each other, and to the unit objectives overall. 10 In this way, you are not studying isolated pieces of information. You are seeking meaning and understanding. This approach will most likely mean that you will find your study more interesting and enjoyable because it makes more sense to you.

If you are motivated in this way, you will probably get better grades in your studies (Biggs, 2000). 2. 4. 5 Talking to your classmates about your weekly topics Many students find it useful to form study groups with a few classmates and meet informally for an hour or so each week, before or after the lecture. It is a good use of time and there are several advantages. With your study group friends, you can: • Clarify any material or concepts you do not understand. • Explain to your friends things they do not understand. Doing so often leads to better understanding on your part. If the group meets after the lecture, fill in any details in the notes missed in the lecture, and clarify understanding of the topic and information covered. It is very important to note, however, that all assignment work you submit must be your own. There are severe penalties for copying and plagiarising the work of others. This is discussed more fully in Chapter 9. If the line is clearly drawn between studying together and learning from each other in the way we have explained above and individual assignment work, there are many advantages to collaborative learning. . 5 Taking notes in the lecture You should take an active rather than passive approach to note taking. This will enable you to work efficiently and effectively, and get maximum benefit from your study time. There is no one ‘correct’ way to take notes. You need to develop a style that suits your way of studying. For instance, some students like to take a lot of notes, whereas others record only key words and points and mainly listen to the lecture to assist their understanding. In developing your own style, it is useful to consider other students’ styles.

In a study group, you can look at each others’ styles, and learn from each other. However, the following points will assist you as you are developing your style. You should always arrive at the lecture on time. In the introduction, the lecturer often overviews the learning objectives and the material to be covered, most often linking it to the previous week’s lecture. This helps you form a framework or structure in your mind for the details that follow, helping you to better understand and situate the information within the context of the unit.

If English is not your first language and you are not yet familiar with the Australian accent, you should try to sit close to the front in the lecture. In this way, the lecturer’s body language and facial expressions help you understand the spoken message. Use a note-pad to take notes. You should not take notes on scraps of paper. Make sure the layout of your notes is clear. You should include any relevant information regarding the source of your notes. For instance, it is a good idea to write down the unit, the date of the lecture, the lecture’s title, and the lecturer’s name.

If you download Powerpoint slides for the lecture, make sure there is ample room around the slides on the paper to record all necessary notes. 2. 5. 1 Recognising and recording the main points You should not try to write down all the lecturer’s words. Aim to record in your own words the main points and key information. The structure will be available for you if you use Powerpoint slides, or prepared lecture notes. If these are not available, you need to recognise this structure and build it into you lecture notes. 11

Overall, the lecture will be largely structured around main points and sub-points. You need to build this outline into your notes. If you are using linear notes, you can underline the main points, indent the subpoints, and use numbers for the ‘sub- sub-points’, and so on. As well as the structure of ideas, information that makes up the lecture serves different purposes. Following are some of the purposes, which the lecturer will usually signal with language phrases (examples of language signals are in brackets): • Introducing main points: should be recorded in abbreviated form. “The first main point concerns…”); • Rephrasing of main points: help you to understand, but do not need recording. (“So, what I’m saying here is that …”); • Illustrating points: do not need recording. A key word in your notes may remind you of the example. (“An example that comes to mind is …”); • Digressing: does not need recording. Places the point into a larger context, perhaps adding interest to the lecture (“An interesting aside at this point is…”); • Moving to the next point: lets you know that the following information is key to the topic, and you should record it. “Following from …, the next main point is …”); • Summing up main points: not necessary to record. (“To sum up what I’ve been saying, …”) The lecturer’s voice and body language which accompany the language cues will help you to recognise the purpose of the information in the overall lecture structure. For instance, for a main point, this may mean: • A pause before beginning; • Emphasis in the lecturer’s voice; • More formal body language. In contrast, the language style for less important examples and digressions may be more informal and colloquial, and the body language more relaxed. 2. 5. 2

Using abbreviations A system of note taking abbreviations will mean that you are not constantly writing words in full. Examples of abbreviation techniques include: • Shortening words. For example, the word ‘consumer’ used often in marketing can be abbreviated to ‘consmr’, ‘dev. ’ for develop, and so on. • Use mathematical signs, such as =, +, …, arrows, for example, for ‘increase’, or down for ‘decrease’. • Use for change 2. 5. 3 Learning styles An implicit point from our discussion above is that different students feel more comfortable with particular approaches to, and styles of learning.

For instance, some students require quiet environments for their study, while others prefer to listen to music as they work. Some students prefer to learn from written materials, and complement this with their lectures, tutorials, and electronic learning materials. Other students prefer to focus on the electronic, and to complement it with other forms of learning. Similarly, some students prefer to begin their study from a broad, or global perspective of the topic, while others prefer to begin with the details, and build up to a global view. 12

It is useful to try out different ways of learning, so as to broaden your study approach. If you have previously learnt mainly from reading and note taking, complement this with discussion with classmates, and use of electronic learning resources. If you have previously mainly focused on the details of a topic, try to place these into a global perspective of the topic, and if you initially take a global view, complement this with the topic details. Regardless of what your preference is, it is important for you to exercise independence and self reliance, and try to establish your own learning style.

The best way to develop and assess what learning style to adopt should be based on the extent to which it helps you to function in your studies with meaning and understanding, so that you can integrate, critically analyse and apply information and ideas effectively, and achieve the highest possible results in your assessment work. On the other hand, independence and self reliance in study also mean that you recognise if your learning style is ineffective, and you are not understanding or performing well in your units of study.

While at times lecturers or tutors may alert students to their inappropriate styles, in the end, the onus is on students themselves to reflect on and develop appropriate learning styles. On campus learning and personal support staff (see link in Introduction) are also available to assist students requiring help with particular issues or challenges. 2. 5. 4 Managing visual and spoken information Many students find it difficult initially to balance the lecturer’s spoken language with the written information on overhead slides.

We emphasise again that it is not necessary to write down all the lecturer’s words, nor all the information on the overheads. Only the key information is usually required. To cope with both sources of information, it is useful to decide from which of these you gain the most, and use this as your main source. The other can then be used to deepen understanding, and as back up. For instance, if you are most comfortable with the visual information on slides, base your note taking on this, and use the spoken text for more detailed information.

On the other hand, if you are more comfortable with the spoken language, use the visual to help you discern the main points and key ideas. 2. 5. 5 Losing concentration in the lecture The key point here is not to panic. If you lose the thread of the lecture, simply leave a space, and continue taking notes from that point on. You can check your text, or fill in the details from a friend’s notes after the lecture. 2. 6 After the lecture Knowledge in your units of study is developmental, meaning that understandings build on those presented earlier.

It is therefore important that you keep up to date with your understandings of the topics and the unit overall. If there are concepts or ideas about which you are unclear, you can follow these up in your study group, from the text, or from your tutor’s consultation time. Try to make summaries of your lectures, either after the lecture, or at the end of the week. Not only is this a way to check that you have understood the lecture, it will also be useful in preparation for your exams when you need to review all the material covered in the unit. It will save you time in the long run.

You can make lecture summaries by: • Writing a half-page summary; • Making dot point lists of the lecture; • Drawing a diagram or mindmap of the main topic, sub-points and so on. 13 2. 7 Tutorials and your learning Tutorials are one of the other important ways through which you learn in your university studies. Just as it is important to attend the lectures, you also need to attend tutorials. In fact, many units allocate some assessment marks for attendance and participation. The tutorial usually is a group session, where the leader for the session is the tutor.

Students are usually expected to participate in the tutorials by entering into the discussion and experiential activities. The key to being able to participate is being prepared for the topic. Depending on the nature of the unit, preparing may mean: • Reading, making sure you understand the concepts, ideas and theories; • Completing exercises; • Being prepared to discuss issues and answer questions; • Being prepared to make comments and ask questions. Initially, many students sometimes find it difficult to participate in tutorials.

For instance, students with English as a second language may feel that their accent and expression styles are different from native English speakers, and so may be hesitant in speaking in tutorials. It is useful to remember that you are not alone and that many students, including local students with English as a first language, also find it difficult to participate in the beginning. Despite initial feelings of un-ease, you do need to learn how to participate by developing questioning, answering and commenting skills that are suitable for tutorial discussion.

This will help you develop oral communication skills that are most important for the workplace when you graduate. The most significant point is to try to express your point clearly. This is more important than having absolutely faultless English grammar and syntax. When you have developed confidence in expressing yourself, you can then seek to tighten up on grammar. If you feel shy about participating, the best way to prepare yourself is to think of likely questions, and compose answers to these before the tutorial.

You can never predict the exact questions that will be asked, but thinking in this way helps you to develop a flexible approach to the information of your study. In study groups with your class mates, you can practise asking questions and providing answers. You then need to be alert for opportunities in the tutorial to participate. It may mean letting your tutor see that you want to respond or comment, by, for instance, looking alert, sitting forward, or raising your hand.

It is also important to approach tutorials as spaces where students and teachers are aware, respectful and considerate of others, and every member’s contribution to the learning environment is valued. 2. 8 Reading in your study Reading is another important way that you learn at university. The purpose of your reading can be to overview information before a lecture, to prepare for a tutorial, to read widely on a topic, or to find specific information for an assignment topic. Regardless of your purpose, an active rather than a passive approach is required.

An active approach, in the first place, means that you read in a way for your particular purpose. For instance, if you are reading for an overview and therefore to acquaint yourself with main ideas, you read differently from if you are reading to understand material fully and in great detail. Overall, we may say that reading in your studies is for the following purposes: • Reading to comprehend. (“What is the writer saying? ”) • Reading for integration of ideas, critical analysis and evaluation. (What is the writer doing when they are saying it? ) 14 Both types of reading are required, and are interrelated.

For instance, you cannot integrate ideas and critically analyse a view expressed by a writer in a written document if you do not understand or comprehend the view being put forward. Regardless of the purpose, both types of reading require you to overview your document first. This will provide you with a framework, or structure, for the details that follow, thus helping you to maintain concentration and get the most benefit from your reading time. Surveying or developing an overview, means that you: • Read the title, headings and sub-headings throughout the piece. • Read the Introduction and Conclusion to the piece. Read the headings and sub-headings throughout the piece. • Think about/form a preliminary view of what the article is about. • Use this information to form a framework for your more detailed reading. 2. 8. 1 Reading to understand or comprehend “What is the writer saying? ” After surveying the piece as we have explained above, you then need to read in detail to understand the writer’s point of view. Rather than just reading and absorbing the information in a passive way, you should always be asking yourself: “What is the writer saying/what is the writer’s point here? A point may be expressed in one paragraph, or may cover a couple, or several paragraphs. This means that you are following and understanding the development of the writer’s viewpoint. Sometimes reading material can be expressed in very academic and sophisticated language. It will help you to understand if you try to decode the writer’s point, and express it to yourself in simple language. In your note taking, you extract and record the main ideas and key points. You should try to express these in your own words, rather than simply highlighting or underlining them.

Extracting the key information requires you to understand the material, and this helps to maintain your concentration as you read. If you are making notes from a written source (e. g. book or article) you should include the following information, which is required for referencing purposes: 1. Name of author 2. Publication date 3. Title of the text 4. Name of publisher 5. City of publication 6. Page numbers. Software, such as EndNote, is available from the library to help you manage and use your citations throughout your studies. 15 2. 8. 2 Reading for critical comment

When you understand the view that the writer is presenting, you are able to look at it from a critical and analytical perspective. In a succinct form, critical comment is based on the following question: “What is the writer doing when they are putting forward information? ” This means being able to evaluate the view, in relation to your assignment task or topic. Questions you can ask yourself about the piece include: • What was the writer saying? • What were the writer’s findings? • In what ways are the writer’s views similar and different? • What does such similarity and difference mean? In what areas would the research and the writer’s views not apply? • Do the writer’s views and findings apply to the task? • In what ways/to what degree are the writer’s views relevant for the task? • If so, how are the writer’s findings relevant to the task? • If not, why are the findings not relevant to the task? • Based on your reading, what do you think about the similarities and differences in the reading? Separate your notes from your personal comments. Given that you may look back at your notes, it will be impossible for you to distinguish your comments from your notes, so keep them separate.

Write a summary of your notes, or draw a diagram of the structure of the lecture. This will ensure that you understand the points and their inter-relationship as presented in the lecture. 2. 9 Checklist for studying faculty units and courses It is important that you study to ‘understand’ and be able to apply information and ideas to a range of situations. To be able to do this, you need to approach your studies in a way where you look for links in, and across, the content of your units. This contrasts with merely trying to memorise information, or learn by rote.

While it is necessary to learn some processes and concepts for your units of study, a memorising approach on its own will not assist you to do well in your studies. It will also be difficult for you to be motivated. Studies show that students who look for meaning and links are more highly motivated than those who do not, and therefore are better placed to do well in their units and courses of study (Biggs, 2000). • Establish semester and weekly timetables for your study. Allocate time in your weekly timetable for keeping up to date with your studies, and for completing your assignments. Be prepared to study six days per week. (Remember, you should be devoting 2–3 hours of private study for each hour you attend in the lecture or tutorial. ) You can then plan ahead to have your assignments completed by the due date, and keep up to date with your weekly study. • You should also, in due course, be working through past exam papers to give you insight into the relevant standard of work to help you to revise for the exam. Reference: Biggs, J. (2000), Teaching for Quality Learning at University, Open University Press, Buckingham. 16 Chapter 3

The research process: A basic guide Introduction The aim of this section is to introduce a process for planning and conducting efficient and effective research that will save you time and effort in locating and using information to complete your assignments. The following sections provide a general introduction and key points. For more information and advice, including details of information skills and learning skills training sessions, consult staff at a library information desk, or refer to the Monash University Library home page: http://www. lib. monash. edu. u/. The library information desk staff can advise on which particular resources are most relevant for your topic. The library also conducts a range of information skills training sessions, including: library familiarisation tours; using the catalogue; effective database searching; researching on the Internet; undertaking thesis literature reviews; and using EndNote software. 3. 1 The research process The research process consists of seven steps: 1. Understand the assignment topic/question(s) 2. Decide what sort of information you need to complete the assignment 3.

Decide where to look for this information 4. Develop and use a search strategy 5. Evaluate the information found and revise the plan as necessary 6. Presentation 7. Final evaluation 3. 1. 1 Step 1: Understand the assignment topic/question(s) Clarify terms or concepts in the topic in order to ensure a clear understanding of what you are required to do. What type of assignment is it? Is it an essay, case study, literature review or a report? Consult the following sources: • Text books specified on your unit reading list • Business encyclopedias and dictionaries. e. g.

International Encyclopedia of Business and Management, and The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Management (which is also available online) • Lecture notes and unit Web pages • Your tutor or lecturer An assignment topic may consist of a number of questions. Treat each question as an individual search for information. This will make your research more manageable. Be aware of any limits that apply to the topic/question, for example, “the Australian market”, or “trends over the last five years”. For some assignments you may be required to develop your own questions, or to choose your own topic. . 1. 2 Step 2: Decide what sort of information you need to complete the assignment • The information you require may include: definitions, news reports, company financial information, demographic statistics, macroeconomic data, country information, legislation, legal commentary, information on industry/market trends, business case studies, theoretical perspectives. 17 • Brainstorm to identify what you already know about the topic, and to pinpoint gaps in your knowledge. • Decide what level of detail you require – brief or in-depth.

This will depend on the required length of the assignment and relative weighting given to different parts of the topic within the assignment. • Usually you will need a variety of information types to appropriately respond to a question, for example: Apply theories of conflict resolution and give practical illustrations of their application. • Your lecturer may require you to use specific kinds of sources (for example, “refer to at least eight academic journal articles”). • Bring a copy of the assignment question with you when seeking help at a library information desk. . 1. 3 Step 3: Decide where to look for this information Except for the simplest of questions (e. g. obtaining a definition), you will usually need to refer to a range of information resources. The resources below can be accessed via the library home page: http://www. lib. monash. edu. au/, which includes links to the catalogue and the database menu. Types of resources provided by Monash University Library: • Reference – includes encyclopedias, dictionaries, statistics, legislation and cases, handbooks and atlases. To find them, search the library catalogue. Journals – articles and information on specialist topics, many of which can be accessed on the Internet via the library databases. • Books – including textbooks and academic titles. Use the library catalogue to find them. An increasing number of books are available online, via the library catalogue. • Online reading lists – electronic versions of lecturers’ reading lists, including links to full text journal articles and book chapters. • Internet sites – the library selects and provides access to academic quality Internet sites via the catalogue and library web pages. Databases – most heavily used for searching for journal and news articles. The full range of specialist business and economics databases includes company information, industry reports, country reports, legal materials, statistics and economic data. Almost all of these databases are available online. The following step in the research process focuses on the basic principles of database searching. 3. 1. 4 Step 4: Develop and use a search strategy for database searching The most heavily used library databases provide access to journal and news articles, which are key information sources for many assignments.

Effective and efficient database (and catalogue) searching depends on using an effective search strategy. This involves planning the search in an o


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