All entries for Wednesday 26 January 2005

January 26, 2005

Assignment queries: word count

Follow-up to Preparation for week 14 seminars from Christine's blog

"I'm finding it difficult to cope with the word count. Getting as far as stage one and two I have written 500 words. This is even more disturbing when you consider 70% is on stages six and seven.

Appendices are not coming naturally; they ruin the flow of the report. I'm also unsure what (and not) to put in them.

Any suggestions? "

70% is for the SSM work itself and suggestions as to how best to proceed in further study or data gathering that you would advise in your 'OR role'. You will not be able to give a descriptive account of all the work that you do. You will need to present your most valuable/key findings reached by the end point of your study.

You do not need to include a description of the techniques of elements of SSM models, you can assume that the reader is familiar with these.

You might find it useful to reflect upon your process of modelling and using SSM in a separate section, for the 30% that this attracts. Again the tight word count calls for skill in evaluating key significant observations and evaluating these insights. In this part you can change from a report- writing style to use of the first person,, and use of the appendices will become easier. If you make a claim about gaining a new understanding with use of a model, try to convey the original idea and any contrasting idea with some evidence from an extract of work done.
As I mentioned if you note down ideas as you work through your assignment in your blog, the data is there for you to use – remember it is possible to mark an entry as 'for your eyes only' if you wish.

Sometimes having a record of what you find difficult to understand , or some doubts as to how carry out a task, can be valuable to go back to. At a later point in time you you might notice that you have overcome these difficulties and then you can reflect upon what you have learnt in between. This is the value of a learning diary and portfolio of work.

Try to relate your learning points to the field of OR as you see it, or perhaps make brief reference to key points inthe wider literature here if you so wish.


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  • These are roles –which may be attributed to the same group. The key question for @customer' is ' who… by on this entry
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