I have found that the biggest challenge my students are having, in terms of scoring the top marks in the Business IA, is related to their use of analytical tools.
(For a step-by-step explanation of everything you need to include in your Business IA, use this page.)
You have a Research Question and you’re trying to arrive at your answer. A very common mistake is that students do a lot of analysis, but they don’t connect it properly to the Research Question (RQ) or to their Answer (Ans).
I have wracked my brain to make this more straightforward and I’ve come up with the following diagram, which you can follow to make your IA analysis a more straightforward process. If you follow it, it should raise your performance in several aspects of the IA Business rubric.
By this point, you have chosen an appropriate RQ. if you aren’t sure about that, I recommend reading this article first (and follow the '4 tests' it advises to check your RQ). So now you know that you need to do a few things. You need to get an answer to your RQ, you need to do a lot of analysis and you need to do a lot of research. Where most people go wrong is connecting these things properly. For example, many students Answers (their Findings) are not clearly related to their analysis at all. There is no clear link between their analysis and their eventual Answer. By following the model I’m suggesting you won’t make this mistake.
1 Connect your analytical method (i.e. PEST, Decision Tree) to your RQ. Make it clear HOW this method is needed if you are to answer your question. Again some types of analysis will be more suitable for your specific RQ. You cannot simply do any old type of analysis. It is important that you do the right type of analysis, the analysis that answers your question.
2 Perform the analysis correctly (and carefully), showing you know the purpose of it. Be very careful to do a correct job of using the model. Fill in all of the boxes (i.e. of your SWOT), or carefully do your NPV calculations, explaining your work as you go.
3 Finally, after you have completed each method, comment on your findings in a way that relates directly to your Answer. Do briefly after each analysis (i.e. after your IRR calculation and after your Boston Matrix). You don’t need to tell us everything that you’ve just shown us. Just summarize the main findings which relate to your Answer. The idea is that, by the time we get to your actual final conclusion, your conclusion is actually obvious to the reader. This makes for a good report, which would be more useful to your manager because you’ve shown the manager, step-by-step
1) Why this analysis is necessary,
2) What the analysis shows, and
3) How that analysis relates to what the Business should actually do. You have therefore made it easy to understand and more convincing.