Resources Blog Tutoring Contact About Subscribe Login

The JAM Structure for Business Management IA and EE Writing

The JAM structure is a simple, three-step framework you can use to improve the quality of your writing in IB Business Management. 

JAM stands for Justification, Analysis and Mini-conclusion

Since I first created this framework (way back in 2009) it's become very popular with IB schools around the world. It works really well because it helps you (and forces you) to do a couple of things that you wouldn't normally do, which can dramatically improve the effectiveness of your writing. It raises your grade because it forces you to show your thinking and mention why the tool or model is appropriate and then to also observe what the analysis has revealed.

Let's say you’ve chosen (as your IA question) to explore whether a restaurant should relocate from one shopping mall to another one. The second location is more popular, but also more expensive, so you'll need to analyze the opportunity in a few different ways. 

In the weakest IAs and EEs the student seems to have decided their answer even before they looked at any tools. They are going directly from the Research Question to the Conclusion, without really using the analysis to get there. Instead we want to see that your conclusions come from the analysis --that you couldn't answer your question without using some tools from the course. The JAM approach reassures us that you relied on the models. 

To get from your RQ to your answer you obviously use tools. But you need to use them in a particular way to show your thinking. Here is what you do each time you come to a model: JAM!

Step 1: Justify

Justify the use of this model. Why do you need to use this tool (SWOT, a Break Even analysis, or Ratio Analysis) to answer your Research Question. Make it clear that you are doing a SWOT analysis because a SWOT is necessary to answer this particular question. The insights a SWOT analysis provides are essential when dealing with a question like this because... Or, tell us why a current ratio is particularly useful in answering this question. Sometimes this step reveals to you that there actually isn't a great justification for using this tool, so you'll need to either switch your tool to one that's more useful or just figure out how to clarify the usefulness of the tool. 

Step 2: Analyze

Fill in your model. What does the SWOT (or Break-even or Ratio Analysis) say? Work it out. What are the organizations' Strengths, Weaknesses, etc. 

Step 3: Mini-conclusions

After you’ve done your analysis, make sense of it for the reader. What conclusions can we draw in general and most importantly, what does this model tell us about the answer to our Research Question? Just looking at this model, should the business relocate or not? What part of the analysis gave you that insight? Is there an assumption or limitation in this tool (i.e. limited available data?). 

Connect your mini-conclusion for this model to the mini-conclusions you have made from your other models. If you keep doing this (connecting your mini-conclusions, making comparisons as you go, synthesizing and making sense of it as you go), by the time you actually get to your final conclusion, the result will be obvious and your argument will be strong and balanced.

There is a saying in journalism that goes like this, "Tell'em what you're gonna tell'em, then tell'em, then tell'em what you told'em." It is a fail-safe approach for clear communication and basically what we’re trying to do here. You're building an argument. You're showing that your thinking process is organized and clear. And that makes it convincing.

This approach also works well because we get to see you thinking things through for us (the reader). We can see that your conclusions really are coming from your tools, how they are supported by your analysis and how strong you feel that support is.  


Tim is available for private tutoring every day, to support you in your Business Management writing. He's a very experienced Business Management teacher (a fully IB-trained teacher and 12+ years of IB teaching experience). 🚀 Click here to meet with Tim on Zoom and talk through your work. 🚀

Tim can also help you master quite a few other aspects of the IB Diploma Program, including Theory of Knowledge, Economics, Global Politics, History, English and College Admissions essays.