How do I write a good introduction?
Most of the types of texts/assignments you write for university need to have an introduction, to show the reader clearly what the topic or purpose of the whole paper is. As a rough guide, an introduction might be between 10% and 20% of the length of the whole paper.
An introduction is usually one paragraph with 3 main stages:
- It begins with the most general information, like background and/or definitions.
- The middle is the core of the introduction, where you show the overall topic, purpose, your point of view, hypotheses and/or research questions (depending on what kind of paper it is).
- Finally, the introduction ends with the most specific information: a guide to the scope and structure of your paper. This is often a list (e.g. “The issue will be considered in terms of economics, politics and culture”), or a plural (e.g. “This issue will be discussed with reference to three important economic causes.”).
Note: If the main body of your paper follows a predictable template, like the Method, Results and Discussion stages of a report in the sciences, you often do not need to include a guide to the structure in the introduction.
It is sensible to write your introduction after you know both your overall point of view (if it is a persuasive paper) and the whole structure of your paper. Alternatively, you should revise the introduction when you have completed the main body.
For more on this topic, see the links on the right...
Assessment 1: Weekly Quizzes (10%)
This assessment is aimed at growing your knowledge of the management discipline in preparation for assessments 2, 3, 4 and 5. From Week 2, MindTap will host 11 weekly text-based multiple choice quizzes (best 10 counted). Each quiz (starting with the week 1 and 2 topics) will assess material covered in the associated topic and will provide you with the opportunity to test your learning and identify areas that require further study. This will help you prepare for the current tutorial topic, assignments and final examination at the end of the semester. Attempting online quizzes in a timely fashion (before and during the topic week) is recommended as the relevant quiz will close after the topic is completed.
Assessment 2: Tutorial Participation and Preparation (10%)
This assessment is aimed at growing your knowledge of the management discipline and your awareness of academic and management competencies in preparation for assessments 3, 4 and 5. You are expected to attend all scheduled tutorials prepared to discuss your thinking concerning the questions outlined in the tutorial timetable (see tutorial workbook).
Participation marks (5%) require you attend tutorials and preparation marks (5%) require you to work in a group of 5 and give a presentation in the Week 6 tutorial (see Tutorial Workbook). Permission for any variation is generally only given for medical or compassionate reasons. All such requests must be emailed to the lecturer in charge and should be accompanied by documentary evidence from a social service professional (e.g. doctor, counsellor or psychologist). Each request will be assessed on its merits.
Assessment 3: Individual Assignment (15%)
Submit electronically through MyUni. Turnitin similarity software will be utilised to indicate potential plagiarism. Due before 5.59pm, Sunday 3 April. A 5% of mark awarded per day late penalty will be applied to late submissions.
This activity is aimed at you becoming aware of and engaged with academic literature in the management discipline while developing the skills necessary to become a critical consumer of others’ work.
Research published in most academic journals goes through a process of “blind review”, whereby a number of experts assess the merits (strengths and weaknesses) of a paper prior to the editor accepting it for publication. This process is generally “double blind” where neither the author(s) nor the referees know one another’s identity. For this assessment you are required to select and review an academic paper and provide a succinct and constructively critical review of its content. You can choose any scholarly paper for your analysis but it must be in line with the themes covered in the early course lectures. It is important for this assignment that you understand how to effectively use library resources. You may also find the Academy of Management Journal website useful for generally understanding the review process. It is recommended you discuss your chosen paper with your tutor to ensure it is a paper which explores what is and why or how one of the following concepts is relevant in a business context:
- Managing and/or management
- Teamwork and/or teams
- External environment and/or culture
You are required to unambiguously insert a working hyperlink at the start of your submission so your marker can easily access the paper you have selected to review. The maximum length of your review is limited to 750 words so you must think carefully about choosing your words while developing your meaning(s). Note the use of 3 references (minimum) in the text of your review which you must detail in a reference list using the Harvard referencing style (the reference list is not counted in your 750 word limit). The review you submit should have 3 sections comprising approximately 250 words each and use the following section headings with a word count at the end of each section.
Section 1: The Paper’s Theoretical Development and Contribution (250 words)
In this section you should constructively critique the theory development of the paper. Some questions that you may reflect on include:
- How well does the paper summarise a matter of conjecture or debate in the relevant academic literature?
- Does the paper provide an adequate summary of the literature to date? (Here, you might like to provide a couple of references to relevant papers that the authors have not included in their paper).
- Does the paper bring together a new understanding of managerial phenomena that has not been put forward by other authors (i.e. is there something novel and original in the paper)?
Section 2: The Paper’s Development of Empirical Evidence (250 words)
The progression of science (including social sciences like management) is based upon the analysis of evidence. Good academic work will assemble and analyse evidence with great care. For the evidence to be useful it should have some wider applicability (i.e. it should provide generalisable results) and the study should be able to be replicated by another researcher. You can choose a qualitative (case based) or quantitative (numbers based) paper, but a knowledge of statistics is not a pre-requirement for this course and critiquing statistical methodology should not become a major focus of your review. Some questions that you might reflect on for this section include:
- If the paper is based on case evidence, is the case a useful one for this research? Is the case unusual in such a way that the evidence is highly specific to the case and not relevant elsewhere?
- If the paper is based on quantitative data (for example from a survey) are you confident that the survey has been well administered and is representative of the population under analysis?
- Have the researcher(s) taken care in assembling evidence? Are you confident that they have asked the right questions to the best respondents in the organisation/industry under investigation?
- If the case is based on secondary data (for example, an analysis of newspaper articles or other secondary materials) might there be some systematic biases present in the dataset (for example, SMEs are not as well reported as large firms)?
- Is the case study material or quantitative data analysed appropriately and well? Is the analysis something a journalist would do, or does it follow good academic processes?
Section 3: The Paper’s Contribution to Better Managerial Practice (250 words)
In this section, you should assess the importance and relevance of the paper’s contribution to the improvement of managerial practice. Some questions that you might reflect on for this section include:
- What contribution to better managerial practice and/or better organisational and social outcomes does the paper provide?
- What is interesting about the paper that is important for management, organisations and society?
Assessment 4: Group Assignment (25%)
Case studies are an effective way to learn about complex issues. By using a real-life example, you will be able to identify multiple managerial issues relating to the material you learn in this course. There will be multiple ways to interpret a case. The purpose of this assignment is to formulate an argument which identifies what should be done, why it should be done, and using ample case evidence (in the form of citations, facts, figures, etc.) to support your argument. This project is about making sense of actual managerial issues, applying the theories and frameworks you have learned in this course, problem solving and decision making in complex situations, coping with ambiguities, working in a team, and reinforcing the research and writing skills you acquired from the Individual Assignment, including referencing.
There are two components – a written report (15%) and a group presentation (10%, in Weeks 10 and 11 tutorials, see more details in Section 9). To produce the report, you need to download and read the case study on MyUni, work in groups of 4 or 5, write a five-page (Times New Roman or Arial, 12 pt, 1.5 lines) business report using the appropriate headings and sub-headings.
Your report should include:
1. Introduction: Identify the key management issues from the case and identify your audience, i.e. who are you reporting to (shareholders, the board of directors, management, employees, etc.)?
2. Analysis: Conduct a brief analysis using the theories and frameworks from the class to explain the causes and outcomes of the issues you identified in the Introduction.
3. Alternative solutions: Drawing upon the concepts learned in this course, formulate feasible solutions and identify the pros and cons of each.
4. Recommendation: Select one single solution that resolves the key problem, identify the action plan that should be taken, the risks to your recommendation, and how these risks might be mitigated.
5. Desired state: From a management perspective, outline the ultimate goals that you wish to achieve and specifically relate these to your recommendation.
6. Reference list
As part of the University’s SGDE requirements, your group needs to select a mentor to guide you in developing your assignment and there is the expectation your group will formally meet with your mentor twice during the semester. Your mentor can be either an academic in the University (i.e., the School of Marketing and Management), or a practitioner from the corporate world (e.g., a business manager). You are required to include your mentor’s name, qualification/position, and contact information (phone or email) as an attachment at the end of your submitted report. The role of your mentor is to guide your understanding of research and practice in the management discipline being a source of uncertain and contestable knowledge. The role of your tutor is to guide your understanding of the material learned in this course and how it can be applied to the case, as well as to guide your understanding of the performance criteria applied to assess this group task. Your role in this activity is to utilise the resources made available in order to apply yourself to the best of your abilities towards maximising the performance of your group. Thus you are expected to actively participate in all aspects of the assignment (e.g. in research, analysis, critical thinking, group work) and so provide a foundation for the development of skills, competencies and abilities required in your ongoing studies and managerial practice. More on the rationale for and aspects of working in groups can be found at Group Work at Adelaide University.
Once your group report is complete, one group member will submit ONE group file electronically through MyUni>3610_COMMGMT_1001>Course Assessment>Assignment 4. Turnitin similarity software will be utilised to indicate potential plagiarism (see Section 5.4 for similarity restrictions). Due before 5.59pm, Sunday 29 May, 2016. A 5% of mark awarded per day late penalty will be applied to late submissions.
Assessment 5: Final Exam (40%)
This assessment is aimed at testing your understanding of knowledge in the management discipline and capacity for logical, critical, and creative thinking. The examination will be held during the scheduled exam period. The contents of the exam will cover material discussed in the lectures and tutorials and the exact form of the exam will be discussed in the second half of the semester.