Database Modelling & Analysis

Database Modelling & Analysis

This assignment is intended to be a reflection on the activities undertaken in class: Lab Activities 1 and 2 on Spreadsheet Modelling & Analysis and Lab Activities 3 and 4 on Database Modelling & Analysis. The purpose of the assignment is to produce a management report which compares and contrasts the business uses of Spreadsheets and Databases with respect to the following:

1. Type of modelling allowed (20 marks)
2. Type of analysis allowed (20 marks)
3. Strengths and weaknesses (20 marks)

Presentation: structure of the report and quality of the writing (40 marks)

Deliverables

Your final report should be in the format of a management report. Detailed guidelines on how to write a management report for this assignment are provided in the Appendix.

Part 1 €“ Type of Modelling Allowed

Reflecting on the models developed in class, discuss the types of business problems that can be effectively modeled using Spreadsheet and Databases drawing comparisons between the types of modeling allowed by these tools.

Part 2 €“ Type of Analysis Allowed

Building from the analysis carried out in class, discuss the types of business analysis supported by Spreadsheet and Databases drawing comparisons between the two tools.

Part 3 €“ Strengths and Weaknesses

Compare and contrast strengths and weaknesses of Spreadsheets and Databases in business applications.

Conclude with a final recommendation on the business use of Spreadsheets and Databases.

Recommended word count: 1200-1500 words.
Appendix

WRITING A MANAGEMENT REPORT
(adapted from Mike List)

Managers are busy people so therefore you must encourage them to read what you have written. You must enable them to easily absorb the material. Thus organisation and presentation are vital.

Your report should include the following:
€¢ Executive Summary €“ this is an overall summary of the purpose, approach and findings of your study. It should be about a page long.
€¢ Contents €“ do this last so your page numbers are accurate.
€¢ Introduction €“ this introduces the study, provides a background or rationale for the report etc. Be brief.
€¢ Assessment & Discussion €“ you should start with a main section describing the three parts of the study. You should then produce three sub-sections aIDressing parts 12, 2, and 3 of the assignment.
€¢ Conclusions
€¢ Recommendations
€¢ Appendices €“ Useful for including supportive material not directly referred to in your text.

Hints on writing a report:
€¢ Write impersonally, and therefore never use I.
€¢ Be clear and concise in the way you write. Short sentences and paragraphs are better than long rambling ones. However do not make the sentences too short or your piece of work will look like a series of notes. It is a question of balance.
€¢ Good grammar and punctuation, correct sentence and paragraph construction are all a must’.
€¢ To avoid using wrong words and making spelling mistakes, refer to a dictionary. Never hand your work in without first doing a spellcheck.
€¢ Use appropriate and clearly labelled tables, charts, graphs etc. These will convey your information more clearly than lengthy text. However, you must ensure that you make reference to them, that you explain what they show, and that they are fully integrated into the report.
€¢ If you include a chart or table in your report, use it, refer to it and comment on it. Charts are meant to support your text, so those that are not referred to misdirect the reader and make your report look unprofessional.
€¢ If used, ensure that sources, quotes, statistics etc. are properly attributed by referencing as footnotes or annotating them and then placing them in a reference list at the end of your report. Use the Harvard style, i.e., Davis K. (2007) Business Information Systems. Pearson, Prentice Hall
€¢ Be prepared to produce a number of drafts. You are not going to get it right first time. Make sure you don’t contradict yourself in different parts of the report.
€¢ Decide on your format and style before you start writing. Use the same font, page layout, colour etc. Also, decide on a style for the any charts included and stick to the same format to make your report look professional.
€¢ Proof read the final version and make sure it is what it is supposed to be i.e., a management report. Imagine handing this piece of work to your own manager at work €“ would they consider it a good piece of work? Does it have a uniform style and is there consistency of data?

important!!
1) The assignment is mainly intended to assess your ability to produce a business management report of good quality. It is then mainly intended to be an essay and does not need to be deeply technical (we have thoroughly assessed your technical skills in the 2 tests already). Presentation (i.e. the quality of the writing and the structure of the report) accounts for 40% of the assignment marks.

2) You may focus your work on one paricular organisation, different organisations or you may choose to provide general examples.

3) For the modelling part my advice would be to provide examples of the business problems/situations that an organisation may represent in a spreadsheet and in a database. You would need to include details of the variables that you would include in the models and show how they relate to one-another. e.g. a sales model in a spreadsheet and a customer details model in a database

4) For the analysis part I would advise you to focus on the organisation’s perspective and discuss how the organisation would make use of the models once they have them implemented. E.g. sales analysis and reporting or consumer behaviour analysis

5) For the strengths and weaknesses of spreadsheets and databases, due to the limited word count I have told some students that it is ok to include a table that summarises strengths and weaknesses but you don’t have to necessarily include a table, you can discuss them as part of the report if the word count permits.

6) Regarding the word count there is a bit of flexibility, the 1500 words is the recommended word count, which would include everything except any appendices

 

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