NOTE: In this handout the term organisation refers to any financial services provider or government agency.
Carrying out your investigation
This handout covers the Developing stage of your investigation. This involves meeting the brief you have developed by carrying out your plan.
Like the Planning stage, you have to write up your findings from the Developing stage of your investigation. Your report should be 2,500–3,500 words and should contain four main sections:
A detailed explanation of how the issue affects the organisation or organisations/customers chosen. The explanation should be justified by explicit reference to the data collected and to concepts covered as in the mandatory units, or relevant optional units, of the group award. The explanation should be consistent with objectives set at the Planning stage.
Analysis of the primary and secondary sources of information and data collected.
An assessment of the implications of these effects for the chosen organisation or organisations/customers should be analysed in relation to the organisation(s), the financial services environment and the impact upon customers and should make reference to concepts and topics studied within the mandatory section of the group award.
A statement of the conclusions drawn from the investigation and any appropriate recommendations to be made to the organisation(s). These should be explicitly related to the issues being investigated and the needs of customers.
Your report should consist of 2,500–3,500 words, and must be presented in a format suitable for a business report. You must include a contents page, a summary of findings, acknowledgements and references. Your evidence may be supplemented by evidence provided orally by yourself in a discussion with the lecturer. If this is done, a record of the main points of the discussion should be recorded.
You must continue to maintain your log, which must record any activities undertaken, resources used and time allocated. You should also record deviations from your plan and keep a reflective record of what things worked, what did not and what problems you encounter. You should retain evidence of your progress and experience of the Development stage of the investigation and your own personal development. This will support you in the Evaluating stage by matching your experiences against the plan.
This handout looks at each of these sections. It concludes with some comments on writing up your report.
You will see, as you read through, that there is no requirement to describe in detail how you actually carried out the investigation.
Section 1 — How the issue affects your chosen organisation or organisations/ customers
Section 2 — Analysis of the primary and secondary sources of information and data collected
In this part, you should explain how the issue you have investigated affects the organisation or organisations/customers you have studied. You are required to make reference to the data that you have collected and it is therefore likely that you will incorporate the data analysis within this section.
You must justify your explanation by making explicit reference to:
both primary and secondary data that you have collected and analysed
concepts you have covered in the mandatory, or financial services related optional, units of the group award
For example, if your investigation sets out to identify advantages and disadvantages of something, then this section of your report will summarise the advantages and disadvantages that you have found during your investigation. For each one, you should explain why it is an advantage or disadvantage.
You should support your explanation in three ways:
with data (for example, positive responses to a survey)
by reference to relevant concepts that you have studied in the mandatory units as part of the group award (for example, something may be an advantage because it is consistent with the predictions of a theory or with research evidence)
your explanation should be consistent with the objectives created in the Planning stage
You may find it helpful to present some of your data in appendices and refer to them in the main body of you report. Appendices do not count towards the overall word limit.
Section 3 — An assessment of the implications
In this part, you should assess the implications for your organisation(s) of the effects you have discussed in the first part (Stage 1 and 2) of your report. You must focus on the impact upon customers. The possible implications will vary from project to project, and may involve some speculation, but where possible should be grounded in specific evidence.
Section 4 — Conclusions from your investigation
In this final section of your report, you should summarise the conclusions you have drawn from your assessment in Section 3 on the previous page.
You must make sure of two things:
your conclusions and recommendations follow directly from your investigation
your conclusions and recommendations are directly related to the needs of customers
One way to present this section is to list your conclusions and recommendations and show how each follows from your investigation and, where appropriate, how it relates to the needs of customers.
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