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Critical Appraisal of Software Tools in a Commercial Environment

MSc Information Management Software Tools.

Critical Appraisal of Software Tools in a Commercial Environment

Learning Outcomes

•    Use project management software
•    Model linear programming solutions using appropriate software.
•    Analyse, interpret and present the results of statistical analysis using industrial standard software.
•    Develop models for forecasting problems using appropriate software.
•    Analyse data requirements and implement an OLAP cube solution.

Assignment Weighting

This assignment comprises 50% of the total assessment for this module.

Assignment task

For this assignment you are asked to compile a report of approximately 3000 words, discussing the use of management software tools in a business or commercial environment and identify how they can be used to aid management decision making at both strategic and operational levels. Your report should identify particular issues which may arise from the use of such tools within an organisation and suggest how these might be overcome.

You should consider some of the information management software tools which you have encountered during the lectures/tutorials( Microsoft project, solver in excel and database using access) and show how these could be introduced into an organisation with which you may be familiar or of which you may have experience.

You should also carry out research into available commercial linear programming software products and compare and evaluate their use e.g. by benchmarking them for particular applications. Refer to manufacturer’s specifications or relevant academic papers as appropriate.

Assessment Criteria

The report will be assessed on the following areas:

1.    An abstract summarising the purpose and content of the report (10%).
2.    An introduction or background to the issue (10%).
3.    A critical analysis of the available literature and data (50%)
4.    Findings and conclusions (20%).
5.    Appendices – references etc. (10%).

Submission/Guidance

The report should be submitted as a Word document of approximately 3000 words following the structure given via Blackboard using the Turnitin link provided.
The submission date is as shown on Blackboard. In the event of it being necessary to print out your submitted work please ensure that all pages have your name and student number as a header/footer and that all pages are numbered. Also please ensure that the standard feedback sheet is included at the front of your submission and the student section is complete. This will be used to provide feedback to you.
Given the time scale and the need to obtain ethical approval for primary research, you are required to undertake secondary research only i.e. research using data from other sources.
The abstract should be completed after the research and report is completed so that it encompasses all aspects of the report including the findings..
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Marking Scheme

The Academic Handbook identifies the appropriate level as displaying mastery of a complex and specialised area of knowledge and skills and demonstrating expertise in highly specialised and advanced technical, professional and/or research skills.

Grade A (70-100%)

The submitted work demonstrates a complete understanding of the topic and is substantiated by factual accuracy, relevance and depth of analysis. The work is professionally-presented, logically-structured with persuasive arguments and draws on research and sources mostly beyond those to which the student has been directed in the lectures and tutorials. At the top end of this band the work is of publishable quality. The introduction presents a clear background to the topic and sets the scene for the research. The literature review is deeply critical and analytical of the data. The finding and conclusions will draw together aspects of the research and present logical inferences with clear arguments and cogent reasoning. Relevant information is contained in the appendices with clear relevant referencing. An excellent distilled abstract is presented; crisp and concise.

Grade B (60-69%)

The submitted work shows a high level of understanding of the topic and is accurate, relevant and shows good analysis. The work is well structured, well-presented and draws on research which some of which is beyond that covered in the lectures and tutorials. The topic is presented with clarity in the introduction. The literature review contains aspects of critical analysis. The finding and conclusions will draw together aspects of the research and present logical inferences with valid arguments and cogent reasoning. Relevant information is contained in the appendices with relevant referencing. A good abstract is presented.

Grade C (50-59%)

The submitted work shows a reasonable understanding of the topic and is mostly accurate, relevant and shows some analysis. The work is structured and draws on research which is covered in the lectures and tutorials. The introduction presents a fairly clear background to the topic and sets the scene for the research. The literature review is critical in parts but lacks the analysis associated with the higher grades. The finding and conclusions are based on aspects of the research and present arguments which may be drawn from the research. Relevant information is contained in the appendices with some appropriate referencing although this may not be complete. The abstract is relevant and contains most aspects of the report.

Grade D (40-49%)

The submitted work shows some understanding of the topic, but contains errors and omissions. Mostly the work is relevant although it tends to be more descriptive than analytical. The work is structured and may draw on some which is covered in the lectures and tutorials. The introduction provides some background to the topic and sets the scene for the research. The literature review lacks aspects of critical and analytical treatment of the data. The finding and conclusions present logical inferences with some cogent reasoning. I information contained in the appendices is mainly relevant. The abstract contains some key points.

Grade E (35-39%)

The submitted fails to show understanding of the topic, and may contain significant errors and omissions. The work shows some relevance to the question and tends to be mainly descriptive rather than analytical. The work shows some evidence of structure and is mostly confined to materials which is covered in the lectures and tutorials. The introduction provides a flavour of the topic but is not complete. The literature review is more of a narrative that being critical. The findings and conclusions tend not to be based on the arguments or the literature review. The appendices lack relevance. The abstract tend to contain many irrelevancies.

Grade F (0-34%)

The submitted fails to show understanding of the topic, and contains major errors and is incomplete. The work is largely irrelevant to the question and is entirely descriptive. The work is mostly unstructured and is confined to material which is covered in the lectures and tutorials. The introduction is largely general and lack specific. The literature review is poor and contains irrelevant information. The finding and conclusions fail to draw together aspects of the research and there are few logical inferences and no clear arguments and cogent reasoning. The appendices are largely irrelevant. Poor abstract.

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