Ow can leaders lead when they donat know what to expect? Illustrate your answer by using a carefully selected case-study.
1. What makes a good essay?
Answer the question.
Think thoroughly and carefully: what exactly is this question asking?
Do not simply state your opinions or beliefs. Make your argument, explain your
reasoning and substantiate it.
Provide analysis and show critical thinking, not just description. A prA©cis or summary of
literature on a topic is NOT an answer to a question.
Define and explain all theoretical concepts used.
Leave out everything that does not pertain directly to the question (i.e. donat put in
everything that you know about a topic, only what is relevant to the argument you are
making in answer to the question).
Use the literature. Embed your answer within existing arguments and positions and
evidence. How does what you want to say relate to what others before you have said? If your answer is taking one side in a debate, make this clear and identify the opposing view in the literature and show why you think the arguments put by those whom you are criticising are weak ones.
Use case studies or other empirical evidence: Some questions ask you to compare carefully selected cases. The word limit allows you only enough space to compare more than two or three in sufficient depth. Other questions do not specify the kind of empirical evidence you should offer. But for every question you are expected to support your argument with analysis of empirical cases. Use diagrams and/or statistical tables if they are essential to supporting the argument.
Case selection: explain the principles on which you selected the cases (organisations, industries or fields of services, reform initiatives, countries) you use to illustrate your argument. If the question asks for a comparison between two or more cases, then show why the cases chosen are relevant ones for comparative purposes, to answer the question set. Consult the PowerPoint presentation on case selection on the QMplus site for the module under a?Module Informationa? to help you to think about which cases would be most relevant for your argument.
Stick to the word limit!
Structure: introduction, body, conclusion
Introductory paragraph: announce what you are going to argue.
2nd paragraph: structure of the essay.
Make your points (no more than three); new point, new paragraph.
Conclude, reiterate your argument and add any further conclusions to your research.
Use sub-headings to divide up the text.
Put the essay question on a cover sheet at the beginning.
Use Garamond or Times New Roman font in 12 point.
Double space the text and references.
Referencing can follow either Harvard or Chicago rules, but must be consistent. Two
useful resource on referencing are the following:
List of references of works actually cited at end (i.e., not a bibliography). Do not include works that you have not cited.
Paginate and provide a word count.
2. The guidance provided in the syllabus requires that you use a case study of some kind, and that you explain the methodological principle of case selection on which you chose it. It also requires that you show extensive and careful use of the literature throughout the assignment.
So my advice would be think very carefully about the quality, the detail and the authority of your sources before choosing a case to examine in detail in your assignment.
A case that is in the news at the moment might be worth mentioning in passing to illustrate a particular point. But if it is in the news because a story about it has only just broken and at this stage the claims made have not been fully investigated, have not been the subject of any published inquiry report or any further examination even in official sources, then all you will have to go on will be news reports based on whatever snippets the journalists have been able to glean. That could make for quite weak authority for your sources case study. Moreover, in analysing your case to answer the question, you need to code the details of the case in ways that directly address the question set. For that task, you need a case on which you have sufficiently detailed information to enable you to code it fully using as many of the concepts used in the theoretical and conceptual frameworks taught as possible. It is often quite difficult to find enough information in journalistic pieces about a current example in the news.
Certainly, there will be older cases for which you can find reports of official or semi-official but authoritative inquiries, where the reports give you the quality and detail of evidence which you need, and occasionally even cases which have been the subject of very high quality investigative journalistic work over a long period. Those might well be useful as a case examined in peer reviewed journal articles.
But, whatever case you finally select, the key issues on which your assignment needs to be convincing are the following questions:
is this a case OF the right kind of thing for the question being asked?
is the quality of the data about it sufficient to support my argument?
is the source for the data sufficiently authoritative to bear the weight of the claims I need to make for it, for my argument?
can the information available about the case be coded convincingly, using the evidence available, to sustain analysis using the theoretical or conceptual frameworks either taught or suggested in the literature about the topic?
If you can confidently answer each of those questions in the affirmative, then it will not be crucially important for your assignment whether the source for the evidence about your case is official or academic or of some other authoritative and thorough kind.