Site contents (sorted alphabetically by title):
Dead link warning
Some of the links on this site take you to pages in a variety of locations around the world. I have no control over them. The average life span of sites on the Web is around 45 days. There are not enough hours in the day for me to run around checking every international link on every web-site every morning. Consequently, it is quite possible that some of the links will be dead when you get to them. If you find such a dead link I would be grateful if you would let me know: J.Ramsay@staffs.ac.uk
How to make an entry in a reference list (J. Ramsay)
How to write business reports
If you are unsure about the details of business report writing, you may like to invest in Morton, G., Effective Business Writing: Principles and Applications, Harcourt Brace, Orlando, 1996
Review: This text is American, consequently some of the language used has to be translated back into English. However, it is an extremely clearly written book that covers an enormous number of topics including basic things like the use of verbs, and how to construct paragraphs. It also covers the usual skills of letter writing (including how to write job application letters). If your need is more pressing than that, you may find this site useful:
How to write a business report - (Kenneth Beare)
The following link takes you to a document offering examples of different methods of criticising the published work of others:
Critical literature review techniques - (J. Ramsay)
Warning: the links below take you to the views and procedures of other universities. These are not offered because we think you should follow their procedures slavishly, but because these sites also contain general information about how to read and write in a critical manner. So, ignore the detailed procedures and read critically (see the critical reading link!) looking for the general information:
Writing Critical Literature Reviews -
An, College of Education,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
See also the 'critical reading' link below.
The words people use to express their ideas frequently have a persuasive effect that the unwary reader may fall prey to without realising that they have been subjected to persuasion. The following extract from an excellent text by D. McCloskey illustrates one example of this kind of effect:
....Wesley Clair Mitchell wrote, “it must never be forgotten that the development of the social sciences (including economics) is still a social process. Recognition of that view….leads one to study these sciences…[as] the product not merely of sober thinking but also subconscious wishing”…The passage contains at least these half-spoken hierarchies ready for liberating deconstruction (reading back to front, the terms in square brackets being those implied but not mentioned): sober/subconscious; thought/wishing; products/[mere ephemera]; sciences /[mere humanities]; study/[beach reading]; one/[you personally]; leads/[compels]; view/[grounded conviction]; sciences/[mere] processes; development/[mere chaotic change]; and must/[can]. The first term of each is the privileged one…Mitchell is …claiming the commanding heights of compelling and grounded conviction, not the soft valleys of merely gently leading ‘views’. Literary people speak of “deprivileging “ the superior term in such pairs....(p. 16)
McCloskey, D., (1998), The Rhetoric of Economics, The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, USA
Moral: Be careful out there and keep your wits about you. Language is not simply a neutral medium of information transmission.
Constructing a sound argument - (J. Ramsay)
Critical thinking skills - (Critical Thinking across the Curriculum Project, Longview Community College)
Reading critically (Writing
An overview on how to adopt a more critical approach in your reading, thinking and writing - (J. Ramsay)
There is some more critical reasoning material on this sister site:
Reasoning skills - (J. Ramsay)
If you are trying to find out what a word means in English, then try this:
Warning: This is a link to an American site, so remember that although the grammatical rules are the same, the meaning and spelling of some of the words they use over there differ from those in Standard English. (see English-American dictionaries)
Powerpoint makes the creation of bullet-lists particularly easy and thus encourages their use. However, if your presentations consist mainly of bullet-lists of information the end result will be extremely boring for the audience.
The trouble with Powerpoint
Bullet-lists are particularly problematic, but there are many shortcomings with Powerpoint in general. These have been discussed in detail in an essay called ‘The cognitive style of Powerpoint: Pitching out corrupts within’ written by Edward Tufte.
However, there is an interesting commentary on the essay here:
and a good (ironic) bullet-list summary of it here:
One of the reasons why Powerpoint and bullet-lists are so seductive in teaching is that it is possible to turn almost anything into a bullet-list. You can find one famously amusing illustration of this point here: http://norvig.com/Gettysburg/ (NB this particular example, although pretty damn funny, does not have the resonance for us that an American audience might experience, since I understand that many of them believe it to be an outstanding example of high quality America-English prose, and will even have memorised it at school. Absolutely finally, if you want to have a look at an intermittently humorous video illustration of the bad use of Powerpoint, then try this link and see if any of your slides are similar:
Here is a presentation called: Presentation skills for Business
For some more ideas on how to do presentations with slides but without bullet-lists try this one:
This is a good example of how to do it without any slides at all:
If you like looking at other people’s presentations you might like to look at this site:
Finally, here is an example of a presentation created by some SU students where the material was screaming out for bullet-lists, but they managed to devise a whole range of different ways of presenting it that made the whole thing much more interesting for the audience - bullet-list avoidance example.
If you would like to obtain an alternative piece of software that approached presentations in a radically different way to Powerpoint, then try this: http://prezi.com/
If you have occasion to search the British press for data the following sites may prove useful:
Using Google to access academic work
Google have a facility for searching only academic sources. It is called Google Scholar. You are an intelligent person; go and find it.
The following links may be of use as a starting point if you are searching for news-based material relating to real business cases:BBC news ITN CNN Reuters Times Guardian Observer Independent Sunday Times Daily Telegraph Financial Times Wall Street Journal Newsearch(Google) NewsNow Search engines looking at newspapers and magazines only (JournalismNet) NB the mass news media are routinely riddled with various biases that undermine the reliability of their reports. If you are of the opinion that the last statement is fatuous or exaggerated then I recommend that you have at look at this site and read some of their empirical work: The Glasgow Media Group
Research design and methodologies
This link takes you to a site with a lot of further material on learning and assessment techniques: Brainware
This site is primarily dedicated to helping students to improve their learning and thus grades, but there is a sister site containing information on teaching at this URL:
One of the biggest waves ever seen in the British isles (2006).
New record wave in December 2007: http://forum.surfermag.com/forum/showflat.php?Number=1282086
Following the publication in 1985 of Michael Porter's microeconomics textbook 'Competitive Advantage: creating and sustaining Superior Performance', the concept of 'value' swept through several academic fields including, most notably, Marketing and Strategy. In the former it generated a host of deeply confused discussions about customer value and in the latter it spawned much specious pontificating about the bizarre metaphor of value chains. This discussion paper 'The trouble with Porter' considers what 'value' might actually be, and concludes that there can be no such thing as a value chain. NB Students: it is not a formal academic paper, and should not be used a source of reference in assessed academic work, It is just intended to make you think. The arguments it contains may be incorrect! Are they?
This formal, published academic paper that can be quoted covers some of the same arguments:
Full-text, pre-publication versions of some JR papers:
Trope Control: The Costs and Benefits of
Metaphor Unreliability in the Description of Empirical Phenomena
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introductions, better conclusions, study skills, writing skills referencing
skills, how do you format reference lists, format bibliographies, do I have
dyslexia, coping with dsylexia, dyslexic essay skills assignment, writing
skills, writing techniques, critical reasoning skills, constructing arguments,
logical arguments reason argument, improving my interview technique