Category Archives: Academic Paper

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Isaac has worked as a staff nurse on the telemetry floor for over 15 years. He holds seniority in the unit. His patient care is satisfactory; however, his interpersonal behaviors are becoming an increasing issue for his coworkers. He throws papers around the unit, gives short answers to questions, and seems generally miserable. He tells the staff that they are lazy and stupid. He is constantly questioning their decisions. You have come from another local hospital in the role of the assistant nurse manager. Based on your observations, you have met with Isaac informally and discussed his behaviors, but they have not changed. Now three new nurses have already come to you saying that this unit is a great match for them, except for one problem. Although they have not identified Isaac by name, they have told you that one of the nurses is extremely abusive verbally, and they have been calling in sick on the days they are scheduled to work with this person.

  1. What are your responsibilities as an assistant nurse manager in regard to Isaac’s behavior problem?
  2. What is the next step in dealing with Isaac’s behaviors?
  3. How will you, as the manager, have Isaac develop more effective people skills?



This is your first position as a nurse manager. The holidays are rapidly approaching, and the hospital policy states that each unit will negotiate holiday coverage individually. You are already getting requests via e-mail and on Post-it notes for holiday time. Several staff members have come to you stating that they “never” seem to get their requests for holidays. Discussion among the staff members is creating dissension and conflict.

  1. Discuss the potential impact of this problem on you and the unit staff.
  2. Describe a minimum of one positive consequence and one negative consequence of this conflict.
  3. Select a model of conflict resolution and explain how you, as a nurse manager, might resolve this conflict.

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Length: 2500 Words

Participants are required to adhere to the following points:

  • An introduction and conclusion is not required
  • Keep to the recommended word limit for each question
  • Support your assignment with a minimum of twenty contemporary (< 5 years old)

medical and nursing articles

  • Reference all work using either American Psychological Association (APA) or modified

Harvard for academic writing

  • A pass in all questions is required to gain an overall pass mark
  • Refer to the marking criteria for allocation of marks.


Kerry, a 68 year old female weighing 76kg, is admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

with Community Acquired Pneumonia (CAP).

On admission her initial observations were:


  • Temperature 386 degrees Celsius
  • Heart rate 110b/min
  • Blood Pressure 110/60mmHg
  • Respiratory Rate 36b/min
  • Oxygen saturation 89% on a non-rebreather oxygen mask
  • Auscultation of lung sounds revealed decreased air entry on the left
  • Arterial blood gas: pH 7.25, PaCO2 62mmHg, PaO2 70mmHg, HCO3 26mEq/L, SaO2


  • GCS 11 (E3 V3 M5)


Question One (500 words)

Refer to Kerry’s assessment findings above, and outline the rationale for the decision to

intubate and mechanically ventilate. Your answer must include a systematic analysis of the

arterial blood gas and a discussion of the pathophysiology of community acquired



Question Two (650 words)

Outline the mechanical ventilator settings that

might be suitable for Kerry. Provide rationales for your choice of settings. Your outline

must include the following headings:


  • Mode (e.g: Synchronised Intermittent Mandatory Ventilation; Spontaneous; Controlled

Mandatory Ventilation)

  • Breath Type (e.g: Volume Controlled Ventilation)
  • Rate
  • Tidal Volume / Minute Ventilation
  • FiO2
  • Positive End Expiratory Pressure/ Pressure Support
  • Triggering / Sensitivity Mechanism
  • Alarms

Kerry was commenced on 0.9% Sodium Chloride infusion at 100mls/hour and a

Noradrenaline infusion. Her current observations are:

  • Temperature 39 degrees Celsius
  • Heart rate 128 b/min
  • Monitoring sinus tachycardia
  • Blood Pressure 85/55 mmHg
  • Central venous pressure 7 mmHg
  • Capillary refill > 2 seconds
  • Urinary output 20mls in the last hour.


Question Three (750 words)

Rationalise Kerry’s assessment data and her intravenous therapy provided above, in

relation to the determinants of cardiac output.


Question Four (600 words)

Discuss the nursing management of Kerry using only two of the following headings:

  • Oral care and eye care
  • Positioning
  • Communication
  • Co-ordination of care to allow rest and sleep

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Porter’s Value Chain Analysis

Porter’s Value Chain Analysis (Level 1 heading – 3 to 6 pages)

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Start with an opening paragraph (or two) that previews the information included under this Level 1 heading. (1⁄2 to 1 page)

Based on the team’s research, apply Porter’s Value Chain model to the business. Describe (i.e., do not just list) the information systems used by the business that most likely will have strategic impacts on the support and primary activities. If the organization of analysis is a sub organizational unit within a larger organization, then the research team needs to decide whether to apply the model to the entire organization or the sub organizational unit. Also, the Research Team may want to support the narrative with a graphic as an appendix that depicts application of this analysis (Note: Do not include the graphic within the text).

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The Learning Set dialogue this week will focus on further problematising your individual workplace-based problem, based on the theories and concepts from the week’s readings.

Approach this week’s Learning Set Participation with a full understanding of the operation of judgmental traps and individual biases within a business context. Start with the Bazerman and Moore (2008) and Drummond (2001) texts as they provide an overview as does the article by Hammond, et al. (1998) from Week 1.
The de Bono Group website provides a cognitive method approach to problem solving to avoid judgmental traps. De Bono suggests that decision-makers think about problems, opportunities, and risk in several different ways before making a decision, i.e. exhibiting balanced judgment.

Use your own research into de Bono’s method to further influence your Learning Set Participation this week as you are asked to consider your identified workplace-based problem through the use of two specific “hats” to shed new light on the problematising process. In turn, your Learning Set members will provide additional insight using another of the “hats.”

After completing the readings, engage your Learning Set members by answering the following:

  • Describe a time professionally where you have made a judgemental mistake. In hindsight, what biases or judgemental traps were evident in your mistake? How could you have counteracted the decision error?
  • Re-describe your CAL Project workplace-based problem for other Learning Set members by using two of de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats, first with your Red Hat on, then with your Black Hat. If you could only have either the ‘black hat’ or the ‘red-hat’ in making important decisions in solving this problem, which would you choose and why? How would each particular hat affect the outcome of your problematising endeavours?
  • In your response to a colleague, research de Bono’s other ‘hats’ and provide an additional insight to his or her Red Hat and Black Hat posts through the use of one of the remaining thinking hats.


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Assignment 2

Due: see the due date on e-learning

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It is WMU’s ongoing effort to recruit and retain students. President Montgomery asked your help to find ways to attract additional 500 students in 12 months starting 7/1/2018. Since state funding has been shrinking, there is not much money available for this project. There may be many ideas to accomplish this goal, and several of them can be done concurrently. In order to control the scope of this assignment, you will work on only one idea. Keep in mind that your idea should be implementable, with a clear result, and does not use tons of money (unless you have also identified funding sources for your idea).



  1. Project scope statement
  2. Project requirements (business requirements, quality requirements, functional requirements, non-functional requirements, etc.) Clearly list these requirements in sub-sections.
  3. Your idea in detail.
  4. Double-check if your project constraints cover all three aspects of triple constraints.
  5. Assumptions must be reasonable. If they incur extra cost just to implement your project, then your project is not going to be feasible.
  6. Project risks. Make sure major project risks are included.
    Keep in mind that project risks are those issues that may happen during the project life cycle (i.e., there is a probability for a risk to happen). You will be able to manage them before they happen and when they happen. This is the reason for the risk management plan in later chapters.
  7. WBS (see breakdown techniques in KCH11)
    1. Feel free to present your WBS in bullet points or a hierarchical chart.
    2. WBS must have at least three levels of the breakdown below level one.
    3. Double-check if further decomposition is still needed for tasks at lowest level of WBS. Pay attention to the following rules we have discussed in KCH11 when determining if a work package needs a further breakdown:
      1. Do you think the actual work can be clearly defined at this level? If not, break it down further.
      2. Do you think a clear picture of budget can be defined at this level? If not, break it down further.
  • 80-hour rule
  1. Is the duration longer than the reporting period? Let’s assume that we need to report our project progress once a month.
  1. Each WBS item should be numbered.
  2. Pay special attention to the 100% rule. Points will be taken off if the WBS has missing tasks for the scope.
  1. Project schedule in MS Project. Note the following requirements for the schedule.
    1. Before working on this item it is very important to practice the exercises in the CCH book. Chapters 4, 5 and 6 are most related to this item of the assignment, but chapters 1 – 3 are there to get you ready for these later chapters.
    2. Make sure the project plan is complete (resources are assigned, durations are estimated, task dependencies are defined, etc.)
    3. Most students find it very useful to use automatically scheduled tasks for ALL tasks in the project plan. See the textbook or search online for how to set all tasks to be automatically scheduled BEFORE you enter the first task.
    4. There should be some resources that work less than 100% of capacity on your project. Build this into your project plan in MS Project.
    5. Define a resource named John Wilson who works in the morning only (8 a.m. – noon) during the weekdays.
    6. Define a resource named Jane Smith who has multiple off days in her calendar.
    7. Define Joe Johnson who works 10 hours a day Tuesday through Friday, but has Monday off.
    8. There should be cost resources defined and used.
    9. July 4th is a holiday. Make July 5th and July 6th non-working days to give the team a longer holiday.
    10. All resources defined should be assigned to one or more tasks. Some tasks may need multiple resources.
    11. Additional pointers and reading (CCH book):
      1. See p. 85 for how to handle equipment resources.
      2. See p. 61 for more about how task duration can be more accurately measured. Ask yourself what the 8/80 rule is.
    12. Paste a screenshot of project statistics (e.g., duration, start date, end date, cost, etc.) to MS Word. See CCH 1 & 2 for details.


  1. Submit both MS Word and MS Project files to the Dropbox area on e-learning.


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Student Name:                                                         Student ID:                                      

 Group:                                                                        Date:                                                

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Assessment Coding

Assessment for this unit of competency is based on competency based grading. All assessment tasks, except Practical Observations and Clinical Placements are weighted and graded. Overall final grades applied to this unit of competency are:


Competency Not Achieved (CNA)


Competency achieved – graded (CAG)


Competent with Credit (CC)


Competent with Distinction (CDI)


Competent with High Distinction (CHD)



Any re-assessment is conducted as soon as practicable after you have been informed of the requirement to be re-assessed and have been given the opportunity to be re-trained and assimilate the training. You are re-assessed only in the areas your assessor deems that you have not met the required standard. It is at the assessor/s discretion to re-assess the entire assessment should it be demonstrated an overall understanding of this unit has not been achieved.


Reasonable Adjustment for this unit College Based Workplace Based
Assistance of a learning support teacher for LLN issues Choose an item. Choose an item.
Modifications to physical environment, e.g. wheelchair access Choose an item. Choose an item.
Changes to course design, e.g. instead of written assessment task – change to verbal questioning & assessor to write the answers Choose an item. Choose an item.
Changes in lecture schedules and arrangements, e.g. relocating classes to an accessible venue Choose an item. Choose an item.


I acknowledge the assessment process has been explained and agree to undertake assessment.  I am aware of Careers Australia’s appeals process, should the need arise.  I also understand that I must be assessed as ‘satisfactory’ in all parts of the assessment to gain a competent result for this unit of competency. I declare that the work contained in this assessment is my own, except where acknowledgement of sources is made. I understand that a person found responsible for academic misconduct will be subject to disciplinary action (refer to student handbook).

Student  Signature:­         





Assessor use only

Assessor Comment/Feedback:    ­                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Assessor Name:   ____________________   Assessor Signature:  ________________


Date: _________________      Result:   _________%


Resubmission:   YES / NO           Due Date: ________________


Office use only:

Results entered by:  


Date:   Skills Centre:  









ASSESSMENT:               Research Project


PASS RATE:                   Candidate must obtain 50% (CC) or greater to pass.

WORD LIMIT RANGE:   2,000 – 3,000 words (no more) 





  • You MUST answer all the questions, except 2.1 as it is an optional task.
  • Use the templates provided.
  • Read the whole assessment at the end of the first class.
  • This assessment is to be done IN PAIRS. Educators will allocate the pairs.
  • You will be marked individually.
  • Do not wait until the last minute to complete the assessment as this is a time-consuming assessment – you should start as early as possible.
  • You may use the PowerPoints for this unit, your Tabbner’s textbook and the learning activities to help you complete the assessment.
  • You are required to communicate verbally and/or in writing with your educator throughout the assessment to ensure you understand the process and to clarify any areas of uncertainty.
  • You are required to apply your Professional Standards of Practice throughout the written and oral components of this assessment:
  • ANMC Code of Conduct
  • ANMC Code of Ethics
  • NMBA Enrolled nurse standards for practice
  • State/territory Nurse Regulatory Nurses Act
  • State/territory Nursing and Midwifery Regulatory Authority Standards of Practice
  • Scope of nursing practice decision making framework
  • You are also required to apply an appropriate research approach to nursing practice within the scope of the Enrolled/Division 2 Nurse and use nursing research methodologies and resources appropriately.
  • You will need to provide the exact number of words at the end of the proposal. Word count does NOT include:
  • Responses to tasks 2.1 & 4.2, and
  • The pre-existing templates, instructions and questions.






The research proposal must address the following topics:


1.    Research topic
1.1         In order to complete this assessment, you will need to identify a research question/hypothesis related to a specific topic, such as:


                   Infection control


You may choose a different topic, but your educator must agree with the topic you have chosen.


Your nursing research question or hypothesis may include:


½        Nursing interventions applicable to the topic

½        Client perceptions of the provision of this topic

½        Models of nursing care that utilise the topic

½        Political issues confronting nursing practice and health care provision in relation to the topic


An example of a question (the student can NOT use this example), would be:

Does hand washing among healthcare workers reduce hospital acquired infections?


An example of a hypothesis (the student can NOT use this example), would be:

It is the hypothesis of this experiment that bacteria will be best cleaned off when they are washed with chemicals like soap or hydrogen peroxide and the hands are then drying on a sanitary object like clean paper towels.


It is necessary to apply critical thinking skills to formulate a research question/hypothesis. In order to do this:

½        Have a sound understanding of what best practice is

½        Consider if best practice is being applied. If not, identify the specific areas where best practice standards are not being met

½        Drawing upon your knowledge, identify the impact of these gaps on healthcare outcomes for the client

½        Formulate a question/hypothesis based on your considered approach to minimise the impact on the client and improve knowledge/skills of the healthcare professionals.














2.    Definition of key terms
2.1         THIS IS AN OPTIONAL STEP INTENTED TO HELP YOU RESEARCH YOUR ARTICLES. NO MARK ALLOCATED TO THIS TASK. Identify the key terms of your research topic. Give a synonym or variation of the term and provide a definition for each using the table below.



Key term Variations or synonyms Definition

High blood pressure


HTN, hypertension, elevated blood pressure


BP > 139/89 mmHg

















3.    Research question/hypothesis and its purpose
3.1       Write a clear statement highlighting your research question or hypothesis, e.g. “is there a difference between hand washing protocols and actual practice”.
3.2    Identify the role and the six (6) steps of the evidence based process. You may refer to
3.3         Explain whether or not the future results of your study might contribute to evidence based practice.
3.4         Briefly explain how your research will contribute to nursing practice and continuous improvement programs, e.g. better enforcement of hand washing protocols leading to decreased number of nosocomial infections.
3.5         Identify ONE (1) member of the multidisciplinary healthcare team who would contribute to your research. Briefly explain his/her participation in the study.
3.6         Contact your educator and discuss your Research Topic and verbally gain confirmation that you and your partner are on track.
4.    Literature review  


4.1         You are now to conduct a literature review.


½        The aim of your literature review is to ‘demonstrate in a rigorous way the background of the subject under discussion, and in many cases establish a justification for the need to research the particular topic.’ (Richardson-Tench et al. 2014, p. 46)

½        Include three (3) articles in your literature review.

½        Articles must be published in professional journals. Please find below the pyramid of evidence – this is a guide that may help you throughout your project. You may also refer to your learning activity (session 2, activity 5).


½        Hierarchy of nursing research evidence:

1.    Systematic reviews and meta-analysis

2.    Randomised controlled trials

3.    Cohort studies

4.    Case-control studies

5.    Cross-sectional surveys

6.    Case reports


½        To determine the quality of a research article:

1.    Ensure authors/researchers are credible

2.    The methodology or study design must be appropriate for the study

3.    Clear data collection and data analysis processes

4.    The findings should be effective and feasible

5.    No breech of ethical guidelines

6.    Limited/no financial or commercial bias


½        You may use the suggested articles found in your learning activities.

½        You may access the JBI and EBSCO databases from your Blackboard page.

4.2         Provide the reference for each article following Harvard System of Referencing. The reference list must be at the end of your project. Use Appendix C.
4.3         For each article, highlight the main hypothesis or research question raised by the authors.
4.4         For each article, write a brief analysis of how your study will build on these results or further contribute to literature surrounding your topic.
4.5         Contact your educator and discuss your Research Topic and verbally gain confirmation that you and your partner are still on track.




5.    Methodology, data collection and analysis method
5.1         Describe the data that will be collected, e.g. blood pressure, blood samples, etc.
5.2         Identify the most appropriate research method you would use to address your research topic. Indicate whether you choose to undertake a mostly quantitative or qualitative study. Explain your response.


5.3         Briefly describe the type and the size of your study population including inclusion and exclusion criteria, e.g. 200 women aged 60 or above (excluding men).


5.4         Identify the most appropriate method(s) of data collection for your research, e.g. survey, questionnaire, interview, etc.


5.5         In contribution to improving health promotion programs and best practice in nursing, your participation in this study is to identify THREE (3) questions you would include in the questionnaire or interview designed to gather the data required for your study.
5.6         Identify the method you will use to analyse your data, e.g. statistical analysis. Briefly explain why.
5.7         Identify TWO (2) potential uses of the data, e.g. updating hand washing guidelines in your workplace.
5.8         Name ONE (1) document you would study to ensure you are following the statutory requirements for data collection and documentation.


6.    Validity of the research
6.1         Identify and list the dependant and independent variables of your study. Include social, personal, socio-economic, physiological, emotional or physical variables.
6.2         Identify TWO (2) obstacles to your study and provide ONE (1) solution for each.

Obstacle 1:


Obstacle 2:


6.3         Identify ONE (1) strength of your research tools or methods in relation to validity, e.g. large sample size.
6.4         Identify ONE (1) weakness of your research tools or methods in relation to validity, e.g. lack of accuracy of measuring tools.
6.5         Identify and briefly outline ONE (1) strategy you could use to strengthen the validity of your study, e.g. applying for authorisation to access latest measuring tools.



6.6         List TWO (2) questions that can be used to help evaluate the quality of the study.
7.    Ethical, cultural and religious considerations
7.1         Identify ONE (1) physical and ONE (1) emotional effect the study may have on the life of the participants’ relatives and loved ones. Provide ONE (1) solution for each of their need.


·         Physical need:

·         Solution:


·         Emotional need:

·          Solution:

7.2         You are proposing to collect data from participants during the study. Discuss the potential cultural and/or religious considerations you need to anticipate to ensure you always follow ethical guidelines, e.g. special considerations for specific ethnicity.
7.3         While researching and participating in the study, it is absolutely necessary that you apply the Professional Standards of Practice. They include:


□    ANMC Code of Conduct

□    ANMC Code of Ethics

□    NMBA Enrolled nurse standards for practice

□    State/territory Nurse Regulatory Nurses Act

□    State/territory Nursing and Midwifery Regulatory Authority Standards of Practice

□    Scope of nursing practice decision making framework

□    All of the above


7.4         Identify (TWO) policies and/or procedures you need to be familiar with while applying for and conducting research according to: .
7.5         Obtaining ethic approval before you start your research is a compulsory step of the process. Identify the institution that would ensure your study has received ethical approval.


7.6         Briefly discuss how you would ensure all research staff apply their duty of care throughout the study.
7.7         Briefly discuss how you will maintain the confidentiality and privacy of the participants.



8.    Schedule, funding and dissemination of research
8.1         Develop a summary of your study timeline. Use the table provided in Appendix A.


8.2         Elaborate a simplified budget for your research. Use the table provided in Appendix B. Explain where you would apply for funding.
8.3         As you are participating in research in order to work toward continuous improvement programs, you will need to share your findings within the workplace / industry. Briefly describe the method(s) of dissemination of your findings, e.g. articles, newsletters, conference, etc.





9.    Reflection

9.1         You are now at the end of your research proposal. You have been working on this project with another person as a team. Discuss how you planned and executed equitable team work and collaboration.















TOTAL WORD COUNT:  ___________

Time Research stage Actions taken
Week 1 E.g. Proposal developed E.g. Literature review, budget, filling out funding/grant forms, etc.


Week 2  




Week 3    
Week 4  


Week 5    


Week 6  




Appendix A – Research timeline (you may need to add or remove weeks)





Appendix B- Research budget






(rent of office space, maintenance, etc.)


☐  < $500

☐  $500 – $ 2,000

☐  $2,000 – $5,000

☐  > $5,000

Research meeting expenses


☐  < $500

☐  $500 – $ 2,000

☐  $2,000 – $5,000

☐  > $5,000

Office equipment and supplies

(printing & photocopying)


☐  < $500

☐  $500 – $ 2,000

☐  $2,000 – $5,000

☐  > $5,000

Communications costs


☐  < $500

☐  $500 – $ 2,000

☐  $2,000 – $5,000

☐  > $5,000

Staff time

(professional and support, including benefits)


☐  < $5,000

☐  $5,000 – $ 20,000

☐  $20,000 – $50,000

☐  > $50,000

Travel and transportation


☐  < $500

☐  $500 – $ 2,000

☐  $2,000 – $5,000

☐  > $5,000


(how will it be published or distributed, e.g. rent for conference room)


☐  < $500

☐  $500 – $ 2,000

☐  $2,000 – $5,000

☐  > $5,000

TOTAL (approximate amount) $_____________



The research project will be assessed using the marking guide. This is an individual assessment.



Research Project marking guide


Criteria Percentage

·         Information presented was relevant and accurate

·         The student demonstrated a good understanding of the principles of nursing research

·         All questions were answered

·         Comprehensive & addresses all the requirements

·         Research question/hypothesis clearly stated





·           The student communicated with the educator, both verbally and written, throughout the process

·           The student followed educator’s recommendations

·           The student proactively sought explanations and clarifications when necessary

·           The student negotiated project organisation, ideas and research approach with project partner and educator when necessary




Time management

·         The student paced themselves throughout the assessment.

·         The assessment was submitted on due date.




Sentence  & Grammar

·         Clearly conveys concepts

·         Spelling grammar, punctuation and logical structure




Overall Appearance & Layout of Material

  • The student used the provided templates
  • The students followed the project order
  • Appropriate Harvard style referencing
















Marking guide Rubric for Research Project

Criteria Percentage Fail Pass Credit


Distinction High Distinction




Research Project did not include relevant or accurate information. No evidence of research. Appeared unprepared.

No understanding of research concepts.

No research question.

Research Project included basic information. Evidence of minimum or no research. Appeared unprepared.

Limited understanding of research concepts. Research question poorly formulated.

Research Project included basic information. Evidence of some research. Appeared unprepared.

Basic understanding of some research concepts.

Research question unclear.

Good Research Project of relevant and accurate information. Evidence of some research. Well prepared. Sound understanding of research concepts. Research clearly formulated. Excellent Research Project of relevant and accurate information. Strong evidence of extensive research and preparation. Very good understanding of research question. Research question very clearly formulated.
Communication 15% Demonstrates little to no evidence in communicating the purpose of the research project.  Did not engage with educator and project partner nor verbally or in writing. Demonstrates basic understanding in communicating the purpose of the research project.

Basic engagement with educator and project partner.


Demonstrates an above average understanding in communicating the purpose of the research project.

Good engagement with educator and research partner. Communicate verbally or in writing to obtain educator’s approval of research topic.

Demonstrates a high level of understanding in communicating the purpose of the research project.  High level of communication with educator and project partner. Communicate verbally and in writing with both educator and project partner. Demonstrates a very high level of understanding in communicating the purpose of the research project.  Excellent level of engagement with educator and research partner. Is proactive to communicate verbally and in writing throughout the project with both educator and project partner.


Time management




Did not pace themselves appropriately and had multiple delays. Project not submitted on time. Submitted assessment on time. Did not pace themselves consistently throughout the project and had to rush.


Submitted assessment on time. Mostly paced themselves appropriately throughout the project but had difficulties identifying the most time-consuming tasks. Submitted assessment on time. Mostly paced themselves appropriately throughout the project but had few difficulties identifying the most time-consuming tasks. Submitted assessment on time Paced themselves appropriately and consistently throughout the project.
Sentence  & Grammar




Poor grammar with many spelling and punctuation errors. Grammatical errors including spelling and punctuation. Minor grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors. Almost no grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors. No grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors.
Overall Appearance & Layout of Material




Did not use the provided templates. Did not follow the project order. No referencing. Used some templates but not all. Did not follow the project order

Inaccurate/incomplete referencing.

Used provided templates. Changed order of some elements of the project. Sufficient referencing provided. Used provided templates and followed project order. Sufficient referencing provided Used provided templates and followed project order. Very well referenced.




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Homework help

1.On November 1, 2016, Gordon Co. collected $7,560 in cash from its tenant as an advance rent payment on its store location. The six-month lease period ends on April 30, 2017, at which time the contract may be renewed.



a-1. Use the horizontal model to record the effect of the six months of rent collected in advance on November 1, 2016 for Gordon Co. (Use amounts with + for increases and amounts with – for decreases.)



a-2. Use the horizontal model to record the effect of the adjustment that will be made at the end of each month to show the amount of rent “earned” during the month for Gordon Co. (Use amounts with + for increases and amounts with – for decreases.)



a-3. Record the journal entry to show the effect of the six months of rent collected in advance on November 1, 2016 for Gordon Co. (If no entry is required for a transaction/event, select “No journal entry required” in the first account field.)




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a-4. Record the journal entry to show the effect of the adjustment that will be made at the end of each month to show the amount of rent “earned” during the month for Gordon Co. (If no entry is required for a transaction/event, select “No journal entry required” in the first account field.)





  1. Calculate the amount of unearned rent that should be shown on the December 31, 2016, balance sheet with respect to this lease.



Suppose the advance collection received on November 1, 2016, covered an 24-month lease period at the same amount of rent per month. How should Gordon Co. report the unearned rent amount on its December 31, 2016, balance sheet?









  1. 2. The following information applies to the questions displayed below.]

    Refer to the following transactions.

  2. Sold 5,000 previously unissued shares of $1 par value common stock for $18 per share.
  3. Issued 1,200 shares of previously unissued 5% cumulative preferred stock, $50 par value, in exchange for land and a building appraised at $60,000.
  4. Declared and paid the annual cash dividend on the preferred stock issued in transaction b.
  5. Purchased 250 shares of common stock for the treasury at a total cost of $3,250.
  6. Declared a cash dividend of $0.14 per share on the common stock outstanding.
  7. Sold 100 shares of the treasury stock purchased in transaction d at a price of $33 per share.
  8. Declared and issued a 2% stock dividend on the common stock issued when the market value per share of common stock was $26.
  9. Split the common stock 3 for


  1. Required:

Show the effect (if any) of each of the above transactions on each financial statement category by selecting a plus (+) or minus (–) and the amount in the appropriate column. Do not show items that affect net income in the retained earnings column. You should assume that the transactions occurred in this chronological sequence and that 42,000 shares of previously issued common stock remain outstanding. (Hint: Remember to consider appropriate effects of previous transactions.)





















  1. The following information applies to the questions displayed below.]

The following summary data for the payroll period ended on April 10, 2015, are available for Brac Construction Ltd.:


Gross pay $ ?
FICA tax withholdings   ?
Income tax withholdings   22,016
Medical insurance contributions   1,070
Union dues   960
Total deductions   33,615
Net pay   91,475


  1. Calculate the missing amounts and then determine the FICA tax withholding percentage. (Round FICA tax withholding percentage to 2 decimal places.)



b-1. Use the horizontal model to show the effects of the payroll accrual. (Use amounts with + for increases and amounts with – for decreases.)




b-2. Record the journal entry to show the effects of the payroll accrual. (If no entry is required for a transaction/event, select “No journal entry required” in the first account field.)






  1. Homestead Oil Corp. was incorporated on January 1, 2016, and issued the following stock for cash:



  • 770,000 shares of no-par common stock were authorized; 150,000 shares were issued on January 1, 2016, at $19.00 per share.
  • 220,000 shares of $100 par value, 8.50% cumulative, preferred stock were authorized, and 77,000 shares were issued on January 1, 2016, at $150 per share.
  • Net income for the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2017, was $1,450,000 and $2,590,000, respectively.
  • No dividends were declared or paid during 2016. However, on December 28, 2017, the board of directors of Homestead declared dividends of $1,450,000, payable on February 12, 2018, to holders of record as of January 19, 2018.




  1. Use the horizontal model for the issuance of common stock and preferred stock on January 1, 2016. (Use amounts with + for increases and amounts with – for decreases.)

Use the horizontal model for the declaration of dividends on December 28, 2017. (Use amounts with + for increases and amounts with – for decreases.)

  1. Use the horizontal model for the payment of dividends on February 12, 2018. (Use amounts with + for increases and amounts with – for decreases.)


Prepare the journal entries to record each of the below transactions. (If no entry is required for a transaction/event, select “No journal entry required” in the first account field.)


  1. The issuance of common stock and preferred stock on January 1, 2016.
  2. The declaration of dividends on December 28, 2017.
  3. The payment of dividends on February 12, 2018.


Of the total amount of dividends declared during 2017, how much will be received by preferred shareholders?


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POLS 3316. Quantitative Methods

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POLS 3316. Quantitative Methods

Dr. Scott Basinger

Homework Assignment #3

Distributed Tuesday, September 26

Due Tuesday, October 3

Suppose you are a forest ranger, and as part of your job, you are required to check the health of various trees within

your park. Below are the ‘diameter at breast height’ (dbh) of five Douglas Fir trees in part of a forest. Treat this data as

the population of Douglas Fir trees. On all questions, round to two decimal points (see my “for example” below). When

calculating means and standard deviations use N in the denominator.

Tree: # 1 # 2 # 3 # 4 # 5

Diameter (dbh): 12.4 cm. 14.5 cm. 15.2 cm. 17.8 cm. 19.1 cm.

  1. What is the average diameter of a Douglas Fir tree in the forest? μ = _____

What is the standard deviation of the Douglas Fir trees’ diameters? σ = _____

The next problem requires you to create a sampling distribution for this population, for a given sample size, and then

characterize the sampling distribution, just as we did with the turtles example in lecture 8.

  1. Suppose you have a deadline to meet, and Douglas Fir trees are difficult to find within the forest, so you only have

time to locate three of the five trees. Identify all the feasible samples of size n = 3 trees and calculate their sample


Sample: Sample mean:

For example: { 1 , 2 , 3 } 14.03 cm.

{ , , } cm.

{ , , } cm.

{ , , } cm.

{ , , } cm.

{ , , } cm.

{ , , } cm.

{ , , } cm.

{ , , } cm.

{ , , } cm.

  1. What is the mean of the sampling distribution of sample means for n = 3?

What is the standard deviation of the sampling distribution of sample means for n = 3?

Note: the standard deviation of the sampling distribution is NOT the same thing as the s.d. of the population!!!

Rather, it is the standard deviation of the ten sample means that you should have calculated in question 2.

  1. Suppose you are a fan of baseball, and especially of the Houston Astros. Suppose further that you are engaged in a

debate or discussion with a friend about baseball, and the topic comes up of how many runs per game the Astros score.

Excuse yourself from the imaginary conversation, and carry out the following analysis:

  1. a) Find data on the Astros season. For example, go to a website like https://www.baseballreference.


  1. b) Choose a sample of exactly 9 games; the easiest way to do this is to pick a starting date, and then look at the

eight subsequent games. (Note that this is not a “simple random sample,” but it is plausibly random.)

  1. c) Fill in the following table:

Date Opponent Runs scored by


Runs scored by

Opponent Win or Loss?

  1. d) Calculate the mean number of runs scored by Houston in your sample. 􀝔̅ =
  2. e) Calculate the standard deviation of runs scored by Houston in your sample. s =
  3. f) Calculate the “five number summary” for runs scored by Houston in your sample <__,__,__,__,__>
  4. g) Draw the box‐and‐whisker plot based on this sample on a separate sheet or in this space:

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Capstone Project help

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BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 1


Senior Capstone Experience Guidelines 2017-18

Table of Contents

Overview ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 2

Business Plan Capstone ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2

ABSTRACT ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3

CHAPTER 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 3

CHAPTER 2: GENERAL COMPANY DESCRIPTION ………………………………………………………………………………… 3

CHAPTER 3: PRODUCTS AND SERVICES ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3

CHAPTER 4: MARKET RESEARCH …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3

CHAPTER 5: MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION ……………………………………………………………………………… 6

Special Topic Capstone ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 6

Strategy Capstone ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 7

ABSTRACT ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 7

CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 8

CHAPTER 2. ANALYZING THE INDUSTRY ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 8

CHAPTER 3. ANALYZING THE FIRM ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 10

CHAPTER 4. RECOMMENDATIONS ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 13

Research Ethics …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 14

Managing Your Research ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 14

Charts, Images, and Supplementary Material …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 15

Draft Chapters …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 15

Final Chapters ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 15

Grading the Capstone …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 15

Writing Guidelines …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 19

DOCUMENT FORMAT: APA………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 19

STYLE DO’S AND DON’TS ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 20

General Timeline ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 21

APPENDIX A: Business Management Student Learning Objectives …………………………………………………………………. 22

APPENDIX B: Sample Cover Page ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 23 BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 2


One of the defining elements of a Washington College education is the senior capstone (officially, the Senior Capstone Experience, SCE). The SCE in Business Management is an intensive individual project that requires extensive research, thoughtful analysis, and clear writing. There is no set length, but most capstones are at least 40 pages long (longer is not necessarily better). Because each student may choose (in consultation with a professor) his or her own capstone topic, the capstone gives you a chance to gain expertise and skills in an area of business or management of your choice, from marketing to finance to information systems.

Beyond research and knowledge, the capstone is an opportunity for you to exercise and display your thinking and communication skills—skills that are highly in demand from employers. A 2010 American Association of College and Universities survey found that 84% of business leaders want college students “to demonstrate a significant project before graduation, to demonstrate their depth of knowledge and a passion for a particular area, as well as their acquisition of broad analytical, problem solving, and communication skills.”

So the capstone is more than a graduation requirement: it’s one of the best ways to help you embark on a career.

Capstone tracks. There are three tracks for the senior capstone in Business Management: (1) the Business Plan

Capstone, (2) the Special Topic Capstone, and (3) the Strategy Capstone.

Course registration, grading and alignment with departmental student learning outcomes. The capstone counts as a course, BUS SCE. Students are enrolled in the 4-credit BUS SCE course in the senior year, usually in the final semester, by the Department Chair. The capstone receives a mark of Pass, Fail, or Honors. Grading is aligned with several Business Management student learning outcomes: managerial knowledge, critical thinking, communication skills, and ethical awareness. Global awareness is incorporated in all Strategy capstones and many other capstones depending on the nature of the topic chosen. Collaboration skills are not an element of the SCE.

Double majors. Most double-major Capstones will fall into the Business Management Department’s ‘special topic’ track (see below), which provides considerable flexibility in designing, researching, and writing the Capstone. The Department encourages double majors to write a single integrated Capstone that can be submitted for both majors. . When faced with timelines from two departments, students should expect earlier ones to take precedence. Double majors can only earn 4 total SCE credits, even if they write two Capstones.

Application and timeline. The first step in pursuing your Senior Capstone is to complete the SCE application form found at Please see the last page of this document for due dates.

Business Plan Capstone

Students interested in learning what goes into starting a business can get a head start on launching their own enterprises by writing a Business Plan capstone. Students interested in this track should take BUS 320

Entrepreneurship. It is also recommended but not required that students interested in the business plan track take

BUS 212 Managerial Accounting.

Students desiring to pursue this track must meet these initial eligibility criteria:

 WC GPA of at least 2.75

 BUS GPA of at least 3.00


Students interested in the Business Plan capstone will indicate their business idea on the SCE application and follow up by submitting a complete application a neat, well-written, double-spaced proposal that includes the following elements.

  1. a) the business idea (description of the products/services)
  2. b) pertinent current trends in the industry/business; growth potential
  3. c) description of your core competencies that will support the business
  4. d) description of what makes your idea/business unique

BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 3


This track is limited to a maximum of 10 students who will be accepted based on the quality of their proposals. Students who are not accepted to write a business plan capstone will write a strategy capstone instead.

The purpose of business plans are to serve as a roadmap for the entrepreneur to follow in establishing his or her business, to determine if the proposed business will be profitable, to identify strategies to minimize risk, and to provide required information for applying for bank financing of the enterprise. The business plan will consist of the following sections:



The abstract comes first but gets written last. It is a summary of what you did and what you found: your argument in a nutshell, in 150 to 250 words. The abstract is the only part of your capstone that most people will read if you choose to have the library archive your work, so write it with care.



This section should be written next to last and not exceed two pages. It should include everything that would be covered in a brief interview with prospective financial backers:

 Name

 Location

 Description of product or services

 Target market statement

 Legal structure

 Differentiation from competition

 What does the future hold for your business or industry?

 Business goals: include measurable short term (1 year) and long term (3 year)




This section examines the nature of your firm and the environment in which you will compete. It should include:

 Mission Statement

 Company goals: where do you want your company to be in one year, in two years?

 Company objectives: what are the progress markers to reach each goal? How will you know when you have reached each goal? How will you measure each goal?

 Business philosophy: what is important to you in the business?

 Describe your chosen industry.

 Describe your target market.

 What are your company core strengths and competencies?

 What will be the legal form of the business? Why did you select that form over other recognized forms?


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Describe in depth your products and/or services. What factors will give you competitive advantages or disadvantages? Include pricing, fees, leasing structure, etc.



Include both primary and secondary research. Primary research consists of gathering your own data (ex. traffic count, focus groups); secondary research is gathered from published information (ex. demographic profiles, trade journals, literature review). Address the following elements. BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 4


Economics. Facts about your industry.

 What size is your market?

 What present share will you have?

 What is the current demand in the target market?

 What are the current trends?

 Growth potential

 What barriers to entry will you face (ex. high capital costs, training/skills) and how do you overcome these barriers?


Products/Services. In your earlier description of products/services, you described your products and services as you see them. In this section, describe them from your customers’ point of view. For each product or service:

 Describe the most important features. What is special about the product/service?

 Describe the benefits. What will the product/service do for the customer?

 What after-the-sale services will you provide (ex. delivery, warranty, follow-up)?


Customer. Identify the most important groups and for each group, construct a profile that includes:

 Age

 Gender

 Location

 Income level

 Social class/occupation

 Education

 Other (specific to your industry)


For business customers, factors might include:

 Industry

 Location

 Size of firm

 Quality, technology, price preferences

 Other (specific to your industry)


Competition. What products/companies will compete with you? List your major competitors (provide names and addresses). How will your product/services compare with the competition? Include a short paragraph stating your competitive advantages.

Niche. In one short paragraph, define your niche, your unique corner of the market.

Strategy. Your marketing strategy should be consistent with your niche.


 How will you get the word out to potential customers?

 Advertising: what media, why and how often?

 What image do you want to project? What plan do you have for graphic image support (logo design, letterhead, brochures)?

 Should you have a system to identify repeat customers?


Promotional Budget. How much will you spend on items listed above before startup and on an ongoing basis?

Pricing. Explain your method of setting prices. Compare your prices with those of the competition. Are they higher, lower or the same? Why? What will be your customer service and credit policies?

Proposed Location.

 Is your location important to your customers? If yes, how?

 Is it convenient?

 Is it consistent with your image?

 Is it what your customers want and expect?

 Where is the competition located? Is it better to be near them or distant?

BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 5


Distribution Channels. How will you sell your products or services?

 Retail

 Direct (web, mail order, catalog)

 Wholesale

 Your own sales force

 Agents

 Independent representatives

 Bid on contracts


Sales Forecast. Monthly projection based on historical data, marketing strategies you described, market research, and industry data. You may want to include a “best guess” scenario and a “worst case” scenario that you are confident you can reach no matter what happens.

Operational Plan. Explain the daily operation of the business, equipment, people, processes, and surrounding environment.

Production. Explain your methods of:

 Production techniques and costs

 Quality control

 Customer service

 Inventory control

 Product development


Location. What qualities will you need in a location? Describe the type of location you will have including physical requirements and access.

 Construction: costs and specifications

 Cost: rent, maintenance, utilities, insurance, initial remodeling

 What will your business hours be?


Legal Environment.

 Licensing and bonding requirements

 Permits

 Health, workplace and environmental regulations

 Special regulations covering your specific industry of profession

 Zoning or building code requirements

 Insurance coverage

 Trademarks, copyrights, patents


Personnel. Facts about your industry.

 Number of employees

 Type of labor (skilled, unskilled, professional)

 Where and how will you find the right employees?

 Pay structure and benefits

 Training methods and requirements

 Who does which tasks?

 Do you have a schedule and written procedures prepared?

 Have you drafted employee job descriptions for each position?

 For certain functions, will you use contract workers in addition to employees?


Inventory. What kind of inventory will you keep? Will you need seasonal buildups? Lead time for ordering?

Suppliers. Include names and addresses, type and amount of inventory furnished, credit and delivery policies, history and reliability

Credit Policies. Do you plan to sell on credit? Explain.

Financial. Prepare a start-up financial profile (monies needed to get the business going before you have sold anything). Include: BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 6



 Cash – initial amount and sources

 Capital expenditures

 Debt incurred and projected repayment schedule

 Needed ongoing monies to meet fixed and variable expenses until the business begins to generate a profit

 Length of time you believe it will be until the business generates a profit: best and worst cases (be realistic)


Pro formas. Prepare 1 year, 2 year, and 3 year financial projections for the business including:

 Income statement

 Balance sheet

 Cash flow projection

 Debt reduction statement

 Additional anticipated capital expenses based on market/product expansion




Who will manage the business day-to-day? What experience does that person bring to the business? If you will have more than ten employees, create an organization chart. Include position descriptions for each employee and function, and if you are seeking loans or investors, include a resume for key employees.

Professional and Advisory Support.

 Board of Directors

 Management Advisory Board

 Attorney

 Accountant

 Insurance Agent

 Banker

 Consultant as needed

 Mentors/Key advisors


Special Topic Capstone

The Special Topic capstone is a research-oriented project reflecting the student’s interests and collaboration between the student and faculty advisor. Topics might include an integrated capstone (for double majors), a series of interviews in a particular industry or career path, a research study of a selected business or management topic, or empirical research tied to presentation at an academic conference. Students desiring to pursue this track are encouraged to directly request a business management faculty member to serve as capstone advisor well before the SCE application due date.

Students desiring to pursue this track must meet these initial eligibility criteria:

 WC GPA of at least 2.75

 BUS GPA of at least 3.00


Students interested in the special topic capstone will indicate their topic on the SCE application and follow up by submitting a well-written, one-page project description along with an outline of chapters and a reference list consisting of at least three credible, preferably peer-reviewed, sources that provide background and insight into the topic chosen.

Final determination of the student being able to pursue this track will be made upon review of the proposal. Students who are not accepted to write a special topic capstone will write a strategy capstone instead. BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 7


Strategy Capstone

The Strategy capstone is the most popular track. In it, each student makes an intensive study of the recent activities and business results of one publicly traded firm, studied in its competitive environment, its industry. The Strategy capstone provides an excellent synthesis of all the major elements comprising the business management major: facility with statistics and financial analysis, ability to read financial statements, understanding of key business areas like marketing, information systems, organizational structure and leadership, the legal environment, and strategic management.

The Strategy capstone presents research, analysis, and recommendations on a firm’s operations and strategy. In other words, in this capstone the student studies what a firm tries to do within its competitive environment, what it actually does, and how successful it is. There are restrictions on what firms may be chosen for the Strategy capstone. Firms must be publicly traded, to ensure there will be sufficient financial information available, and firms studied within the recent past may not be chosen.

Any business management major may pursue the Strategy capstone. You may request a particular faculty member to serve as capstone advisor; if you do not, an advisor will be assigned to you. However, it is required that in your SCE application, you submit your first three choices for the firm that you will study (be sure to select companies that are not on list of ineligible firms provided). Mrs. Christy Rowan, the department administrative assistant, will confirm which firm you will study; in the event that none of your choices are available, you will be required to submit two new choices. When choosing firms, it can be helpful to think first in terms of industry sectors that you find most interesting (and perhaps may be pursuing a career in) and then identify major players.

The first assignment for students pursuing Strategy capstones is to read your firm’s most recent annual report, concentrating on the written essay generally found at the beginning of the report, and skimming the rest of the report to identify financial and other information included. You will submit a written reflection of the information found in the annual report, identifying at least ten significant things you learned. For instance, you may learn who the firm considers to be its major competitors, or what market opportunities are thought to be most promising for the future.

The Strategy capstone is not a defense of the firm. Students researching a firm sometimes make the mistake of thinking they are an advocate for the firm. This is not an appropriate perspective. Your role is to be an independent, objective source of information for senior management and/or investors. If you see problems, it is your duty to point them out. In fact, in the world beyond college, courage in calling out underperforming companies is a valuable and sought-after quality in business analysts. More broadly, moral courage, which includes the willingness to point out difficult truths and rely on your own honest judgment, is one of the College’s and Department’s core values.

The intended audience for the Strategy capstone is the audience for any similar analysis of a firm and its industry: potential investors, either individuals or institutional investors. What do potential investors want to know, and what do they need to know, to make an informed investment decision about the firm? Similarly, if making recommendations for senior management, think in terms of what they need to know in order to improve the performance of the firm. Keep your intended audience in mind as you write your capstone.

The Strategy capstone draws primarily on research and analytic techniques students have learned over the course of the major. It draws on material in the core BUS courses: BUS 112 (reading financial statements), BUS 202 (marketing analysis), BUS 109 (or MAT 109) (managerial statistics), BUS 209 (analyzing financial data), BUS 210 (management information systems), BUS 302 (organizational dynamics and leadership), BUS 303 (legal environment of business), and BUS 401 (strategic management). In addition, good capstones should draw on knowledge gained from meeting the Global Learning requirement to view all of the above through an international perspective.

The Strategy capstone consists of four chapters, plus an abstract, references, and optional additional material.



The abstract comes first but gets written last. It is a summary of what you did and what you found: your argument in a nutshell, in 150 to 250 words. The abstract is the only part of your capstone that most people will read if you choose BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 8


to have the library archive your work, so write it with care.



Chapter 1 tells the reader what you’re studying and provides useful information on how you did your research. Since

it provides an overview, you will write it when you’ve written the rest of the capstone.

Topic. What you studied. A Strategy capstone typically studies the past five years of a company’s operations within

its industry setting.

Assessment. How you define the firm’s strategic success. To gauge the effectiveness of your company’s generic and corporate strategies, you need a clear measure of assessment to apply against your company’s performance. Hard numbers like net profit, earnings per share, and market share tend to be the best bottom-line assessments, especially when put in comparative perspective. If you wish to use an alternative metric or technique, for instance, a balanced scorecard, please explain.

Methods. How you conducted research. What sources did you use? (, S&P, Hoover’s, business periodicals, etc.). Did you employ any unusual methods, like interviews or attending trade shows?

Industry Benchmark. The industry benchmark is the quantitative heart of your strategic analysis. It provides key data for measuring and evaluating the performance of the industry, and how your firm compares to its competitors. The point is that numbers without a basis for comparison don’t tell much, whereas a sensible comparison with relevant firms and a good benchmark provide lots of insight into a firm’s strategic success.

The benchmark consists of a weighted average (weighted by sales) of key firms in the industry (weights adjusted for each year of data). In particular, the benchmark will include the three or four competitor firms, as well as your chosen firm. The benchmark should be calculated over a four- or five-year period (four years is the minimum amount of data you need: to compute a three-year Compound Annual Growth Rate [CAGR], for instance, you need four years of data). Later on, when you compile these and other numbers, you probably won’t wish to display more than one, or sometimes two, decimal places. Your detailed financial ratio analysis, which draws on the benchmark, will occur in chapter 3. You should complete your benchmark data gathering by the fall deadline; this will give you more time in the spring to analyze your data.

Here, in this initial section in the first chapter, your job is simply to tell the reader how you constructed the benchmark. That means identifying the firms you chose. For each firm, you should include a short (20 to 50 words) snapshot that provides key business information, and helps make clear why you chose the firm. In addition, you should briefly describe the process of constructing the benchmark, drawing on and perhaps expanding the explanation above.

If you excluded any major competitors from the benchmark (for instance because it is a privately held company or its stock is not traded in the United States), explain why you did so.

Key Findings. A summary of your key findings and recommendations. A good plan is to provide a paragraph summary for each chapter, or you may make use of bullet points, if convenient.



As you learn in BUS 401, there are two fundamental levels of strategic analysis: industry-level analysis and company-level analysis. In other words, business strategists and observers study a firm and its competitive environment. Chapter 2 explores the competitive environment in detail. This includes more than the industry itself—it covers everything in the firm’s environment that affects its operations, from the economy and politics to the physical environment, technology, and demographics. But the focus is the industry, and you are expected to develop a good understanding of the industry your firm is in.

Industry Background (SIC, NAICS, or GICS data; industry definition; history; current snapshot; recent changes or highlights) BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 9


It is recommended that you include one or more snapshot or trend charts here to help make sense of the industry. These charts can quickly provide an understanding of key metrics like overall industry size, revenues, key competitors, and trends. There is no required chart, but it is likely that well-designed visual presentation of quantitative data will help you get your story off to a strong start with your reader.

Ethics and Current Events

A summary or selection of popular-press coverage over the past three to five years, with special attention to ethical issues. Choose topics that pertain to your key insights about the industry, rather than just a grab-bag. In strong capstones, the topics covered in this section relate to the key points about the industry and are woven into a narrative that organizes and clarifies the key points.

Stock Summary

One significant source of finance for publicly traded firms is the issuance of stock. Your research should include answers to the following questions for your firm and its benchmark competitors for the most recent year common to all firms for which data is available:

 What is each company’s stock trading symbol?

 Where is the stock listed?

 How many shares of common stock are outstanding?

 What is the market value of common equity?

 What’s the beta coefficient of the company stock?

 Did the company pay a dividend in the past year? If yes, what are the dividend yield and payout ratio?


Since this section on stock financials includes lots of numbers and not a lot of text, you may find it convenient to present this section as a table rather than as a written narrative.

Sales and Market Share Growth Rates

You’ll use benchmark data to construct sales and market share growth rates. For most firms, the most recent available data will follow this 3-year CAGR formula for sales:

(2016 revenue ÷ 2013 revenue)⅓ -1

PESTEL (or similar framework)

The PESTEL analytic framework encourages a strategic overview of external environment characteristics. It covers six analytic areas:

 Political analysis

 Economic analysis

 Sociocultural analysis

 Technological analysis

 Environmental analysis

 Legal analysis


You don’t have to follow this exact PESTEL format. As long as you cover these broad areas, you may organize this material as you wish. It’s common, for instance, to combine political and legal analysis.

Porter’s Five-Forces Model

Prof. Michael Porter’s famous five-forces model helps identify the forces that determine the basic competitive structure of an industry:

 Rivalry

 Threat of entry and exit barriers

 Supplier power

 Buyer power

 Threat of substitutes


Strategic Group Map

The Strategic Group Map is an optional element of the strategy capstone. It is a two-by-two graphical representation of industry competition, including your firm and key competitor firms. There is no one right way

to do a strategic group map. It is important to choose metrics for the x-axis and y-axis that help convey important competitive information about competition among these key firms. BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 10


It is especially important to avoid choosing metrics for both axes that measure, directly or by proxy, size. If you do so for both axes, you’ll end up with a strategic group map or graph that slopes neatly at 45 degrees; this will most likely tell us nothing interesting about the industry or the firm. (Suggestion: For firms in an industry with global competition, one useful metric for the x-axis is often percent of sales outside of the United States.)


You should end up with a few key points about the company’s external environment. Since you should be repeating, for emphasis, points you’ve made earlier in the chapter, you don’t need to cite them as if they were

new information. We recommend that you organize your summary in terms of key opportunities and threats or

challenges facing companies in the industry. These will set the stage for the SWOT analysis you’ll present in

Chapter 4.


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Chapter 3 focuses on the firm itself. This includes the firm’s history, leadership, structure, and operations. (Style note: remember that a firm is singular, not plural. Don’t use “they” or “their” when talking about your company; use “it” and “its.”)

Company Background (history, vision and mission, highlights, snapshot of current operations, and key recent events). The background provides a quick, concise overview of the company’s history, key moments in its life, a snapshot of current operations (here’s a good place for a table that summarizes key numbers like sales, units sold, key markets, etc.), and key recent events, like a concise mention of a leadership change. The vision and mission are included here to capture the firm’s statement about what it does and how it does it; you will refer back to them in your analysis in subsequent sections of this chapter. This is really an introduction to chapter 3,

so your main job is to set up the rest of the discussion. It is likely that you’ll come back and rewrite this opening bit after you’ve written the rest of chapter 3.

Ethics and Current Events

A summary or selection of popular-press coverage over the past three to five years, with special attention to key

ethical issues. The topics you choose to cover should relate to your key points about the firm (you’ve already covered ethics and current events for the industry in general). In a good capstone, this should not be a random list of articles, but rather, a well-informed narrative. That means that you should read extensively, and pull out a few key issues, rather than listing many minor stories or events.

Now we get into the analytical heart of chapter 3. You’ll recognize that the following sections draw on topics and learning from previous classes in the major:

Organizational Analysis

This section provides information on the company’s organizational structure, leadership, and organizational culture.

Structure. What kind of organizational structure does the firm possess (functional, divisional, matrix, or something else)? How does the firm explain the logic of its organizational structure? Include a formal organizational chart showing the firm’s formal organizational structure.

Overall, is the firm’s structure typical of its industry? Has it recently reorganized or announced a reorganization? Is so, why? What was or is the strategic intention of the change?

What is the firm’s corporate governance structure (Board of Directors)? Provide an overall assessment of the board—its size, stability, and effectiveness. How does it compare to industry norms? Is its board viewed as effective by industry observers?

Have outsourcing, alliances, joint ventures, or informal partnerships with other firms, suppliers, or customers been strategically significant for the firm? If so, concisely describe them.

Leadership. How stable has senior leadership been in the years covered by your research? Who are the key executives? Provide snapshots of CEO, COO, CIO, and any other key senior executives who you determine play a significant role in guiding the company’s strategic operations. If the firm is facing a likely leadership change in the BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 11


CEO position soon (within three years), what succession planning, if any, is being done?

Culture. Along with structure and leadership, culture helps hold organizations together. What kind of culture does this firm possess? Some firms may have extensive press coverage that sheds light on their culture, but for many firms there will not be very much news coverage of their culture. In such cases, useful sources of information within the firm are likely to be departments of Human Resources and Investor Relations. In addition, speeches by the CEO or other senior leaders may be good sources of information about the firm’s culture. Websites like provide rich if unverified sources of information on company cultures from an employee perspectives; as long as these are treated cautiously, they can shed a lot of light on what a company’s culture ‘really’ feels like to workers.

Here are key questions about your company’s culture you should consider: What are the firm’s core values as articulated by its vision or mission statement? How stable has the culture been? Is the organization’s culture similar to industry norms, or distinctive? Have there been recent changes or tensions about culture (especially likely in cases of merger and acquisition)? Keep in mind that what a firm claims as its formal, “espoused” values may not be exactly the same as what employees within the firm perceive as the daily reality. Ideally, your job as an analyst is to try to look beyond the “espoused” surface and see more deeply into the heart of the organization you are studying. Summing up this analysis, do you think its culture is a distinctive strength, or a weakness?

Marketing Analysis

Use the four P’s of marketing (product, place, price, and promotion) to assess the company’s marketing performance. Note: If the firm you are studying is a conglomerate with products in different markets (as will be the case for many firms studied in strategy capstones), with different approaches to marketing for different products and product lines, it is suggested that you pick one product area and focus on it. If you do so, please

note this so your reader understands what you’re doing.

A purely narrative discussion is not acceptable: select useful quantitative measures to buttress your analysis of these specific points:

 Has the company segmented the market? If so, how? Why? Multiple segments? Are the segments growing? Contracting? Stable?

Product: What is the product, really? Who buys it? Does the product possess brand equity?

Place: What are the distribution channels? Direct to consumer? Opportunity for new channels by your company? By a competitor? Multiple channels? Who has the channel power? Retailer? Manufacturer?

Price: Skimming? Penetration? Value? Low? High? Differential?

Promotion: What is the unique selling proposition (USP)? Brand promise? Channels?


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Management Information Systems Analysis

This section provides an understanding of information systems key to the firm’s success. Management information systems is defined as the ethical use of information systems to help organizations achieve their goals and objectives.

Which corporate goals and objectives are supported by the firm’s use of information systems? Does the use of information technology reflect the firm’s vision, culture and ethics? How does the firm distribute power among stakeholders through the use of information systems?

What are the key business processes within the firm? For these key business processes, what transactional systems (such as ERP) does the firm employ? Does the firm compete on analytics as well as on operations? How does the firm use analytics as a competitive tool?

Since information systems are internal to the corporation, it may be difficult to obtain this information. One way to peer into the inner workings of the firm is to look at job postings for information systems positions on sites such as; many times these postings, will reveal which systems the firm uses, giving you a starting point for your research. High-profile firms may also be used as case studies by information systems firms promoting their technology products and services.

Financial Analysis

The section on financial analysis is one of the most challenging—and important—parts of the strategy capstone.

First, you must gather extensive amounts of financial information and derive pertinent ratios that help tell the story of BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 12


your company. Second, you must think about how best to present that information to help your reader gain insight. Third, you must analyze and reflect on this extensive amount of information to draw key lessons about your firm’s successes and challenges, as compared to its industry benchmark. Your analysis should include graphs and charts as appropriate, showing how the firm’s financial performance compares to the benchmark (your designated proxy for the industry average); a company’s financials by themselves, without the context of competitive comparison, don’t carry much meaning.

In some instances, your analysis may be complicated by anomalies or data gaps, where a corporate merger or privatization or other one-time event makes gathering data complicated or even impossible. There are no easy rules about how to deal with these complications: expect to consult with your faculty advisor on how to handle problematic cases.

Financial Ratios: Using your weighted benchmark, compare company performance to benchmark ratios over a four- or five-year period. Ratio analysis should include these elements, where pertinent:

  1. Liquidity Ratios: These ratios measure the firm’s ability to pay off its short-term debt.

 Current Ratio = Current assets/Current liabilities

 Quick (Acid-Test) Ratio = (Current assets – Inventory)/Current liabilities


  1. Activity Ratios: These ratios measure the firm’s ability to use its assets to generate sales.

 Total Asset Turnover = Sales/Average total assets

 Inventory Turnover = Cost of goods sold/Average inventory


  1. Debt Ratios: These ratios measure the firm’s ability to raise and pay off long-term debts.

 Debt Ratio = Total debts/Total assets

 Equity Multiplier = Total assets/Total equity

 TIE (Times interest earned) Ratio=EBIT (Earnings before interest and taxes)/Interest


  1. Profitability Ratios: These ratios measure the firm’s ability to generate profits.

 Net Profit Margin = Net income/Sales

 ROE = Net income/Total equity

 For firms that produce and/or sell a tangible product, it’s also useful to compare gross profit margin, operating margin, and net profit margin.


  1. DuPont Identity: The DuPont Identity analyzes ROE as a product of three other ratios identified above: operating efficiency (Net Profit Margin), asset use efficiency (Total Asset Turnover), and financial leverage (Equity Multiplier). The DuPont Identity is expressed like this:

ROE = Net Profit Margin × Total Asset Turnover × Equity Multiplier

Use the DuPont Identity to analyze how the ROE of your company has been affected by its three components over the past three to five years.

Critical Reflection: Along with presenting your ratio data in the form of tables and/or charts, you are expected to analyze and reflect on what story or stories the ratios tell, to shed light on the financial and strategic situation of your particular firm. After presenting and discussing your ratios one by one, you should step back to consider three big questions at the close of this section on financial ratios:

 Has the company’s financial performance been good or bad?

 Is its financial position sufficient to fulfill its mission and goals?

 How does its financial position compare with industry benchmarks?


Concisely justify your answers to these questions.

Business (Generic) Strategy

Identify the firm’s chief business (sometimes called generic) strategy for its lead products. How stable has this strategy been? Compare the company’s generic strategy with industry norms, and assess its effectiveness. Note: you should tie this effectiveness of the firm’s generic strategy to the success measure presented in chapter 1. This helps tie your analysis together. In practice, since you’ll write chapter 1 after you’ve worked up the analysis here, that means that BUS SCE Revised 2/2/17 13


your analysis of the generic strategy here will help you select an appropriate success measure in chapter 1.

Corporate Strategy

Corporate strategy is often misunderstood, and a good capstone will distinguish itself by getting corporate strategy right. Corporate strategy is different from business strategy, which centers on how to do one thing really well. Firms that only do one thing (for example, Living Essentials, which makes and markets the 5-Hour Energy brand) don’t face the challenges of diversification, and thus of corporate level strategy. But most publicly traded firms studied in strategy capstones have become complex and diversified enough that they do face the challenge of corporate strategy.

A firm’s corporate strategy refers to how to do many things in an optimal fashion. As successful firms grow, they tend to diversify—entering new markets, taking on new activities, and facing new choices about how to allocate resources. Corporate strategy refers to this juggling act, the challenge of making decisions about what portfolio of assets to hold.

If this is relevant to your firm, identify its corporate strategy or strategies. How does its approach compare to industry norms? How stable and effective has its corporate strategy been? What kinds of acquisitions has it made, and have they been effective? What is likely to lie ahead?


You should end up with a few key points about the company’s operations. Since you should be repeating, for emphasis, points you’ve made earlier in the chapter, you don’t need to cite them as if they were new information. We recommend that you organize your summary in terms of the firm’s key strengths and weaknesses. These will set the stage for the SWOT analysis you’ll present in Chapter 4.



Chapter 4 begins by summarizing your research in a SWOT analysis, then looks to the future.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) is a powerful clarifying tool for strategic analysis. And the good news is that you’ve already done the analysis! At the end of Chapter 2 you presented key opportunities and threats in the company’s external environment. At the end of Chapter 3 you presented the firm’s key strengths and weaknesses. All you have to do now is put them together in a simple two-by-two matrix, like this: Positive Negative
Internal Strengths Weaknesses
External Opportunities Threats


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PASM-461 Assignment 3.4b PASTORAL MINISTRY I

PASM-461 Assignment 3.4b         PASTORAL MINISTRY I

Pastor Interview Questions

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Interview Questions:

  1. How long have you been in pastoral ministry?


  1. Did you go to college and seminary? If yes, where?



  1. What impact do you think education has on pastoral ministry?


  1. Since you began pastoral journey, what changes have you seen come about in pastoral ministry?


  1. Is pastoral ministry harder/easier now than when you began? Why?


  1. What challenges do young/new pastors face today?


  1. What do you wish you had known prior to entering the pastoral ministry?


  1. What do you consider to be benefits of the pastoral ministry?


  1. What do you consider to be negatives in the pastoral ministry?


  1. What counsel would you give to new/young pastors?


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