Question Ashley Business & Management

How to incorporate primary data and statistics into a business report or essay.

I am writing an informative essay on the subject of business administration. I have ten interview questions ready to incorporate into a paper that also contains statistics relevant to employment in the field- now I do not know how it should be formatted; APA, MLA, Chicago..? Please assist me.

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Answer Internal Staff

The most common style of referencing used in business academia is the Harvard style. This style is also sometimes called the author-date style because of the formatting of its reference list and citations.

However, for any of the main referencing styles primary data is handled in the same way. Because primary data such as interview transcripts or questionnaire data is a part of the paper, and is created by the paper’s author, there is no need to reference it.

Rather, such data is normally incorporated into appendices at the end of the essay/report, after the reference list. Then these sections can be referred to in the work using terms such as ‘as can be seen from appendix A’ or ‘a trend is clearly apparent in the collected data (see appendix C)’.

This can be applied to data, tables/graphs and statistical calculations. In some cases it may be better to include small tables or graphs within the main text. In such cases the work should be labelled with a figure number (eg. Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.) and then can be referred to in the text (‘as is evident in Figure 1’). Appropriate titles or description can accompany the figure numbers to explain what the figure shows.

In some cases it may be advisable to indicate when a diagram, graph or table is the authors own work – this is normally only used when it is not otherwise obvious. In such cases a citation such as (Author, 2016) can be used, or simply a label stating ‘produced by the author’. No reference list entry is needed for these.

It is always recommended that you check with your university, tutor, or lecturer to identify exactly what style of referencing they want you to use. Many different varieties and approaches to Harvard are used, so exact rules vary greatly.