Your assignment task

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Assignment Task

Your assignment task is to undertake a detailed analysis of an existing product. You should select a single, real product (not a range), on sale in the UK, which is of interest to you. Please choose an up to date product which you own or have used.

You are to assume that you work for the company in the UK which is responsible for planning the next generation of this chosen product.

Your analysis will be presented in a business report which will be used by the company board to make decisions about the next generation of the product, scheduled to be launched in 2011. (Note: You are not inventing a product!)

You are advised to select a product which you can find high quality, detailed reliable information on by using a variety of different sources. This will enable you to create a balanced view in the report.

This assignment requires you to gather information over several weeks and produce a professional business report based on your detailed analysis of this information.

It is not an essay. Your report cannot be completed successfully if left to just a few days before the deadline. Substantial marks are based on your identification and use of appropriate research materials which take time to gather and analyse.

Your report should use the structure indicated below:

Introduction 10%

Briefly introduce the reader to the purpose of your report, precisely identifying your chosen product, and the manufacturer. Analyse and describe the benefits which the customer currently derives from using/owning the product. Summarise these benefits in a clear and logical format.

The UK market 20%

Refer to secondary market information, gathered from reliable sources to create your own summary of the current UK market for the product which you have chosen to analyse. Identify the main substitute products and manufacturers which also serve the same market. Give numerical indications of market size/value and segmentation by quoting or extrapolating from your secondary research data.

Technological developments 20%

Identify technologies which have potential to influence the next generation product. Produce a brief analysis of these technologies and explain why you reason the technology will be important to the new product.

Intellectual Property Protection 20%

Undertake a detailed search for all forms of intellectual property relating to the product. Analyse all forms of protection currently in place for the product in the UK explaining their commercial significance. Evidence of your search should be placed in an appendix.

Improvement Recommendations 20%

Draw upon all the previous information in your report, (analysis of trends which are influencing the market, the technology and the current user benefits) to create a table of 10 detailed improvements to be made to the current product.

A design is not required. Each improvement should be described and the expected benefit that each improvement would bring should be fully explained.

Improvements to all aspects of the product ownership experience should be considered.

This table will be used to instruct the development team which key factors to focus on.

Give the most important 10 points. Do not include points which are very similar to each other, obvious features already common in any product of the type or trivial issues.

Personal Progress Diary 10%

During the course of this assignment you will be putting into practice some of the topics delivered in the lecture programme. Make a single, weekly diary note of things which go to plan, those that don't and how you overcame any problems. Note what you would do differently in the future. This diary should be placed in the appendix and be about 500 words in length.

Appendix and References

Your report should not express just personal views and hunches, therefore you must justify ie 'back up' each statement that you make with a referenced source of information.

It is important that the reader of your report can go back to the precise page from where you obtained your facts from. To help them to do this you are required to make a photocopy or print of each relevant page of raw information that you have used when creating this report. Mark key facts used with a highlighter pen. Because substantial marks are awarded based on the quality of research undertaken and your analysis of this information, it is vital that you make it clear where reference materials have come from.

In addition, give full references of books, journal articles, and web pages used.

Submit a CD copy of your final report (excluding the appendix) for routine plagiarism checking.


Assignment length should be about 3500 words excluding the progress diary (500 words) and appendix.

Undergraduate Assignment Standard Instructions 2009-10

The 10 credit unit Technology Enterprise with Tools and Techniques MSEC30001 is assessed by:

Individual assignment 40%

Examination 60%

Hand in Deadline

Assignments are designed to allow you to present a piece of work which shows your depth of understanding of the enterprise topics being assessed. A generous time period has been allocated to allow you to undertake the research and composition of this piece of work. Your completed assignment work must be handed in to the MEC office, D42.5 Sackville Building, Sackville Street before the deadline of 3pm on Thursday, 19h November 2009.

Late Penalty

Work handed in will be date and time marked. Work arriving after the deadline will have a penalty applied. The penalty is 10% reduction per day (24hrs) or part day late. The absolute submission deadline, where zero marks are recorded is 1 week after the prescribed submission date. Late submissions made after 3pm on a Friday will have the penalty for Saturday, Sunday and Monday applied to reflect the additional time available to complete the work.

Extensions for Exceptional Circumstances

Extensions to the hand in deadline may be requested in exceptional circumstances only (such as lengthy illness or bereavement). Any event which could reasonably have been predicted to occur within the assignment period is not legitimate grounds for an extension (going to parties, days off, working, religious observance, minor sickness and event attendance).

Planning Your Time

Please note that part of the skill in undertaking an assignment is the planning of your personal time. It is strongly recommended that you produce a work plan when the assignment is first issued to you. Make a note of commitments such as religious observance, weekends away, part time jobs etc and plan your work around these dates.

Keep a constant back up of your work in case your PC should break down or be stolen. Print out your final version at least a day before the deadline to allow time for minor corrections and printer failures.

Plagiarism and Referencing

Your assignment demonstrates to the marker your level of understanding of the subject. It is essential that the assignment which you hand in is written in your own words. If you do use even a few words from another source, then you must reference exactly where the quotation has come from. A quotation must appear inside 'quotation marks' and be followed by the full reference.

A full reference is one that allows the reader to go directly to the precise page in the document that you have obtained the information from.

Information must never be 'cut and pasted' into the body text of your assignment.

Each and every table, graph, chart, photograph and diagram, unless created from first principles by you, must be clearly and fully attributed to the original source.

Unless otherwise indicated, you are expected to work individually on your assignment. Any assignments which appear to have similarities with each other will lead to disciplinary action under the University rules. Allowing your own work to be copied is treated as severely as the act of copying from someone else's work.

You will be asked to sign a form when handing in your work stating that it is all your own material. Your attention is drawn to the University policy and guidelines on plagiarism:

Plagiarism detection software is used and MEC normally require you to supply an electronic version (eg CD) of your assignment for routine checking.


All assignments which are handed in before the deadline will be marked within a target time of approximately three weeks from the hand in date. Individual comments sheets and marks will be made available for collection from D42.5

Sackville St Building. General feedback points may be given to the whole class group as a hand out or session within a lecture/ tutorial. These feedback comments are intended to help you to improve your approach to future work tasks.

It is important to note that the mark awarded is not negotiable. The mark you are given has been through a first and second marking process. The mark is subject to further checking and moderation by the external examiner and exam board. You cannot re-attempt and re-submit an assessment to try to get a better mark the second time round. All MEC staff are willing to meet with students on request to give brief personal feedback comments about their assignment.

If you believe that there has been a numerical mistake in the marking of your work you can e-mail A Taylor to request that the assignment be re-checked stating where you believe the mistake has occurred.

Assignment hints

  • Start early, plan your time and keep a back up copy of your work.
  • If you are not sure how to attempt an aspect of the work and get stuck, please ask your lecturer for help well before the deadline.
  • Plan to finish at least 24hrs ahead of the deadline to allow time for printer failures etc
  • Work must be word processed using a clear typeface such as Ariel, 12pt.
  • Use diagrams, tables and charts and appendices where appropriate to help explain the text.
  • Use a header or footer with your name and page number to help identification of any page should it become separated from your report.
  • Please state a total word count for the main text.
  • Use a spell checker and proof read everything to make sure it hasn't changed words to give the sentence the wrong meaning.
  • Check all the pages are in order with nothing missed out.
  • Staple all sheets of the report together.
  • Please do not use plastic covers and binders, they are harder to open fully when marking and cost you more.
  • Spell check and proof read all work and make corrections before handing in the final copy.