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13 - Quantify - The Use of Numbers.

Many reports are needing a good use of numbers.

Does this subject use quantities?

Using numbers in your writing

Some courses have a heavy reliance on numbers.

The obvious ones are the science courses, which often end up using some sort of mathematics.

However the less obvious ones are in the business and social science areas.

In business courses; accounting, finance and economics obviously use lots of numbers, but what about studies in marketing, supply chain logistics, procurement or human resources? Students often need to do assignments on these areas. A common mistake students make is to write mainly in a “qualitative” manner.

“Qualitative” – To write about something by describing it’s “qualities” or features.

“Quantitative” – To describe the “quantities” of a situation. This means using numbers for those quantities. We are also talking dollar amounts ($), percentages (%), times (weeks) etc.

In industry, business professionals are mostly interested in numbers. These are the things that matter. If you are studying subjects that lead into industry then a lot of the writing will probably need to include numbers.

If the report you are doing is supposed to have Quantitative sections then it is very important to make these sections “dense” with information; i.e. use lots of numbers as these numbers are the evidence.

Those students who simply write in a qualitative way will lose marks.

Here is an example of this done badly. This is a paragraph describing the numbers of cats living in the city:

Now have a look at this when it is written in a quantitative way.

This quantitative writing is much more impressive and will get better marks. Sometimes it can be hard to obtain quantities however some students make the mistake of not writing quantities even when they can easily be found.

Obviously the numbers you use need to make sense. You can not just make up things. The numbers you use need to come from:

– Your research into the area.
– Your calculations.
– Your assumptions (based on evidence).

The reports that have a good density of evidence (numbers) will generally do better than the reports that simply describe something.

If you are unclear on this for your assignment we suggest checking this with your teacher.



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