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May 9, 2011

2011 scholarships

Filed under: Reference — admin @ 4:18 am

2011 scholarships

The application form is of primary importance as assessment is made on the basis of a completed Canon Collins Trust application form. A great deal of care must be taken in completing the form especially the motivation section. The following documents must be sent with all applications:

• Certified copy of university academic transcript
• One passport size photo with the applicant’s name clearly written on the back
• Two references in sealed envelopes (two academic or 1 academic and one employer reference)
• Copies of 2 payslips (if employed)
• For PhD candidates a copy of their accepted PhD proposal

For scholarship updates visit 2011 scholarships portal

Please note we will not assess applications that have documents missing so DO NOT submit your form until you have all the necessary information.

Please post (do not fax or email) completed application forms and supporting documents to:

Canon Collins Trust
PO Box 34692
Groote Schuur 7937
Cape Town
Please note couriered applications will not be accepted at a PO Box address.

Please be aware that Canon Collins Trust will assess over 650 applications. It is important that you take time to complete the form accurately and legibly. Where possible use a computer to complete the form. It is provided as a word document to facilitate this process.


You should ask your referees to provide you with a reference that relates to your application for this scholarship. It should outline your strengths as an applicant, demonstrate your capacity to study at the level required, and identify your potential impact in the future. In the case of an employment reference, please be aware that confirmation of employment is not sufficient as a reference. We require information regarding your work performance and potential.

For scholarship updates visit 2011 scholarships portal

If you are not currently employed, we will accept a reference from voluntary work, or two academic references.

Application checklist

1. Have you answered all the questions carefully? Have you clearly demonstrated why the Trust should fund you rather than any other applicants?

2. Remember to include all of the required paperwork.

3. Is the application form clear and easy to read?

4. Do not include any additional information (including CVs) as it will be discarded. Your application will be judged by the quality of the information on the application form.

We will not acknowledge receipt of your application. We will let you know the outcome of your application in November/ December 2010. Please do not contact us about the result of your application before January 2011 as we will not respond. All notifications will be by email so please make sure you provide an accurate email address.

For scholarship updates visit 2011 scholarships portal

For scholarship updates visit 2011 scholarships portal

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May 8, 2011

Writing Assignments

Filed under: Reference — admin @ 5:11 pm

Writing Assignments


Writing an Assignment [2,610 words]


Most assignments have to be written within a range of from 3,000 to 5,000 words apart from appendices, which must be restricted to a maximum of about a dozen sheets. Don’t bulk-up a lightweight assignment with an impressive array of references and appendices; they may look pretty but, if not vital to the assignment, increase length or weight not effectiveness. This restriction on length is an exercise in itself requiring you to select the material you consider essential to deal with the subject. It is similar to the distinction between management and good management! You often read that good management is achieving the aim with the economic use of the available resources. But, you may not need all the resources that are available. Good management is determining how few resources and people you need to get the job done, and use only those. Select only the material you consider necessary to complete the assignment and leave the padding in the box.

Make a friend of the reader

Tutors are understandably influenced by the appearance of an assignment and, as with all human interactions, first impressions are important. Neatly typed, well-laid out assignments will win friends. Poorly constructed scripts will irritate the reader and provoke ill feelings even though they may be unconsciously registered. If the substance of a lengthy assignment is only of average quality, it is likely to attract an initial mark of around 50%, which the tutor might increase or decrease on subsequent reflection. Over-length may not necessarily be penalised but over-length does not increase the grade. Under-length is a more important failing and if, say, 80% of the minimum expected, this will affect the grading.

Report format

If asked to make a report, write a report not an essay. In real life, reports typically contain an initial page stating:

To whom the report is addressed.
Who prepared it.
Summary of contents.
Recommendations or suggestions.

This is followed by the bulk of the report with directly relevant tables, graphs, and illustrations set near to the appropriate text. Avoid requiring the reader to ‘fan’ pages backwards and forwards by inserting “see appendix” in the main text. If you prepare tables in Excel, transpose them into the main word document without page breaks in the middle of tables. Substantial tables, statistical analyses and specimen questionnaires should be put at the end of the report, which should cover five sections:

What is being considered.
Who will do it.
When it will be done.
How much it will it cost.
The cash and non-cash benefits.

If making a verbal presentation of the report, this could be reduced to: What you are proposing. How much it will cost. When we get our money back and what we get out of it.

Reports should be easy to understand and clearly set out for the reader who has to make a decision. The higher up the management structure to which the report is directed, the more concise should be the presentation. Functional operatives lower down in the organisation carry out complex analyses and explanations.

Get to the point

Assignments written as reports should follow the same pattern. Get to the point without waffling. No ‘clearing the throat’ before writing. Omit ‘running-up-and-down-on-the-spot’ introductions before setting off with the message. Do not take two or three pages to get to grips with the subject; this is poor practice. Introduce the subject quickly, especially if in report form.

Answer the question posed

Read the question quietly to yourself (bad practice in normal reading but excellent advice for ‘interrogative reading’). Recast it in your words paying particular attention to the phrasing. Examiners and question-setters are not always known for simplicity and clarity of language, have a penchant for expanding questions into what is considered academic respectability, and frequently use such phrases as ‘compare and contrast’, ‘critically appraise’, ‘value and importance’. These may not all be clichés and should be regarded as unintentional traps. If you do not interpret them correctly, you could go in the wrong direction.

‘Compare and contrast’ is tautological and does not require compare because you cannot contrast things if you don’t compare them. On the other hand, you can compare things without necessarily contrasting them and explaining their differences and similarities.

‘Critically appraise’ needs particular attention. If you were to ‘critically appraise someone’s structural configuration and co-ordinating mechanisms’ you would need far more space than an assignment and more time than is available if it were in the examination room. To critically appraise a writer’s research, strictly means that a reasoned analysis and maybe a challenge of the work have to be argued in the light of acceptable standards chosen to test it. If the researcher has taken a year or more in the investigation and synthesis of the work, you have scant opportunity of rebutting it in a 3,000-word evaluation. To appraise something means to assess it or estimate its value. You could therefore appraise any of the world’s leaders without having to pass approval or declare your opinion of them. I have specific uses for assess and evaluate; I use assess before operations and evaluate after operations have taken place. So one can assess potential effects and evaluate results.

‘Critically’ is the adverb of the verb to criticise, which is on a spectrum of negative judgements or attitudes towards something: disapproval, aspersion, blame, criticism, and reprehension. ‘Disapproval’ is the most general of these and may refer to a fixed, irrational dislike of a person or to a specific instance of reasoned, analytic rejection of an idea or a way of behaving. Criticism is more restricted to the latter of these and is a reasoned rebuttal of something because of the failure to meet certain principles.

Obviously such a question would have been better without the ‘critically’ but if you rephrase it in your own words you could conclude that you are being asked to assess it, pass comments and opinions rather than just to discuss it.

‘Value and importance’ of things is not a cliché. If you applied these two attributes to something, you would have two ranking lists: one in order of value and the other in order of importance, the two lists do not necessarily correlate. The lists may be in absolute or relative terms. Relative listing gives you more opportunity of discussing the differences than merely listing in rank order. If you are asked to refer to your own experience or relate it to a particular case, ‘relative’ becomes pivotal in your answer.

Make sure you understand the question. Put it in your words so that you answer the question posed rather than the one you would have preferred to be asked!

To construct good, understandable modern prose you have to ‘write tight’, that is, it must not be loose, verbose, or circumlocutory. Never use the following phrases unless they are essential for your meaning:

It is important to remember that …
In my view …
To be able to …
It is clear that …
In the case of …(only if literally a case of wine, commodity, mistaken identity, etc.)


Style plays its part in influencing the reader of the report. One of my students, using first person plural, wrote as though we were all going on an investigatory academic tour of a business situation.

‘We will now review the XYZ company’s recovery possibilities in the light of Slatter’s eleven points but take into consideration the observations of Mintzberg’s model, conditioned as they have been by Janis’s groupthink. It will be a task involving logical incrementalism.’

A difficulty when writing assignments in report form is that the supposedly real-life narrative has to be couched in business language yet combined with academic references. To link relevant parts of course material with the substance of the question or organisation, needs practice. No business report is strewn with textual references; there is no need to write that a particular recommendation is based on the work of Accles, Pollock, Tiddles and Widdleypoo. Also, there is a danger of alienating the reader by including too many references in a business report. Ensure that your references are accurate:

the Gettysburg address was not where Lincoln lived;
Aristotle was not Belgian;
the central theme of Buddhism is not ‘every man for himself’;
the London underground is not a terrorist organization.[1]


Write each paragraph around an important point or main theme. This will guide you in structuring a report. Plan the sections, preferably not more than five, break these down into the main paragraphs; expand the major topic in each paragraph. Paragraph headings help if they crystallise the topic of each paragraph in a maximum of about five words.

Paragraphs should follow each other logically progressing the main theme. For example, a discussion of a company’s performance should first explain how performance is to be measured. If you use a quantitative theme in money terms, the logical sequence could be about fixed costs, variable and semi-variable costs, difference between cost and costing, price setting, absolute and relative profits, profits expressed as ratios of other measures. It would be poor practice to include say, discussions on capital investment, currency exchanges, or alternative returns on different projects in the middle of this sequence. Prepare a rough structure similar to the Elko example (see later section on ‘Structure’) to keep the whole effort as a unified, easy-to-follow piece of writing.

This last paragraph of 118 words can be analysed. It may be too long and could be split into two, but at what point? Its main topic is that paragraph construction should contain one topic and follow the plan for the whole. An example from the financial view is given. It ends by suggesting topics, which, if included in the paragraph, would disturb the logical flow.

Making links with course material

Do not regurgitate passages from course material in assignments; this only proves that you can replicate text. When using course material, as distinct from quoting from it, recast it in your words to show that you understand it. Rephrasing and rewriting is a useful exercise in learning the essence of course ideas.

Good assignment practice is to describe the situation (which sometimes has to be from your own experience) and then contrast or support it with theories, ideas, or observations from the course material. If you rewrite references and extracts from the course, it shows that you understand how the situation relates to theory and hypothesis. Because course material is usually studied over several weeks, logical flow in an assignment may be impeded and result in a disjointed report. Maintain consistency in the treatment adopted in the report by following your outline structure.An example will explain.

Suppose you wrote that ‘a conceptual framework is a vital prerequisite to any discussion of organisational culture in an international environment’, then quoted authorities from the course and researched material that said that ‘culture’ was not easily defined or understood. How can a conceptual framework be vital if there is disagreement on what is culture? If you proposed that a framework was desirable so that we all know what we are talking about, fine. You could then approach it from the opposite direction: a description of the case or real life incidents and the important issues related to references in the course to support or challenge the issues.

Start with facts and descriptive matter, examine and analyse them, then support or question them with references from course material and other sources. Inconsistency in an assignment or examination answer is often the result of little or no structure.

Faulty links

Let’s illustrate this by further discussion of culture. Assume that you have to prepare a report for your MD on an organisation’s culture. You start your report by lining up Peters & Waterman against say, Bryman & Legge, concerning the contention that a strong culture may or may not be essential to corporate success. You report that research has been conducted that suggests that hard empirical evidence does not support the views of Peters & Waterman.

Then you include observations from Hofstede, suggesting the possibility of a company paradigm, refer to Quinn’s logical incrementalism (adding, to demonstrate the extent of your research, “described by Pondy as unfolding rationality”), and introduce the concept of ‘strategic drift’. While this would show that you could use the words and have a vague idea of their connections, it would be superficial and would not be getting to grips with company policy, structure, philosophy, or its culture. The MD, reading your report, would be confused with all this talk about a weak or strong culture that is apparently based on shaky foundations because there is little agreement on what it is, and authorities cannot agree whether it is essential, desirable, or not.

Some assignments start by discussing concepts from the course material and then introduce specific case or company problems. This is like taking a torch into a dark cave; it may be bright enough for shallow hollows but utterly inadequate to penetrate deep crevices.

It is better to have a good idea of the cave’s layout and be well equipped before you enter. You may need several freestanding floodlights in addition to a torch, protective clothing, portable ladders, communication equipment, and certainly first-aid items. Similarly, with a real life investigation, it is better to describe the organisation, state its aims, outline its operations and performance, and where necessary crystallise any problems. Link these with the ideas and writings in the course and explain how the incidents are typified, supported or challenged by theory. To repeat, linking an actual situation with academic research requires practice. A useful procedure is to maintain an alphabetical index of the main writers and researchers with brief outlines of their observations, theories, and models. Keep an alphabetical list of theories, concepts, and examples with a note of writers, and where the reference may be found. By constant reference to these, you will become familiar with the main researchers on subjects and this will help to fix the important ideas and applications in your memory.

Criticise theories and hypotheses, especially if you can base your arguments on course material. An assignment that contains little or no course material will be too descriptive and could have been written without studying the course. In contrast, an assignment using mainly course material will not prove that the writer can link concepts, theories, and ideas with real life situations and would be called ‘course dumping’.

Use a structure

You might have come across a case similar to Elko, an international holding company with an ailing subsidiary. A report had to be written from two viewpoints―from the holding company (which would attract up to 25% of the mark) and from the subsidiary (which would attract up to 75% of the mark). Appendix I is a structure for a 1,000-word report on the case.

State the subject of the report.

State the period covered by it.

If geographical areas are important, state those covered.

Because this is a report to a person or committee, write as you would talk in a meeting with them. This means direct speech, active and not passive voice.

Use short sentences.

Direct speech means tight writing.

Appendix I


Elko S

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Centering on Academic Law Transcription

Filed under: Reference — admin @ 8:15 am

Centering on Academic Law Transcription

Rarely do you hear “academic law transcription” being discussed in specifics. More often than not, those involved in transcription as it deals with academics refer to it in a blanket sense, where it covers all things relating to the academic world.

Thus it’s more commonly referred to as “academic transcription”.

It’s understandable that no real distinction is made in many circles when you consider what “academic transcription” is; the conversion into written or printed form of a spoken language source. This is often generated from group discussions and lectures that take place in the classroom or a seminar environment. It’s also used to relate to the conversion of a hand written source into a different medium such as the digital creation of a thesis or dissertation. More specifically, it’s the transcription of research interviews, lectures and seminars that take place in schools, colleges, universities and other locations where the content is used for academic purposes.

In addition, many corporations, non-profit organizations, law firms, and so forth provide legal training and seminars for their employees, clients, members, and others. You can even find legal topics online at sites such as YouTube. Having transcripts of these seminars, podcasts, and videos for the trainee can be quite useful. Not all recorded materials can be viewed at a later time, and even if available online it can often be more convenient to have transcripts to review at one’s convenience.

While transcription services can be important in many academic fields, the world of law is one that is unique in nature because of the depth of the academic content. Academic legal transcription services may cover all aspects of law including:

– Criminal
– Civil
– Corporate
– Constitutional
– Legal history
– Comparative law

Academic transcription is necessary because these institutions (schools, colleges, etc) and the individuals associated with them (teachers, scholars, professors, students) record their educational and research materials to use for additional study or research.

For those studying law, whether they are professional or students, the use of audio can helpe enormously with study and research. In larger environments, these audio recordings are often taken automatically and given to those who request a copy. Facilities and institutions can also offer transcribed versions of these lectures by using a professional transcription agency. Such services are sometimes used to maintain a hard copy of lectures, groups and seminars for future educational purposes.

Transcription from audio also allows students to focus more on the given lecture or seminar, rather than with a head turned down attempting to scribble out notes. In a field with so much information to absorb, having the ability to later seek out academic law transcription can provide the leg up many need to learn without interruption.

It can also provide relief in situations where multiple speakers are used and varying points or perspectives are considered. During academic law debates, such as mock trials, transcription can help the individuals who are involved dissect the information at a later time – much as they would once they step into the field of law and begin practicing.

Attempting to take hand written notes on the fly during any kind of seminar, mock trial, dialogue or other debate is bound to make it difficult to process the respective information that’s coming across. It can also blur the line between those who are discussing a particular topic. As such, the student may end up with varying perspectives as they short hand both sides of a discussion. Academic legal transcription takes the emphasis off the notes and offers a level of clarity to the words that are being spoken – especially if it’s difficult to hear speakers when they’re directly engaging one another in the classroom, lecture hall or conference setting.

TransDual Forensics provides general, forensic and legal transcription services. We also offer interview transcription services to those conducting interviews such as market researchers and the legal academic community.

May 7, 2011

Computer Consulting Business Credibility-Building Secrets

Filed under: Reference — admin @ 6:01 pm

Computer Consulting Business Credibility-Building Secrets

As you are growing or starting your computer consulting business and trying to get great clients, you might wonder, “How do I establish credibility if I only have a couple of references and am just starting out?”

References are incredibly important to effectively marketing your computer consulting business and establishing credibility, so you need to seize all opportunities to build relationships with those in your network that can help introduce you to qualified prospects. There are many ways to maximize and magnify the effect of any references you have and get new ones, even if your business is relatively new.

The following 4 secrets can help you make the most of your references as you build your computer consulting business.  

1) Make Sure You Have References in Writing. In order to make your references as strong as possible, you need to get them in writing on your client’s letterhead. You need to make sure your references look professional, so that others know they come from legitimate small business owners. Prospects will be much more inclined to believe the recommendations of small business owners just like themselves with similar IT problems, so you need to make sure that your references look legitimate. Part of the power of a strong reference is that it comes from a third-party, that is unbiased. So you need to make sure that the sources of your references are as clear as possible.

2) Computer Consulting Business References Should Talk About Benefits. Your references should speak about the specific benefits you provide to your clients: how you save them money; how your technology solution generates more revenue; how you enable clients to close out the month faster; how you improve overall productivity; how your solutions help clients communicate with remote workers, suppliers and vendors more seamlessly. Strong, irrefutable benefits can be an incredibly important part of great references and will make your client references more powerful, even if you only have a few client references.

3) Be Creative About Getting Your First References. If you have no references for your computer consulting business, volunteering can be a great way to get references. Choose a non-profit organization about which you feel passionate and set up a deal with very set parameters. The key is to give a volunteer project a clear beginning and end, as you can’t afford to give free services forever. As part of the deal you strike, ask the non-profit entity to write a testimonial for you. Because non-profits are usually well-known and also well-respected, their recommendations can be very powerful to your marketing campaign.

4) Know When to Ask for References. Many computer consulting business owners are shy about asking for referrals. After all, you don’t want to push your clients too hard or look needy. But, you must ask for referrals, so when is the best time? First of all, ask for a referral when someone gives you a compliment. Pay attention when you walk into an office and are finishing a project and your client says, “This new system is great! I can’t believe I can do all this now!” or “I can’t believe how much money we cut out of our expenses in the last few months because of this great new system upgrade!” This is your time to act. When you hear glowing compliments, ask for an updated testimonial, or a new one if you don’t have one from that client yet. Also, be sure to ask if the ecstatic client knows anyone that might benefit from your services.

In this article, we talked about 4 secrets for your computer consulting business that can help you build credibility and get great references that can lead to even greater clients. Learn more about how you can get great, steady, high-paying clients for your computer consulting business now at  

Copyright (C),, All Rights Reserved

Joshua Feinberg is the author and editorial director of the Computer Consulting Kit Home Study Course, which helps computer consultants, VARs, integrators, solution providers, and managed services providers get more of the best, steady, high-paying small business (SMB) clients.

The Proper Care & Feeding of Professional References

Filed under: Reference — admin @ 7:51 am

Introduction to the lecture “The Proper Care & Feeding of Professional References” for the Career Documents Workshop given by the Effective Writing Center at the University Maryland University College.

The Law on Employment References

Filed under: Reference — admin @ 7:43 am

The Law on Employment References

Under UK law, there is no legal obligation on an employer to provide an employee or former employee with an employment reference, thus an employer can legally decline such a request for a reference. The employee has no right under the employment contract to be granted a reference, even though undoubtedly obtaining a reference is an important aspect in getting a job.

However, if an employer does provide a reference, whether written or oral, it must be accurate. Once an employer provides a reference he can be liable in respect of an erroneous reference due to negligence, and he owes a duty of care to those prospective employers who may rely on the truth of such reference.

In giving an employment reference, the employer must take reasonable care not to give misleading information about the employee, that might be so construed by a prospective employer. He must also take reasonable steps to verify the information on which the reference is based.

An employer in providing a reference concerning an employee or former employee owes a duty of care to the employee regarding the preparation of the reference and can be liable to the employee in damages as a result of negligent misstatements. An employee has a remedy in negligence only if he can establish that an inaccurate reference was due to the employers lack of care. There is no action for negligence if the statement is true. Deliberately false statements in references can result in defamation claims and it is possible for an aggrieved employee who fails to secure employment by reason solely of the falsehood of such statement to sue for resulting economic loss.

UK courts in employment cases have recognised that a balance needs to be struck between the duty of care in the preparation of employment references and the need for open and frank communication on matters relevant to the employment record of the employee. The interpretation of employment references can be a fertile ground for litigation and employers must exercise reasonable care in considering whether to provide an employment reference and its substance and form. is a website selling employment contracts and legal forms online.

May 6, 2011

Ropella Insights: Checkster

Filed under: Reference — admin @ 8:18 pm – Robbie Ropella explains the benefits of using Checkster. Checkster is a very unique and productive web based service, which provides Talent Assessment & Personal Feedback tools that are revolutionizing traditional 360 degree feedback methodologies and employer reference checks. Employers can leverage Checkster to hire, retain, and grow the right talent. Individuals also now have unprecedented access to tools that help them grow and develop within their career. Visit their website
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