The state of the real estate market in Regina or Unemployment levels in Saskatchewan
Business 205 Take-home Assignment #2 Spring 2016
Due date: June 16, 2016 at the start of class; Value: 25% of term grade.
The state of the real estate market in Regina
Unemployment levels in Saskatchewan
Assume you are working in the research and communications department for a private investment firm based in Toronto.
The firm’s CEO has heard that economic growth has slowed in Saskatchewan and wonders if it is now a good time to invest in that province since the prices for some investments may be bargains. There are two areas of interest that the CEO wants various members of your department to explore. Those two areas and the reasons the CEO wants to know about them are provided in the list which follows below.
Areas to explore
1.) The state of the housing market in Regina, Saskatchewan.
The CEO has heard home prices have declined in Regina over the past few years. Is this correct? She wants to know: is now a good time to buy homes for resale at a later date or are prices likely to decline further? Part of this plan would involve renting any homes bought to tenants until such time as home prices increase.
2.) The CEO is interested in investing in a medium sized farm equipment manufacturing firm in Saskatchewan.
She has heard that one of the problems this firm has been having over the past decade is finding employees who will work for $17 per hour. This is supposedly because high paying jobs were plentiful in the province for several years and employees willing to work for less than $20 per hour were in short supply. The CEO has heard that unemployment is increasing in Saskatchewan, with more workers chasing what few jobs are available. The CEO wants to know if this assumption is correct. Can she expect that the firm she is thinking about investing in will have less difficulty finding employees prepared to work for less than $20 per hour for at least the next year or two than might have been the case a few years ago?
You are to select one of the two task areas presented above and prepare a short formal business report which answers the question or questions posed by the CEO. The CEO wants the reports on his desk in no more than three days, so you will be very limited in the amount of research you can do in support of your assessment. You will be required to present an executive summary of your report in class on June 16 or 21.
Acceptable sources of information for your report are listed below.
Acceptable research sources
• Online industry reports based on data compiled by government agencies such as Statistics Canada or Canada Mortgage and Housing. Or the data reports compiled by the agencies themselves.
• Online and/or print news stories (e.g.: The Regina Leader Post, The Globe and Mail, The Financial Post, MacLeans magazine, online market analyst blogs.
You may find it useful to read articles about the general state of the Saskatchewan economy. You may find that some of the conditions affecting your CEO’s decision are driven by the state of oil and potash prices, for example.
Format for the report
The text of the report will be from three to five single-spaced pages in length. This does not include front matter (title page, executive summary, contents, list of tables and figures), the references page and any appendices provided.
The report will have a title page that provides: your name, the name of the assignment, including task number, and the due date for the assignment.
The report will have a one paragraph executive summary no more than ½ page in length, placed directly after the title page and prior to the table of contents. You should retain a copy of the executive summary for your in-class presentation.
The report will provide a page following the table of contents with the heading “list of tables” and figures in which you will list the names and numbers for the table or tables included in the report and the page numbers in which they appear. This will be followed by a list of any figures you employ – titles and page numbers on which they appear.
You are expected to present at least one table and one figure in your reports. Tables and figures must be properly introduced in the text. They should have titles and numbers e.g, Table 1 Regina home prices over the past five years, Figure 1 Canadian home prices over the past five years. There should be a source note following each table or figure indicating where you obtained the data.
The text of the report will have three main headings: Introduction, Analysis and Conclusions. The content and potential sub-headings for each of these main headings is provided below.
o Research question or hypothesis on probation
o Conceptual clarification
o Methodological approach
o Optional foreshadowing of structure and conclusions
o Environmental scan: any history or contextual background required by the reader.
o Presentation and assessment of the data (usually the largest section of a report).
o Plausible alternative analysis
o Revisit the original research question or hypothesis and present your conclusion.
o Synthesize your analysis to show how it got you to your conclusions
o An optional affective statement – the importance and relevance of your findings. What might have produced a more useful or conclusive assessment?
An executive summary is a stand alone piece of text which includes the following:
* The research question and/or hypothesis dealt with in the paper
* The conclusion you came to and/or answer to the research question
* A statement about methodology
The common error
Many students are puzzled by the fact that much of the information presented in the executive summary is also included in the introduction to a report. That is OK. The introduction, as well as the rest of the report, should read as though the reader never read the executive summary. In other words, the executive summary is not part of the introduction.
The executive summary is generally shorter and more concise than the introduction. And, while you must state your conclusion in the executive summary – stating the conclusion in the introduction to the paper itself is optional (although I almost always include a foreshadowing of the conclusion in the introduction).
Citations and references
You will make use of in-text citations and provide a reference page for your report. You will employ the American Psychological Association’s (APA) citation and reference model as presented in the APA section of the Purdue Owl online Writing Lab.
Oral portion of the assignment
You are required to present your executive summary orally in class and be prepared to answer questions from students and the instructor. Your presentation, including the questions portion, will be from two to five minutes in length.
Students are permitted to work in groups of no more than four students and turn in a single report for all four group members. Only one of the group members will present the oral report, but the others are expected to be on hand to answer questions. All group members will receive the same grade regardless of any issues that arise regarding the amount of effort or contribution made by any particular group member. Be forewarned, that group projects can generate higher than usual marks for students who typically receive low grades and lower than usual marks for students who typically receive high grades.