Before completing any criteria in the internal assessment, you should ensure that you:
- Review the marking criteria (on the class wiki)
- Use the template document (on the class wiki)
- Review the exemplars as reference, but obviously your work must be your own.
Criterion A Initial investigation and initial consultation with client
You have your project idea and you have selected a suitable client. Now you are ready for Criterion A. In many ways criterion A is the write-up of a lot of the planning material you have done so far: you already “know” who your client is, what their present situation is, and what problem they want solving. The goal now is to record this information and write it up. The best way to record this information is to perform a video interview with your client, which we will include on the DVD that we send to the examiner. This has the advantage of making the client’s answers readily available to you later on for reference purposes, and the video of a real person helps assure the moderator (and me!) that your client is genuine.
Criterion A has two parts (two different documents):
Initial Consultation: This document should contain a record of your interview with your client. The best way I have found to do this is to make it a transcript of your video interview. Include the questions you asked the client and the answers they gave. You do not need to include every ‘ummm’ and ‘ahhhh’ that the client says, but their answers should be clearly and accurately typed up (and accurately translated if the interview was not in English). At the top it is a good idea to include details of the interview (name of interviewee, date, location, and so on). There is no word limit for this part.
Initial Investigation: This document should contain your write-up of the current situation. The recommended word limit for this section is 200-250 words. If we looking at the marking scheme you will see you need to:
- Include a clear summary of the problem and identify the client (use their name, their job title or position, and their company name if relevant).
- Explain the inadequacies of the current situation, and refer explicitly to the interview you performed. The best way to do this is to include short quotes from the interview, for example “As my client stated, the current system of paper records means that if a student loses their diary during the year, they have lost all of their evidence of attendance.”
You should also remember that criterion A is about the client and the current situation: it is not about solutions yet. Therefore, even if you have a possible solution in mind, you should not ask the client about it or start making any recommendations.
Writing Good Questions
For your initial consultation with your client you need to generate a series of questions about their current situation and the current problem. You need to choose the right time of question – open versus closed – and check carefully to make sure the client will understand them and give you the type of answer you desire.Remember that a busy person may try to answer your questions as quickly and briefly as possible, so if you simply ask the closed question “Do you have any problems with your current system?” the answer you receive may well be a very unhelpful “Yes“. Instead, a more open question such as “Could you please explain some of the problems you encounter with your current system?” may generate more useful and detailed answers. Below are some bad examples of questions I have seen in the last few years, with suggestions about how to improve.
|Do you have any problems with your current system?||This is a closed question will could generate a very unhelpful ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.|
|Is your current system good?||This is also a closed question. ‘Good’ is also rather vague and may mean different things to different people.|
|What do you want your new web site to include?||At this stage you should not be mentioning specific solutions to your client – it suggests that you are not paying attention to their needs.|
Criterion A is marked out of 3 and there is really no reason for any student to get less than full marks. Remember, if you are unable to clearly and accurately explain the client’s problem at this stage, it is likely that you will be unable to design and create an appropriate solution, because you will not know which problem you are trying to solve. Equally, by getting a good idea of the problem from the interview, you can design and create a good, appropriate solution that will satisfy all of the ITGS project criteria.
Now you are ready to move on to Criterion B.