Quantify - The Use of Numbers.

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.

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

If the report we 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 mote 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 students use need to make sense. They can not just make up things. The numbers used need to come from:

- Their research into the area.

- Their calculations.

- Their 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 students are unclear on this for their assignment I suggest checking this with the teacher.