Glossary of Command Words Part One
Students. in Business as in any subject you are learning you need to understand what certain academic words mean. If you can understand them then this will allow you to answer the question more completely or on the other hand not answer the question in such detail as you may have thought.
Here are a list of the words that you will see timea nd time again in your exams and preparation for the IB. Really Really understand these words and you will find that the academic universe will not seem so big. I broke it down into two parts so as not to bore the socks off you or me.
Analyse: Break down in order to bring out the essential elements, structure, any underlying assumptions and any interrelationships involved.
Example: Analyse the impact of external opportunities and threats on the business strategy of company A.
Compare: Describe two (or more) situations and present the similarities between them.
Example: Compare the benefits of adopting LIFO with those of FIFO.
Contrast: Describe two (or more) situations and present the differences between them.
Example: With reference to the impact on profit, contrast the FIFO method of stock valuation with the LIFO method of stock valuation.
Define: Give a clear and precise meaning of a given word, term or concept.
Example: Define the term “stakeholder”.
Describe: Present the characteristics of a particular topic.
Example: Describe company X’s corporate culture.
Discuss: Offer a considered and balanced review of a particular topic. Opinions or conclusions should be presented clearly and supported by empirical evidence and sound argument.
Example: Discuss how the introduction of an employee share-ownership scheme could affect motivation for employees of company X.
Distinguish: Make clear the differences between two or more concepts/terms.
Example: Distinguish between variable costs and fixed costs.
Evaluate: Make an appraisal by weighing up the strengths and limitations of different evidence and arguments.
Example: Evaluate the option of accelerating company X’s overseas development through the use of franchising or joint ventures.
Examine: Consider an argument or concept in a way that uncovers the assumptions and interrelationships of the issue.
Example: Examine company X’s present marketing approach in the light of changes in the external environment.
Explain: Describe, giving reasons.
Example: Explain why company X has changed its pricing strategy.
Identify: Recognize and state briefly a distinguishing fact or feature.
Example: Identify two reasons why the owner has chosen a particular method of investment appraisal.
Justify: Provide evidence to support or defend a choice, decision, strategy or course of action.
Example: Justify your reasons for introducing an extension strategy for product X.
To what extent: Evaluate the success or otherwise of an argument or concept. Opinions and conclusions should be presented clearly and supported with empirical evidence and sound argument.
Example: To what extent was the marketing strategy of company X successful?