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How to Score Analysis Marks in A-level Business Essays Using Chains of Analysis

How to build chains of analysis (sometimes called chain or reasoning) in  A-level Business. We will look at examples from the Cambridge international syllabus, but the same principles apply to any A-level business essay.

Moving from IGCSE to A-level can be a challenge for students – going from highly structured answers to unstructured essay answers. The key to quickly getting to grips with A-level essay writing are chains of analysis. The magical combinations of knowledge, application and analysis.

If we master how to build chains of analysis these can form the building blocks of every essay answer you do in A level Business.

Video tutorial Chains of Analysis A-level

What is a chain of analysis? (or chain of reasoning)

A chain of analysis takes us from knowledge, puts it in context (aka application) and allows us to analyse the impact on the business. Examiners continually refer to chains of analysis or chains of reasoning when showing top mark answers.

How to build a chain of analysis?

So if we were asked this question on Just in Time:

Discuss the factors which could influence the successful operation of Just-in-Time (JIT) inventory management for a car manufacturer

As a basic recipe for a chain of analysis we are looking for: Knowledge and Understanding, Application, Analysis and Further Analysis

1. Add Knowledge

Knowledge is the first step in a chain of analysis

So lets start with knowledge point that could influence the successful operation of Just-in-time 

Excellent employee–employer relationships are essential 

2. Add Application by Using the Business Context

Operations management igcse course
Many car manufacturers use Just-In-Time

Lets explain this a little further and put the answer in context – in this case a car factory

If there is a bad relationship between management and factory workers in a car factory, a strike will lead to a halt in production.

3. Explain the Impact on the Business By Adding Analysis

We successfully scored application marks by using an example of Just in Time in action in a car factory. But we still need to take the chain further and explain the impact of this factor.

As Just in Time relies on finished stocks being taken away directly from the factory to the car dealerships this could lead to customers orders for cars not being completed

4. Take Your Analysis One Step Further

And we finish the chain by analysing the impact of the incomplete customer orders:

This will lead to damage to the car company’s reputation and lost sales as customers may cancel their orders or move to a competitor for their next car purchase as they are unsatisfied.

Another Example

Follow the same process in each paragraph of your essay. Here is another example for the question on J-I-T at a car manufacturer.

K – use of sophisticated IT systems

AP – means car parts and components can be ordered automatically just as they are ordered

AN – reducing the chance of human error in reordering from suppliers or in the communication not being sent or received correctly

Further AN – so IT systems will ensure car components always arrive on time and at the right quantity so potential costly delays because of low supplies are avoided.

Analysis Pro Tips

Pro Tip 1

Quality not quantity, it is much better to give a detailed analysis of two points than a rushed or incomplete analysis of four points – indeed the examiner report in 2017 states: 

It is not unreasonable to expect at least two good sized paragraphs for any analysis question

Examiner report June 2017

Pro Tip 2

Use connectives like

“this means that “this will impact the business because” “this will lead to 

To keep forcing yourself to fully analyse and keep adding to the chain of analysis

Pro Tip 3

Plan you answer and choose the points that you can most confidently and effectively answer  to avoid repetition.

Think before you start – which factor will you be able to explain IN CONTEXT the full impact of the successful operation of JIT. 

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