Written report (1500 words), counting for 70% of the overall course mark
PLEASE READ THE WHOLE OF THIS BRIEF
This project requires you to use knowledge acquired through the course of MN1105j to
recommend decisions to organizational managers.
Please read and follow the instructions carefully. And avoiding copying and pasting too much
of the content of this brief, you could be penalized!
Also, pay special attention to the topics of cognitive biases (week one of your MN1105
course), data presentation (week 4), linear equations (week 4), exponential growth (week 5)
and correlation/regression (week 8). And to working in Microsoft Excel for data analysis.
Because of this and although the deadline for submission is the last week of term, the
suggestion is to start your assignment as soon as possible. Read through, understand what
is required, use the course material, what you learn in face-to-face and online sessions and
be prepared to go over your work a few times.
Tip: Gaining confidence and learning requires iteration (and often not going too much to the
pub, binge video or social media consumption, etc.). Start small, build on it, continue. If in
doubt, ask your tutors, but make sure that you are not just putting on our shoulders your
responsibility to succeed.
So here it goes…
Background and research context
Among other precaution measures to reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, the
strong encouragement to wear a face covering is considered as very important, especially
inside small rooms with weak ventilation. Combined with the suggestion to maintain a one or
two-meter social distancing whenever possible, is considered as one of the key preventive
measures one can follow.
When it comes to primary schools, challenges increase. Countries and governments are
learning from each other. The number of students required to sit in a classroom, the number
of classrooms available for timetabling, as well as young student’s nature pose constraints
not easy to overcome or manage. In countries like the UK, it could be said that primary school
authorities are facing the dilemma, whether they will ask young children to formally wear
masks in corridors, common areas and classrooms or not.
In addition, if the decision is positive, many schools need to know whether a local face
covering supplier or provider will be able to cope with the demand if face coverings are made
compulsory for children aged 7-11. School officials could be aware of statistics publicly
available by researchers and universities, many of which claim that evidence existsto support
that the assertion that increased usage of a face covering (i.e. face masks) is positively
associated to reduction of registered coronavirus cases in children of the above age in the
Before they reach a decision though, some officials wish to perform some additional research
in collaboration with a local university in Egham, Surrey. They want to study whether children
wearing face masks shows some significant association to reduction of cases. The study is
complex as many factors influence the fluctuation in the number of cases, however it was
decided that a limited study focusing on school students aged as above and in the Egham
vicinity could provide some insights towards an informed decision. School officials are aware
that a possible cognitive bias that challenges their decision is that of seeing children wearing
Working at a national scale demands a thorough and costly research setting and influencing
factors cannot be easily identified and eliminated. It was decided by school officials thus to
focus on a smaller scale. The rationale for this is that primary school students attend schools
located at their district so the impact of face covering usage and case numbers at a district
could provide more reasonable results.
A list of all primary schools in England was initially obtained. A two-stage clustering approach
was followed for sampling (i.e. selection of schools to participate). From an initial national list
of 150 schools, 1 cluster was randomly selected (to focus in Egham), and next 10 schools were
randomly selected from the specific cluster.
For the ten (10) schools selected, a period of five weeks was set, and a number of students
was selected randomly to wear face masks for a day, starting from 0 and increased by a step
of 20 each day (i.e. 0, 20, 40,…, 460, 480). Luckily there was enough face mask stocks in the
vicinity, and the officials had money to purchase and donate these masks to students for the
period of the study.
In parallel, the number of new COVID-19 cases per day among children aged 7-11 at the
vicinity has been collected from reports at the national level. With the number of masks being
worn every day and the new COVID-19 cases, a dataset was made available in Microsoft Excel
(available in your moodle site for MN1105j), and donated to our college.
You are lucky! The dataset has the following format (this is an example only):
(working days excluding
Face covering students in
New cases reported among
children aged 7-11 in the
Egham Vicinity (from
15 120 300
OK, data is available, but what about supply of face coverings for students in primary
Primary school officials have also approached a local supplier of COVID-19 masks to make
sure that students will have enough stock to buy in case they need to comply with compulsory
face covering use policy.
The supplier is a small company owned by a former Royal Holloway student who became
entrepreneur during the first COVID-19 lockdown (2020). The owner is happy to supply extra
masks for the compulsory wearing at schools, but she needs to know how many masks would
make it worthwhile to invest in a new sewing machine to recover the investment costs in
three months (3) of buying the machine. She also has to cover other expenses like
advertising. The owner has suggested to school officials to work out a break-even point and
has given two linear equations to:
1. Calculate the amount gained in a three-month period through new mask sales
2. Calculate the costs involved with indicative production cost for each mask of GBP £
0.06 plus initial investment/advertising/advertising costs.
To calculate the above, please use the following:
a) Sales of new masks (in pounds) = £5 (price of each daily disposable mask) * (number
of masks being sold per month).
b) Costs of new masks (in pounds) = £3000 (cost of new sewing machine) + £0.06
(producing each daily disposable mask) * (number of masks being produced per
month) + £500 (cost of mask advertising and storage for three months).
Your assignment task: Calculate, infer and present findings.
You are to produce a 1500 word report that helps the school’s managers make an informed
decision. The report needs to have the following sections with approximate word count in
a) Title (an appealing title) (50 words).
b) Executive summary: A brief statement about what you did, the recommendations for
school officials and the masks suppliers (150 words).
c) Some initial evidence about the impact(s) of masks in primary schools. Here you need
to collate information from different research journal articles and provide two (2)
different graphic charts of your selection. Using appropriate data representation
forms, you would need to show an initial (not yet fully tested by you) correlation
between mask use and new cases of infection being registered: one that avoids a
cognitive bias (you can choose which bias you want to avoid). Narrative plus charts:
d) Present descriptive statistic measures of central tendency from the data set provided
in MS Excel (150 words).
e) Description of how you performed a correlation test using MS Excel (main steps, 100
f) Main findings of the above test (100 words)
g) So what? Based on your evidence (findings), will compulsory wearing of masks help
reduce new infection cases? (200 words)
h) Calculation of break-even point for mask production/sale in the vicinity. Can a breakeven point be achieved in a period of three months by selling less than 200 masks
per month? (200 words).
i) References: Here you need to add relevant links to sources of information, including
textbooks or journal articles, website articles, etc. These will count in the assignment
length and thus should not exceed 200 words. Please use Harvard Referencing Style.
Stretch – bonus exercise (10 extra marks). This will help you increase your overall mark if
you decide to undertake it. So that when we mark your assignment, and your bonus
exercise is done well, we could add a few points to the already obtained mark.