Polish your techniques

Quantitative Methods for Business
November 11, 2005

Any fears about the length of this book are soon allayed by the text's approachable style and clear layout. It takes users on a logical progression from basic mathematical functions to statistical inference via critical path analysis and an introduction to research design.

This would be an ideal set text for courses in quantitative or research methods and could be studied in the classroom or at a distance. Although aimed at undergraduates, it could also be useful for those taking a masters in a business discipline who lack a quantitative background. Individuals preparing for the examinations of professional bodies (for example accounting) would also find it useful.

The book makes no assumptions of prior knowledge of maths. All examples are fully explained and are accessible without being patronising. The author has clearly had fun devising the names of protagonists in fictional examples, which adds to the interest without detracting from the technical precision. There are sensible suggestions about using technology to do the donkey work, which range from a reminder to keep a photocopy of your calculator instructions to detailed instructions for using Excel, Minitab and SPSS for many of the examples. The only risk is that changes in the software could render valuable sections of the book obsolete.

This text demonstrates its relevance by being firmly grounded in reality and by providing practical examples of how quantitative techniques are used, for example, in break-even analysis, investment appraisal and logistics. (Sadly, finding the applications in the index is more difficult than locating the techniques. A useful addition might be to provide a summary of techniques and their application inside the cover.) Fictional examples are reinforced by a "road test" section in each chapter that supplies case studies of organisations using the methods.

Sally Aisbitt is senior lecturer in accountancy, The Open University Business School.

Quantitative Methods for Business: The A-Z of QM

Author - John Buglear
Publisher - Butterworth Heinemann, Elsevier
Pages - 685
Price - £26.99
ISBN - 0 7506 5898 3

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