Research through the years

It’s final term and the pressure is certainly on, so it is interesting to think back to how my work has developed over the past few years. The types of assignment that we are set have been incredibly varied over my time at the business school, including presentations, essays, reports, project plans, briefing papers, and much more. These have all required a wide range of resources, which have slightly changed over my time at Sussex. In this post I’ll consecutively look at my research over my first, second, third and final year.


First Year

Arriving at university, I had not had a great deal of research to do in the past. Our modules were also introductory, which meant that we relied on textbooks; most people bought copies of these. For my coursework, which included essays, group reports and presentations, I primarily used Google and library search. Over the course of the year my skills developed and I was increasingly able to find useful sources.


Second Year

By my second year, I was primarily using academic sources of information, such as journals and edited books. I found that I was increasingly taking out non-set books from the library and searching for journals. Once I had an initial base of information, I would use this to widen my research. For example, by looking at meta-analysis papers to find other interesting sources. In my second term I was also introduced to additional resources such as Orbis and Mintel by a tutor who required us to include financial information in our coursework.


Placement Year

Even though I was on placement over the course of my third year, I continued to conduct a lot a research as part of my job and for a piece of coursework in the spring. The range of resources that I used during this time were less academic, mainly focusing on company reports or market data and reports from other organisations. This was the same for my coursework, which was a business report and poster rather than a piece of academic writing.


Final Year

This year I have a wide range of types of coursework including essays, presentations and briefing papers. The levels of recommended reading that has been set has dramatically increased for all modules and I therefore use these in coursework more than previous years. However, when I do search for other academic sources I continue to use Google Scholar and Library search, or take additional books out from the Library.

Two pieces of coursework this year have been quite different as they have been focused on the analysis one very complex article in depth, with no need to look for additional sources. I have however found it helpful to read around the topic to help gain a better understand of the area. This has been through reading edited books and using google or the library to find other articles.

This term I also have work that looks for business sources of information rather than academic ones as I am producing documents that would need to be approved by company boards or senior managers. For this work I am having to use google searches more in order to find company information such as annual reports. I am also much more frequently using Orbis, Statista and Mintel as resources.

There also seems to have been a push to give exams a bigger weighting and this means that you are more likely to focus on textbooks and assigned reading.



It is interesting to think back to how my research behaviour has evolved over the past few years. Overall I believe that I am now using a much wider range of resources. However, which ones I use is dictated by the types of coursework that I am set. I hope that this final term I will be able to put all the research experience that I have gained to good use and continue to become more efficient.

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