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1. Assessment 3: Final Report

Your final assessment for this course consists of:

  • Part One: A final report of your research project, written as a team
  • Part Two: Executive Summary of the report, done individually

Your report must include background information in the form of a Literature Review. This page is designed to assist you with finding information sources for your Literature Review.

A detailed description of the assessment is listed in your course outline.

2. The Literature Review

A Literature Review consists of:

  1. Identifying credible sources
  2. Critically reading and evaluating the information
  3. Taking notes of the content, as well as noting your critique of the content
  4. Identifying the main ideas stated by the author(s)
  5. Paraphrasing accurately
  6. Organising your ideas into a structure
  7. Writing a brief (descriptive) summary of each article including a (analytical) critical evaluation 

Your literature review should be guided by your research question. You should also identify gaps in the literature and list the questions raised by the literature.

For more information about literature reviews, see these Study Help resources from the Student Engagement Unit.

3. Plan your search

Once you decide on your finance research question or issue you will need to deconstruct it for keywords, concepts and ideas.

1. Brainstorm some keywords that relate to your research question. Think of alternative words and synonyms too.

2. Think about how you can join your keywords together to form a search term. Remember these tips:

  • use quotation markets around phrases to search for the words together, e.g. "excise duty"
  • connect and combine search keywords using AND, OR, and NOT
    • AND joins two words together, e.g. "public finance" AND Australia
    • OR will search for either of two terms to broaden your search, e.g. IPO OR "initial public offering"
    • NOT will search for one word and exclude the other, e.g. market NOT shop
  • use an asterix * to find alternate word endings., e.g. financ* will search for finance, financial, etc.

3. Try your search term in the Library collection and databases. You may need to try different combinations and mix and match your keywords.

For more help, have a look at:

4. Finding literature using the Library Collection

Using the search box on the Library website, try out one of the search terms you've put together:

Once you are happy with your search term (it might involve some trial and error), you can then refine the results to make them more relevant by using the 'Tweak my results' menu on the left.

One of the options is to choose to Show Only Peer-Reviewed Journals:

You can also refine by date to show more recent articles:

Once you've finished your selections, remember to Apply Filters:

5. Finding literature in Databases

The Data Sources page on your course homepage has some suggestions of databases you can use. It includes instructions on how to access them.

Here is an example of how to use Business Source Ultimate:

1. Open Business Source Ultimate from the Library Collection

2. Enter in your search terms. Note that in this database, the connectors AND, OR, and NOT are built into the search boxes, and you can add more fields to build a longer search terms. 

3. Like the Library Collection, there will be a menu on the left where you can filter by date and source type. You may want to find Reports to include in your literature review, so make sure you do not limit to 'Academic Journals' if you're looking for report.

The principles for searching in the Library Collection and Business Source Ultimate can also be translated to other databases. If you need any assistance, don't hesitate to Ask The Library.

6. Key References

These books are recommended by your Course Coordinator in the Course Outline:

7. Evaluating your resources

Once you have found information for your report, it is important to think about whether it is good quality and useful or your needs. Watch this short video (approx. 3 mins) to learn how to evaluate sources:

8. Company & Industry Information


If you want to look up real company or industry data to include in your report, have a look at our Company and Industry information guide. It can help you find public and private company and industry information.


9. Secondary data and hard data sources

Secondary data tends to be readily available and not collected by the researcher themselves. See the links at the bottom of this box for help with finding statistics and other secondary data sources.

Other sources of secondary information will be available from your course site. There are some databases that you can use to download hard/raw data as per your research question, and analyse those data using statistical packages.

Hard data in the context of this course is any research question that relates to investments eg

  • Capital expenditure
  • Research and Development
  • Business Acquisitions

Usually this information is located in the Balance Sheet of the particular resource.

Hard data may be found in sources such as DatAnalysis Premium, and Eikon / Datastream ProfessionalFor more help with Eikon use the help available here

Refer to the document on your course site for a complete list of these and other hard data sources.

10. Referencing Support

Other referencing support tools: Referencing software (EndNote)

What do you do with all those references you have found? Use a bibliographic management software to store, organise and cite your references.

The Library supports the bibliographic management tool EndNote. There are also many free systems available.

EndNote Guide