The coursework component of the BGCSE in Economics constitutes the remaining 30% of your overall grade. It is intended to strengthen your research skills, and assesses your ability to organize and execute, an appropriate research plan, on a topic of particular significance, and based on one of the general subject areas included on the syllabus. This is where your abilities to interpret and analyze data and information, and to put together a well reasoned discussion, will be put into practice. In this regard, demonstration of independent thought is very important, which means not simply quoting from various references, but using those references as a guide to explain or support issues and ideas that you have developed on your own.
Evaluators will not be impressed because you can provide a long list of references, however, you will most certainly get their attention if your work clearly demonstrates that you have read and understand certain references, and are able to apply them to relevant situations and ideas.
Once you’ve identified a theme for your research project, put together a draft outline of the things you think should be included and reviewed. Put together a list of reference sources that you think may be of particular use to you. This list should include primarily books, research papers, and articles. Make full use of all of the written material that is available to you, if you’re not satisfied with what you’re able to obtain from your school’s library, try other libraries and also the internet. Once you have, established a reference base, to reinforce your findings and/or to help you put them within a national context, you may wish to set up interviews with key people in relevant industries. But before setting up any interviews, ensure that you have a reasonable idea of the questions you want to ask, or the issues you hope to discuss. Interviews should support your research and not be the basis for establishing what you hope to do.
Your paper will be graded on a number of criteria, mainly:
- Aim - Whether you have clearly ascertained the aim of your work, and likewise established the means and direction by which this aim and any other related objectives, have been developed throughout the coursework.
- Methodology - Demonstration of the specific means by which your aim(s) have been met. Your chosen methods of data collection and subsequent analysis should clearly support your objectives.
- Information - The quality of data and information that you collect of course is critical, which means using only what would be considered as legitimate reference sources. Sources need to be checked and verified. Information should be accurate and graphs, charts and other presentation formats should improve the effectiveness of your work.
- Evaluation - Consideration is given not only to the quality of your analysis but beyond that, the kinds of conclusions that would have been drawn from this analysis: In particular, how well concepts would have been applied, and how effectively reference material would have been used in support of the ideas discussed.
- Decision - Given the overall purpose of your research and the aim(s) that you would have set out in the beginning, some type of conclusion or decision must be drawn from your work. You will be assessed on your ability to link your analysis of the information gathered to your stated objectives, thereby concluding your work on a stated position.
- Presentation - Organisation, neatness and readability are all critical elements. When using graphs or charts, (e.g. pie chart, bar graphs, line graphs) be sure that your selection suits the data. Illustrations are intended to improve how data is interpreted, and should highlight key developments or points in that data. For instance, a pie chart might be effective in presenting a particular type of data and totally ineffectual in presenting another, be mindful of how make your selection.
Take care that you observe proper writing techniques, including sentence structure, basic grammar and of course spelling. Treat your coursework as an ongoing task throughout the school year, thereby avoiding the mistake of trying to pack it all in within days before the due date. Set realistic milestones, and commit yourself to reaching each one, within the planned timeframe. With hard work and good planning, you can enjoy high levels of success with the BGCSE. Try to design a programme for yourself, and above all make sure that stick to it.
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