Recent Question/Assignment

University of Bedfordshire
Business School
Department of Accounting and Finance
Accounting AAF005-3,


This is a 30 credit final year unit for BA (Hons) Accounting, and BSc (Hons) Accounting and Finance students. It allows scope for the individual student expression of skills, knowledge and ability. It offers students the opportunity to explore a current issue in accounting or finance in some depth. The ability to discuss such matters with confidence has proved invaluable to many students in the context of job interviews and future promotion panels.
The programme is split into two parts. The first part consists of lectures that are organised around the ‘the research process’. Through a series of fortnightly lectures, the different elements/components of the research process are discussed in detail. It culminates in students carrying out a critique of a published research paper, and accounts for 25% of the Unit’s overall assessment. This is the first point of assessment.
The second point starts off with small-group supervisor-led sessions to produce a research proposal, and ends up with you working individually and almost entirely independently to produce a dissertation.
Thus, to start off with, and based on your chosen broad area of research, you will be formed into small groups of no more than 20. You will be allocated to a member of staff who will serve as your proposal (and later dissertation) supervisor. The supervisor will provide you with broad assistance/guidance as you prepare your individual proposal. The proposal will form the Unit’s second point of assessment, and will account for 25% of your overall assessment, with a word limit of 1,500 words (plus or minus 5%).
The proposal will involve you selecting/defining a clear and feasible research topic; conducting a preliminary literature review; deciding on an appropriate research approach/methodology; and outlining your expected research outcomes. The proposal will form the basis of your final piece of assessment – the Dissertation.
Individual Dissertation : As indicated above, the third and final point of assessment is the Dissertation. This is a stage where you are required to work on your own and to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the ‘research process’ by ‘fleshing out’ / expanding on your research proposal and turning it into a dissertation.
It involves, among other things, refining your research question; conducting a detailed and relevant literature search or review; discussing and selecting an appropriate research approach/methodology; collecting, presenting and analysing relevant data / findings; and then ending with a valid, plausible, and logical conclusion / recommendations / limitations. Invariably, a piece of research should include an accurate and comprehensive list of sources used – a bibliography.
It accounts for 50% of the Unit’s overall assessment, and a word limit of 5,000 words (plus or minus 5%).

Detailed outline of Unit :
There are five (5) one-hour lectures - each held fortnightly - before the Christmas recess, introducing the various components of the research process.
Studying in groups of no more than six, you will work on THREE pieces of work:
The first is a practice essay which will be based on an analysis/critique of a published research paper (to be provided by the Unit Coordinator). The essay can be prepared as a group essay; it will not count towards your final assessment; and informal feedback will be given to the group as a whole. This will serve as preparation for the second essay.
The second essay WILL count towards your final assessment. It will contribute 25% to your final assessment for the Unit, and it will have a word limit of 1,500 words (plus or minus 5%). You will be required to review a published research paper, and provide an analysis/‘critique’ of it. Although you will work in groups, each student will be required to prepare and submit an individual report.
The third piece of group work will again not contribute towards your final assessment. It will involve you preparing, as a group, a valid and feasible research proposal on a topic of your choice. Informal feedback will again be to the group as a whole. It will serve to prepare you for the second individually assessed work – the research proposal (or brief).
The Individual Research Proposal: This is the second piece of work that will contribute towards your final assessment. It will account for 25% of the unit’s overall assessment, and it will have a word limit of 1,500 words (plus or minus 5%). Each student will be required to prepare a research proposal on a topic or issue of their choice.
The research proposal will form the basis of the third, final and main piece of assessed work – the main individual research project (dissertation).
The Individual Research Project (Dissertation): With a word limit of 5,000 words (plus or minus 5%), the individual research project (or dissertation) is this Unit’s centrepiece, its ultimate goal. In a real sense, all the prior stages of this unit logically lead to this final product. To reflect its pre-eminent position, it attracts 50% of the overall assessment for the Unit.
Lecture Timings and other Activities: The timing of lectures and other learning activities is shown in Appendix 1. More details of student learning and assessments are provided later in the text, and in Appendix 2. Students should be aware that they are expected to adopt an enquiry-based learning in the pursuance of this unit. This, among other things, means that lectures and other student support sessions are provided to give students general guidance about the research process, but it is up to the students themselves to determine/develop precisely the manner and direction of their research investigations.
Aims and Objectives
This unit enables students to:
• Understand the ‘research process’ and the logical steps/elements that make it up and link it together
• Promote their ability to conduct academic research – in groups and individually
• Critically evaluate published research in accounting and finance
• Develop a critical approach to research work and its practical applications
• Explore a variety of data collection methods in depth
• Deepen learning through detailed and comprehensive study of a genuine/topical/practical issue in accounting and finance
• Enhance their attractiveness as employees by performing successful project work

There is a 2014-15 BREO site for Advances in Accounting which you should be able to access. Lectures, relevant materials or references from the textbook, journals and other sources will be published on BREO before staff contact sessions. Students are expected to familiarise themselves with all such materials in advance of any sessions. All communications for this course will be posted on BREO. Students should therefore check the site regularly.
Learning Strategies and Assessment
The approach to learning throughout this unit is Enquiry-Based learning. This means that students are expected to perform their own reading and investigations – in order to meet their own objectives – but aided and guided by pointers from lectures and other staff support sessions.
There are three assessment points : Group work-based individual report and submission (25%), Individual Research Proposal (25%), and Individual Research Project (50%).
First Assessment : One single group-based Individual Report – 1,500 words in total, 25% of total assessment:
The first assessment in Term 1 comprises one marked, group-based individual essay/report of around 1,500 words to be submitted in week 47. The exact number of words is not critical. The quality/logic of the contents/arguments are more important.
The essay will be based on a published research paper, and students will be required to critically review it, and comment on one or several of its aspects.
For example, you may be asked to identify the paper’s key research question, rationale, and objectives; to summarise and comment on the range of key views as expressed in the literature review; to identify the key research approach used in the paper; to summarise and comment on the key findings and final conclusion. You may further be asked to provide your own views/comments on any or all of these matters.
The objective obviously is, on one hand, to reinforce knowledge of the research process as covered in formal lectures, and on the other to encourage the development of analytical and critical skills in students.
Indeed, even though students are expected to formally commence their work on their individual research proposals after the Christmas recess, in practice, everyone is advised to begin thinking about this work right from the beginning.
The submitted group-based but individual essays will be marked during the Christmas recess, and the results will be published in the first week after the Christmas recess in January 2015.
Second Assessment : Individual Research Proposal - 1,500 words
The second assessment is a research proposal. It will form the basis for your third and final assessment – the Individual Research Project or Dissertation.
At the minimum, the research proposal should :
i) spell out a clear, valid, and feasible research question; clear background/rationale and objectives.
ii) include an outline or summary of some key initial/preliminary literature review results.
iii) have a discussion of an appropriate/feasible methodological approach to be adopted for the study. Given the limited time and resources available to students, only secondary data (as opposed to ‘primary’ data) should be used for your research.
iv) A summary/outline of the expected outcomes
The deadline for submission of the research proposal is mid-night Friday 30th January 2015 through a TURNITIN gateway. No hard copies are required.
There will be a one-hour lecture introducing the second assessment in the first week after Christmas in January. General feedback on your group research proposal will also be given.
In the following two weeks (12th and 19th January 2015), there will be two-hour tutor-led support sessions for students, organised by “Broad Areas”. The proposed topic and methodology will be discussed with each student and validated by the tutor when acceptable. Student questions will be answered.
The third and final assessment is a 5,000 word report to be submitted through TURNITIN on Friday 08 May 2015 by mid-night. NO HARD COPIES NEED BE SUBMITTED
. Support for this Report is provided as follows:
1) A list of “Broad Areas” in accounting and finance appears as Appendix 5 and will be explained in the lecture in week 42 (October 2014). Following that week students will visit the LRC for instruction/demonstration on search engines. This visit will be organised by learning groups. Over the Christmas recess, (and even before that!) students should make initial investigation of the “Broad Areas” and select for themselves a draft topic for their Research Proposal and indeed their final 5,000-word report. International Finance and Banking students must choose Banking; Accounting students may choose from the other six Broad Areas.
2) This draft topic can be considered to be a “working title”, in the first instance, but the topic can be changed by students at any time up to Friday 9th January 2015. Permission for changes to topics and/or methodology MUST BE OBTAINED from your tutor.
3) Students should recognise that in the 5,000-word report there is not much time for relying on anything other than secondary research as their data source. Their choice of topic should reflect this.
4) Students should note that the resource process expected for this report is a) the presentation of secondary data directly relevant to your topic, and b) the processing of this data in such a way that you will resolve the issue you have identified in your topic. As examples, process b) could be comparisons, categorisations, tabulations, case study analysis, or the application of theory to practice etc etc. It is important that this processing “adds value” to existing knowledge and understanding. In particular, the use of someone else’s statistical model would NOT be seen as adding value, and would not, necessarily, yield an overall pass mark for your report. In addition, the use of someone else’s statistical model, whether or not correctly attributed, could be interpreted as plagiarism and attract serious penalties from the Academic Conduct Panel.
5) In the week beginning 16th March, 2015, there will be a one-hour lecture. By then, all of you should be busy working on your Individual Research Project. The lecture therefore is intended to provide further support and guidance necessary to make sure that everyone is on the right path. There will necessarily be opportunities for students to ask questions and obtain answers.
6) You should note that no further formal lectures or tutor-led sessions are scheduled after the above one-hour class. You will therefore be expected to work independently from then on.
We do however want you to do well, and where you encounter genuine difficulty with your work, you are advised to make this known to your assigned tutor. At his or her discretion, he/she may arrange a special informal session to which other students may be invited.
Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
• Distinguish the usefulness of different research methodologies
• Identify good research/flawed research
• Perform independent investigation into a demanding area of study
• Complete an information search using a range of appropriate secondary sources
• Make and present legitimate conclusions consistent with information sources and methodology
All work submitted must be your own. Do not be tempted to “lift” even short sentences from other sources – TURNITIN identifies these and adds them into the aggregate score for non-original material. If a sentence or short paragraph is so important that you need to quote it verbatim, then you should use quotation marks and emphasise the source. The university considers plagiarism to be a very serious academic offence and any TURNITIN percentage above 20 percent will be subject to disciplinary investigation.

Unapproved Absence
Please note that you are not permitted to absent yourself from the University for any period in term time unless prior formal permission has been obtained (see SID in the first instance – or the International Office in case of international students).
• Collis, J and Roger Hussey (2013): Business Research – A Practical Guide for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students, 4th Edition, Palgrave Macmillan.
• Smith, M (2011): Research Methods in Business, 2nd Edition, Sage Publications.
• Fisher, C (2010) : Researching and Writing a Dissertation, An Essential Guide for Business Students, 3rd Edition, Pearson Education
Independent study - to receive high grades you will need to demonstrate your wider reading. The following resources provide useful background reading for the material in this unit.
Internet Resources
BBC news
Financial Times
Financial Times
The Times
The Economist
Journals in Accounting :
British Accounting Review
Accounting Horizons
Accounting Research
Accounting, Organisations and Society
Accounting and Business Research
These are only a few of many journals in Accounting.
Appendix 1
Page 1 of 2

40 Thurs
Oct 09th A. Introduction
B. The Nature of Business Research / the ‘Research Process’
41 w/c
Oct 13th Reading and research week
Oct 23rd

Research Question, rationale and objectives Lecture
43 w/c
Oct 27th A. LRC (Library staff) Visits
B. Reading and research week Email to Unit Coordinator Group Members details
44 Thurs
Nov 06th
Literature Review/Research Methodology Lecture
45 w/c
Nov. 10th
Reading and research week Submission of Group Essay (via BREO) – due in Fri 14 Nov – (1,500 words)
46 Thurs
Nov. 20th
Data Collection/Findings/Analysis Lecture
47 w/c
Nov. 24th
Submission of 1st Assessable Individual Essay Submission of Group-Based Individual Essay (via BREO) due Wed Nov 28th (1,500 words)
48 Thurs
Dec 04th
Conclusion / Recommendations
Research Ethics and Access Lecture
49 w/c
Dec 8th Submission of Group Research Proposal Submission of Group Research Proposals (via BREO) – due in Wed 10th Dec
Christmas Recess Monday December 15th 2014 – Friday January 2nd 2015 3 weeks
Appendix 1
Page 2 of 2
2 Thurs
8th Jan A. Project Proposal Introduction and Feedback on Group Proposal
B. Submission of Working Titles Lecture
G101 Working Titles (emailed to Unit Coordinator)
3 Thurs
Jan 15th Tutor support session 1 2 hours
4 Thurs
Jan 22nd Tutor support session 2 2 hours
5 Fri
Jan 30th Student submission of Research Proposal (Assessment 2) TURNITIN due Friday 12.00 midnight Jan 30th (No hard copies)
6 w/c
Feb 2nd Reading and Research week
7 w/c
Feb 09th Reading and Research week
8 w/c
Feb 16th Tutor Feedback to students re Research Proposal Tutor feedback on Research Proposals
9 w/c
Feb 23rd
Reading and research week
10 w/c
Mar 2nd
Reading and research week
11 w/c
Reading and research week
12 Thurs
Mar. 19th Lecture – General guidance on individual research project
5-6 pm
Easter Recess Weeks 13,14,15
Monday Mar 23rd - Friday April 10th

Easter Recess
Apr 13th Reading and research work
17 w/c
Apr. 20th
Reading and research week
18 w/c
Reading and research week
19 Friday
May 8th Student submission of ASSESSMENT 3 – Individual Research Project (Dissertation) TURNITIN due Friday 12 Mid-night May 8th (no hard copy)

Appendix 2
Assessment 1 (Group-based but Individual report and submission)
• This comprises two essays of 1,500 words each (plus or minus 5%) : the first is a group essay. It is formative, and is intended to provide you with some practice in preparation for the second group-based essay but which has to be prepared and submitted individually..
• Students should prepare both essays
a) on the basis of a published research paper which will be posted or referred to on BREO. More specific information and requirements for each assignment will be provided alongside each research paper.
b) by reference to the components of research process introduced each fortnight in class as well as explained in the textbook,
c) using as many other relevant sources of information as possible, and these can be discovered during the Reading and Research weeks.
• Both submissions should take the form of a well presented and logically coherent essay (in paragraphs, not notes). A small number of headings may be used throughout the essay for clarification.
• The names and ID numbers of the students in each learning group should be written on the Assignment Top Sheet for each essay (the title page should be after the Assignment Top sheet).
• Active participation from each member of a group is highly recommended as otherwise the benefit of the feedback on the group work will be lost on those members not fully taking part. Responsibility for organising/arranging group meetings however lies entirely with the group as a whole.
• Responsibility for who writes each the group essay is a matter for the group, but all students should remember that knowledge of, and expertise in the research process will directly affect the quality of their first Individual and Assessable Assignment that follows the practice/group essay, as well as Assessment 2 (Research Proposal) and Assessment 3 (main Research Project).
Assessment 2 (Individual)
• This is an individual research proposal of 1,500 words, plus or minus 5%.
• Ahead of the individual proposal, and again working in your groups, you will be required to come up with a group proposal on which you will receive general group feedback. It will not contribute towards your final assessment. However, good, committed efforts on every member’s part should help each one to come up with a good quality individual research proposal.
• Other than some preliminary literature review, you are not expected to perform actual research in this assessment, but rather, you should propose a research question or activity that is clearly defined, logical and feasible.
• You should provide a background or rationale for choosing to investigate the particular issue
• You should pose one or a several objectives that you hope/expect to achieve as a result of undertaking the project.
• You should explain your proposed methodology to meet these objectives (in connection with data, data collection, analysis, and interpretation of analysis etc).
• You should discuss limitations and issues such as access to data, planning horizon, validity of analysis, and ethical issues etc.
• You should comment on the usefulness and potential application of the research which you have proposed.
• Marks for this assessment will be awarded on the basis of:
a) The clarity/feasibility of your intended research question
b) The clarity with which you explain the background/rationale behind the project and the objectives that you hope to achieve
c) The extent and relevance of your preliminary literature review
d) Appropriateness/feasibility of the research methodology and the identification/discussion of any limitations foreseen
Topics (as working titles) and the associated “Broad Area” should be emailed to the unit coordinator (Dr George Kapaya) in order to set up attendance lists for the tutor-led sessions.
Finally, you should remember that your individual research proposal will form the basis of your main research project (Assessment 3). So the more work you put in, the more likely that you will end up with a good quality project.
To assist further with this, two, 2-hour tutor-led sessions are scheduled during the time you will be working on your research proposal. To gain maximum advantage from these sessions, you are strongly encouraged to make sure that you are fully prepared. In particular, it would be very useful if by then, you already have a reasonably valid topic, and possibly also already written up. This will allow the tutor to give you constructive feedback.
UG Individual Proposal Assessment Form
ADVANCES IN Accounting and Finance AAF005-3
Academic Year/Submission Date : -------------------------- -----------------------
Student Name/Number : ----------------------------------------------------------
Dissertation Proposal Title ------------------------------------------------------------
1. Introduction – clear and feasible research question; sound rationale / background; clear aims and objectives
2. Preliminary literature review - relevant; extent; balance of sources; evidence of understanding; critical edge

3. Research Methodology – description of methods, justification for choice, appropriateness
4. Overall presentation –
Structure /coherence / use of language / bibliography
Supervisor’s Signature (1st Marker) …………………… Date ………………
2nd Markers Signature …………………… Date:………………

Assessment 3 (individual)
• This comprises one individual report of 5,000 words, plus or minus 5%. It is not so much the number of words as the quality/logic of the work that is most important.
• It is the responsibility of each student to establish their own topic for investigation, from one of the published “Broad Areas” for accounting and finance research. Then students should design their own investigation and methodology using knowledge gained in Term1 and 2.
• Remember to use secondary data only. Your topic should reflect a current issue in accounting finance, or banking as discovered in your investigations before and over the Christmas recess.
• The tutor feedback on your Research Proposal will be invaluable for your main research report. On the basis of the feedback, you may change the research question/title, methodology or indeed any aspect of your main report. However any such change must be cleared by your tutor.
• You should read widely to produce a comprehensive and authoritative report. Sources should be rigorously referenced using the Harvard system. These sources could include academic journals, books, newspapers, magazines and published annual accounts.
• Your report should be well structured, using the steps in the Research Process; logically coherent; and persuasive.
• Presentation and the use of English are important. You should use 12-point Arial and 1.5 spacing.
• The marking scheme for this assessment is attached as Appendix 3. Please note how each section of the marking scheme addresses and is related to different stages of the Research Process.
• A Title page proforma is included as Appendix 4. The Assignment Top Sheet should precede the Title page.
• Your report should be submitted direct into TURNITIN – no hard copies need to be submitted. Because so many students will be trying to use TURNITIN at this time, you are advised to put your submission into TURNITIN 24 hours before the deadline. NOTE: TURNITIN WILL DETECT ANY NON-ORIGINAL MATERIAL – any non- original material over 20% will be subject to disciplinary investigation.
• The TURNITIN gateway will close at Mid-night on Friday May 8th 2015. Email submission of your final report will NOT be allowed. Any electronic copy not received through TURNITIN will be deemed a “Non- submission”. No exceptions will be accepted.
Appendix 3
UG Dissertation Assessment Form
ADVANCES IN Accounting AAF005-3
Academic Year/Submission Date : -------------------------- -----------------------
Student Name/Number : ----------------------------------------------------------
Dissertation Title ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
5. Introduction – clear and feasible research question; sound rationale / background; clear aims and objectives
6. Literature review - relevance; extent; balance of sources; evidence of understanding; critical edge

7. Research Methodology – description of methods, justification for choice, appropriateness, and extent of application
8. Data Collection and Analysis – quality of data collected, presentation and quality/logic of discussions/analysis of results/findings
9. Conclusion/Recommendations – logical and consistent with research literature review, findings / results, research question, aims / objectives.
-Appreciation of limitations;
-Appropriate policy/future research recommendations
10. Overall presentation –
Structure /logic /coherence / language /visuals /bibliography
Supervisor’s Signature (1st Marker) …………………… Date ………………
2nd Markers Signature …………………… Date:………………
Appendix 4
The University of Bedfordshire
Business School
Department of Accounting and Finance
Your topic title (in your own words)
Student Name & Number
A project submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of
BA (Hons) Accounting, and BSc (Hons) Accounting and Finance
Date of submission

Appendix 5
• Financial Accounting/Reporting
• International Accounting Standards
• Management Accounting
• Financial Management
• Corporate Governance
• Corporate Social Responsibility
• Mergers/Acquisitions
• SMEs
• Any other research area as approved by your supervisor.