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Construct a research proposal which captures and articulates a research design for your chosen area of interest/focus. This task comprises a number of components.

MSc in Professional Accountancy (MPAcc) Module: Strategic Financial Project [PAM006]

1.  Introduction

This coursework assignment carries 30% of the total of 100% for this Module. It comprises one requirement with one task. It is an individual not a group-based assignment. The task/requirement is detailed in point 5 on page 4 onwards.

Please take careful note of the flowing points:

  • The focus of this assignment is:
    • The identification and supporting justification of a potential area of research.
    • The design of an approach to researching that area.
    • A justification of the design of the approach selected.
    • The word count is up to 3,500 words. It is your own choice as to how many words to use within this limit. This should not be should not be exceeded – see point 3 on page 3.
    • The word count does not include the title page, any Table of Contents page, the list of references. You are not obliged to but may if you wish include an executive summary and/or an abstract. If you choose to do so it will not count towards to the total word count but should not contain any new information not already contained within the main body of work.
    • The upper limit of the word count of 3,500 words
    • You MUST state an accurate word count (excluding the title page, any Table of Contents page, and the list of references) on the front page of your submission.
    • Note that ALL words/numbers, excluding the title page, a Table of Contents page, and the list of references, will count towards to the total word count. Foot notes, illustrations, charts, diagrams, pictures, tables may be included in the main body of your text but they will all count towards the total word count.
    • You are not permitted to use appendices. You should only show the list of references at the end of your work.
    • Any work received after the submission deadline will receive a recorded mark of zero.
    • You must ensure that you cite references consistently. MPAcc’s preferred referencing protocol is the                 Harvard                                         referencing system: (https://accountancy.elearning.london.ac.uk/mod/lesson/view.php?id=3808) 
    • If you decide to use another referencing system (e.g. APA or Vancouver) be consistent in its usage. You should state on your title page the referencing system you have opted to use, even if it is Harvard.
    • No appendices are allowed. Any extracts of graphs or figures or illustrations or questionnaires or interview schedules should be in the main body of the coursework assignment.
    • Submitted coursework assignments are subject to a range of quality control and scrutiny checks including, as appropriate, double marking and/or moderation and/or scrutiny by the module’s Internal and/or External Examiners. All submitted coursework assignments are subject to Turnitin checking for plagiarism (see point 2 below). All results when first published are provisional until confirmed by the Examination Board (to be held in 2020).
    • Assessment criteria are referred to in point 4 on page 4 /Appendix A on page 8. Tasks and requirements and components, with marks available for each component of the following pages. Construct a research proposal which captures and articulates a research design for your chosen area of interest/focus. This task comprises a number of components.

For formatting guidance, please refer to the Coursework Presentation Guide on the VLE.

2. Plagiarism

This is cheating. Do not be tempted and certainly do not succumb to temptation. Plagiarised copies are invariably rooted out and severe penalties apply. All assignment submissions are electronically tested for plagiarism. More information may be accessed via: https://accountancy.elearning.london.ac.uk/mod/lesson/view.php?id=3809

3.  Penalties for exceeding the word count

  • There are penalties for exceeding the specified word count.
  • The maximum word limit for this coursework assignment is 3,500 words (excluding the title page, a Table of Contents page, list of references, and any executive summary and any abstract).
  • You may use less than 3,500 words but in so doing you may be penalizing yourself as it is likely to be challenging to respond to the coursework brief if you use substantially fewer words.
  • You MUST state an accurate word count (excluding the title page, any Table of Contents page, the list of references) on the front page of your submission. If you do not state an accurate word count your mark will be reduced by 5 marks.

Remember: appendices, foot notes, illustrations, charts, diagrams, pictures, tables are all

included within the within the word count. Only the title page, any Table of Contents page, and the list of references and any executive summary and any abstract are excluded from the word count.

  • If you submit more than 3,500 words for this assignment, the following penalties apply:
  1. up to 10% more than 3,500 words - your mark will be reduced by 5 marks;

b. for more than 10% than 3,500 words (i.e. in excess of 3,850 words) you will receive zero marks for this coursework

4. Guidelines regarding criteria for achieving particular grade boundaries

Appendix A details the criteria for achieving particular grades of marks, criteria being based on the University of London’s MPAcc Programme Regulations for Professional Accountancy MSc, as well as the Higher Education Qualifications Framework (HEQF) at Masters level (Level 7). The grade standards represented by the mark ranges are:

Mark range

Grade standard

86 - 100

Distinction at very high level

70 - 85

Distinction

60 - 69

Merit

50 - 59

Pass

40 - 49

Fail standard

0 - 39

Bad fail standard

In Appendix A, the areas in focus are:

  1. Knowledge and understanding of field and intellectual skills;
  2. Research and enquiry;
  3. Scholarly practices;
  4. Professional skills and attributes.

This particular coursework assignment is concerned with areas A, B and C. These areas of focus should be combined and reflected within an independent piece of work. There are other assessments within the MPAcc degree programme which focus on area D. Construct a research proposal which captures and articulates a research design for your chosen area of interest/focus. This task comprises a number of components.

5. Tasks and requirements

To be submitted by Monday 23 September 2019 by 1pm (1300 hours) GMT time.

This coursework assignment contributes a maximum of 30% of the total marks available for this module.

Required

There is one requirement in this section, as specified in the Task further below. The focus is the proposal and design of a potential research study.

Context

This coursework assignment focuses on your own personal or professional area of interest. The area of interest is likely to be work-related but the choice of another area of focus, perhaps of a more personal nature, is not excluded. Whichever area of focus you choose it should be justified in your coursework assignment. If you decide to select an area not work-related ensure that the area is of substance and is not ‘light-weight’. As reflected in the Task detailed below, you are required to select, justify and formulate a research proposal for your selected area of focus.

Thus far in this module’s materials you have been introduced to and considered the methodological underpinning of a number of aspects of the nature and logistics of, amongst others:

  • The nature of research: ‘what research is’.
  • Research paradigms.
  • Literature reviews.
  • Research designs.
  • The nature of and approaches to qualitative research.
  • The nature of and approaches to quantitative research
  • The nature of and approaches to mixed methods research.

Research objectives, hypotheses, and questions.

In developing your research proposal, you will draw upon, as appropriate, all or some, of the aspects introduced and considered in this module’s materials. You will also undertake your own further consideration of other supporting literature appropriate to your task, showing wider independent research and learning. This is a fundamental expectation at Masters Level studies.

Task

There is one task. This is for you to construct a research proposal which captures and articulates a research design for your chosen area of interest/focus. This task comprises a number of components.

It would be worth noting that there is a possibility for you to link your coursework assignment to your final project’s business plan/consultancy report relating to this module. However, do note that the assessment brief for this particular coursework is specific and may not necessarily suit your ultimate business plan/report. This coursework is more academic and assesses the theoretical frameworks of research methods whereas the business plan/consultancy report within the final project is more practical in nature. As a consequence, this coursework assignment may not naturally lend itself as a pre-cursor to the project.

Guidance for undertaking and completing the Task, and required components

Your proposal will be assessed by the Strategic Financial Project (SFP) module team against each of the points detailed below. You are advised to ensure that it addresses each of those points further below. Please be reminded that the nature of this coursework assignment is academic and may not lend itself to linking easily to the final project which is focused more on a strategic business plan/consultancy report. You may, for example, explore a specific organizational phenomenon as the basis of your research proposal. This may be built upon within your final project’s business plan/consultancy report, especially where you may wish to cite some of the benefits within the literature of that phenomenon as part of a suggested strategy to implement in your workplace context. It might then also be appropriate to actually explore it within your workplace context via part of the appropriate methods you discuss within your research proposal. This is, of course, something quite specific. Our advice would be not to try to make your research proposal fit what you want to use it for as part of the project, but rather ensure you satisfy the criteria/areas detailed below which should be covered in producing your research proposal. Use this assignment to explore a topic of interest to you, in the first instance. Construct a research proposal which captures and articulates a research design for your chosen area of interest/focus. This task comprises a number of components.

Your research proposal should include the following components which will be assessed on a scale of 10:

1. (Carries 8% of the marks available for this Coursework)

An account of the background to and rationale for your research proposal which should:

a) Explain the nature of your research topic, expressing your research topic in the form of a problem which needs solving, a question that needs answering or something which you find exciting and has aroused your curiosity and you wish to find out more about.

b) Provide a brief description of the background/context and state why your research is worth the effort of undertaking research into.

Note:

  1. If your focus relates to an organisational area, emphasise the significance of the research to the organisation.
  2. If it is not an organisational scenario, you should still provide a background and perspective. Illustratively, if your area of focus relates to, say, an impact on society such as medical research, or education, or robotics, you should set a societal background/perspective, and emphasise the significance of the research accordingly.

2. (Carries 20% of the marks available for this Coursework)

A literature review, which should:

a) Draw on relevant literature to show why your study is important, and

b) Articulate the relevance and significance of existing research literature in the chosen field.

Note:

This component (2) should link back to component 1 immediately above as well as component 3 immediately below.

3. (Carries 5% of the marks available for this Coursework)

Statement(s) of your research aims and objectives, and associated hypotheses or questions.

Note:

These statement(s) should leave the person reading and assessing your research proposal in no doubt as to precisely what it is your research seeks to achieve.

The statement(s) should be informed by your considerations in components 1 and 2 immediately above.

4. (Carries 22% of the marks available for this Coursework)

The selection of an appropriate research philosophy, supported by discussion and justification of your selection.

Note:

Within your justification you should ensure that you explain why alternative philosophies are inappropriate.

5. (Carries 30% of the marks available for this Coursework)

The selection of an appropriate research design, with an accompanying description, supported by a justification of that research design. In this part of the proposal you should set out and justify:

a) your approach: whether deductive and/or inductive;

b) your type of study: whether exploratory or descriptive or explanatory

c) your strategy, justifying your selection in the context of how it is suited to enabling you to answer your particular research questions and meet your research objectives; here you should refer specifically to the case(s) and/or setting(s) and/or population(s) that will be the focus for data collection;

d) the nature of the data – primary and/or secondary - you intend to collect;

e) how you intend to, if necessary, successfully negotiate access to data from institutions and/or organisations and/or individuals;

f) your sampling strategy, where relevant/appropriate/if not, why not;

g) techniques, be they qualitative or quantitative or mixed, you intend to use to collect and analyse your data.

Within this component (5) and specifically in relation to item 5g) in the context of item 5d), if you intend to use secondary or primary data or both types, use your knowledge about the nature and characteristics of such data to not only identify appropriate techniques for analysis but to also justify why those techniques are appropriate and others are not appropriate

6. (Carries 5% of the marks available for this Coursework)

Identification and consideration of any ethical issues that might arise in the course of the research and how you intend to address them.

7. A relevant reference list. This should link to any references drawn upon in components 1 through to 6 immediately above. (There are no specific marks available for this list but it must link to references drawn upon in your considerations. The marking scheme relating to points 1 through to 6 includes marks for identification and appropriate consideration of relevant and appropriate references. That said, where a relevant reference list is not provided marks will be reduced by 10 percentage points i.e. 10 marks.)

8. (Carries 10% of the marks available for this Coursework)

Relating to structure, clarity and communication of content, up to 10% of the marks are available for the thrust, flow, integration and cohesion of the research proposal, and will be awarded by the marker on the basis of academic judgement.

Other Important notes:

  1. There is no formal guidance relating to the word count for individual sections of your proposal. Any one proposal may vary from another. You must decide how to allocate the 3,500 words yourself. You may wish to use the weightings of each criteria/point/section to help you organise this.
  2. As specified earlier, no appendices are allowed. You should only show the list of references at the end of your work. Footnotes, illustrations, charts, diagrams, pictures, tables are all included within the word count and should be included in the main body of your text.
  3. If you are using tables, graphs, figures and so on remember that the words in there will count towards the word limit. Microsoft Word has a tendency to include them in its word count facility. Therefore, if you are using graphs or figures, you can paste them into your main body of work as an image if you wish. The words within a graph or diagram/figure are minimal anyway.
  4. A table will also be included in the word count according to Microsoft Word. And quite rightly so. If that table contains lists or bullet points or paragraphs, it should, of course, be included in the word count and the table should not be pasted as an image to try to escape the word count.
  5. Only the title page, any Table of Contents page, and the list of references, and any executive summary and any abstract are excluded from the word count.
  6. If you include any extracts or samples of interview questions or surveys and so on, you should include these within the main body of the assignment.
  7. You are not obliged to but may if you wish include an executive summary and/or an abstract. Construct a research proposal which captures and articulates a research design for your chosen area of interest/focus. This task comprises a number of components.

As stated immediately above, if you choose to include an executive summary and/or an abstract it will not count towards to the total word count but should not contain any new information not already contained within the main body of work.

Appendix A