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MSc in Professional Accountancy (MPAcc)
Module: Strategic Financial Project [PAM006]
There is one requirement in this section, as specified in the Task further below. The focus is the proposal and design of a research study.
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 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:
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.
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. 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 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
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.
Your research proposal should include:
1. (Carries 5% 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. You should also, where appropriate/applicable, provide a brief description of the organisational background and state why your research is worth the effort of undertaking research into it from an organisational perspective. (If your focus is not on 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.
2. (Carries 15% 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.
This section should link back to point 1 as well a point 3 below.
3. (Carries 5% of the marks available for this Coursework)
Statement(s) of your research aims and objectives, and associated hypotheses or questions. 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 points 1 and 2 immediately above.
3. (Carries 20% of the marks available for this Coursework)
The selection of an appropriate research philosophy, supported by discussion and justification of your selection. Within your justification you should ensure that you explain why alternative philosophies are inappropriate
4. (Carries 40% 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;
g) techniques you intend to use to collect and analyse your data.
Within this point (point 4) and specifically in relation to item 4g) in the context of item 4d), 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.
5. (Carries 5% of the marks available for this Coursework)
A consideration of any ethical issues that might arise in the course of the research and how you intend to address them.
6. A relevant reference list. This should link to any references drawn upon in points 1 through to 5 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 5 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.)
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