Accounting Research Project

Instructor Information


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Course Description


Under faculty supervision, the student selects an important issue in accounting for guided research. The student meets regularly with a faculty member to review progress. At the end of the semester, the student must submit a well-written research project demonstrating the purpose and need for the study; the research methodology used; the findings of the study; and who will benefit from the study.


Objectives of the Course


This course is designed to provide students with research and communication skills that are essential in studying and analyzing academic and professional problems. Its cardinal aim is to introduce students to independence and self-assessment of accounting and field-related problems or issues of interest. During the following course of actions, students learn about literature and data sources, statistical applications, developing hypotheses, analyzing results, and reaching conclusions and recommendations for the issue under study.


Course Plan


In the first meeting, we lay out the general foundation such as understanding the structure of the paper and identifying the research facilities in the school including databases. For the rest of the term, the course runs on a one-to-one basis.  The specific requirements of the accounting research project are presented below:


  1. Each student picks an accounting topic or an accounting problem of interest, and writes a proposal of what she/he intends to do with it. Many students write on issues they have studied in their advanced accounting courses. Your topics must focus on accounting-related issues.
  2. Each student must provide me with a one page proposal within two weeks of our first meeting. Your proposal should include a brief discussion of your research topic, as well as the research motivation (why you are studying this issue), cited literature, research questions, research contribution, and the research methodology to be used in the study. Focusing on the aforementioned points (discussed further below) would not only guide you in selecting a topic, but would also add essential structure to your final paper.


  • Research motivation: Why the selected research issue is critical? What are the reason(s) for writing the paper or the aims of the research?
  • Literature Review: A reasonable summary of prior research on your chosen topic should be made focusing on how the study relates to the existing literature or rules of conduct in the industry. The news/ commentaries produced by popular media (e.g. Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNBC, and/or Bloomberg) and internet news/commentaries available on the internet) should NOT be primary sources for developing a research project.  Several scholarly papers should be included, cited and discussed in the literature review section of your paper.  .


  • Research questions:A research paper needs to present research questions and use appropriate research method to answer research questions. What is a good research question? For example, “What is the difference between IFRS and U.S. GAAP?” is not really a biting and stimulating research question. This is a fundamental question that does not lend itself to a cogent and compelling analysis. However, “Is the quality of U.S. GAAP earnings better than IFRS earnings?” is a better research question. First, one would have to define earnings quality and justify why U.S. GAAP earnings is of better quality. Second, a data set of firms’ earnings based on U.S.GAAP and IFRS would have to be analyzed to determine if there is significant difference between the two types of earnings; and conclude your findings.  In order to find a good research question, it is of utmost importance that you study some published articles from research journals.


  • Research contribution:What is the value of your research?  How does your research add to the extant accounting literature?  What practical implications does your research have?  How your research can help solve practical problems?


  • Research methodology: What is your approach to the research topic? And what is the theoretical or subject scope of the paper? How are you going to answer your proposed research questions: Is it by collecting and analyzing data? Or is it by evaluating and synthesizing the current literature on the subject?





Format of the Research Report (paper)


In addition to literature references, tables and figures, twenty body-text pages [double-spaced, 1.25” (left and right) and 1” (top and bottom) margins] are required for a student’s paper.


We recommend the following structure: the title of the paper, the student name, course and section number, and the semester (fall, spring or summer) should be on the cover page. The body of the paper may be divided into the following sections, which are illustrated in the article on Blackboard and discussed below. Note this is a general structure and may only be partially applicable to a largely descriptive paper.


  1. Abstract: a precise summary of the problem, the objective of the research, the method, the results and recommendations.
  2. Introduction: a detailed statement of the nature of the problem and its importance. Relationship with current directions in the field or the profession, and how the issue relates to industry or academic thought. Summary of the methodology and data sources and findings.
  • Background/Literature Review: Several scholarly papers should be included, cited and discussed in the literature review section.
  1. Hypothesis/Proposition: from the analysis of the problem a testable hypothesis/proposition in appropriate form should be stated. Depending on your research topic and methodology, this step may not be applicable.
  2. Methodology: a description of the method to be followed in analyzing the problem or the issue of interest. Is it an empirical paper or analytical and descriptive? Is it dependent on archival data or surveys? Are you using statistical analysis? What type?
  3. Results: presentation and analysis of results.
  • Conclusions: summary of a study’s research motivation, analyses, methods, findings, and, perhaps, direction for future research.
  • References: I have a journal article posted on Blackboard which you should follow for your within-text citations and references at the end of the paper. As shown in this paper, within-text citations are made using an author-year format. Cited works must correspond to the list of works listed in the ‘‘References’’ section, and you should make an effort to include the relevant page numbers in the within-text citations.  References to other publications must be carefully checked for completeness, accuracy and consistency. This is very important in an electronic environment since it enables your readers to exploit the Reference Linking facility on the database and link back to the works you have cited through cross reference.


Footnotes: Footnotes are not to be used for documentation. Textual footnotes should be used only for clarification, extensions and useful excursions of information that if included in the body of the text might disrupt its continuity. Footnotes should be inserted using the ‘‘footnote’’ or ‘‘endnote’’ feature of the word processing software which will automatically number the footnotes throughout the manuscript with superscript Arabic numerals.


Course Assessment


The standard university letter grade policy applies:

  1. A- and A > 90%
  2. B- to B+ 80-89%
  • C- to C+ 70-79%
  1. D to D+ 60-69%
  2. F                                                               < 60%





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