Module description


This module provides the opportunity for students to produce a well-researched dissertation examining one standard topic (equity valuation) introduced in the MSc Accounting and Finance programme.

Additional Information:


This module requires you to develop your own arguments and carry out empirical analysis, skills which are necessary for employment in the fields of Finance and Accounting. It is an opportunity to develop your skills in research, writing, presentation and communication, as well as your ability to work independently.

Full module specification

Module title:Dissertation
Module code:BEAM027
Module level:M
Academic year:2016/7
Module lecturers:
  • Professor Joanne Horton - Lecturer
Module credit:60
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:


Duration (weeks) - term 2:


Module aims

The primary objective of the taught element of BEAM027 is to prepare students for the standard dissertation topic on equity valuation using accounting numbers. Lectures and workshops aim to:
• Introduce and review the theoretical and empirical literature on equity valuation. This material will provide the basis for the literature review section (Part 1) of the standard dissertation;
• Provide training in empirical research methodology, including data collection and handling, statistical analysis, and key research methods. This material will provide the basis for the small sample (Part 2) and large sample (Part 3) sections of the standard dissertation;
• Assist with the practical issues associated with producing a high quality MSc dissertation, including dissertation content, structure and style, referencing rules, presentation of results, etc.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. be familiar with the context for the use of accounting numbers;
  • 2. understand the theory and methodology underpinning quantitative, qualitative and mixed method research paradigms;
  • 3. understand the application of different research paradigms (e.g. case study, event study, interviews, databases);
  • 4. be familiar with the key practical issues involved in implementing research paradigms
  • 5. be familiar with the theory and derivation of accounting models;
  • 6. be able to understand, synthesise and critique key theoretical and empirical research papers;
  • 7. be able to design and present a research proposal;
  • 8. be able to critically review research proposals.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 9. assemble, summarise, synthesis and criticise a body of relevant existing research;
  • 10. utilize appropriate analytical and statistical techniques to formulate a well-founded answer to a specified research question

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 11. pursue a sustained program of individual work outside the classroom setting analysed;
  • 12. evaluate critically existing ideas and to perceive areas of weakness or omission which might be fruitfully pursued;
  • 13. complete, as an individual, a multistage task within a defined period, as assisted by the supervision process;
  • 14. develop skills in structuring, constructing and presenting complex written material.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Lectures22 hoursLectures
Supervision meetings4 hoursFeedback (face to face or email/Skype
Private Study574 hoursIndpendent
600 hoursTotal

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Supervision meetingsMinimum 4 hours 1-12Written/oral
Proposal1000 words1-10, 12Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Dissertation10015,000 words maximum1-12Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
DissertationDissertation (100%)1-126 weeks after recieving original results

Syllabus plan

Term 1, provisional outline will have the following:

Lecture 1: Introduction.
Lecture 2: Critical Thinking: Literature review
Lecture 3: Event study literature/methodology Lecture 4: Value Relevance Literature/methodology Lecture 5: Analysts Literature/methodology
Lecture 6: Network Analysis literature/methodology
Lecture 7: Positive Accounting Research literature/ methodology
Lecture 8: Qualitative Research methodology (guest lecturer)

Term 2

Lecture 9: Presentation of proposals/ critical discussion and support Lecture 10: Presentation of proposals/ critical discussion and support Lecture 11: Presentation of proposals/ critical discussion and support


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

A list of readings is provided below. Much of the reading material for this course consists of articles published in academic journals. Students should note, however, that there is no core text and these reading lists are not an exhaustive list of everything that you can or should read. In your dissertation, you should ideally show that you have sought out, read and understood a wider selection of relevant literature than that covered in this course. You may be able to find articles published in academic journals using e- journal sites available via the university library (http://as.exeter.ac.uk/library/). Useful e-journal sites are EBSCO, JSTOR and Business Source Complete, and journals whose articles are useful in full text are as follows:

- The Accounting Review - Review of Accounting Studies - Contemporary Accounting Research - Financial Analysts Journal - Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis- Journal of Accounting 7 Research - Journal of Business Finance and Accounting - The Journal of Finance - Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Finance- Journal of Accounting and Economics In addition to e-journal sites for published articles, students should also use the Social Sciences Research Network website (www.ssrn.com) to source relevant unpublished material. Browsing through the hard-copy journals in the library is also a potential fruitful way of identifying relevant literature.

In addition to journal articles and other material distributed in class, there are a number of standard texts that contain useful material. Recommended examples are as follows, some of which you may have referred to in earlier modules.

Ryan, B., Scapens, B., and Theobold, M., (2002). Research Method and Methodology in Finance and Accounting, Cengage (ISBN: 978-1861528810).
Bryman, A., and Bell, E., (2007). Business Research Methods, New York: Oxford (ISBN: 978- 0199284986).
Brown, R and Saunders, M., (2006). Doing Your Dissertation in Business and Management: The Reality of Researching and Writing, London: Sage (ISBN: 978-1412903516).

When the module commences, some course materials and links to useful web sites (including financial databases) will be made available via the ELE site. This site is available to students registered for the dissertation. Students will require their university network username and password to access the site.


Module has an active ELE page?


Origin date


Last revision date