Research Methods in Taxation

Module description

Towards the end of your studies you will embark on researching and writing a substantial dissertation of around 15,000 words. In order to help you prepare for this project and to provide you with guidance on how to undertake a major, original piece of research, you will need to complete our research methods module. Aside from learning in some depth about alternative possible research methodologies, we will also help you to prepare a formal research proposal which you must pass in order to proceed to the dissertation stage.

Full module specification

Module title:Research Methods in Taxation
Module code:BEAM073
Module level:M
Academic year:2020/1
Module lecturers:
Module credit:15
ECTS value:





Introduction to UK Taxation, Principles of International Taxation, Comparative Taxation, Advanced International Taxation or Advanced UK Taxation

Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 2:


Module aims

The aim of this module is to prepare you thoroughly for the experience of researching and writing your masters dissertation. By attending taught sessions and meeting formally with your supervisor you will develop a full understanding of what is involved and plenty of advice about how to proceed with your chosen research project. In addition you will receive tailored advice that is relevant to your chosen dissertation topic from your supervisor.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. display the capacity to research and write up a highly effective dissertation
  • 2. evaluate and plan your research programme

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. demonstrate enhanced knowledge and understanding of the literature published in your chosen area of study
  • 4. formulate a set of relevant research questions or hypotheses with reference to a specific taxation topic area

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. provide evidence of enhanced research skills
  • 6. critically evaluate existing relevant research methods and showcase the capacity to write up an extensive piece of original research

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
Scheduled learning and teaching activities 84 x 2hr taught sessions
Scheduled learning and teaching activities 2Meetings with your supervisor as you prepare your research proposal
Guided independent study10Reading and preparing for the taught sessions
Guided independent study130Reading, thinking about, preparing and writing up your formal research proposal

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Discussion with supervisor2 hours1-6Verbal feedback
Draft research proposal1,000 words1-6Supervisor feedback

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
Research proposal1003000 words1-6Written feedback

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Research proposalResearch proposal (3000 words)1-63 weeks after release of original results

Syllabus plan

During four two-hour taught sessions we will cover the following principle subject areas:

  • choosing a dissertation topic
  • writing a dissertation proposal
  • setting research questions / hypotheses
  • undertaking a critical literature review
  • research ethics
  • qualitative research methods
  • analysing your research findings
  • writing conclusions and recommendations

In addition you will receive detailed advice from your supervisor about how to develop a strong research proposal.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Oats, L. (2012) Taxation: A Fieldwork Research Handbook, Routledge.

Yin, Robert. (2018) Case Study Research and Applications: Design and Methods. Fourth Edition, Sage

Sage Research Methods. Online Access through university.

Mahoney, J. and Kathleen Thelen. (2015). Advances in Comparative-Historical Analysis (Strategies for Social Inquiry), Cambridge University Press.

King, G., Verba, S., and R. Keohane. (1994). Designing Social Inquiry. Princeton University Press.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

You will have access to an online searchable and resources database, with links to several eBooks available on through the Exeter Learning Environment (ELE). Within this environment, you will also be supported through online discussion forums and activities.

Origin date


Last revision date