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Accounting and Finance Research Proposal Form - Guide and Requirements

Research Project Proposal

The Research Proposal should be submitted using the Accounting and Finance Research Proposal Form. This form is downloadable from the Accounting and Finance Project module area in Canvas.

The Accounting and Finance Research Proposal Form is comprised of two sections:

  • The Proposal Template
  • The Ethical Review Form
    You are required to complete both sections; together, these form the Accounting and Finance

Research Project Proposal.

The proposal form has a consent form for participant(s) to sign if you are conducting research with individual participants.

If you are conducting research directly with a company, you will need to provide evidence of consent (a signature from a senior manager in the company) to authorise you to carry out your research.

The proposal, when completed, should be 2,000 words in length.

Accounting and Finance areas

The broad areas students can consider for the generation of a specific topic are:

  • Environmental, Social and Sustainability Reporting - costs versus benefits to key stakeholders.
  • A three-year financial and business performance evaluation and analysis of an organisation.
  • Financial Institutions and markets and related investment activities
  • Big Four UK Accounting Firms and the range of services they offer from audit, advisory, tax and consultancy – overlapping of duties and payment of excessive fees has led to conflict of interest and reporting of scandals.
  • A critical analysis of current environment tax in the UK, and how it could be improved to ensure sustainable use of the environment.
  • The impact of recent tax changes (i.e. Income tax, National Insurance and Corporation tax) on small businesses both self-employed or limited company. The impact of Tax avoidance activity on the UK economy, and corresponding anti- avoidance strategies.
  • A critical evaluation of additional stamp duty on buy-to-let and the second home ownership market.
  • An examination of the impact of Marginal Tax rates on employees’ decisions to work or not to work.
  • Reduced and Zero-rating value-added tax items cause the UK Government significant loss of revenue. Should they instead impose a fixed rate value added tax on all purchases in order to collect as much tax as possible and to improve fiscal neutrality? What will the implications of doing so be?
  • An analysis and evaluation of the management of an organisation’s short and long- term finance over a three-year period.
  • A critical analysis and evaluation of an organisation and two of its competitors’ dividend policies over a 3-year period.
  • Impact of capital structure on a firm’s performance
  • Determinants of capital structure
  • Impact of dividend policy on a firm’s performance
  • Determinants of dividend policy
  • Impact of working capital management on a firm’s performance
  • Determinants of working capital management
  • Impact of corporate governance mechanisms on a firm’s performance

If you have an alternative area in mind for your research (in an area not covered above), please discuss this with your Learning Set tutor or your Course Leader.

The form contains the following sections, all of which should be completed (suggested word counts for each section are given on the form):

  • Title
  • Terms of reference

o Research question

o Aim(s)
o Objectives
o Timescale

  • Preliminary literature review
  • Methodology
  • Resources
  • References
  • Appendices
  • Ethical review


Choosing a title for your Research Project may be more difficult than you expect. As you read about your preferred topic area you will find your ideas develop, build, and change direction. You will need to come up with a provisional title as soon as possible – and this may inevitably change.

Terms of reference
Your project needs to be set in a context, and you will need to articulate your specific aims and objectives.

Why have you chosen the title?

Background and reasons

State your research question
Formulate your topic as a question. Example:
‘What are the consequences of high corporate tax rate for UK companies?’

State your aims

Explain the purpose of the study clearly.

Aims are statements about the general intentions of the research: what you intend to achieve, and what will be done by when. It is likely that you will have just one aim, but you may wish to have more. Example:

To examine the effects of high corporate tax rate for UK companies’

State your objectives

Explain how you will go about answering your research question and achieving your research aims.

The objectives should provide an accurate description of the specific actions you will take to reach your research aim. Objectives should be explained in single sentences.

Associated objectives to the aim could be:
o to define and explain the purpose of tax.
o to define tax avoidance and evasion and describe ways companies carry this out.

o to investigate companies’ responses to evading.
o to investigate government responses to evading.
o to identify problems and recommend appropriate solutions.

Timescale: what will be done by when?

Literature Review - Relation to previous research

This section is a preliminary literature review. You need to identify credible key texts (books, articles, websites) you will be using to support the achievement of your aims and objectives. (+700 words)

You need to include texts that present differing points of view/arguments on your topic. Strong academic work presents argument and counterargument and uses critical evaluation to draw conclusions.

The Preliminary Literature Review should include texts that:

  • Provide a brief historical perspective of your topic
  • Show how your project relates to literature in your topic area in general
  • Highlight the importance of research in this area/the lack of research in this area
  • Can be grouped into authors who hold similar opinions on your topic
  • Help define and limit your topic (it is important to be clear about what you are not going to research)


You need to outline the types of research that you intend to do to collect the data (primary and secondary), to explore your research aim and meet your objectives. Key areas you need to consider are:

  • Inductive or deductive research
  • Primary and/or secondary research
  • Quantitative and/or qualitative research
  • Data collection methods

Structured/semi-structured interviews o Focus groups
The size of your dataset

  • Sampling methodology
  • Data analysis
  • Presentation of your findings
  • Ethical considerations

To show you have addressed any ethical considerations relating to your research, you will need to complete the Ethical Review Form included in the Research Project Proposal form.


Identify any resources you will need to complete your research project. These could include software packages to analyse data, audio recording equipment, annual reports and time and money required to visit companies.  


You will need to produce a list of references presented in the Harvard style.

You are not required to include any appendices; however, you may want to provide draft questionnaires, tables and graphs that cannot be included in the body of the report.

4.3 Research Project Proposal Submission Requirements

You must submit your assignment by using the Turnitin gateway on the Accounting and Finance Research Project Canvas site.

Please note: The act of submitting your work electronically will be taken as a Declaration of Authorship of the work, see Appendix 1.

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