ASSESSMENT DETAILS Choice of Topic You can choose any topic in the area of accountancy, accounting and financial management (or possibly another business discipline with the agreement of your tutor). You should look for a specific issue or problem to investigate, rather than a general topic. Current news stories, ideas from your classes or work experience are all good sources of ideas for projects. As a general rule, a good topic or research question is one to which you cannot find an easy answer! The Research Questions You are expected to identify a relevant topic for your ISAC, clearly state an appropriate research question (or questions) and offer a practical and academic rationale indicating why your topic and these questions are worth further study. You are encouraged to draft your title and research questions, in no more than 300 words, and in no prescribed format. There is no benefit to writing more than the bare minimum to convey your ideas. Note that a ‘question’ is something which takes a question mark on the end, not a statement or a vague heading. The RESEARCH PROPOSAL Your Proposal is the plan for your final ISAC research document. You are expected to identify a relevant topic (if it has changed from the topic chosen for the first assignment this should be justified as an appendix to your text), and clearly explore an appropriate research question (or questions). You must also discuss the significance of the main issues and theoretical debates around your research questions/ problems, by developing arguments based upon the secondary sources you have reviewed. You are expected to provide a draft structure using Word Outline View or a similar outliner. Template for the Research Proposal explained Title – suggesting focus/ aim of project clearly Rationale – why is this topic worth investigating? Should include academic as well as applied justification for your choice. Research Objectives – why are the specific accomplishment you hope to achieve at the end of study? Research questions- what is the issue or problem that you are investigating? Phrase up to 3 questions which you will attempt to answer through your literature review discussion. These may later be useful as sub-headings to divide your discussion into clear sections. Literature review- identify main area(s) of theory/ academic debate relevant to topic and outline the current state of research/ understanding of topic, discussing the significance of this literature to your project. Sources should include the above 5 sources, and preferably additional academic/ professional/ government research, reports, statistics, newspaper articles and information gathered from the Internet (although you should consider carefully the validity and reliability of web based materials). Research methods – indicate how do you plan to gather the data, what research design would you considered in relation to the questions raised. List of References – At proposal stage, you should be able to indicate that you have the skills to identify at least (minimum) 5 credible and academically rigorous sources upon which to base your arguments for the literature review. These should be formatted according to APA referencing style. You may also include conclusion that shows anticipated outcome of research, or a statement of how unique and innovative your work is, whether it achieves a useful new insight into the subject, or simply replicates existing work. The FINAL ISAC Project The main assessment for this unit is the ISAC project document with a word limit of 4,000 words (excluding references/bibliography and any appendices). This should be an extension and further development of your Proposal and as such, will be presented in a way that develops the arguments associated with the research questions in a well-evidenced and structured way. Make sure you consider any weaknesses of your Proposal as highlighted in your Tutor’s feedback. Developing your literature review for the final ISAC You should offer a critical analysis (which means discussing both sides of any arguments from a range of credible sources and using these as evidence to support your own conclusions). The majority of the literature you refer to and consult in the production of your project should be sourced at a high level of academic credibility, i.e. academic texts, journals articles and research reports. Secondary data may be incorporated and some secondary analysis of previously published research data may be undertaken (if appropriate). Additional material can be drawn from the Internet and from newspapers, but it is envisaged that this will be mainly for illustrative purposes and not be the core of the material sourced. Use of Appendices should be limited to content which is clearly relevant and specifically referred to in the main body of the document only. In your literature review, you will be expected to provide critical discussion of the significance of the findings from your sources and indicate how this aids in answering your research questions. You must justify any claims you make about your topic, using the academic sources to support your arguments. This means providing references to existing research and reasons why you assert something is so. There should be a strong theoretical approach adopted throughout the discussion which may, for example, be achieved by using and applying theory/academic debates to undertake an analysis of practical problems and issues that (business) organisations are facing.