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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2022/2023

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Accounting

ACCT405JN: Research Methods in Accounting

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2021/22
Tied to L1T509 Accounting


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To ensure that students understand the main research assumptions based on various ontologies and epistemologies of research in accounting, leading to a critical appreciation of the appropriate research methods and techniques for achieving different research aims and objectives.


  • Accounting Research philosophies
  • Methods of accounting research
  • Techniques of critical analysis
  • Accounting Research ethics
  • Using appropriate technology for accounting research purposes (e.g. STATA, Nvivo etc)

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students should have an advanced knowledge and critical appreciation of:
  • alternative philosophies of accounting research;
  • traditions of research in management accounting;
  • traditions of research in financial accounting;
  • methods of empirical research;
  • methods of analysis, the analysis of literature and the critical analysis of reasoning;
  • the outputs of research.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of this module students should be able to:
  • identify appropriate research methods and analytical techniques for application in an accounting context.
Key Skills:
  • data capturing and analysis
  • written communication
  • planning, organising and time management
  • problem-solving and analytical skills

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Learning will be based on knowledge transfer from lectures, supervision meetings and personal study; investigation of cases and real world organisations which will underpin the seminars will encourage students to develop awareness of cultural differences and apply these to development of their skills in managing themselves and others in such contexts.
  • Practical activities and discussions will develop students’ technical awareness and their analytical skills.
  • The formative assignment will provide feedback to students regarding their understanding of the main concepts and technical treatments.
  • The summative assignment will require students to produce a written research proposal in order to test their knowledge and critical appreciation of accounting research methodology and analytical techniques.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 1 per week 2 hours 20
Seminars 3 1 per fortnight 2 hours 6
Practical session 1 1 2 hours 2
Preparation, Reading and Independent Study 122
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Written Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written research proposal 2,500 words max 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

Students will receive written comments on a formative written Research Methodology assignment of 1500 words maximum. Additional formative assessment, and feedback, may take a number of forms such as oral feedback on work prepared by students for seminars; answers to questions either discussed during a seminar, or posted on DUO; discussions with teaching staff during consultation hours, or via e-mail. ________________________________________

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University