Accounting Theory and Research into Reality

Accounting Theory and Research into Reality


In your studies you have been introduced to systems based accounting theories.  Professor Frederick Shallow, a strongly positive accountant, believes that the only reason for businesses to exist is to make wealth for the investor, and has led you to believe that systems based theories are not worthy subjects for exploration.  Equally he believes that stakeholder engagement, beyond that applicable to the powerful stakeholder group, the investor, is a waste of time. He wishes to see an end to non-regulatory disclosures and in particular to the wasteful expense he believes is spent on sustainability reporting and discussions of integrated reporting.

Fortunately, Professor Shallow, who could not bring himself to discuss system-based theories, sustainability or integrated reporting or any area of corporate social reporting, invited Professor Reginald Thoughtful, a respected expert researcher in the area of CSR to talk to you about this area.  You found Professor Thoughtful most impressive and started to question the ideas Professor Shallow had been impressing on you for weeks.






Your project to conclude this unit is to prepare a report and basis for a research study embracing any area of theory discussed by either Professor Shallow or Professor Thoughtful.  The requirements are:

  1. Discuss and exemplify each of the significant terms used above through a list of meanings a non-accountant would understand.


  1. Discuss the concept of stakeholder engagement. Construct an argument about who you consider are the stakeholders of the firm. You must reference at least five academic articles to support your points.
  2. Identify the accounting theories that you have learnt that would support a research study in the area of stakeholder engagement. Explain the relevance of the theories through reflecting on your viewpoint about to whom the firm is responsible.


  1. Professor Shallow believes that secondary data is adequate to support any study. While Professor Thoughtful believes that mixed method studies are essential, and while he would use secondary data believes that a study should embrace both secondary and primary data sources such as surveys and/or interviews.  What do you think? Critically appraise these different data sources. If you are able to find a couple of references to support your points, use them.





You may choose any area of research so long as it fits Accounting, Corporate Governance or Risk Management.  You will need to carefully think about the question you choose.  It should however address issues such as stakeholder engagement, and the accountability of firms adopting either Professor Shallow’s view of the world or that of Professor Thoughtful.  Prepare a proposal with the following headings:


  1. Title of Research Project – keep the title short but explanatory. No more than 4-8 words preferably.  This can be challenging and deciding on a topic area can be the harder part of the process.


  1. The Research Question – Once you have chosen the topic area you need to select a Main Research Question to seek an answer to. It must able to be tested as you collect data to seek an answer.  It is possible that once you have the main question you may pose a number of ‘smaller’ research questions from which to seek an answer to the main research question.


  1. Why Does this Area Interest YouIt is important in research that you find the area of interest. Provide a short response to indicate why you find your chosen topic of interest.


  1. Importance of Research – Indicate why you believe that this is an important area in which to undertake research. Support this discussion with reference to the literature.


  1. Literature Review – Identify six academic articles in this area and prepare a brief summary of their relevance in responding to your research question. The important issue here is to indicate why the articles are important for your research topic and the support they provide to the importance and need for this research.


  1. Ethics – almost all research involving humans and primary data sources will require ethics approval. On the graduate research site you will find information about ethics.  There is a National Statement on research.  Write a brief paragraph on the two main types of applications, and when it is quite likely you may not need to seek ethics approval.  Does the level of risk play a role?


  1. Accounting Theories – Identify the accounting theory(ies) that you would adopt in this study and justify their inclusion. The accounting theories adopted will be those which you believe will best help you to understand the results of your research.


  1. Expectations – Often in research we seek to ‘hypothesise’ what we might find in undertaking the research. What do you think you might find if you were to collect data to respond to your research question?


  1. Methodology – Identify how you would undertake this study and justify your choices. Think about your sources of data.  Do not worry about how this might be analysed.


  1. Interview/Survey Questions – Compile a list of no more than 10 questions that you would use to seek response that would enable you to respond to your research question. These need to be related to the research question/problem and be reasonably expected to enable an answer to the question to be posed.




For the project expect to see under the guidelines above:

  1. Research Problem – area of importance/interest [10M] – title for project and some discussion of problem/research questions raised [10M]
  2. Academic articles – relevance to proposed research not summaries [5M]
  3. Accounting theories – attempt to link a theory to project [5M]
  4. Data Collection – identify and justify [5M]
  5. Ethics – mention require ethics approval, some brief discussion [5M]
  6. Question Development [10] in line with project
  7. Rationale – achievability of research (assessors view) [20M]
  8. Overall Assessment of Project ability to put into practice/worthiness [20M]



Student Id:___________________ ______________________ Name:______

BFA 715 Accounting Theory – Assessment Task 4– Research Focused Project

Criteria HD (high distinction >8)

Exceeding expectations

D (Distinction 7- <8)

Fully meeting expectations

CR (Credit 6 – <7)

Meeting expectations

PP (Pass 5 – <6)

Approaching expectations

NN (Unsatisfactory – <5)

Not meeting expectations

Area of Interest Clear, Coherent with Strong, Logical Justification Clear and Coherent with Logical Justification Clear and Coherent with Justification Clear but Justification weak Confused
Research Question Well written, testable and focused Well written and testable Well written but general in nature Question identified but not well written and untestable Not clear, poorly focused, untestable, general
Academic Articles ALL articles justified in terms of the research question, relevance clear MOST articles justified in terms of the research question, relevance clear SOME articles justified in terms of the research question, relevance clear Provide an article summary with little justification or links to the research question Articles not relevant to the research question
Expectations Expectations clearly identified and briefly justified or the link is clear from what had been discussed in previous answers. Expectations clear but not justified or no clear link. No clear expectations
Accounting Theories A specific link to theory made and justified A specific link to theory made but lacks justification A tenuous  link to theory is made but lacks justification Attempts to link multiple theories without justification No link to theory made
Data Collection Appropriate method(s) identified briefly discussed and justified in terms of the research project Appropriate methods identified but not clearly justified in terms of the research project Methods not identified or general and vague in relation to proposed research project


Able to clearly explicate ethical requirements and processes, and able to relate these to the proposed research project if applicable (or explain why not). Able to explicate ethical requirements and processes, but does not draw links to the proposed research project (or explain why it is not applicable). No understanding of  ethical requirements demonstrated
Question Development ALL Questions are clear, well written, appropriate and linked to the data requirements for the research project with justification. MOST Questions are clear, well written, appropriate and linked to the data requirements for the research project with justification. SOME Questions are clear, well written, and  appropriate and linked to the data requirements for the research project with justification. Questions are clear and well written but lack justification or would not meet the data requirements for the project. No questions or poorly written and inappropriate to research question
Rationale An excellent, executable and well justified research project. A very good executable research project with minor changes required. A good executable research project with major changes in one or two areas. A satisfactory idea for a research project but would require major changes prior to execution. The research project could not be implemented.