FIN3016 CORPORATE FINANCE
RESEARCH PAPER GUIDELINES 2020/21
The purpose of the research paper is to provide you with the opportunity to undertake a piece
of original, independent financial research. This project will be something tangible which you
can show potential employers. The end-product will be similar to a mini-dissertation or
research paper. The research paper is an individual piece of work.
The project accounts for 75% of your overall module mark.
For a breakdown of the marks for the project, please refer to Appendix 1. This provides an
outline of the feedback sheet you will receive and the marking criteria. The suggested page
lengths for each section below will also give you an indication of how the marks for each
section are weighted.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE RESEARCH PAPER
The research paper is to be no more than 15 pages long, including title page, tables, figures,
and appendices. References are excluded from the 15 page limit. Your text (apart from tables
and footnotes) should be double-spaced (2.0) with justified text (i.e. evenly distributed between
margins), using size 12 Times New Roman font. Standard margins should be used. Research
papers which don’t meet these requirements will not be accepted.
Each research paper should have the following:
1. Your title, name and student number on the first page.
2. An abstract of less than 100 words. This should summarise your paper, and be on the
3. An introduction (1-2 pages) which details what the research paper is about is about
(your research questions), why it is important, your main findings, and a short (one
paragraph) overview of what you do in each section.
4. A literature review and theoretical section (approx. 3 pages). This should be critical of
the literature. It should also tie in with what you are doing in your empirical work. It
shouldn’t be a comprehensive literature review of all the major papers! It should contain
your main hypotheses, which are scientific statements that can be proved or disproved
using quantitative evidence (i.e. regression analysis).
5. Data and Methodology section (approx. 2 pages) – How are you going to test your
hypotheses? Where is your data from? What is your methodology? Any data problems?
6. Results and Analysis section (approx. 6 pages) – Tables and figures of results. State
your findings. Explain your findings. How do your results fit in with the literature?
7. Conclusion (approx. 1-2 pages) – summary of findings, weaknesses of your paper,
possible future research.
8. References – please note that all and only cited papers should be listed in your
references (bibliography). Please follow the Harvard style of referencing for both intext references and your reference list. Guidelines on how to reference can be found
Failure to reference properly will result in marks being deducted.
9. You should follow the formatting style of the Journal of Finance or Journal of
Financial Economics. Make sure your tables and figures follow this style, particularly
when presenting econometric results.
Please refer to Appendix 2 for further information on the layout and content of your
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