Research Methods in Finance individual assignment
(100% of the marks)
You are required to write a 2,000 word critical review of the literature on determinants
of financial performance of firms. This is a vast area and you will need to identify the
particular aspect you want to cover in your review. Examples of determinants that you
might want to cover include (but are not limited to) Corporate Social Responsibility,
Corporate governance, Capital structure, Financial constraints, Political
The purpose of this assignment is to assess your abilities to research a topic in
finance or accounting. In particular, you need to demonstrate you can (1) identify and
formulate an inquiry question, (2) search and locate the relevant literature, (3)
evaluate existing literature in terms of key trends, omissions, biases etc., and (4)
synthesise knowledge into a literature review with coherently linked ideas.
The review must include at least ten research articles from peer-reviewed journals.
You will likely need to supplement your literature review with additional materials
such as unpublished papers and books. Majority of the articles should be
published within the last ten years.
Basic outline for the literature review
1. Introduction (one-two paragraphs): It provides an outline of your research topic
and its rationale. It should cover
• What are the questions for this review?
• Why are they important?
• Brief summary of the common themes you found.
2. Main body
In this section, you should synthesise and evaluate the information in the
literature you chose. This is not just a summary of the articles or a series of
abstracts you have read. It should provide a thoughtful analysis of the
strengths/weaknesses of the literature, and identify the gaps. The opinions about
usefulness or relevance of the articles should be supported by logic or evidence.
You are looking to create a big picture by looking for connections and
contradictions in the literature.
3. Conclusion (one-two paragraphs)
Overall, what can you say is known about the topic you chose? Is there general
agreement in the literature? If not, what are the main reasons for the
disagreement? How were your inquiry questions answered (or not)? What is still
unknown about your topic?
All the articles, books etc. cited in the paper should be listed here. There should
be a one-to-one correspondence, and the references must be arranged
alphabetically. They should be in Cranfield author-date format.
5. Tables and Figures (if any)
Not more than one per page, no more than three pages. They should also follow the
same style guidelines (see below), except the font size may be reduced to 10.
Your paper should be double-spaced, in a 12-point size throughout, using Times
New Roman or Arial font. The pages should be numbered and the margins should
not be less than 1 inch on all sides. It should not exceed 2,000 words (excluding the
title page, references page, and tables and figures). Brevity is a virtue, marks will
only be awarded based on the first 2,000 words. Please proofread, marks will be
deducted for citation, spelling, or grammatical errors. You MUST NOT put your name
anywhere in the report or in the filename, the submission MUST be anonymous.
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