Postgraduate taught 

International Financial Analysis MSc

Dissertation and Research Methods ACCFIN5008P

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: Adam Smith Business School
  • Credits: 60
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Summer
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

Dissertation and Research Methods


The Dissertation and Research Methods course involves a rich curriculum founded upon: (a) a 20-hour taught component, entailing both traditional face-to-face lectures by multiple staff members (12 hours or 60%) and innovative online user-interactive teaching methods using a custom-made platform (8 hours or 40%); (b) a 8-hour research surgery component by multiple staff-members; (c) an extensive 3-month self-study period for the preparation of the dissertation; (c) 5 hourly face-to-face meetings with the allocated dissertation supervisor. The taught component takes place in Semester 2. The extensive self-study dissertation project and the 5 face-to-face supervision meetings are typically carried out during the summer months, between June and September. Exceptions on the timing of the latter component occur in cases of resit exams in the remaining modules. In that case the research project and supervision can take place in the period between September and December of the following academic year. 

Excluded Courses





Dissertation (100%) 

Course Aims

The Research Methods course and the Dissertation are intended to lay foundations for and contribute to the development of the students' capacities necessary to design and carry out independent research in accounting and/or finance. The Research Method course in particular is designed to help students develop effective research skills (evident, for example, in the review of the literature, data sourcing & collection, investigation, quantitative and qualitative analysis, weighing evidence and reaching sound conclusions). By undertaking a substantial research exercise with some original content on an approved topic for their Dissertation project, students are expected to develop their understanding of the use of the relevant theoretical and empirical literature for the identification of a feasible research question, the selection of a suitable research design for the collection and analysis of data, and the critical evaluation of the relative strengths and weaknesses of these research methods in the light of which their findings need to be understood and presented.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

1. Organize a substantial and well-focused piece of independent research using research methods and analytical or literature review techniques that are appropriate to their programme of study;

2. Assess the literature relating to a specific area or issue relevant to their programme of study, design an efficient and effective synthesis and critical review of that literature, and identify gaps in the existing knowledge in this area;

3. Identify significant research problems, issues and questions, formulate them into specific research aims, objectives, and/or testable hypotheses, and relate their intended contribution to the existing relevant literature;

4. Construct a systematic plan (design) of research with details relating to the main parameters of the data collection and data analysis (or literature review) processes of this design, and use rigorously within its context appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative methods, and/or systematic literature review techniques, to particular research topics and questions to defensible conclusions and arguments based on either empirical data or prior secondary research;

5. Critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the selected research design as it has been applied in the specific research project;

6. Assess competently the findings produced by this research project, summarize the main contributions, evaluate their implications for theory and practice, and make inferences for future research;

7. Draw together research work and its findings to a substantial piece of written work which is clearly motivated and structured, and presented it so as to conform to the requirements of a defined target audience.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit 100% of the course's summative assessment. Submission of a research proposal (around 2000 words) is compulsory for the award of credit in the course.