Critical Issues in Accounting and Finance (U30993)

Critical Issues in Accounting and Finance (U30993)
Critical Review Essay
Monday 26TH April 2021 by 11:55pm
Unit Coordinator: Rebecca Nicolaides
Accounting & Financial Management Subject Group
U30993 Critical Issues in Accounting and Finance
Essay Assignment:
The coursework assignment comprises an individual essay, covering module learning outcomes 1-4, and is due to be submitted on:
Monday 26th April 2021, by 11:55 pm.
What you need to do: You are required to read, analyse and critically review an academic article, in an essay, on a topical issue in Accounting and Finance, to evaluate between competing theories and perspectives using appropriate empirical evidence.
Your completed essay review should not materially exceed 2,500 words (excluding references, reference lists, tables and appendices).
In-text citations and references should follow the APA 7th edition referencing system.
Preparing for your Critical Review Essay Critical reviews are essays based on scholarship – i.e., on finding and reading some published literature on a topic, summarising it and communicating your own considered arguments and judgments about it. Before writing your review, read your chosen article several times and make summary notes of the key points and areas of contention. Next, become more familiar with the general area of your chosen research article by reading recent textbook chapters and/or other academic review articles on the topic. You will receive guidance on how to write a critical review in the coursework guidance lecture on 18th March, but here are some other useful “How to…” resources on review writing:  May, Y. F. (2014). “How to Read and Critique a Scientific Research Article. Notes to Guide Students Reading Primary Literature”. World Scientific Publishing. 
  (this is a very thorough guide).
Critical Review Essay Checklist Questions
After reading each section of your chosen article, stop and note your answers to each of the questions below, to ensure that you remain critical throughout your essay.
Fully answering the questions below is hard work but the exercise will leave you well prepared to write your critical review essay.
With a 2,500 word limit, you will not have the space to address all the problems you identify in your responses, and this is not expected.
Just focus on the issues you judge to be most important.
Introduction (approx. 250 words)
 What is the title of the paper you will be critiquing? Which journal is it published in?
 What is the main focus of the paper? (This should be found in the article’s abstract)
 What are the author’s goals or what are the main research objectives?
 What research has already been done on this topic and what questions remain unanswered?
 Are any key theories or hypothesis going to be tested?
Background / Focus of the paper (approx. 200 words)
 What is the main focus of the paper?
 What topical issues does the paper concern?
 Are there any important key terms or key words (usually found on the opening page of the article underneath the abstract) that need defining?
Literature Review (approx. 500 words)
 What have other researchers in this area explored?
 What did they find?
 Were there any limitations to these findings?
 Were there any important implications from these findings?
 How well did the authors in your chosen article address any of these identified limitations?
Method (approx. 600 words)
 What are the main methods proposed by the author’s in your chosen article to meet the research objectives?
 Did your authors adopt a Qualitative, Quantitative or Mixed Methods Approach?
 What methodology did your authors use to collect data? Was it interviews, focus groups, questionnaires, annual reports, Bloomberg and, other academic literature etc.?
 If data has been analysed statistically, what were the independent, dependent and control variables?
 If no data was analysed, how did the authors approach their analysis?
 Were there any limitations regarding the research approach/methods adopted?
Findings (approx. 500 words)
 What were the main findings of the paper?
 Can you identify at least two main findings?
 Did the authors get unexpected results?
 Are the author’s conclusions justified?
 How did the findings compare with some of the research that you discussed in the literature review paragraphs of your essay?
 Are any questions left unanswered?
 What additional studies might you suggest to address any unanswered questions?
Future Research/ Policy Contributions (approx. 200 words)
 Can the conclusions drawn from your chosen article be used to change or adapt organisational or government policy?
 How can future researchers in this topic area address any limitations of your articles research approach?
 How can future researchers in this topic area improve their methodologies?
 What interesting lines of research could future researchers in this topic area explore?
Conclusion (approx. 250 words)
Conclude your critique by summarising the following:
 What were the main aims of the paper?
 What were the main findings in your chosen article?
 What was the effectiveness of the methodology employed?
 What suggestions can be made to improve future research in this topic area?
General Guidance for this Assignment
Most of the sections above require you to do two things:
(i) Clearly and concisely summarise the research you are reviewing
(ii) Reach your own informed conclusions/judgements about the research.
To write a critical review you cannot do just (i).
To do (ii) and PASS the assignment you will need to read beyond the article you are reviewing and integrate this information within your critical review.
To do well, you will also need to bear these more basic points in mind:
Pay attention to:

  • The language you use (avoiding wordy jargon or terminology you’re unsure of);
  • Clarity is very important. Your review must be written in a clear and concise manner.
  • How you structure your sentences (avoid long and complex sentences);
  • How you structure your paragraphs (remember a paragraph should have ‘a beginning, a middle and an end’);
  • The correct use of punctuation and grammar.
  • The flow of your narrative. Each sentence must transition smoothly into the next. Similarly, the start of each paragraph should link clearly to the end of the previous paragraph.
  • Structure your arguments carefully. Make sure that your arguments are presented in a logical, well-organised manner.
  • Proofread carefully.
  • If you have concerns about your writing style, please make an appointment at the Academic Skills Unit.
  • References to evidence from your additional reading must be properly cited and listed according to APA 7th edition guidelines. (If you are unsure how to do this, consult the University referencing guidelines here:
  • AVOID Plagiarism – the essay you submit must be YOUR own work.
    DEADLINE = 26th April 2021 before 11:55 pm
    Suggested Essay Structure
    DO NOT INCLUDE ANY HEADINGS IN YOUR ESSAY ANSWER RESPONSE. When writing, please use the following template to help structure your critical review essay:
    Assignment Title.
    Your essay must include the title of the article you have reviewed.
    Introduction (approx. 250 words).
    Begin your critical review essay by identifying the journal article and authors you are critiquing. Provide the main hypothesis or thesis of the chosen paper and explain why you think the research is important and relevant. The final part of your introduction should introduce the rest of your essay.
    Background/Focus of the Paper (approx. 200 words).
    Provide a brief summary of the article, outlining the main aims, methods, results and discussion/conclusions. Be careful not to get too bogged down by your summary. Remember that the maximum length of your review is only 2,500 words. This section of your essay should therefore only highlight the key points of the article you are critiquing. Don’t summarise each little detail of the main paper. Focus instead on giving the reader a concise overview of the article, leaving plenty of words free for your critical analysis of it. Remember to use academic references to define and explain any important key terms or words relevant to the topic of the article.
    Critical Analysis (approx. 1,800 words).
    In this section, you should provide your critique of the article you are reviewing. Use the answers in your checklist questions above to describe any problems you had with the author’s premise, theoretical rationale, methods, results and conclusions. Your critique might focus on problems with the author’s arguments, method and interpretation of results, or on information and alternative findings and theories that have been overlooked. Organise your essay response sensibly and be careful not to jump around from one argument to the next. Argue one point at a time. Doing this will ensure that your essay flows well and is easy to read.
     Literature Review (approx. 500 words) – See Essay Checklist Questions
     Methodology (approx. 600 words) – See Essay Checklist Questions
     Discussion of the Findings (approx. 500 words) – See Essay Checklist Questions
     Future Research / Policy Contributions (approx. 200 words) – See Essay Checklist Questions
    Conclusion (approx. 250 words).
    Your essay critique should end with an overview of the article’s arguments, your conclusions and recommendations for future research.
    Important Points to Bear in Mind
     Merely providing a summary description of the article you have chosen is not sufficient, even with a description of other related research (remember this assignment is called a ‘critical review’).
     Commenting only (or mainly) on superficial aspects of the target article, such as the writing style/clarity of the article being reviewed is not sufficient.
     You need to make your own evaluations and judgements about the strengths and weaknesses of the research being described – you can only do this adequately if you read around the topic and make sure you understand the arguments you are making.
    Submitting your Critical Review Essay
    Formatting Requirements
    The work should be word-processed with a font size between 11 and 14 and ‘easy to read’ e.g. Calibri, Arial, Times New Roman. Line spacing should be between 1.5 and 2 with (approx.) 4 cm margins all round. The header must include the student number and the footer must include a page number.
    Submission Requirements
    The essay must be submitted electronically through Turnitin by Monday 26th April 2021, 11:55 pm, to the appropriate drop box on the module Moodle site.
    Please label your file as follows: STUDENT NUMBER – Essay Assignment (e.g. UP123456 – Essay Assignment).
    You must also upload a PDF copy of your chosen article to the drop-box, along with your final essay submission. Failure to do so will result in a 10% grade reduction penalty.
    This is an Individual Assignment.
    Students are reminded that the definition of plagiarism includes claiming another person’s work as your own; for example through inadequate references of sources of material used (including internet sources).
    Direct quotations must be enclosed in quotation marks and referenced. Using other people’s ideas requires a reference even if a direct quote is not included.
    Any draft work can be checked before submission by uploading your essay to the drop-box. MAKE SURE THAT YOU SUBMIT THE FINAL VERSION OF YOUR ESSAY TO THE RELEVANT TURNITIN DROPBOX BEFORE THE DUE DATE.
    Marking Criteria
    Failure < 40% 40 – 59% 60– 69% First >70%
    Introduction and background to topic (10%)
    Limited introduction not focused on aims of assignment.
    Topic well focused but introduction and context incomplete. Introduction clearly expressed; context well defined.
    As for good pass.
    Evidence of reading and/or choice of appropriate concepts
    Some evidence to support arguments but uncritical acceptance of material; poor or incomplete citation; unjustified conclusions.
    Appropriate evidence, generally assessed critically; weak interpretation of qualitative aspects; some gaps in linkages between evidence and conclusions. Full, critical assessment of discriminatingly selected material; some evidence of independent thought
    Full, critical assessment of discriminatingly selected material; evidence of independent thought; substantial individual insights evident.
    Level of Academic Knowledge and Critical Analysis
    Minimal understanding of key issues. Largely descriptive; practically no analysis of central issues.
    Main issues largely identified, but some lack of focus. Some critical analysis of central issues, but with some inaccuracies. All issues clearly understood, with some differentiation in terms of importance. Relevant and full critical analysis.
    Issues clearly understood and differentiated in terms of importance. Comprehensive and critical analysis of central issues.
    Structure, clarity, use of grammar, correct spelling and referencing style
    Poor: lack of structure and clarity; grammatical mistakes; inadequate referencing Reasonably clear presentation; reasonable referencing; few grammatical or spelling mistakes
    Demonstrates very good communication skills; accurate referencing; very few/no grammatical or spelling errors
    Excellent communication skills; accurate referencing; virtually no errors; scholarly, well-organised treatment of material.
    Conclusion and Recommendations (10%)
    Limited conclusion not focused on aims of assignment. Topic well focused but conclusion and context incomplete.
    Conclusion clearly expressed; and context well defined.
    As for good pass.