FORMAT, CONTENT AND ORGANIZATION
The review should be a maximum of 1500 words and should have the following format and organization and MUST include a summary, introduction, literature review, theory development and hypotheses, research method and conclusions. Not all papers lend themselves to exactly this format or organization, and not all points will be relevant to all papers. Be flexible in your approach. The questions are prompts to let you know what to look for. Please DO NOT answer just YES or NO. 1. Summary (do this after you have prepared the other parts of the report) Prepare a concise summary of the paper (no more than one page) that will tell someone who has not read the paper what it is about. Specifically, what was the research question/s? Why was the question/s important? What are the theoretical and methodological contributions? What method of data collection and analysis was used? What were the results/findings/implications? 2. Introduction What did the author(s) tell us about the background to the study? What motivation did the author(s) give for the research? The motivation is the reason or justification for expending the time, effort and money in conducting the research. How did the authors demonstrate why the research is important, and to whom it is important? Have the authors clearly identified the “research gap” in the literature. 3. Literature Review Have the authors clearly identified the theoretical limitations of prior research and importantly, have the authors explained how they have addressed these identified limitations? Have the authors reviewed all relevant papers? Have they reviewed papers published in leading journals? (journals ranked A* and A by the Australian Business Deans Council). 2 4. Theory development and hypotheses formulation (if applicable – not all papers will develop hypotheses – usually used for quantitative papers) D o e s the hypotheses follow logically from the theoretical framework provided and the literature reviewed? What were the variables examined in the research? Have the authors motivated and justified the choice of variables adequately? How are the variables measured? How are the variables related to the hypotheses? 5. Research Method The following five methods are mostly used in accounting research: a. Archival research b. Experiments c. Surveys d. Interviews e. Case studies. What is the research method in the paper? (The applicability of the following questions depends on the research method used) Is this the most appropriate r e s e a r c h method to collect data to test the hypotheses and/or address the research question? Why or why not? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the data collection method regarding testing the hypotheses and/or addressing the research question? Have the authors discussed issues related to validity and reliability of research instruments used? 6. Results/Findings Have the authors explained their results satisfactorily? (This requires more than a yes/no answer) In particular, where results were inconsistent with hypotheses, did the authors seek to provide possible explanations? Were these explanations plausible? How are the results consistent or inconsistent with the literature and the explanatory framework developed by the authors? 7. Discussion and conclusions What conclusions did the author(s) draw from the study? How did they relate them to the 3 original research problem? Did the author(s) discuss the limitations of their research? Were there other limitations that should have been discussed or acknowledged? Did the author(s) discuss the implications of their findings for practice (economic and/or social decision-making) and/or theory (the advancement of knowledge in the area of the research)? Were there any other implications the author(s) should have stated? Discuss how the author(s) identified areas for future research arising from their study. 8. References If you have referred to other papers or materials in your review, provide full bibliographical details in a list of references. Use Harvard style referencing that includes in-text referencing for direct quotes and paraphrasing. Appropriate referencing You should acknowledge all sources of material in an accepted academic manner. Each statement, quote, piece of information that is not your own must be identified throughout the Report and a reference given which shows full details of author, publication, date, page number. IT IS NOT SUFFICIENT JUST TO HAVE A LIST OF REFERENCES AT THE END. Any passage that is directly reproduced needs QUOTE MARKS (“…”) plus a reference, example, the following is word-for-word copy from Brown: “Mitsubishi corporation approached the New York Stock Exchange during January 1996 and obtained a favorable outcome from the chairman on seventeen of their twenty-five demands” (Brown 2007, page 1). You will also need to put full details of Brown in your alphabetic reference list at the END of the assignment. If an internet reference has no page number you can cite the URL. Aardvaark, A., 2004, ………………………………………………………… Brown, B., 2007, title of article or chapter, name of publication underlined, edition number, page numbers. Catfish, C. and Dogfish, D., 2001, “Great moments in Japanese history”, www.catfishdogfish.org/japan/history/ If you are abstracting the idea from its source and re-writing in your own words you do not need the quotation marks, for example: According to Brown (2007) Mitsubishi lobbied the NYSE in the 1990s. If you need more information on how to reference properly then go to the Macquarie University Library website at http://www.lib.mq.edu.au/research/referencing.html It is recommended you use the Harvard Referencing system. In ACCG807 the unit convener 4 does not mind if the style of the referencing varies a little as long as it is understandable and accurate. Copying from the internet While the internet provides a useful material source we have had a number of problems in the past with the way students use the material in their assignments. Turnitin ® software is able to give lecturers a precise indication of the amount of internet material used in the assignment (i.e. as a percentage of the assignment). (Note: Commonly used phrases, titles, etc identified in Turnitin are not regarded as plagiarism and the lecturer uses discretion on these.) Some student’s copy and paste large slabs of material directly from the internet into their assignments without any change or attempt to rewrite the material in their own words. Small amounts of referenced quotations are acceptable but these should be reserved for making some significant point. What constitutes a “large amount” of copying might depend on the assignment question but when more than about 10% of the whole assignment consists of word-for word copied passage(s) then: 1. If you have not used appropriate references then you have PLAGIARISED from the internet and can expect to be penalized. In cases where the copying looks to stem from lack of familiarity with report writing the lecturer will impose partial penalties: assignments which have x% unacknowledged internet passages will receive a reduction of x% of the awardable marks. HOWEVER: if an assignment contains blatant, deliberate plagiarism the students involved may receive zero marks for the assignment and be reported to the university’s disciplinary committee. 2. Even if you do use appropriate references, the material is still not really your own, you didn’t write it, copying and pasting isn’t very difficult, you haven’t really demonstrated that you have done much work, and you can’t expect to get very many marks for such an assignment. Assignments that have more than about 10% of copied material will receive the same pro-rata reduction in awardable marks as above. 5 IMPORTANT PRINCIPLES 1. The review should be balanced, identifying both strengths and weaknesses A good review is not directed solely towards fault-finding and a study’s weaknesses. The study’s strengths should also be recognised and discussed. The ability to identify a strength in a study, say for example, an innovative theoretical and/or methodological contribution to the literature. 2. The review should explain and justify A good review not only identifies a strength or weakness but explains why it is a strength or weakness and provides evidence, reasoning or argument to justify the claim that it is a strength or weakness. In the absence of such explanation and justification, the claims remain as unsubstantiated assertions. 3. The review should relate strengths/weaknesses to the specific context of the study In identifying a strength or weakness and explaining and justifying it, a good review evaluates the degree of the strength or weakness within the specific context of the study. It is a relatively common tendency for students writing a review to invoke general criticisms or weaknesses associated with an entire paradigm, without evaluating whether and how much of a weakness it may have been in the specific context of the study. For example, a general weakness of using mail survey questionnaires to gather data from target respondents is that the researcher can’t be sure whether the intended respondent answered the questionnaire or passed it to someone else to respond. However, there are actions the researcher can take to maximize the possibility that the intended respondent is the one who answers the questionnaire and, correspondingly, minimizes the chance that the questionnaire might be passed to an unintended respondent. It would not be sufficient (for a good review) to invoke simply the generic criticism that “in a mail survey questionnaire, the researcher can’t be sure who answers the questionnaire”. Rather, it would be necessary to evaluate how likely this might have been, or how significant a problem it might have been, in the specific conduct of the study, and in the light of what actions (if any) the researcher took to overcome, or minimize, the problem. 4. The review should consider how weaknesses could be avoided or overcome A good review not only identifies a weakness in the research, but seeks to evaluate whether it was an unavoidable weakness, or whether the researcher could (or should) have done something to overcome it. The research process is beset by all kinds of difficulties and sometimes the researcher can do little (or nothing) about them, other than acknowledging them explicitly as weaknesses. If you think the weakness could (or should) have been overcome, ensure that you argue how it could have been overcome in your review. 5. The review should not be a summary of the paper A good review is not just a description or summary of the paper. Although a good review will begin with a brief summary of the paper and its findings, the major emphasis on the review should be on evaluation and analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the paper and the research. 6 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 1. Do I have to read background papers beyond the seminar paper to prepare the review? While it is not a formal requirement that you read beyond the seminar paper, more often than not it is very helpful to look at prior studies – one or two usually suffice. If you make the effort to see prior work, then you’ll be much better placed to make informed comments and criticisms. Further, if you gain insights that are novel to your review, then your work will attract a higher mark than one that is largely limited to observations made in the class or seminar. 2. What happens if I don’t get any papers in my area of expertise? That’s unlikely. The seminar papers are selected to cover a range of sub-disciplinary areas in accounting and finance. However, the mix overall might favour some people more than others. One of the unit conveners will read all reviews to ascertain whether anyone has been disadvantaged by the mix of papers. 3. Should I express my good ideas at the seminar class, or keep them for my seminar review? Don’t be concerned that you won’t get the benefit or credit of your good ideas whether they’re raised in the seminar or the seminar review. Fundamentally, education and scholarship are about sharing knowledge and skills, rather than secrecy. 4. If English is not my first language, will I be penalised for grammatical mistakes? Generally speaking, NO, however, you should use the reviews (and the feedback received on them) to improve your written English skills during your Masters’ program. While you will not be penalised directly for difficulties in writing in English, the better your written expression, the more effective is the communication, both in reviews and in other written assignments and reports.