BMAC8010 - Researching Accounting Change - Qualitative Approaches


New from the academic year 2021/2022

Lessons are not given in the academic year 2021/2022

Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Assignment
Grade: Passed/Failed

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Assignment 100/100

Course content

This course is intended to introduce PhD students to a variety of different research perspectives in the field of management accounting (MA) and management control (MC). It aims to give students a general understanding of different types of MA/MC research and the range of research methodologies that are available, and to equip students with practical research skills and knowledge to be applied to their thesis.

The course provides an overview of the basic principles of research, the research process, its philosophy, methods and methodology. In addition, the course will cover development skills related to (PhD and beyond) research activity; and there will be a requirement for student participants to present some of their own work to fellow students and the faculty (with a discussant). Students will learn about some of the multiple approaches to MA and MC research (including their various philosophical bases), the vast literature than underlies this research area, and the plethora of theoretical frameworks that are used in the field. Methodologically, there will be an emphasis on qualitative, case-based research; theoretically, primary attention will be given to social and organizational frameworks; and empirically, there will be particular stress on research of MA and MC in the global public sector.

The course aims to:

  • Explain the philosophy and traditions of MA/MC research;
  • Enhance understanding of the research process;
  • Help students gain familiarity with the MA/MC research literature, in general, and in specific subject areas such as public sector MA;
  • Explain how to set about a research project;
  • Provide students with a basis to construct your own research proposal;
  • Help students critically evaluate research and especially learn to evaluate evidence and claims to "truth";
  • Understand the role that the research literature plays in our construction of knowledge and the world of MA/MC;
  • Encourage students to come to personal judgements about the nature of MA/MC knowledge and practice;
  • Help students gain the habit of asking "WHY?", "HOW?", and "SO WHAT?" questions;
  • Develop personal skills for research activity.

Learning outcome

On completion of this module, students will have the following learning outcome:


  • Demonstrate a knowledge of, and distinguish between, the different MA/MC research methodologies, with particular emphasis on qualitative research 
  • Distinguish between different available research methods, with particular emphasis given to case studies and interview techniques
  • Appreciate the need to clearly and strongly integrate the ontological assumptions, epistemological approach, methodology and method(s) adopted for your research 
  • Understand the notion of "theory" and understand its place in the research process 
  • Appreciate and bring together the various elements, which together contribute towards the design and production of a thesis 


  • Appreciate the different stages in the research process, and produce a coherent, concise and robust plan of the stages for their own research 
  • Unpack some form of "problematization" in their research agendas, and succinctly define (and/or refine) research questions, and select appropriate research method(s) 
  • Place research questions in their broad context(s) by review of the relevant literature(s) and surveying various sources of data 
  • By oral presentation, participate in debates concerning MA/MC problems in multiple forms

Learning methods and activities

The course consists of 3 interrelated workshops, which will comprise formal presentations by faculty members and guest speakers, discussions and informal group presentations of key research articles, students' presentations of paper addressing their own research (plus a fellow student's discussant of the work), and a faculty panel debate on a topic decided by the students. There will be some mandatory pre-readings before each workshop commences (students will be sent these readings two weeks prior to each event - a maximum of 3 articles for each workshop). Every student will write a summary (or short paper) that addresses their own research, present this to the faculty and fellow students, and there will be a discussant. Active participation throughout all the workshops' proceedings is expected and grades will be given for the level of participation undertaken by each student. The reading list will be presented to the participants upon registration.

Further on evaluation



The grading for this course will be judged by faculty members on a pass/fail basis. Students will be assessed on a combination of their paper, presentation, discussant and overall workshop participation.

Although there will be considerable informal feedback given throughout the workshops, each student will also receive a formal feedback document (including pointers on their research paper) within two weeks of the close of each workshop.

Form of assessment: Individual term paper.

In the final paper (approximately 7000 words) each individual student should relate their own research project to the course contents. That can be done either in terms of conducting a literature review of the course literature related to the participant' PhD-study itself, or be an application (or sketch) of one or two of the theories taught in the course to the empirics gathered for the participants' own study. Each participant should provide a 10-15 page summary of their project and present to the other participants. The paper should also include an analysis of the probability of meeting the scientific criteria of the chosen theoretical strand. The paper will be evaluated by the course lectures. Certificate of completion will be sent to those successfully completing all requirements, including full attendance and submission of required assignments.

Examination/Grading scale: Active participation through presentations and discussions in the seminars is required. This may take the form of discussions of papers, in-class presentations. Participants should obtain a passing grade on the final paper relating their own research project to the course literature and hereby demonstrate sound judgment and high degree of independent thinking. Upon passing the course certificates 7,5 ECTS. Approximately 36 hours teaching/lectures, approx 40-50 hours for the paper work, and further approx 100-120 hours reading and understanding the course literature.

Required previous knowledge

Students must be registered on a PhD programme. Basic knowledge in management and accounting.

Credit reductions

Course code Reduction From To
BMAC6010 7.5 AUTUMN 2018
More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Doctoral degree level


Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Economics and Administration
Contact information
Course coordinator:

Department with academic responsibility
NTNU Business School


Examination arrangement: Assignment

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Autumn ORD Assignment 100/100
Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

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