Paper, Order, or Assignment Requirements
Using the framework in figure 1 of the article ‘Roles of accounting in
Organizations and Society’ (Burchell et al, 1980), critically evaluate
arguments in favour of and arguments against this statement in the
context of the changing role of accounting in organisations.
Burchell, S., Clubb, C., Hopwood, A., Hughes, J., & Nahapiet, J.The
roles of accounting in organizations and society. Accounting,
Organizations and Society, Vol. 5,(No. 1,), pp. 5-21
Cooper, C., 2013. A Critical Perspective. In: Jack, L., Davison, J., &
And Craig, R. (Eds.). (2013). The routledge companion to accounting
communication. London: Routledge Ltd.
Other Readings from Lectures and Tutorials 4 and 5
some relevant Journals/Titles
Accounting, Organizations and Society
Critical Perspectives on Accounting
Management Accounting Research
Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Financial Accountability and Management
The International Journal of Public Sector Management
Journal of public budgeting, accounting and financial management
Public finance and management
Journal of Management Studies
Journal of Business Ethics
The Accounting Review
Writing Essays for Assignments
A Four-Point Plan:
Analyse and understand the question
Read and gather information
Plan and think
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT
Write and edit
PAUSE AND CHECK BEFORE HANDING IN
These are the four basic stages that you need to go through to produce a good essay. They are not necessarily discrete stages: there may be some overlap and they may not occur in exactly this order. However, if you find yourself going directly to stage 4 then you are starting at the wrong point. Stage 4 should always be the final stage and should really only take between a third and a quarter of the time allocated to the essay. If you miss out any of stages 1, 2 or 3 the likelihood is that you will not answer the question adequately or achieve your full potential.
Analyse and Understand the Question
Before you do anything else, you need to analyse and understand the task set and work out exactly what it is you are being asked to do.
Read the question/title/problem several times, carefully and critically.
Analyse the key words and phrases.
Look up any words or terms you do not fully understand.
Decide what the task is that you are being set and paraphrase it in your own words.
Read, digest and follow any ancillary instructions that you have been given, such as a maximum and/or minimum word limit.
Break the question/title/problem down into its component parts and make sure that you keep these parts in mind at the reading, planning and writing stages. Address every part in your answer so that if the question asks ‘compare and contrast’, then make sure that you do both, bringing out the similarities and the differences.
Never assume that any statement quoted is true or that you must agree with it. Question and dissect – do not just accept.
Only when you are truly satisfied that you really understand the question and the task should you move on to the next stage.
Read and Gather Information
Well-directed reading is required in order to produce a good, well-reasoned and rounded essay.
Make notes from your directed reading.
Start with your lecture notes; these may give you some initial pointers.
Look up the topic in the index to your recommended textbook if appropriate. Follow up the references in your textbook, lecture notes and those indicated by your lecturer to find the primary sources and follow up the references cited therein. Do not rely wholly on textbook sources refer to relevant journal articles. You should be reading primary sources whenever possible.
Find important and relevant readings, noting down pages and paragraphs.
Read your selected material slowly and thoroughly. Make fuller notes as you go. Try to put notes into your own words as this means you will have to really read, digest and understand the content, rather than just copy wholesale.
Think again about the question and the topic area. Do some creative thinking and allow an incubation period for your ideas to grow.
Plan and Think
Order the key points in a logical sequence: this is your ESSAY PLAN.
Use planning to settle on the main ideas and important points.
Be ruthless: do not include material if it is not related to the essay topic. Do not be side tracked into interesting irrelevancies.
Your selection criteria should be ‘Does this piece of information add to and develop my argument? Does it help me answer the question?’ If the honest answer is no, then discard it now because you will only have to jettison it later.
Avoid repetition for repetition sake, i.e. saying the same thing over again using different vocabulary
The object of your plan is to help the ideas flow on naturally one from another towards a final conclusion.
Once devised, try to keep your essay plan flexible. If relevant new ideas come to you whilst writing your essay, try to incorporate them at an appropriate point.
Keep to any word limit.
Remember that careful planning and good writing techniques cannot make up for poor content.
Write and Edit
Keep your essay plan, essay title and notes from your directed reading close to hand, but do not work with your text books open beside you or you will only be tempted to copy great chunks from them. Remember your tutors will already have read these books and may even in some cases have written them!
Before you start writing the essay, summarise, on a separate sheet of paper in one short paragraph of 3-5 sentences, what the essay is about. Keep this summary handy to re-read as you write the essay to assist in keeping to the point.
Do not forget to structure your essay:
The Beginning/Introduction should explain what follows and may also set the scene with a little history or definitions.
Middle/Discussion is directed at answering the question and displaying the relevant information.
End/Conclusion should sum up the main points and make clear your own conclusions in relation to the specific question.
Each new idea or development needs a new paragraph.
Make sure that your sentences and paragraphs are neither too short nor too long.
Try to support each main idea by examples, facts, and authorities. Include references where necessary.
Check your spelling, grammar and punctuation. Use your spell and grammar checker on your word processor if you have one.
Re-read your essay before you hand it in.
Ask yourself honestly ‘What criticisms would I make if I were the tutor marking the essay?’ Can you address these criticisms?
Remember to plan your time well to meet the deadline set.
In summary, ask yourself whether your answer is relevant, concise, accurate and clear.
Common Mistakes in Written Work leading to poor marks
Not answering the question
Regurgitating the textbook and/or lecture notes
Plagiarism, wholesale copying without attribution (can lead to a zero mark)
Answering only part of the question
Shotgun approach, that is scattering all of the information you know all over the page without any selection
Lengthy discussion of minor and irrelevant points
Going off at a tangent at length (even if it is interesting)
Poor structure and technique
Illogical and/or disjointed order
No or insufficient introduction
No or insufficient conclusion
Frequent repetition of the same few points, albeit in different words.
Poor, inappropriate use of evidence or authority
A conclusion that does not follow on from the rest of your arguments
A conclusion that is simply a précis of all that has gone before
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