Guidelines Writing Bachelor or Master Thesis with the International Accounting Group

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1 1. General Guidelines Theses are accepted only in English. American or British English usage is accepted, but not a mixture of these. To avoid unnecessary errors you are advised to use the spell-check and grammarcheck functions of your word-processing software. Please use non-discriminatory language. 2. Structure of the thesis Every thesis should have an introduction, a body and a summary. Here is an example for a typical structure of an empirical thesis: Title Page Table of Contents List of Abbreviations (if necessary) List of Figures (if necessary) List of Tables (if necessary) Text - Abstract and Keywords on a separate page - Introduction - Literature Review - Hypotheses Development - Results - Discussion - Conclusions References Figures (if necessary) Tables (if necessary) Appendices (if necessary) Title Page Should include: - Title: it should be concise and informative. Titles are often used in informationretrieval systems. Avoid abbreviations and formula where possible. - Type of Thesis: bachelor or master thesis - Course of studies - Author name and matriculation number - Name of the supervisor - Date of submission 1

2 Table of Contents Subdivision into numbered sections: Divide your thesis into clearly defined and numbered sections. Subsections should be numbered 1.1 (then 1.1.1, 1.1.2,...), 1.2, etc. (the abstract is not included in section numbering). A subsection is only justified if at least one second subpoint follows. Use this numbering also for internal cross-referencing: do not just refer to 'the text'. Any subsection should be given a brief heading. Each heading should appear in the table of contents on its own separate line. Example: Table of Contents Abbreviations... I List of Figures...II List of Tables... III Abstract Introduction Literature Review Hypotheses Development XXX XXX Results XXX XXX Discussion Conclusions... 7 References... 8 Figures... 9 Tables Appendices List of Abbreviations (if necessary) You have to list specific abbreviations, which are just used in the thesis. Do not list commonly used abbreviations like (cf. or e.g.). List them in alphabetic sequence. 2

3 List of Figures/Figures (if necessary) You have to list all your figures with their header and the page they are located on in the text. Please provide the highest quality figure format possible. All figures must be numbered in the order in which they appear in the text (e.g. Figure 1, Figure 2) and have to receive a meaningful header. In multi-part figures, each part should be labelled (e.g. Figure 1(a), Figure 1(b)). The figures itself are provided after the reference list and before the tables and appendices. In the main text you add a short notice: [Insert Figure X here]. Figures should be self-explanatory. This means that a reader should understand your figure by reading the header and the notes you have provided with the figure. List of Tables/Tables (if necessary) You have to list all your tables with their header and the page they are located on in the text. All tables must be numbered in the order in which they appear in the text (e.g. Table 1, Table 2) and have to receive a meaningful header. The tables itself are provided after the reference list and figures and before appendices. In the main text you add a short notice: [Insert Table X here]. Tables should be self-explanatory. This means that a reader should understand your table by reading the header and the notes you have provided with the table. If a table covers empirical results, please explain the variables and the analyses depicted in the table in the notes above or below the table. If you already explained the variables in separate table, you can refer to that table. Abstract A concise and factual abstract of no more than 200 words is required. The abstract should state briefly the purpose of the research, the principal results and major conclusions. An abstract is presented separately from the thesis, so it must be able to stand alone. For this reason, references should be avoided, but if essential, then cite the author(s) and year(s). Also, non-standard or uncommon abbreviations should be avoided, but if essential they must be defined at their first mention in the abstract itself. Keywords Immediately after the abstract, provide a maximum of 6 keywords, avoiding general and plural terms and multiple concepts (avoid, for example, 'and', 'of'). Be sparing with abbreviations: only abbreviations firmly established in the field may be eligible. These keywords will be used for indexing purposes. Introduction State the objectives of the work and provide an adequate background, avoiding a detailed literature survey or detailed presentation of the results. 3

4 Main text (with footnotes if needed) Footnotes should be avoided, but any short, concise notes making a specific point may be placed in number order at the bottom of the page. Do not outsource important arguments that are necessary for understanding the text to footnotes. Basically, the text should be understandable also without the footnote. A similar reasoning applies to notes/comments that are in parentheses. Acronyms should be translated in full into English. Difficulty often arises in translating acronyms, so it is best to spell out an acronym in English (for example, IIRP - French personal income tax). Theory/Literature review/hypotheses A theory section should extend, not repeat, the background to the study already dealt with in the introduction and lay the foundation for further work. Develop your hypotheses based on the literature reviewed. The literature review section can be combined with either the introduction or with the hypotheses development section. But please avoid combining the introduction, the literature review, and the hypotheses development section. Results Results should be clear and concise. Discussion This section should explore the significance of the results of the work, not repeat them. A combined results and discussion section is often appropriate. Avoid extensive citations and discussion of published literature. Conclusions The main conclusions of the study may be presented in a short conclusions section. This section may stand alone or form a subsection of the discussion or the results and discussion section. Please note any limitations of your study in the conclusions section. References Please use the Harvard citation style as explained below. References are cited in the text by the author's surname, the year of the work cited, and a page number if it is a direct quote. Full details of the reference are shown in the reference list. Place citations in the text right after the references. If they appear within parenthetical material, put the year within commas. Example: (see Table 3 of National Institute of Mental Health, 2012, for more details) References should be listed at the end of the main text in alphabetical order by the author s surname. Where there is more than one reference from the same author(s) in the same year, references should be identified by suffix letters, e.g. (Pearce, 1995a). References should be made only to works that are published, accepted for publication (not merely submitted ), or available through libraries or institutions. Any other source should be qualified by a note regarding availability. 4

5 Full reference in the reference list should include all authors' names and initials (or full first names), date of publication, title of article, title of publication (italics), volume and issue number (of a journal), publisher and form (only for books, conference proceedings) and start page and end page of the article. Full references in the reference list end always with a full stop. Appendices (if necessary) If there is more than one appendix, they should be identified as A, B, etc. Formulae and equations in appendices should be given separate numbering: Eq. (A.1), Eq. (A.2), etc.; in a subsequent appendix, Eq. (B.1) and so on. Similarly for tables and figures: Table A.1; Fig. A.1, etc. Requirements for the structural parts of a bachelor or master thesis We recommend establishing a timetable of your work on the thesis. Do not underestimate the time required until the final text is written, preparation and final formatting on the PC. Please comply with the topics and avoid deviations from it. Especially important is a systematic, logical and consistent structure of the text. The structure should match with the content of the work. A clear and concise sentence structure facilitates understanding your representation and reasoning. Avoid stringing together nouns which leads to monster words. In empirical analyses or systematic evaluations should be a concentration in a table. A clear illustration of the underlying methods and concepts is useful not only for the readers but also for the author, and promotes a clear and understandable argument. 3. Text layout The thesis should be typewritten (using a word-processor) on A4 white paper. Please use normal page margins: on the left and right side 2,5 cm; at the top of the page 2,5 cm and at the bottom 2 cm. The main text should be double-spaced. Footnotes should be single-spaced. The text should be aligned to both the left and right margins ( justified ). Font size: Arial (11) or Times New Roman (12) or Verdana (11); font size for footnotes: Arial (9) or Times New Roman (10) or Verdana (10). With exception of the title page, all papers should be numbered. For text pages, the reference list, figures and tables use the Arabic numeration (1, 2, 3, ) and for all other pages (Table of Contents, Abbreviations, List of Figures and List of Tables) use the Roman numeration (I, II, III, ). Footnotes have to be continuously numbered with the Arabic numeration (1, 2, 3, ). They have to be separated from the main text by a short line. They have to be quoted 5

6 on the same page on which the references are. You are advised to use the insert footnote function of your word-processor. A footnote is a complete sentence. Therefore, the sentence has to start with capital letter and must end with a full stop. Spell out numbers trough nine. Please use the Harvard citation style (as mentioned in sections 2 and 4). Another type of citation is possible if it is common in the literature and applied consistently. Always cite the primary source, not the secondary literature. The length of the bachelor/master thesis is limited to 30-35/35-40 pages. A significant excess of the numbers of pages is possible only in exceptional cases. That needs to be clarified with the supervising staff before the submission of the work. 4. References and citations The reference list is a systematic register of all sources, which are quoted in the text. The reader should be able to reconstruct all original references from the reference list. An important prerequisite is the completeness of the list. The list of references compiles books, journals, newspapers and other documents (e.g. working papers) and is to be sorted in alphabetical order of author s surnames. Some examples: Book Hull, J.C. (2008). Options, Futures, and Other Derivatives (7 th Edition). Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall. Article in collective work Merton, R.C. (1990). Capital Market Theory and the Pricing of Financial Securities. In: B.M. Friedman and F.H. Hahn (Eds.), Handbook of Monetary Economics (pp ). Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing Company. Journal Black, F. and Scholes, M. (1973). The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities. Journal of Political Economy, 81(3), pp Meek, G.K., Roberts, C.B., and Gray, S.J. (1995). Factors Influencing Voluntary Annual Report Disclosures by U.S., U.K. and Continental European Multinational Corporations. Journal of International Business Studies, 26(3), pp Internet resource RiskMetrics Group (2002). Credit Grades Technical Document. Retrieved from: ( ). 6

7 You have to build your work on the ideas and arguments which are available in the scientific literature. Foreign ideas and arguments have to be marked in the work using citations. References should be indicated in form of an in-text citation in the Harvard citation style (see sections 2 and 4). Mention all sources of the arguments, regardless whether you quote word by word or whether you only reproduce the spirit of an argument. Direct quotations (word by word) should be used only in exceptional cases. If you use a direct quotation, the in-text citation has to include the page. Some examples: References should be cited in the text either in brackets, e.g. Earlier studies (Pearce, 1989) showed or using the name as part of a sentence, e.g. Pearce (1989) states. For two authors the format is: (Huberman and Miles, 1998); for three or more authors the format is: (Dwyer et al., 2000). Groups of references should be listed first alphabetically and then chronologically, e.g. (Crompton, 1979; 1999; Fakeye and Crompton, 1991; Gunn, 1988). Separate references by different authors with a semi-colon. For quoted material a page number is required, e.g. [Pearce, (1989), p. 22]. More details for writing can be found on the webpage of the European Accounting Review, Instructions for authors: 7

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