Accounting is a popular course in college because it equips students with the accounting knowledge needed for everyday life. Career paths related to accounting are also fulfilling. However, an accounting major is not an easy course, especially when it comes to writing term papers and research papers.
When most students join college for an accounting major, they assume accounting is about mastering the theory, calculations, and procedures related to money and other accounting processes. It comes as a surprise to them when the professor or course instructor says they need to develop a research topic, research it, and compile a well-written paper.
It’s no secret that writing a research paper can be challenging, but with proper guidance, you can create excellent content that will please your professor. This article will guide you on how to write an accounting research paper like a pro.
Table of Content
1.1 What Is an Accounting Research Paper?
1.1.1 Argumentative Research Paper
1.1.2 Analytical Research Paper
1.2 How to Write a Research Paper in Accounting: Steps To Follow
1.2.1 Choose a Research Question
1.2.2 Reading Wide To Gather Ideas
1.2.3 Prepare Your Paper Outline
1.2.4 Write the First Draft
184.108.40.206 Literature review
1.2.5. Add the Reference Section
1.2.6 Proofreading and Editing
What Is an Accounting Research Paper?
Like any other research paper, an accounting research paper is academic writing that presents your original and detailed thoughts on a particular topic based on research and critical thinking. However, an accounting research paper needs to be on a topic in accounting or related to accounting.
Generally, there are two types of accounting research papers. These are:
Argumentative Research Paper
In an argumentative research paper, you develop a research topic that supports a particular perspective in accounting, then use your ideas to convince your reader why they should take your side. For instance, if your case argues that electronic money is safer than physical currency, you need to explain points that make the reader agree with you.
Analytical Research Paper
For the analytical type, you research different views and perspectives on a particular topic and analyze them. You would have to formulate a hypothesis (state your stand on the specific topic) then write your paper to support or reject the idea. In short, an analytical research paper offers a critical evaluation of a topic based on data from several relevant sources.
How to Write a Research Paper in Accounting: Steps To Follow
Writing an accounting research paper varies from one institution to another and depends on the instructions given by the course instructor. However, there are some standard steps you need to follow to produce great content that will win you high marks. These steps are:
Choose a Research Question
Commonly known as the research topic, a research question is a subject you want to study or investigate. Choosing the research question should be a well-thought process, and you should never rush to pick the topic without doing the necessary research. At times, you may choose the subject and realize you need to change the angle or perspective halfway into the research paper.
Professors and instructors are human too, and they want to read something interesting. For this reason, you should come up with an exciting topic that keeps the reader reading till the end. One of the tricks of choosing a compelling subject is picking a trendy one.
How do you know what is trending?
Read newspapers and accounting journals, watch the news on social media and mainstream media. However, remember to pick a relevant topic that meets the requirements laid down by the instructor.
As you brainstorm possible topics, stay away from issues that have been exhausted by other researchers. Instructors think you are a lazy researcher if you dwell on topics that have been explored exhaustively in previous studies. If you want to work on a previously researched topic, look for loopholes left by other scholars and try to fill the gaps.
Reading Wide To Gather Ideas
One of the main ingredients of a great accounting research paper is rich content. Shallowly explained points will leave your reader unsatisfied, and in turn, they won’t award you a good mark. If you want your research paper to stand out, you need to do extensive research from primary and secondary sources and arm yourself with enough information.
However, avoid overindulging in research which may leave you with more content than you need. At the back of your mind, you should know what you are looking for, what to include and what is unnecessary details.
Some places to look for relevant information include accounting books, journals, e-books, websites, and encyclopedias. Also, only source information from verified sites such as government, organization, and higher learning institution’s websites. These sites will typically end in .gov,.edu, and .org extensions.
As you research, note down the ideas you want to incorporate in your paper and record referencing details such as author, publication, year, and the page number. You can use physical bookmarks on hardcopies and bookmark webpages for easy retrieval.
At times the information you gather may prompt you to revise your research question depending on your study goals. Use the available data to amend your topic to make it exciting and narrow it down.
Prepare Your Paper Outline
A paper outline is a roadmap that guides you to organize your ideas to create a well-written paper with clear headings, subheadings, and detailed content.
Picture this; you have been to the library and gone through several accounting books while noting down main ideas on a notebook. There are formulas, abbreviations, technical terms, possible topics, etc. Then, you have several bookmarked tabs on your personal computer with articles and videos.
All this information is raw and needs planning and organization to turn into the paragraphs a reader will effortlessly flow with and comprehend. To avoid headaches and overwhelm from the massive data, you need to outline how you want your paper to look.
Draft headings and subheadings to guide you where to place what piece of information. Examples of subheadings include the introduction statement of purpose and the different paragraphs for the body.
Write the First Draft
After creating an outline to guide you, the next step is to write your first draft. This is where the real work starts because you are putting your thoughts together to make the reader agree with you or see your perspective on the topic at hand.
At this point, concentrate on downloading the content in your head to the paper the best way you deem fit. Don’t worry about the choice of words, punctuation, and grammar at this point because you will revise the text later.
When writing your paper, let your instructor’s instructions guide you. If they don’t give any specific guidelines to follow, use the standard structure of an accounting research paper. The structure entails the following:
As the name suggests, an introduction introduces your research question to the reader. Write background information about your topic and convince the reader why they should keep reading your text. At the end of the introduction, state the purpose of your study. This last part of the introduction is commonly known as the thesis statement.
An abstract summarizes your research paper in 200-300 words. First, do all other parts of your paper to write an excellent abstract and return to it later.
A literature review explores other scholars’ work on your topic. To write a good literature review, research existing information on your subject, identify the points that resonate with your study, and analyze them. You can also briefly state your interpretation of these ideas.
This part entails the main ideas you discovered from your research. Start with the strongest points and expound on them thoroughly. Remember to use simple language and the correct syntax. It might be an accounting research paper, but the language should be clear to anyone, including anyone who has never set foot in an accounting class.
Use transitional phrases to connect your paragraphs and maintain a natural flow to your narration. Don’t discuss two ideas in one paragraph, and each paragraph should have a topic sentence and coherent thoughts.
The discussion part shows your creative and critical thinking skills. This section relates your findings with what is already known about the topic. It is also the juncture to talk about the implications of your discovery, how it can solve real-life problems or fill the gaps left by other researchers.
A conclusion should remind your reader of the thesis statement, sum up your research findings, and suggest areas that other researchers can study. Don’t introduce new points in the conclusion.
Add the Reference Section
The reference section reveals the source of your ideas to the reader. Academic writing should be backed up with evidence and proof to alienate personal opinions and facts. For this reason, always include a reference list with the names of publications and authors of your source material.
Remember to follow your instructor’s formatting style and if they have not stated, be sure to consult them. Common formatting styles include APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago. They influence how you format your reference list and in-text citations.
Proofreading and Editing
When you are done writing your paper, leave it for several days to clear your head. Pick it up after some time and go through it, correcting any grammatical, spelling, and syntax errors. You can use proofreading software to simplify the work.
You can also ask a friend, parent, or a trained editor to go through the work and highlight errors for you. Check for plagiarism after polishing your draft to ensure your work is original. Revise as needed until the text is 100% unique.
The standard way of writing an accounting research paper involves six steps. They include selecting a topic, researching, creating an outline, writing the draft, adding the reference section, and proofreading the document. However, always refer to your instructor’s guidelines for the particulars, such as formatting styles and subheadings.