Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)

Module ECON52115: Research Methods in Economics and Finance

Department: Economics, Finance and Business (Economics and Finance)

ECON52115: Research Methods in Economics and Finance

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 45 Availability Available in 2007/08 Module Cap
Tied to


  • As specified in special Regulations


  • As specified in Special Regulations

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • This module aims to provide students with the opportunity to develop the ability to ciritically understand current theoretical and empirical research in the field of economics and finance and provide the necessary training to undertake advanced level research in economics and finance both within and outside academia. The module has three aspects.
  • first, it focuses on the complex nature of research in economics and finance in general, examining the study skills necessary to manage and undertake a research project.
  • Second, it discusses some of the major contemporary issues in economics and finance to provide students with the ability to critically review this specialised complex area of knowledge with a view to undertaking a dissertation in the field of economics or finance;
  • Finally, it provides students with opportunities to be familiar with frontier-level empirical and theoretical research in economics and finance.


  • Term 1: Research process in Economics and Finance
  • Undertaking research in economics
  • Making use of library facilities, databases and other learning resources
  • Planning a research project in economics
  • Data management
  • Presentation and discussion of selected topics in Economics and Finance
  • Term 2: Applications of advanced principles, concepts and methods to selected topics : this part will involve presentations of empirical and theoretical research at the frontiers of the subject as well as reviews of selected seminal papers in Economics and Finance. Topics will reflect the research interests of the Department and include (but are not limited to):
  • Asset pricing models
  • Portfolio theories
  • Business cycles and macroeconomic policies
  • Current topics in regulation and privatisation
  • Asymmetric information and investment
  • Contemporary issues on exchange rate theories and policies.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • have gained an understanding and awareness of the nature and scope of research in economics and finance,
  • be able to effectively organise, structure and manage a research project;
  • have explored, understood and appreciated the complexity and contradictions of the contemporary research in economics and finance;
  • have used highly specialised and advanced technical, professional and academic skills in the analysis of relevant specific problems in the fields of economics and finance;
  • have demonstrated ability to learn and work independently exercising critical judgement and discrimination in the resolution of complex problematic situations;
Subject-specific Skills:
    Key Skills:

      Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

      • Combination of lectures; students' presentations and discussions in seminars; formative assignment and research based summative assignment involving analytical skills will help achieve the aims and stated learning outcomes of this module.

      Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

      Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
      Lectures 19 1 per week 2 hours 38
      Seminars/Workshops 8 1 per fortnight 1 hour 8
      Practicals 10 Selected weeks 2 hours 20
      Fieldwork - Visit by students to place of work of one of the other students
      Preparation & Reading 534
      Other: (Revision)
      Total 600

      Summative Assessment

      Component: Project Component Weighting: 30%
      Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
      Written Project 3,000 words 30%
      Component: Project Component Weighting: 70%
      Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
      Written Empirical Project 5,000 word (maximum) 70%

      Formative Assessment:

      One group presentation. Two Individual presentations

      Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University