Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)

Module ECON40415: Research Methods in Economics and Finance

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

ECON40415: Research Methods in Economics and Finance

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap
Tied to


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • provide students' with the necessary training to undertake advanced level research in Economics and Finance;
  • develop students' understanding at an advanced level of the nature of research in economics and finance and the social sciences in general, by examining the study skills necessary to manage and undertake a research project;
  • provide students with opportunities to be familiar with the frontier empirical and theoretical research in economics and finance;
  • provide students with a good foundation for undertaking a dissertation at an advanced level.


  • Part 1: The research process in economics and finance including data management, and learning resources:
  • undertaking research in economics and finance: An overview of the nature of research, the relationships between interests, topics, questions and problems, sources of information claims and evidence, reviewing the field;
  • making use of library facilities, databases and other learning resources such as journals, books, electronic search engines, Datastream and other sources and databases;
  • planning a research project in economics and/or finance: The nature of research, the aims of social science, the process of research, theories and models, the basic elements of research: Undertaking a review of the literature: approaches, purpose and managing the process; Writing a research report: aims, different types, examples, what the examiners look for; Drafting and revising a project;
  • reviewing the literature and finding the research questions;
  • the dissertation and the research process;
  • Part II: applications of advanced principles, concepts and methods to select a topic in finance/economics. This part will involve presentations of empirical and theoretical research at the 'frontiers' of the subject as well as reviews of selected seminal papers. Topics will reflect the research interests of the Department and may include (but are not limited to):
  • Market Efficiency and Thin Trading;
  • Using Conditioning Information and Evaluating Economic Value in Long-Horizon Event Studies;
  • Econometrics and Structural Breaks: What can we Learn about historical Data?;
  • Pricing of Initial Public Offerings;
  • Regulation and the Cost of Capital: An Even Study Investigation;
  • the Interaction of Monetary and Fiscal Policy;
  • Optimal Taxation;

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • have gained an understanding and be aware of the nature and scope of advanced research in economics and finance;
  • be able to effectively organise, structure and manage a research project at an advanced level, including undertaking critical appraisal of relevant literature, and apply critical judgement and discrimination;
  • be aware of, and familiar with, the facilities available for conducting literature searches and obtaining relevant data to facilitate empirical investigation;
  • have developed the ability to operate independently on a research topic and exercise appropriate judgement in the selection of material.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • have further developed the skills of inquiry, research design, data collection and information retrieval, bibliographic search, measurement and analysis, interpretation and presentation, self-discipline and time-management and the ability to work autonomously.
Key Skills:
  • Written Communication;
  • Interpersonal communication;
  • Oral Communication;
  • Teamwork;
  • Planning, Organising and Time Management;
  • Problem Solving and Analysis;
  • Using Initiative;
  • Numeracy;
  • Computer Literacy.

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

  • In line with the information on teaching, learning and assessment methods provided in Section 2.1 of the Programme Specification, a combination of lectures and seminar will contribute to achieving the aims and learning outcomes of this module. summative assessment by written examination will text students' knowledge and understanding of the subject-matter, their critical judgement and problem-solving and critical skills.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 9 1 per week 2 hours 18
Seminars/Workshops 4 1 hour 4
Preparation & Reading 128
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Project Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written Assignment 3,000 word (maximum) 100%

Formative Assessment:

One group presentation. Additional formative assessment, and feedback, may take a number of forms such as oral feedback on work prepared by students for seminars/workshops; answers to questions either discussed during a seminar/workshop, or posted on DUO; discussions with teaching staff during consultation hours, or via e-mail.

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