Developing a Research Portfolio

First-year paper

The first-year paper is a major requirement in the course work stage of our program. Each student prepares a single-authored research paper under the direction of a one- or two-member faculty committee. This paper represents a replication and extension of a paper that has already appeared in one of the top academic accounting journals. The student recruits a faculty member (ideally faculty with some degree of interest in the topic) to provide feedback on the replication and extension and finalize approval of the topic with the Ph.D. program coordinator. If a student wishes to write a first-year paper that is more ambitious than a replication and minor extension, approval must be first obtained from the Ph.D. program coordinator.

Students present the final paper to the faculty and other Ph.D. students in a departmental workshop, normally at the beginning of the student’s second fall semester in the program. The feedback provided by this process is integral to Ph.D. student development as a researcher. Failure to complete the first-year paper in a timely fashion could result in loss of assistantship, placement on probation or dismissal from the program.

Second-year paper

The second-year paper represents a significant step up in research expectation from the first-year paper. Each student is expected to develop an original project that, when completed, can be targeted toward a first-tier academic journal. It is expected that this will be a co-authored paper with one or more faculty members, but is critical that the paper represents the student’s idea and that the student makes a significant contribution to the final product. Although coauthors may include individuals outside of Mays, there must be at least one James Benjamin Department of Accounting faculty member involved with the project.

Students present their second-year paper to the faculty and other Ph.D. students in a departmental workshop, normally at the beginning of the student’s third fall semester in the program. This paper is generally presented after the completion of qualifying exams.

Workshop program

Active participation in the workshop program is an essential component of the doctoral program in accounting. The workshop program provides a forum for visiting scholars, faculty and doctoral students to share and nurture research ideas. Each student’s first-year paper and proposal are presented in a scheduled departmental workshop. All students are expected to actively participate in the workshop program while they are in residence by asking questions and providing constructive suggestions during each workshop.

Dissertation research proposal defense

When the advisory committee is satisfied that a viable dissertation proposal has been developed, a proposal defense is scheduled for presentation in a departmental workshop. All advisory committee members are expected to attend the proposal workshop. A discussant should be assigned at the proposal defense to provide constructive criticism to the student.