2136 Paper Reading and Writing
Aron Bodisz, MA, Elizabeth Rinde, MSc (WU), Univ.Prof. Dr. Rainer Jankowitsch
Weekly hours
Language of instruction
08/31/23 to 09/22/23
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
Subject(s) Master Programs
Day Date Time Room
Tuesday 10/03/23 09:00 AM - 11:00 AM D4.0.144
Thursday 10/12/23 03:00 PM - 05:00 PM TC.3.09
Thursday 10/19/23 09:00 AM - 11:00 AM TC.4.28
Tuesday 10/24/23 03:00 PM - 05:00 PM TC.5.05
Thursday 11/02/23 09:00 AM - 11:00 AM D1.1.078
Thursday 11/16/23 09:00 AM - 11:00 AM D5.0.002
Thursday 11/23/23 09:00 AM - 11:00 AM D4.0.133
Tuesday 11/28/23 09:00 AM - 11:00 AM TC.3.07
Thursday 12/07/23 09:00 AM - 11:00 AM D2.0.392
Tuesday 01/09/24 03:00 PM - 05:00 PM TC.3.07

This course consists of two major parts: The paper reading part aims to enhance the ability of students to read and review finance papers critically as well as to make them acquainted with some modeling practices in selected areas. In the writing part, the students will have to start working on their master thesis project and will be guided in the process of developing a research idea. These two parts together are expected to prepare the students for doing a high-quality independent research in their thesis. 

In the reading part, we will meet six times during the semester. The first session is reserved for administrative issues and will be used to make students familiar with how to read financial papers. In each of the following five sessions, key papers of a selected area will be discussed. Students should read all papers carefully and in detail and then share their understanding of those papers with the group. To facilitate the process, each student has to present one paper (for approximately 30 minutes). At the beginning of each session a short questionnaire has to be completed, whereby students should be stimulated to critically reflect on the content of the discussed paper. The presentation will be followed by group discussions. The course instructors will be available before and during the sessions to assist students in positioning the paper’s contribution in the literature and in understanding technical details.

In the writing part, we will meet additionally four times. The meetings will be used to give the students feedback on the current status of their master thesis project. For each meeting, students have to prepare particular ‘milestones’ which are defined by the instructors. These milestones mimic important steps of an independent research project. In particular, the focus will be on defining a concrete research question. Therefore, students need to acquire a thorough understanding of the relevant literature to identify possible alternative research questions and to get familiar with the particular empirical/theoretical modelling techniques in the respective field.   

Learning outcomes

After this course students:

  • will be able to grasp, analyze and discuss current scientific publications in the field of finance,
  • will be prepared to research, write and present academic papers,
  • will be prepared to further deepen and broaden their specialized knowledge in a relevant PhD program.


Moreover, this course will contribute to the students’ ability to:

  • engage in a scientific discussion and make an appropriate contribution,
  • onfidently organize and integrate ideas and information,
  • present (in an oral and written form) findings appropriate to an audience.
Attendance requirements

Full attendance is compulsory. This means that students should attend at least 80% of all lectures, at most one lecture can be missed.

Teaching/learning method(s)

Reading Part
In the reading part, the students are expected to:

  • Read the papers assigned for each session thoroughly
  • Present once during the semester
  • Actively participate in group discussions (includes questionnaire)

Moreover, students are strongly encouraged to read other papers related to the selected topic and back their comments by referring to the literature. Showing such an effort will earn extra credit.


Writing Part
The milestones in the writing part are defined as follows:

  1. Each student has to identify a possible research area for her/his master thesis. Thus, each student has to conduct a literature review and identify three papers which are relevant for her/his master thesis. Therefore, students should think about areas of interest and thereby also consider possible supervisors to contact.
    • Students will receive feedback on the choice of the papers and the selected research area by the instructors of the course.
    • The deadline for this milestone will be in the first part of October.
  2. Students have to write a summary of the selected papers and to identify possible research questions. Thus, students should start to define a research question for their master theses.
    • Students will receive feedback on the summary as well as on the general research question.
    • The deadline for this milestone will be in the second part of October.
  3. Final definition of the research question for the master thesis. Moreover, students need to create a comprehensive literature survey for their master thesis.
    • Students will receive feedback on the literature survey.
    • The deadline for this milestone will be in the end of November.
  4. Students need to write a research proposal which contains the research question, the relevant literature as well as a description of the methodology.
    • Students will receive feedback on the proposal.
    • The deadline will be in the beginning of January.

Note: The submission of the tasks for the milestones (via mail to all instructors) is always two days in advance of the scheduled meeting. For each late milestone submission, 5% will be deducted. 


The grade will be based entirely on in-class activities. There will be no final exam.

The final grade will be a weighted average of the reading (60%) and writing (40%) section grades.

Reading Part:

  • Paper presentation: 40%
  • Active class participation: 6% per session (30% in total)
  • Questionnaire: 6% per session (30% in total)
  • + Showing the knowledge of relevant literature in a meaningful way adds a maximum of extra 1% per session.

Writing Part

  • Execution quality of the milestones: 25% per milestone (100% in total)
Prerequisites for participation and waiting lists

Fulfillment of the Specific Requirements for Admission to Courses and Examinations defined in the curriculum.


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The list of papers for the reading part will be distributed to the course participants via email.

Last edited: 2023-09-21