Subjectivity in Developing and Validating Causal Explanations in Positivist Accounting Research

27 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2013

See all articles by Joan L. Luft

Joan L. Luft

Michigan State University - Department of Accounting & Information Systems

Michael D. Shields

Michigan State University - Department of Accounting & Information Systems

Date Written: August 28, 2013

Abstract

Eliminating alternative causal explanations plays an important role in establishing causality. We analyze two strategies researchers use to eliminate alternatives to their preferred causal explanations: providing persuasive evidence against other plausible explanations and developing a preferred explanation in such a way as to limit the number of alternatives against which evidence needs to be provided. Although positivist accounting research aims at objectivity in the use of these strategies, we argue that subjectivity plays an important role as well. We identify and discuss relatively more objective and more subjective components of these strategies for validating and developing causal explanations.

Suggested Citation

Luft, Joan and Shields, Michael D., Subjectivity in Developing and Validating Causal Explanations in Positivist Accounting Research (August 28, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2321023 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2321023

Joan Luft

Michigan State University - Department of Accounting & Information Systems ( email )

270 North Business Complex
East Lansing, MI 48824-1034
United States
517-432-2917 (Phone)
517-432-1101 (Fax)

Michael D. Shields (Contact Author)

Michigan State University - Department of Accounting & Information Systems ( email )

270 North Business Complex
East Lansing, MI 48824-1034
United States

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