Subjectivity in Developing and Validating Causal Explanations in Positivist Accounting Research
27 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2013
Date Written: August 28, 2013
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.
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