Interview-Based Research in Accounting 2000-2014: A Review
52 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2016 Last revised: 11 Nov 2016
Date Written: November 10, 2016
This paper aims to dissipate some of the nebulosity surrounding the undertaking of qualitative research in the accounting domain. We examine some key practices that underlie interview-based research – not in the spirit of setting inflexible standards but as a platform to sustain reflexivity and methodological debate. We tabulate 641 interview-based research articles in major accounting journals published in the 15 year period 2000-2014 and examine patterns in the way that interview data is drawn upon to support research claims. Specifically, we focus on two issues faced by qualitative researchers: (1) the “appropriate” number of interviews to conduct; and (2) the role of verbatim quotations in research accounts. Across this period, we find that the median number of interviews in published articles in leading accounting journals is 26, with variation across research philosophy and journal outlet. We note several trends across the period including a decrease in the number of interviews in published articles, an increase in the number of block quotations, a marked increase in the length of method sections and a heightened reliance on coding and qualitative software. We critique the notion of saturation and identify three key roles for verbatim quotations – evidence, elaboration and provocation – in the construction of research accounts.
Keywords: Interviewing; quotations; Methods sections; Saturation; Accounting research
JEL Classification: M41
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