Interview-Based Research in Accounting 2000-2014: A Review

52 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2016 Last revised: 11 Nov 2016

See all articles by Narisa Tianjing Dai

Narisa Tianjing Dai

University of International Business and Economics - Business School

Clinton Free

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Accounting

Yves Gendron

Université Laval

Date Written: November 10, 2016

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Dai, Narisa Tianjing and Free, Clinton Wallace and Gendron, Yves, Interview-Based Research in Accounting 2000-2014: A Review (November 10, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2711022 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2711022

Narisa Tianjing Dai

University of International Business and Economics - Business School ( email )

10, Huixin Dongjie
Changyang District
Beijing, Beijing 100029
China
0086-1064493525 (Phone)

Clinton Wallace Free (Contact Author)

UNSW Australia Business School, School of Accounting ( email )

Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

Yves Gendron

Université Laval ( email )

Faculte des sciences de l'administration
2325 rue de la Terrasse, Local 2636
Quebec City, Quebec G1V 0A6
Canada
418-656-2131 ext. 2431 (Phone)
418-656-7746 (Fax)

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