Is There a Confidence Interval for That? A Critical Examination of Null Outcome Reporting in Accounting Research
66 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2018 Last revised: 27 Jan 2020
Date Written: April 14, 2019
This study evaluates how accounting researchers analyze and report null outcomes based on a large sample examination of recent accounting research publications. As null outcomes reflect an inability to reject a null they, unlike rejections, do not lend themselves to specifically conclusive interpretations. Rather, drawing useful inference from them requires fundamental descriptive analysis. In the 35 articles we identify as presenting substantive null outcomes, however, inappropriately conclusive interpretations of these outcomes are widespread while scant attention is given to providing the descriptive analyses needed to draw useful insights from them. The analysis also proposes and illustrates the use of descriptive techniques in the form of confidence intervals as an appropriate approach for interpreting null outcomes.
Keywords: Null Hypothesis, Null Outcome, Confidence Interval
JEL Classification: B41, M40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation