A pragmatic approach to management accounting research: a research path

Frank Lefley (Royal Holloway, University of London, UK)

Management Research News

ISSN: 0140-9174

Publication date: 1 June 2006



This paper traces an eight‐year journey along a research path in identifying the need for conception, development, and pragmatic evaluation of a new capital investment appraisal model – the financial appraisal profile (FAP) model. In many cases, existing research in developing new financial models is limited to theoretical conception rather than testing of these models in the real world. This papers sets out to address that issue.


The research methodology draws heavily on philosophical pragmatism. The paper traces a clear path, starting from the firm foundation of earlier studies, questionnaire feedback from presentations of the model, and two case studies.


The three‐stage pragmatic evaluation of the FAP model establishes the support for the model in both the academic and practical world.

Research limitations/implications

Although the first two stages in the evaluation of the model may be susceptible to systemic bias, the final evaluation in practical application of the model provides credible evidence for its pragmatic support.

Practical implications

It is hoped that this paper will encourage other researchers to be more pragmatic in their research methodology and that practitioners will find the FAP model more effective than their existing capital investment appraisal methods/procedures.


The pragmatic diversity of the research methodology presented in this paper gives management accounting researchers’ an insight into one particular researcher's approach to such a complex issue.



Lefley, F. (2006), "A pragmatic approach to management accounting research: a research path", Management Research News, Vol. 29 No. 6, pp. 358-371. https://doi.org/10.1108/01409170610683879

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