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The field researcher as author‐writer

Jane Baxter (School of Accounting, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
Wai Fong Chua (School of Accounting, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management

ISSN: 1176-6093

Article publication date: 6 June 2008




The purpose of this paper is to introduce the literary authority of qualitative management accounting field research (QMAFR) and its interconnectedness with the scientific authority of this form of research.


The paper adopts a non‐positivist perspective on the writing/authoring of QMAFR. The paper illustrates its arguments by analysing how the field is written/authored in two well‐known examples of qualitative management accounting research, using Golden‐Biddle and Locke's framework as a way of initiating an understanding of how field research attains its “convincingness”.


The paper finds that these two examples of QMAFR attain their convincingness by authoring a strong sense of authenticity and plausibility, adopting writing strategies that signal the authority of the researcher and their figuration of the “facts”.

Research limitations/implications

The paper argues for a more aesthetically informed consideration of the “goodness” of non‐positivist QMAFR, arguing that its scientific and aesthetic forms of authority are ultimately intertwined.

Practical implications

This paper has practical implications for informing the ways in which QMAFR is read and written, arguing for greater experimentation in terms of its narration.


The value of this paper lies in its recognition of the authorial and aesthetic nature of QMAFR, as well as it potential to encourage debate, reflection and changed practices within the community of scholars interested in this form of research.



Baxter, J. and Fong Chua, W. (2008), "The field researcher as author‐writer", Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 101-121.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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