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Remaining consistent with method? An analysis of grounded theory research in accounting

Bruce Gurd (University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management

ISSN: 1176-6093

Article publication date: 6 June 2008




The paper revisits the intellectual roots of grounded theory and aims to analyze the consistency of the method used in grounded theory research in accounting. About 23 papers are identified and analysed.


The paper is an analytical review of the research literature. It uses four fundamental canons of grounded theory to analyze accounting research.


Some accounting researchers who have used the label “grounded theory” for their research have misunderstood or not applied the core canons of grounded theory established by Glaser and Strauss and developed with diversity in other disciplines. Most claim to follow the specific approach of Strauss and Corbin, but the published research shows limited explication of method.


Since Parker and Roffey in 1997, there has been no analysis and re‐evaluation of the burgeoning academic accounting literature using grounded theory. While celebrating the growth of this research, the paper does raise concerns about the lack of consistency of grounded theory research in accounting with the central canons of grounded theory, and it provides some directions for future grounded theory research by encouraging accounting researchers who wish to use grounded theory to engage more strongly in understanding the method and providing transparent explanations of their data collection and analysis methods.



Gurd, B. (2008), "Remaining consistent with method? An analysis of grounded theory research in accounting", Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 122-138.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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