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Article
Publication date: 16 October 2017

Ivo de Loo and Alan Lowe

The starting point for this paper is that the researcher is intimately bound up in all aspects of the research process. This idea of what is a critical aspect of much…

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Abstract

Purpose

The starting point for this paper is that the researcher is intimately bound up in all aspects of the research process. This idea of what is a critical aspect of much interpretive methodology has been challenged by some proponents of the interpretive accounting research (IAR) project. The authors suggest that adopting some of the views expounded in the IAR project may lead to the accounting research community becoming isolated from other interpretive methodology inspired disciplines. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Currently popular views on IAR are informed by selective theoretical insights from interpretive sociology. The authors argue that these insights cannot provide a general frame with which to encapsulate accounting research that may be reasonably termed “interpretive.”

Findings

The authors’ reading of the literature suggests that the some of the IAR literature exhibits: a tendency to routinely make overly specific claims for what it is possible for interpretive research to achieve; the promotion of a somewhat reductionist view of what the bounds of interpretive research are. The authors suggest that these tendencies detract from the strengths of (adopting a broad view of) IAR.

Research limitations/implications

In expressing the authors’ concerns, the authors do not wish to make an exclusive argument for what IAR is and is not. This would not be in line with writing an interpretive paper. While the authors do not eschew the possibility of a limited building of knowledge by applying interpretive methodological stances neither do the authors see such activity as a central plank of interpretive research.

Practical implications

The authors believe that positivistic commentaries on qualitative enquiry should not be taken as exemplary of interpretive research (in accounting – or elsewhere). The authors feel that IAR needs to be more open to an array of subjectivist motivations, if it is to provide useful critique of the nature of day-to-day accounting practice.

Originality/value

The authors seek to go beyond the rather unhelpful debate about whether IAR should be seen to possess both objective and subjective elements. The authors argue that IAR suffers more from a lack of engagement and debate than it faces dangers from areas of interpretive methodology that adopt positions considered to be too subjectivist.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 30 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 9 April 2019

Jessica L. Darby, Brian S. Fugate and Jeff B. Murray

Scholars have called for diversity in methods and multi-method research to enhance relevance to practice. However, many of the calls have only gone so far as to suggest…

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4192

Abstract

Purpose

Scholars have called for diversity in methods and multi-method research to enhance relevance to practice. However, many of the calls have only gone so far as to suggest the use of multiple methods within the positivism paradigm, which dominates the discipline and may constrain the ability to develop middle-range theory and propose workable solutions to today’s supply chain challenges. The purpose of this paper is to present a rationale for expanding the methodological toolbox of the field to include interpretive research methods.

Design/methodology/approach

This research conceptually illustrates how positivist and interpretive philosophies translate into different research approaches by reviewing an extant positivist qualitative study that uses grounded theory and then detailing how an interpretive researcher would approach the same phenomenon using the hermeneutic method.

Findings

This research expands the boundaries and impact of the field by broadening the set of questions research can address. It contributes a detailed illustration of the interpretive research process, as well as applications for the interpretive approach in future research, particularly theory elaboration, middle-range theorizing, and emerging domains such as the farm-to-fork supply chain and the consumer-based supply chain.

Research limitations/implications

The development of alternative ways of seeking knowledge enhances the potential for creativity, expansion, and progress in the field.

Practical implications

Practical implications of this research include enabling researchers to elaborate theory and develop middle-range theories through an alternative philosophical paradigm. This paradigm facilitates practical insights that are directly relevant to particular domains and move beyond general theories seeking generalizability.

Social implications

Social implications of this research are much more indirect in nature. This research encourages supply chain management (SCM) scholars to look at phenomena (including those with social implications) from a different philosophical perspective, which can reveal new insights.

Originality/value

This research contributes a rationale for expanding the methodological toolbox of the field to include interpretive research methods and also contributes a methodological operationalization of the interpretive approach. By reflecting on the nature of science and method in SCM, the study opens the door for creativity and progress to expand the boundaries and impact of the field.

Details

The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

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Article
Publication date: 6 March 2019

Nizar Mohammad Alsharari and Mohammed Al-Shboul

The purpose of this paper is to extend the knowledge claim of management accounting research using qualitative research methods, in particular, the interpretive case…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to extend the knowledge claim of management accounting research using qualitative research methods, in particular, the interpretive case study, and its evaluation using “convincingness” criteria demonstrating the textual authenticity, plausibility and criticality of case study findings.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative research in the management accounting field considers both context and function (Burchell et al., 1980). This study sets out the rationale for adopting qualitative methodologies such as interpretive case studies in which rich, contextual and detailed data were collected and analyzed (Miles and Huberman, 1994; Mason, 2002). Methodological issues related to research design, analysis and evaluation are discussed by drawing on frameworks of social science research design. The paper sets out the procedures of an interpretive case study essential to ensuring the procedural validity of research which can be evaluated more accurately using the criteria of “convincingness” rather than positivist measures of the reliability, validity of data and the generalization of results. Textual authenticity, plausibility and critical interpretation, and how these hallmarks of “convincingness” can reflect the procedural validity of accounting research are described.

Findings

Qualitative research strategies such as the interpretive case study, which consider the complex settings of accounting change and practice, are found to offer deep understandings and convincing explanations of accounting change. Affirming that accounting is firmly established as a social science, the paper finds that the authenticity, plausibility and criticality of research in this field.

Research limitations/implications

The relevance of qualitative research to contemporary accounting research is considered as an effective method to explicate theory and inform practice, which suggests that new measures to evaluate related research are required to develop the potential of selected qualitative research methodologies in accounting domains.

Originality/value

Qualitative research in management accounting focuses on the interpretation of meanings found in people and organizations that are subject to the influence of contextual variables. Human attributes underpin accounting conventions and change resulting from continuous technological and regulatory advances. This paper’s comprehensive account of interpretive case study research emphasizes the significance of evaluative criteria that relate, beyond reliability, to the richness of the text. This, thus, encourages and supports new and emerging researchers to seek qualitatively coherent and critical interpretations in management accounting research.

Details

Pacific Accounting Review, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0114-0582

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2011

Jane Broadbent and Jeffrey Unerman

One of the most important considerations in any research project is a compelling research question, the addressing of which will produce socially and/or economically…

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1003

Abstract

Purpose

One of the most important considerations in any research project is a compelling research question, the addressing of which will produce socially and/or economically relevant and beneficial insights based on high‐quality evidence. The purpose of this paper is to explain that each possible research question requires use of the particular research methods that will produce the high‐quality evidence relevant to that question, with the nature of the evidence and the methods required varying from research question to research question.

Design/methodology/approach

This discussion paper explores and explains the role and function of interpretive accounting research advocates its adoption.

Findings

As the research method needs to be suited to the research question, any restriction imposed on the credible research methods that are considered acceptable severely limits the ability of the accounting academy to serve the needs of society and the economy by addressing the broadest possible range of research questions. From this perspective it is vital for academics to recognize that both positivist/quantitative and interpretive/qualitative methods produce high‐quality credible research evidence.

Research limitations/implications

Any preconceptions within a nation's accounting academy over the unacceptability of either positivist or interpretive research will damage the health and relevance of that academy in the longer term.

Originality/value

The paper argues that both positivist and interpretivist research are needed, drawing on notions of subjectivity, objectivity and inter‐subjectivity in the context of the social construction of both accounting information and research data, and in the context of the socially constructing nature of research evidence.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 19 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1022-2529

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Article
Publication date: 6 June 2008

Ali M. Elharidy, Brian Nicholson and Robert W. Scapens

The aim of this paper is to assess and explain the role of grounded theory (GT) in interpretive management accounting research (IMAR) and seeks to answer the question: can…

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3684

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to assess and explain the role of grounded theory (GT) in interpretive management accounting research (IMAR) and seeks to answer the question: can interpretive researchers use GT? And if so, how?

Design/methodology/approach

This is a theoretical paper that attempts to investigate how researchers can use GT in relation to their ontological stance, methodological position and research methods.

Findings

The paper suggests that GT offers a balance between the expediency of the research findings, thereby allowing researchers freedom to interpret management accounting practices, and the development of rigorous theory from IMAR.

Research limitations/implications

The paper provides an analysis of GT from an interpretive perspective and, clearly, there are other research perspectives which could have been discussed.

Practical implications

GT can be a powerful tool that researchers could use to collect and analyse empirical data. However, researchers need to align GT with the broader paradigm they adopt when researching social phenomena. The paper provides some general guidelines for IMARs who want to use GT in their research.

Originality/value

This paper shows that GT can offer interpretive researchers a way of balancing the need to develop theory, which is grounded in everyday practices, and the recognition that the research process is inherently subjective. However, it is argued that in interpretive research GT cannot provide a simple “recipe book” which, if followed rigorously, will result in a high‐quality research (i.e. valid, reliable and unbiased). Nevertheless, the guidelines provide a way for IMARs, who use GT to improve the quality of their research findings.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2018

Muhammad Bilal Farooq

The study seeks to address the research question: “How can Gadamerian and Ricoeurian hermeneutics be operationalized in an interpretive accounting research project”? The…

Abstract

Purpose

The study seeks to address the research question: “How can Gadamerian and Ricoeurian hermeneutics be operationalized in an interpretive accounting research project”? The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to review the key hermeneutic concepts of philosophers Gadamer and Ricoeur; and second, to share insights from the researcher’s experience of applying Gadamerian and Ricoeurian hermeneutics to an interpretive accounting research project.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on the extant literature and the researcher’s own experience using hermeneutics theory in an interpretive accounting research project involving in-depth interviews with organisational managers.

Findings

The process of interpretation is described using the core concept of the hermeneutic circle where the reader and the text engage in dialogue. The readers’ pre-understandings play a key role in this dialogue and assist in drawing meaning from the text. However, it is necessary for the reader to adopt a critically reflexive approach remaining alert for both unproductive pre-understandings and hidden power structures and ideologies in the text being interpreted. Each reading of a text involves the completion of one cycle of the hermeneutic circle in which the reader transitions from pre-configuration to configuration and ultimately re-configuration concluding with the reader acquiring new horizons of understanding. The researcher’s experience of applying hermeneutic theory to an interpretive accounting research project are reflected on and nine lessons are offered.

Originality/value

These insights will prove valuable to interpretive researchers within the social sciences, including accounting and management studies, as well as those working in the natural sciences.

Details

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, vol. 13 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5648

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Book part
Publication date: 7 January 2015

This chapter explains the research design. An interpretive methodology was considered most suitable for the study. Informed by an institutional framework, the interpretive

Abstract

This chapter explains the research design. An interpretive methodology was considered most suitable for the study. Informed by an institutional framework, the interpretive methodology was selected for this monograph for its strengths of focusing on the research context, interactive processes, and meanings that are not measurable by quantitative approach. The interpretive methodology is also consistent with the ontological and epistemological positions of the researchers. Data were collected from interviewing four groups of key persons and a document survey. The data triangulation and multiple perspectives helped increase the reliability and validity of the study. Also, conducting data collection in a natural setting produced a rich data source. This enabled the provision of an enhanced understanding of the operation and effectiveness of corporate governance and financial reporting practice in a real setting. In addition, the systematic set of data analysis procedures helped improve research rigor and develop conceptual and theoretical understanding of issues of interest.

Details

Adoption of Anglo-American Models of Corporate Governance and Financial Reporting in China
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-898-3

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2000

Isabelle Szmigin and Gordon Foxall

Considers the history and current position of interpretive consumer research within the marketing paradigm. It focuses on the conflict that has developed between the…

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5785

Abstract

Considers the history and current position of interpretive consumer research within the marketing paradigm. It focuses on the conflict that has developed between the positivist tradition and the relatively new interpretive approach. In doing so it considers the merits of interpretive research in consumer behaviour and criticisms made against it. Methodological issues centring on the trustworthiness of this type of research are explored, as well as the friction that traditionally has existed between art and science. An argument is made for an inclusive rather than exclusive approach, allowing the existence of differing approaches and assuming each has a contribution to make to the furtherance of consumer behaviour research.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 3 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

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Article
Publication date: 5 February 2018

Netta Iivari

In recent years, there has been a growing desire to more fully integrate informants into the overall research process. In response to this trend, the purpose of this paper…

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1219

Abstract

Purpose

In recent years, there has been a growing desire to more fully integrate informants into the overall research process. In response to this trend, the purpose of this paper is to scrutinize the usage and outcomes of the member checking technique for enabling more participatory interpretive research practices. Information systems (IS) research has utilized this technique, but it has not yet undergone a thorough analysis in this context. Additionally, interpretive IS research is in need of means and tools for engaging with informants during the data analysis and interpretation process.

Design/methodology/approach

The data for this study originated from an inquiry into the position of usability work within its cultural context, and this study has adopted a hermeneutic lens to make sense of the member checking technique, which positions informants as co-analysts and co-interpreters to make sense of both their organizational realities and researchers’ interpretations of those realities.

Findings

The analysis shows that during the research process, the informants reproduced, questioned, and cultivated the researcher-crafted texts that they were given to interpret, both individually and collaboratively. The study shows that member checking contributes to fulfilling the criteria set for interpretive IS research in a variety of ways.

Research limitations/implications

The study contributes to interpretive IS research method practice by offering IS researchers insights into and guidelines on the usage and potential outcomes of the member checking technique.

Originality/value

The examination of the member checking technique through a hermeneutic lens is a novel approach. For IS research, the study explicates the usages and outcomes of member checking in more participatory interpretive research practice. Also novel in this study is that member checking is examined as a collective endeavor.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 30 July 2019

Louise Doyle

The purpose of this paper is to document the opportunities and challenges of a practitioner researcher in accessing interpretive case participants in the public healthcare…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to document the opportunities and challenges of a practitioner researcher in accessing interpretive case participants in the public healthcare sector in Ireland.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper documents the research design and implementation phases of a longitudinal interpretive research project with specific focus on, research ethics, preparing for data collection, identifying and recruiting the research participants and analysis of the findings based on the specific nuances of the public health context and design considerations. Considerations as an insider researcher in a large public organisation are also presented.

Findings

Conducting interpretive research in a healthcare setting presents both opportunities and some challenges; key amongst these is agreed access to research participants. In addition, with research taking place in a healthcare environment, the potential for disclosure of information regarding something harmful to patients or of a criminal nature exists. This risk can be addressed through the ethical approval process documented in this paper. Insider researcher considerations are also explored focussing on the specific nuances affiliate to carrying out a longitudinal interpretive study in a public healthcare setting.

Research limitations/implications

Insights for those wishing to conduct longitudinal interpretive case research in the public healthcare setting are included. The implications for enhanced engagement with interpretive research in this context are addressed.

Originality/value

Through documenting the opportunities and challenges of a practitioner researcher in accessing research participants in the public healthcare sector, this paper discusses insider researcher considerations and seeks to address concerns in the literature regarding insufficient detail relating to interpretive research design and implementation in healthcare contexts.

Details

Journal of Work-Applied Management, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2205-2062

Keywords

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