Purpose: This study explores the everyday experiences of researchers in assessing their own and others' research, highlighting what “good” qualitative accounting research is from their perspectives. Design/methodology/approach: The analysis is based on interviews with accounting scholars from the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and Australia, with diverse ethnic background and methodological preferences. Findings: Interviewees pointed to a plurality of practical, and to some extent tacit, ways in which they demonstrate and assess the quality of research, concerning “contribution”, “consistency” and “confidence”, with generalizability being seen as more controversial and difficult to attain. In general, interviewees highlighted the underlying ambiguity on what constitutes good research in the qualitative accounting community, contrasting it to the perceived stronger clarity to be found in the quantitative accounting community. This was seen as potentially strengthening the positions of “gatekeepers” in the accounting communities, and encouraging conformance and “signaling” behaviors, at the risk of hampering innovation. Originality/value: The main critical issues affecting qualitative research quality highlighted by interviewees concern the engagement with the world of practice, and with theory and literature, the importance of accounting for the analysis of qualitative data and for the messiness of the underlying process, and the implicit search for compliance with editors' and community's expectations and conventions. These findings suggest the need to continue debating how to assess the quality of qualitative research in everyday activities, and reflect on how to promote acceptance and openness to pluralism, in scientific communities, as well as in data collection, analysis, in the theorizing, and in connecting epistemology and methodology.

What counts as “good” qualitative accounting research? Researchers' perspectives on assessing and proving research quality

Steccolini I.
2022

Abstract

Purpose: This study explores the everyday experiences of researchers in assessing their own and others' research, highlighting what “good” qualitative accounting research is from their perspectives. Design/methodology/approach: The analysis is based on interviews with accounting scholars from the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and Australia, with diverse ethnic background and methodological preferences. Findings: Interviewees pointed to a plurality of practical, and to some extent tacit, ways in which they demonstrate and assess the quality of research, concerning “contribution”, “consistency” and “confidence”, with generalizability being seen as more controversial and difficult to attain. In general, interviewees highlighted the underlying ambiguity on what constitutes good research in the qualitative accounting community, contrasting it to the perceived stronger clarity to be found in the quantitative accounting community. This was seen as potentially strengthening the positions of “gatekeepers” in the accounting communities, and encouraging conformance and “signaling” behaviors, at the risk of hampering innovation. Originality/value: The main critical issues affecting qualitative research quality highlighted by interviewees concern the engagement with the world of practice, and with theory and literature, the importance of accounting for the analysis of qualitative data and for the messiness of the underlying process, and the implicit search for compliance with editors' and community's expectations and conventions. These findings suggest the need to continue debating how to assess the quality of qualitative research in everyday activities, and reflect on how to promote acceptance and openness to pluralism, in scientific communities, as well as in data collection, analysis, in the theorizing, and in connecting epistemology and methodology.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/899112
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