• Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Archival Research Methods
  • Difficulty in Establishing Causal Inferences
  • Difficulty of Secondary Data Reliance
  • Overall
  • Behavioral Research Methods
  • Laboratory Experiments
  • Experimental Economics
  • Surveys
  • Field Experiments
  • Overall
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Qualitative Research in General
  • Field Studies
  • Content Analysis
  • Overall
  • Earnings Management: Triangulation of Research Methods
  • Conclusion

رئوس مطالب

  • چکیده
  • مقدمه
  • روش های تحقیق آرشیوی
  • دشواری در تصدیق استنتاج‌های علّی
  • دشواری اتکا به داده های ثانویه
  • کلیات
  • روش های تحقیق رفتاری
  • آزمایشات لابراتواری
  • اقتصاد تجربی
  • برآوردها
  • آزمایشات میدانی
  • کلیات
  • روش های تحقیق کیفی
  • کلیات تحقیق کیفی
  • مطالعات میدانی
  • تحلیل محتوایی
  • کلیات
  • مدیریت درآمد: سه گانه روش تحقیق
  • نتیجه گیری


This chapter discusses the benefits, limitations, and challenges in developing research projects that integrate a combination of archival, behavioral, and qualitative research methods. By demonstrating the inherent strengths and weaknesses of using a single method in isolation, this chapter aims to broaden our understanding of why and how research that examines various issues from the different perspectives is richer than employing any single method and enhances our understanding of a given accounting phenomenon. This chapter also discusses how investigating an issue through multiple research methods can help researchers improve the generalizability of findings and present a panoramic view of a particular phenomenon.


This paper presents an overview of the limitations of relying on research that exclusively uses archival, behavioral, or qualitative research methods. Triangulation of studies that have used differing research methods will help researchers overcome the limitations of reliance on a single method and achieve a deeper understanding of accounting phenomena. In particular, recognizing the oft-neglected value of behavioral and qualitative research would be beneficial to the academic accounting community, particularly as such methods may help compensate for some of the inherent weaknesses in archival research methods.

Triangulation of multiple research methods has the potential to increase both the generalizability and richness of findings for a given phenomenon. Research methods are the tools researchers utilize to test research questions; the joint use and understanding of multiple types of research methods affords a broader view of appropriate research questions and of accounting research in general. Some evidence suggests that researchers are beginning to realize the benefits of triangulation. For example, the use of an experiential questionnaire enables practitioners to provide in-depth information about real-world phenomena within a structured environment; this method thus provides the richness of an interview (qualitative) with the structure of a questionnaire (behavioral) (Gibbins and Qu, 2005). Unfortunately, the use of multiple research methods is rare, as are attempts to connect studies of the same topic that were investigated with different research methods (Lillis and Mundy, 2005; Merchant and Van der Stede, 2006). This35 suggests that the accounting research community has much to gain by broadening its collective paradigmatic lenses (e.g. Lewis and Grimes, 1999).

Triangulating across methods and conducting multi-method research are not without their own limitations. A broader view of research entails much larger time and resource commitments for researchers to become familiar with studies using different methods, not to mention the huge start-up costs researchers must invest in learning how to use different research methods themselves. Due to the doctoral education process, much research is conducted in “silos” that may be difficult to eradicate overnight (Koonce and Mercer, 2005). Moreover, triangulating studies that have used differing research methods to examine the same research question may produce conflicting results that point the way for further work. Nevertheless, being aware of multiple methods and recognizing the value and role of each are important early steps in broadening the research process. This awareness is critical so that researchers can look beyond their “native” research stream in helping to motivate their own studies. While it may not be feasible for researchers to conduct research using different types of methods, they should be open to incorporate the results gained from other research methods in order to better understand the holistic nature of a research phenomenon. In conclusion, accounting is essentially an inter-disciplinary area formed at the crossroads of several root disciplines and research methods. To borrow from Slemrod (2003), an attempt to study accounting phenomenon through the singular lens of a particular research method is like the parable of the elephant and the blind men – each are incapable of recognizing that they are faced with an elephant due to their preoccupation with a narrowly defined realm. By breaking down the barriers between research methods, accounting researchers can attempt to examine the “larger creature” behind accounting phenomena.

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