Doing qualitative field research in management accounting: Positioning data to contribute to theory

Thomas Ahrens*, Christopher S. Chapman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

393 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this paper we argue that theory, method, methodology, and knowledge gains in qualitative field studies are intertwined through the ongoing hypothesis development in the field. We develop our argument through a discussion of specific qualitative field studies in management accounting. We emphasise in particular the distinctive role of theory in qualitative research as relating to expression of a subjective reality more than clarification of an objective one. In considering this subjectivity we discuss the ways in which the doing of qualitative research brings to bear discipline on the researcher allowing us to assess the trustworthiness of their accounts. The intention is to develop a more appropriate basis for judging the plausibility of qualitative field studies than notions borrowed from positivistic methodology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)819-841
Number of pages23
JournalAccounting, Organizations and Society
Volume31
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006

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