Characteristics of Science, Sources of Research Questions, Types of Research, Research Ethics - Gary Monroe
Gordon, T.P. and Porter, J.C. 2009. “Reading and Understanding Academic Research in Accounting: A Guide for Students”, Global Perspectives on Accounting Education, Vol.6, pp. 25-45.
Monroe, G.S. 2009. “Dos and Don’ts of Publishing”.
Kinney, W.R. 1986. “Empirical Accounting Research for PhD Students”, The Accounting Review, Vol.56, No.2, pp.338-350.
Note: Students may find the statistical theory used to illustrate some of the points a little advanced at this point in the course. It is possible to understand the points being made in the paper without fully appreciating the statistical arguments that underlie them.
Bonner, S.E. 2008. Judgment and Decision Making in Accounting. Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River: NJ. Chapter 1.
Neuman, W.L. 20011. Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches 6th Edition, Pearson, Boston: MA. Pages 25 - 54.
University of New South Wales Research Code of Conduct.
Publishing in AMJ – Parts 1 – 7. This is a series of commissioned papers about how to write a journal article. Although it refers to the Academy of Management Journal, the points raised and issues addressed are relevant to accounting journals. These will be helpful in writing up assignment 1, your research proposal and your thesis so I suggest you re-read them throughout your degree.
One Page Assignment (to be completed before class): What is empirical accounting research? Illustrate your answer with an example of a factor (independent variable) that is related to variation in an accounting related issue (dependent variable). What ethical issues arise in this illustration (don’t limit yourself to issues relating to research participants)?
Developing a Reasonable Issue; Research Questions, Hypotheses and Models; Motivation of Research - Gary Monroe
Chow, C. W. and Harrison, P. D. 2002. “Identifying Meaningful and Significant Topics for Research and Publication: A Sharing of Experiences and Insights by ‘Influential’ Accounting Authors”. Journal of Accounting Education, Vol. 20, pp. 183-203.
Dunbar, A. and Weber, D.P. 2012. “What Influences Accounting Research”, Working Paper, University of Connecticut.
Evans III, J.H., Feng, M., Hoffman, V.B. and Moser, “Self-Assessing Your Empirical Accounting Research”, Working paper, University of Pittsburgh.
Clarkson, P.M. 2012. “Publishing: art or science? Reflections from an editorial perspective”, Accounting and Finance, Vol.52, pp. 359-376.
Zikmund, Babin, Carr and Griffin, Business Research Methods, 8th edition, Chapter 6 Problem Definition
Archival Accounting Research
Moers, F. 2007. “Doing Archival Research in Management Accounting”, Handbook of Management Accounting Research, Edited by Christopher S. Chapman, Anthony G. Hopwood and Michael D. Shield, pp. 399 -412.
Assignments (one page each, to be completed before class):
The most rigorous research method contributes little unless the underlying issue is interesting to at least some members of the business community (widely defined). A danger of too much focus on research methods is that you may underemphasize how essential it is to investigate important issues. What this means is we are looking for issues that have a strong motivation. This exercise is intended to acquaint (or reacquaint) you with the issues that are of most importance to your discipline area. The motivation you are looking for is “content based motivation” as opposed to a methodological motivation.
Identify three timely issues of importance to accounting.
What to document:
For each of your issues, just label the issue and summarise it in one or two sentences. However, be prepared to explain further in seminar discussion. Also document the source(s) that led you to this topic. Identify a testable research question for your choice of any two of the issues/topics you listed in Activity 1. In some cases you may wish to come up with more than one question for one or more of the issues. Specify both the dependent variable and independent variable(s) in your research question, i.e., does [independent variable] lead to increased / decreased / more / less, etc. [dependent variable]? Do this at both a conceptual level and an operational level.
The conceptual level defines the notion or phenomenon of interest in terms of abstract concepts that cannot be measured directly. In research, we refer to a conceptual variable as a construct. At this level you need to think about the theoretical construct only – not compromised by the need to operationalise it, i.e., bring it into the “real world”
The operational level defines the observable referents that you propose to use as proxies (measures) for the conceptual variables. Once you specify your research question at an operational level, you are well on the way to a formal research proposal.
Conceptual question: Does the provision of management consulting services by a company’s incumbent auditor damage the independence of the auditor’s opinion?
Operational question: There are many possible ways to operationalise this important but extremely difficult and complex question. Two possibilities are:
· Do audit firms that jointly provide audit and non-audit services issue fewer audit qualifications for these clients than for clients where only audit services are provided – all other things being equal?
· Do companies that buy significant amounts of non-audit services from their incumbent auditor have lower share prices than those that hire other professional firms for such work – all other things being equal?
Dependent variable: Operationalised as audit qualification in the first question and market prices in the second. Note the difference between the theoretical issue and the operationalised one.
Independent variable: Operationalised as the presence of joint supply of audit and non-audit in the first question, and the extent of that supply in the second.
Based on the readings from the first two classes, identify the 5 characteristics that make your question a good accounting research question.
Design an archival study for a research question of your choice. Start with developing a research question and hypotheses.
You will need to:
- State the research question you are addressing.
- Identify the source of your data and how you will gain access to the data.
- Identify the variables of interest (including control variables, if any) and indicate where you will obtain these variables and how they will be measured.
- Link the data you intend to collect to your research question, theory and hypotheses.
Survey Research in Accounting - Gary Monroe
Zikmund, Babin, Carr and Griffin, Business Research Methods, 8th edition, Chapter 9: Survey Research: An Overview
Zikmund, Babin, Carr and Griffin, Business Research Methods, 8th edition, Chapter 10: Survey Research: Communicating with Respondents
Cooper and Schindler, Business Research Methods, 8th edition, Chapter 8 Measurement
Cooper and Schindler, Business Research Methods, 8th edition, Chapter 9 Measurement Scales
Salkind, Exploring Research, Chapter 6 Methods of Measuring Behavior
Zikmund, Babin, Carr and Griffin, Business Research Methods, 8th edition, Chapter 15: Questionnaire Design
Hurtt, R.K., 2010. Development of a scale to measure professional scepticism. Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory 29 (1): 149–171.
View the following websites on preparing and conducting surveys.
Assignment (to be completed before class):
1. Critique the following survey to be used for evaluating a professor.
Professor Evaluation Form
1. Overall, how would you rate this professor?
__ Good __ Fair __ Poor
2. Does this professor
a. Have good class delivery? _____
b. Know the subject? _____
c. Have a positive attitude toward the subject? _____
d. Grade fairly? _____
e. Have a sense of humor? _____
f. Use audiovisuals, case examples, or other class room aids? _____
g. Return exams promptly? _____
3. What is the professor’s strongest point? _______
4. What is the professor’s weakest point?________
5. What kind of class does the professor teach? ______
6. Is this course required? _______
7. Would you take another course from this professor? ______
2. Design a short survey for an accounting research question of your choice and bring it to class. Start with developing a research question and hypotheses. The questionnaire you design should be well constructed and formatted. It should be no more than 2 pages. If you are, in part, relying on questions and response scales developed by prior researchers, you must clearly state this and bring a copy of their instrument.
You will also need to:
· state the research question you are addressing.
· state the group of people you will be sampling, and briefly explain why you consider them an appropriate group to address your research question.
· identify the variables of interest (including control variables, if any) and indicate which questions in your questionnaire are used to measure these variables.
· discuss any issues pertinent to the design of your questionnaire. (i.e., if you have included or done something for a reason, clearly state this and explain why you considered it necessary).
· link the survey questions to your research question, theory and hypotheses.
3. For each of the following situations, decide whether you would use a personal interview, telephone survey, or self-administered questionnaire. Give your reasons.
(i) A survey of the residents of a new subdivision on why they happened to select that area in which to live. You also wish to secure some information about what they like and do not like about life in the subdivision.
(ii) A survey of 58 wholesale grocery companies scattered over the eastern United States, on their personnel management policies for warehouse personnel.
(iii) A study of financial officers of the Fortune 500 corporations to learn their predictions for the economic outlook in their industries in the next year.
Using SPSS to analyse data - Introduction to Data Analysis and ANOVA
Note that we will meet in a Computer Lab for this class. - Gary Monroe
Zikmund, Babin, Carr and Griffin, Business Research Methods, 8th edition, Chapter 19: Editing and Coding
Zikmund, Babin, Carr and Griffin, Business Research Methods, 8th edition, Chapter 20: Basic Data Analysis: Descriptive Statistics
Zikmund, Babin, Carr and Griffin, Business Research Methods, 8th edition, Chapter 21: Univariate Statistical Analysis
We will analyse data during the class.
Using SPSS to analyse data - ANOVA and Regression Analysis - Gary Monroe
Note that we will meet in a Computer Lab for this class.
Zikmund, Babin, Carr and Griffin, Business Research Methods, 8th edition, Chapter 22: Bivariate Statistical Analysis: Differences Between Two Variables
Zikmund, Babin, Carr and Griffin, Business Research Methods, 8th edition, Chapter 23: Bivariate Statistical Analysis: Measures of Association
Zikmund, Babin, Carr and Griffin, Business Research Methods, 8th edition, Chapter 24: Multivariate Statistical Analysis
Hair, Black, Babin and Anderson, Multivariate Data Analysis
We will analyse data during the class.
Doing Field Research – part 1 - Jane Baxter
Please read/review the following references in the order listed.
Moustakas, C. 1994. Phenomenological Research Methods. London: Sage Publications, pp.21-22.
Baxter, J.A. and Chua, W.F. 1998. Doing field research: practice and meta-theory in counterpoint. Journal of Management Accounting Research, 10, pp.69-87.
Yin, R.K., 2003. Case Study Research: Design and Methods (3rd ed.). London: Sage Publications, pp.1-18.
Kvale, S. 2007. Doing Interviews. London: Sage Publications, pp.51-77.
Unknown. (2013). Strategies for Qualitative Interviews. Available at:
https://www.slideshare.net/bibliotecarioinvestigando/strategies-for-qualitative-interviews (last accessed 4/1/17).
Kvale’s criteria for a successful interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5flU9wRWNY
What does coding look like?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phXssQBCDls&index=9&list=PL1M5TsfDV6Vs24A4z8_T8ljP_6FqO2x8b
The cycles of coding.
One Page Assignment (to be completed before class):
What are the distinguishing features of qualitative research methods?
Doing Field Research – part 2 - Jane Baxter
Please read the following references in the order listed.
Baxter, J. and Fong Chua, W., 2008. The field researcher as author-writer. Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, 5(2), pp.101-121.
Vaivio, J., 2006. The accounting of “The Meeting”: Examining calculability within a “Fluid” local space. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 31(8), pp.735-762.
Jeacle, I., & Carter, C. 2011. In TripAdvisor we trust: Rankings, calculative regimes and abstract systems. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 36(4), pp.293-309.
One Page Assignment (to be completed before class):
Critically evaluate the convincingness of either the Vaivio (2006) or Jeacle and Carter (2011) research study.
Experimental Designs (Part 1) - Gary Monroe
Zikmund, W.G., B.J. Babin, J.C. Carr and M. Griffin. 2010. Chapter 12 Experimental Research. In: Business Research Methods, 8th edition, South-Western Cengage Learning, pp. 256-288.
Libby, R., R. Bloomfield, and M.W. Nelson. 2002. “Experimental Research in Financial Accounting”, Accounting, Organizations, and Society, Vol. 27, No.8, pp.775-810.
Note: Section 3 of this paper discusses a number of financial accounting issues that have been addressed with the use of experiments. This section may be of interest as it relates to ‘Current Developments in Accounting Research – Financial CDAR-F’ (as it discusses findings using a methodology that is different than that which dominates discussion in CDAR-F. It is not, however, required reading for Seminar in Research Methodology.
Schultz, A.K.D. 1999. “Experimental Research Method in a Management Accounting Context”, Accounting and Finance, Vol. 39, No.1, pp.29-51.
View the following websites on experiments.
One Page Assignment (to be completed before class)
Distinguish between internal and external validity. Why is internal validity considered to be more important than external validity when conducting experiments? Consider how the use of student participants affects internal and external validity.
Experimental Methods (Part 2) - Gary Monroe
Bonner. S .E., S. M. Clor-Proell, and L. Koonce. 2014, “Mental Accounting and Disaggregation Based on the Sign and Relative Magnitude of Income Statement Items.” The Accounting Review, Vol. 89, No. 6, pp.2087-2114.
Frank, M. L., and V. B. Hoffman. 2015. “How Audit Reviewers Respond to an Audit Preparer’s Affective Bias: The Ironic Rebound Effect.” The Accounting Review, Vol. 90, No.2, pp.559-577.
Hannan, R. L., G. P. McPhee, A .H. Newman, and I. D.Tafkov. 2013. “The Effect of Relative Performance Information on Performance and Effort Allocation in a Multi-Task Environment.” The Accounting Review., Vol. 88 No.2, pp.553-575.
There are 2 Assignments (both to be completed before class):
(1) Select one of the papers set for this class (perhaps the one investigating an issue within the accounting discipline you are developing a research interest in). Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the paper in terms of internal and external validity. Remember, you are still expected to have read all three papers before class. This is a one-page assignment.
(2) Design an experiment to examine an issue that is of interest to you and bring it to the class on experimental research. For this exercise, you must use a true experimental design, and the experiment must seek to obtain the perceptions or responses of a sample of respondents on the issue of interest.
This is a two-page assignment.
As a generalization, most new researchers try to include too much complexity in their experimental design. Many experiments are simple designs to test associations between a dependent variable, two independent variables and a potential interaction effect. A simple, well explained, rigorous design is much better than a confusing attempt at a complex design.
For this assignment, you must:
- state the research question you are addressing, or hypothesis you wish to test; and
- provide a clear, and thorough, description of your experiment. Your description should:
- state the research design.
- state the group of people you will be sampling from, and briefly explain why you consider them an appropriate group to address your research question.
- briefly outline a case scenario, that is, explain is the experimental task.
- clearly identify your dependent variable. Also indicate the scale that you will use to measure the dependent variable, and defend your choice of scale.
- clearly identify your independent variable(s).
- clearly indicate how many treatment levels you will have for each independent variable, and also identify what these treatment levels are.
- clearly identify any control variables and indicate where they would appear in your experiment.
- clearly indicate if your experiment is a between-subjects or within-subjects design.
- discuss anything else you would do, or would include in the experiment, to enhance the rigor of your experiment.
Your experiment can be an original idea or it can be an extension (in terms of the research design) of a prior study. It may be a topic that is very similar to your own research proposal topic except that you are designing a true experiment. The experiment must not be purely a replication of some prior work that has used a true experimental design. If your experiment is an extension, cite the original source and explain how it differs in terms of research design.
Presentation of Research Designs
Each student will make a presentation of their research design to the class.
15 minute oral presentation