The Qualitative Research Tradition

Maria Major, Jodie Moll, Zahirul Hoque

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


To help those embarking on a qualitative accounting research study this chapter explains the methodological issues that must be considered. The chapter draws on literature on qualitative research alongside the experience of the authors and intends to be a practical guide to the qualitative methodology. To clarify concepts and avoid confusion, the terms methodology and methods are used in the chapter in the same way as defined by Tucker and Hoque (2017, p. 4); methodology refers to the theory of how research is undertaken, in particular, the theoretical and philosophical assumptions upon which a study is based and the implications of these for the method or methods adopted whereas methods relates to tools (questionnaires, interviews and direct and archival observation) and techniques (statistical and non-statistical analytic procedures) used to gather and analyse evidence.
The Chapter is organized into six sections. In section two we discuss the main features of the qualitative research tradition with the aim of distinguishing it from quantitative research. Section three discusses the history of qualitative research in accounting investigation. The link between ontology and epistemology is explained in section four. This section describes how the methodology adopted by the researcher should be based on his/her fundamental view about reality and assumptions about how knowledge can be gained. Section five depicts some of the research methods available to accounting researchers to generate qualitative evidence while section six focuses on the field research process, from the time the researcher must choose and access the case, until the dissemination of the research outputs. Section seven concludes the chapter.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMethodological Issues in Accounting Research
EditorsZahirul Hoque
PublisherSpiramus Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781910151471
ISBN (Print)9781910151464
Publication statusSubmitted - 2018


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