Triangulation between case study and survey methods in management accounting research: An assessment of validity implications

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Repeated calls for validating empirical research by combining qualitative and quantitative methods have recently been made in management accounting research conducted within the positivist and functionalist paradigms. This paper provides a comparative review of management accounting research relying on triangulation between case study and survey methods with specific reference to the emerging validity implications. This research is classified into studies primarily relying on a theory testing and development logic, respectively, and works characterised by a more balanced emphasis on these logics. Our review suggests that theory-testing approaches are primarily geared towards external and construct validation and internal validation through corroboration of converging findings in line with some replication logic. By contrast, a theory development approach is typically based on internal validation efforts stemming from further probing of unexpected or inconclusive findings as a means of theory extension. An argument is advanced for combining elements of these approaches in a more balanced fashion within coherent research programmes based on multiple iterations between case study and survey methods to enable a broader range of potential validity threats to be addressed. Some general areas for further development of such a triangulation approach are also identified. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-254
Number of pages23
JournalManagement Accounting Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005


  • Case study
  • Management accounting
  • Survey
  • Triangulation
  • Validity


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