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By Chris Chapman
The research interview, like any other method, requires clarity of purpose, careful planning and execution, and its results require appropriate interpretation in relation to the chosen research question. Yet for many, if not most, accounting researchers, the nature of the judgements and decisions required by this method are unclear, whereas the challenges of negotiating access, the concern over the reliability and representativeness of interview data, and the link between such data and recognisable research questions, can seem all too obvious. In that context, the slide deck (available in the Repository section) put together by Martin Messner offers an accessible resource that I hope might reset the balance just a little away from concern with the costs of undertaking research interviews towards an emerging sense of the benefits to potentially be gained.
The deck starts with an overview of basic methodological differences, going on to elaborate how more precisely defined research questions may be refined, and were refined in particular studies. The deck goes on to give a flavour of the requisite discipline required for appropriate interpretation of interview data, and finishes with a run though of some practical challenges. Given the scope of the topic, a fully elaborated rendition of the issues is impossible, but I hope others will agree with me that the deck does a fine job of setting up the research interview as a serious method with broad potential to contribute to accounting research about which it would be good to begin to read more.
Interested readers might also find the following two references relevant:
Alvesson, M. 2003. Beyond Neopositivist, Romantics, and Localists: A Reflexive Approach to Interviews in Organizational Research. Academy of Management Review 28 (1): 13-33.
Kenno, S., S. McKracken, and S. Salterio. 2017. Financial reporting interview-based research: A field research primer with illustrative example. Behavioral Research in Accounting 29 (1): 77-120.