The Real Life Guide to Accounting Research
Editors: Christopher Humphrey and Bill Lee
Publisher: Elsevier/CIMA Publishing
Price: 76 [pounds sterling]
The stated desire of the editors, as expressed in their introduction, is to relate practical lessons learned by seasoned academics that less experienced researchers could use in the course of the real-life research process. By "real life", they largely mean the qualitative research approach.
As a "how to ..." guide, this volume works very well. Each contributor usually relates their own experiences of some part of the qualitative research process and offers advice and suggestions to those who may also use this type of method in the future. While most of the contributors recognise that no two experiences will be identical, what emerges from this series of vignettes is that there are things that we can and should do, as researchers, to improve our abilities. To offer only a couple of examples: Komori's paper is an excellent exposition of how a Japanese student might adjust to UK culture (both academic and more widely), while O'Dwyer's is a logical and exact monograph on how to deal with the onerous prospect of analysing and writing up data. The sheer volume of knowledge on offer may discourage most readers from considering it in its totality. I would anticipate that the intended readership will use its 30 chapters selectively.
The book raises a number of interesting questions that strike at the heart of qualitative research and, indeed, at the nature of research itself in accounting. Many contributors highlight how this approach is looked upon as an almost unacceptable form of research. The editors themselves highlight how it is often viewed in academic circles as merely a nice piece of journalism. Lee, among others, indicates that it is...