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Online from: 2011

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Threats to validity and reliability in mixed methods accounting research

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Title:Threats to validity and reliability in mixed methods accounting research
Author(s):Eeva-Mari Ihantola (School of Management, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland), Lili-Anne Kihn (School of Management, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland)
Citation:Eeva-Mari Ihantola, Lili-Anne Kihn, "Threats to validity and reliability in mixed methods accounting research", Emerald 8, (2011)
Keywords:Accounting research, Research methods
Article type:Conceptual paper
DOI:10.1108/11766091111124694 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:The second author gratefully acknowledges financial support from the Academy of Finland and Business Education. The authors would really like to thank Anne Lillis, Jennifer Grafton, and Salme Nasi for excellent comments.

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the threats to quality in mixed methods accounting research, wherein quantitative and qualitative approaches are combined in data collection, analysis and interpretation.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper is framed according to three perspectives. The authors first synthesize the threats to validity and reliability in quantitative and qualitative parts of mixed methods research using the quality standards of each; they then introduce an integrative framework of mixed methods research quality by Teddlie and Tashakkori. Thereafter, they address the specific threats to quality that come to the fore when inferences from the quantitative and qualitative components of the study are combined to form meta-inferences using a legitimation framework by Onwuegbuzie and Johnson.

Findings – The authors' analysis not only indicates a wide range of threats to the validity and reliability of mixed methods research in a range of categories, but also clarifies how the three perspectives described in this paper are linked and supplement each other.

Research limitations/implications – Methodological research published in English over the last decade is emphasized to create an approach to assess mixed methods accounting research. The frameworks analyzed could still be studied in greater detail. Additional perspectives on the validity and reliability of mixed methods research could also be studied and developed.

Practical implications – This paper furthers our understanding of such new developments in methodological research, which may be of great importance to those conducting or evaluating empirical research.

Originality/value – Based on a comprehensive synthesis, this paper presents and analyzes theoretical frameworks potentially useful for scholars, students and practitioners. It focuses on both traditional and novel areas of validity and reliability in mixed methods research.

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