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Reflexivity in accountancy research

Haynes, Kathryn


Kathryn Haynes


Zahirul Hoque

Lee D. Parker

Mark A. Covaleski

Kathryn Haynes


Abstract: The concept of reflexivity has been widely used in social science qualitative research methods for a number of decades, so it is not a new phenomenon. Broadly it refers to the process in which the researcher reflects on data collection and its interpretation. This can occur at a number of levels and from a number of perspectives, as discussed in this chapter, in an active process. Reflexivity relates to all research, whether qualitative or quantitative, since all researchers should adopt a reflexive approach to their data. However, despite qualitative methods becoming more prominent and more accepted within accounting research, they still operate in a context ‘dominated by hypothetico-deductive quantitative methodologies that essentially are reified as “hard”, factual and objective, consonant with the accounting world of numbers’ (Parker, 2012, p. 59), where reflexivity is less often applied. This suggests that the significance of reflexivity as a concept is all the more relevant to contemporary qualitative accounting research since it is central to consideration of the nature of knowledge. Questions about reflexivity are part of debates about ontology, epistemology and methodology. Ontology represents the researcher’s way of being in the world or their world-view on the nature of reality; epistemology represents the philosophical underpinnings about the nature or theory of knowledge and what counts as knowledge in various research traditions; and methodology represents the overarching research strategy and processes of knowledge production, concerned with methods of data collection and forms of analysis used to generate knowledge. The purpose of this chapter is to reflect on those debates, the meaning and application of reflexivity, strategies for reflexive awareness and processes of reflexivity, reflexive research in accounting, and future possibilities for reflexive accounting research.


Haynes, K. (2017). Reflexivity in accountancy research. In Z. Hoque, L. D. Parker, M. A. Covaleski, & K. Haynes (Eds.), The Routledge companion to qualitative accounting research methods. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge

Publication Date Mar 27, 2017
Deposit Date Aug 4, 2016
Publicly Available Date Oct 4, 2018
Journal The Routledge companion to qualitative accounting research methods
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Book Title The Routledge companion to qualitative accounting research methods
ISBN 97811389396777
Keywords Reflexivity
Public URL
Publisher URL Details of the book are available at


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