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A Commentary on Sample Design Issues in Behavioral Accounting Experiments

Directory : Faculty : Intellectual Contributions

Intellectual Contribution by Frederick Choo

Contribution Title

A Commentary on Sample Design Issues in Behavioral Accounting Experiments


Accounting Research Journal


Kim Tan




Behavioral research in accounting deals with the behavior of accountants. As such, it uses accounting subjects. Accounting subjects are very difficult to come by because of the nature of the accounting environment. First, professional accountants operate in a pressured environment in which they have little or no time to participate in behavioral research. Second, professional accountants operate in an environment of high service charges and have little or no interest in participating in behavioral experiments free or for a token remuneration. Third, professional accountants are usually inaccessible because behavioral researchers have few or no opportunities for contacts within a CPA firm. Finally, professional accountants operate in the real world in which they perceive behavioral research as too abstract to have practical value for them to participate in. Given the difficulties in getting accounting subjects, behavioral researchers often lament that the pool of available accounting subjects is very small. As such, they cannot rely on conventional research strategies that assume, among other things, normal distribution and homogeneity of variances. In this paper, we suggest a broad range of research strategies including sampling, design, measurement, and analysis to deal specifically with a very small pool of available accounting subjects. We cite some prior behavioral accounting studies and refer to some statistic textbooks deemed best for the application of these research strategies. Our suggestions should benefit anyone doing behavioral research in accounting.

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