Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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What will we do? Scale validation!

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One big change that I want to see come into being is to make BRIA the home for scale development studies so as to improve the quality of survey research in accounting.  In other disciplines there are journals that publish scale development and validation studies, but not in accounting.  Often, in accounting we attempt to substantively use a newly developed scale in the same study that the scale is validated.  The result is very poor exposition on the scale validation side and less than fulsome examination of the substantive issue.  I should know, I have been involved as a reviewer or editor in most of the scales that have been published in auditing and management accounting over the past fifteen years.  So I am guilty as the next person.

Note, I mean serious scale development and validation studies, ones that follow Churchill (1979) and beyond work on the steps to develop a properly validated scale.  Indeed, I wrote a little commentary in the last century (Salterio AJPT 1998) that reviewed Churchill’s approach and applied it to a scale development study by one of the former Editors of BRIA (Vicky Arnold). We have published in BRIA at least one of these scale validation studies before (albeit had that bothersome substantive question focus added) Gronewold and Donle (2011).  Other good examples are Anderson and Lillis in CAR (2011) and Hurtt (2010) AJPT.  Indeed, it would not be out of the question to re-examine older scales that were never subject to rigorous scale validation in order to see if we understand what we think we are measuring with them.  A nice overlap between replication and scale validation themes in the journal.


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