Is there a confidence interval for that? A critical examination of null outcome reporting in accounting research

Date
2018-08-02
Authors
Cready, William
He, Jiapeng
Lin, Wenwei
Shao, Chengdao
Wang, Di
Zhang, Yang
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Abstract
This study evaluates how null outcomes are analyzed and reported by accounting researchers based on an examination of two years of publications in The Accounting Review. As null outcomes reflect an inability to reject a null they, unlike rejections, do not lend themselves to specifically conclusive interpretations. Rather, substantive descriptive analyses are needed to draw useful inferences from such outcomes. In the 35 articles we identify as presenting substantive null outcomes, however, inappropriately conclusive interpretations of these outcomes border on monolithic while scant attention is given to providing the descriptive analyses needed to draw useful insights from them. Moreover, these deficiencies span articles published across all of the major accounting research areas (i.e., financial, managerial, audit, and tax) and encompass both archival and experimental designs. The analysis also proposes the use of descriptive techniques, particularly interval based analyses (e.g., Dyckman and Zeff, 2014; Dyckman, 2016)), as a desriable alternative for interpreting null outcomes.
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Methodology, Null Hypotheses, Accounting (Research) Quality
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