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It’s quality, not quantity at business research roundtable

by Vincent Ciccarello

Prof Deryl Northcott, Dr Ratnam Alagiah (UniSA, Senior Lecturer, Accounting), Prof Malcolm Smith (Edith Cowan University, Accounting) and Prof Lee Parker during a break at the Qualitative Research in Business ColloquiumSome 50 people attended the inaugural Qualitative Research in Business Colloquium, hosted by UniSA’s Centre for Accounting, Governance and Sustainability at City West last month.

Professor in Accounting in UniSA’s School of Commerce and colloquium presenter, Dr Lee Parker said the two-day event was designed to expose academics and postgraduate students to qualitative research in business-related disciplines.

"Qualitative research methods – interview, observation, documentary analysis, historical research, case studies, and photographic-based research – have undergone huge growth in the business disciplines internationally in the past 15 to 20 years, compared with quantitative methods such as surveys and statistics," Prof Parker said.

"But the majority of the research training among business academics has been quantitative. And therefore while there’s a big interest in these areas, we still have too few academics that are skilled in qualitative methods – either for their research or for supervising doctorates."

The colloquium featured Professor of Management Accounting in the Auckland University of Technology Business School, Dr Deryl Northcott as a keynote speaker.

It was also an opportunity for the delegates, ranging from PhD students to full-time lecturing and professorial staff from UniSA and universities in WA, Victoria, NSW and New Zealand, to actively take part in simulated qualitative interviews and other brainstorming sessions.

Prof Parker said another colloquium is being planned for next year.

"We’ve had extremely positive feedback," he said. "People have been telling us that there’s very limited access to qualitative methods expertise in the Australian business disciplines and so this was a unique opportunity.

"We would expect not only to attract new people next year, but hopefully encourage people who attended this colloquium to come back for the next one."

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