Original Research

Policy research in accounting: A doctrinal research perspective

Daniël Coetsee
Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences | Vol 12, No 1 | a405 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jef.v12i1.405 | © 2019 Daniël Coetsee | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 July 2018 | Published: 29 August 2019

About the author(s)

Daniël Coetsee, Department of Accountancy, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Orientation: The accounting literature acknowledged that a gap exists between accounting research and accounting practice and supported the argument that accounting research does not significantly contribute to accounting practice.

Research purpose: The purpose of this article is to evaluate the appropriateness of applying the research approaches identified in doctrinal research to the accounting policy debate.

Motivation for the study: The article is motivated by calls for accounting research, accounting standard-setters and accounting practice to work together to address the identified gap.

Research approach, design and method: The theoretical article interpreted the research approaches of doctrinal research for application in accounting research by following a structured approach of assessing each research approach separately.

Main findings: The article found that doctrinal research used logical argumentation of hermeneutics as foundation for the authoritative interpretation of practical documents. In applying aspects of hermeneutics, doctrinal research includes descriptive, interpretative, normative, critical and comparative research approaches, depending on the desired outcome of the research.

Practical/managerial implications: The article provides different research approaches that could be used by researchers to apply doctrinal research to assess the development of new policies in accounting.

Contribution/value-add: Hermeneutics and the different research approaches applied in doctrinal research add value by creating a research framework to conduct accounting policy research on accounting doctrines developed in practice. More methodological rigour is therefore created for accounting policy research and helps to bring practice and research closer to each other.


accounting; accounting policy research; descriptive research; doctrinal research; hermeneutics; interpretative research; normative research; critical research; comparative research


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