Before research methods comes “methodising”: implications for environmental accounting research

Ian Thomson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Environmental accounting and reporting exists in ill-defined, dynamic problem spaces and interacts with different scientific disciplines. These problem spaces require the creation of adaptive, hybrid research methods, rather than just “turning the handle” of existing models. Researchers must imagine and create a compelling case for what and how they are problematising, proposing to change or contributing to future research. This chapter explores the invisible, often silenced work associated with designing research projects by distinguishing the shiny and idealised account of research methods that act to scientifically legitimate findings with the messy process associated with the discovery of these findings. Research method sections in journal articles serve an important function in the communication of findings, but bear no resemblance to the work involved in capturing sufficient, compelling and meaningful evidence. This chapter outlines eight critical stages in bundling together an appropriate research design to address meaningful environmental accounting research questions and by providing an environmental accounting example of methodising.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Environmental Accounting
EditorsJan Bebbington, Carlos Larrinaga, Brendan O'Dwyer, Ian Thomson
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780429623103, 9780367152369
ISBN (Print)9780367152338, 9780367724900
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 selection and editorial matter, Jan Bebbington, Carlos Larrinaga, Brendan O’Dwyer, and Ian Thomson; individual chapters, the contributors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)


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