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From Observation to Research Success

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1 From Observation to Research Success
William R. Kinney, Jr. University of Texas at Austin Auditing Section Doctoral Consortium Los Angeles, California January 12, 2006

2 Outline Overview of process X, Y, V, and Z - a framework for planning
The scholarly researcher’s problem Threats to research validity Other barriers and special problems

3 1. Process overview Suppose that you have an observation (bad “facts” or peculiar “facts” or claims) What barriers must be overcome? (data/ estimation/ causal theories; research design; exposition) Who will want to read the paper? What is your comparative advantage?

4 1. Process overview Suppose that you have an observation (bad “facts” or peculiar “facts” or claims) What barriers must be overcome? (data/ estimation/ causal theories; research design; exposition) Who will want to read the paper? What is your comparative advantage? Hint: “One gets the biggest potatoes on the first pass through the field” (Irish agricultural economics principle per Frank O’Connor, University of Iowa)

5 The Sarbanes-Oxley Act . . .
Result of 25 year economic, technological, social, and professional/regulatory changes Challenges Relevance of GAAP Reliability of auditing standards Trustworthiness of auditors, independent directors, standards setters, financial intermediaries and employ-ment contracts that bind them Mandates a new (3rd) role for accounting . . . this is a big new potato -- new states, new actions need new theories to explain/understand

6 2. A Framework Y = f ( X, Vs, Zs ) Y = phenomenon to be explained
X = your (new) theory about a cause of Y Vs = prior causes of Y Zs = contemporaneous causes of Y

7 How does X (treatment) get there? Experiments vs. Archival studies
Y1 X0 ? {V-3, V -2, V -1 } Z0 Random assignment or independent of V vs. Self selection or V(s) determine X

8 3. Scholarly Researcher’s Problem:
 = risk that data incorrectly “accepts” new theory  = risk that data incorrectly “rejects” new theory  = true size of X effect on Y  = residual variation given research design (i.e., after effects of Vs and Zs) n = available sample size All five are related through a single, simple formula

9 The Sample Size formula:
(Za + Zb) . s d n = ( ) 2

10 * Researcher’s Problem (continued)
 is fixed at .05 or .10 by journal editors  is the researcher’s risk of failing (you want to minimize ) *  = f ( X : Y relation)  = f ( Vs, Zs) n is semi-fixed by data availability or cost  = f ( n )

11 Graphically . . . (small d, small s  b okay)
_ Y| H0, n, s _ Y| HA, n, s b Y Accept H Reject H0

12 Graphically . . . (large d, large s  b okay)
Accept H Reject H0 a d _ Y| HA, n, s b _ Y| H0, n, s Y

13 Graphically . . . (small d, large s  b yikes!)
Accept H Reject H0 a d _ Y| HA, n, s b _ Y| H0, n, s Y

14 4. Analyze Threats to Validity using Predictive Validity (Libby) Boxes
Theoretical X (X ) Y (Y) Conceptual 1 Independent Dependent 2 3 Operational X Y 5 Control Other potentially influential variables Vs and Zs 4

15 It is believable that X causes Y if:
X and Y are correlated Vs and Zs ruled out by design, including Y causes X X and Y caused by an omitted V or Z Reason to believe that operational X and Y measure X and Y Reason to believe that X : Y relation generalizes to other persons, times, and settings.

16 Validity threats linked to Libby boxes (and Vs and Zs)
Statistical Conclusion Validity (5) Internal Validity (4) Construct Validity (2 and 3) External Validity ( 1 generalizes to ??)

17 Auditor independence and non-audit services: Was the U. S
Auditor independence and non-audit services: Was the U.S. government right? (Kinney, Palmrose, Scholz, JAR 2004) Does an audit firm’s dependence on fees for FISDI, internal audit, and certain other services to an audit client reduce financial reporting quality? The answer is important because a) the Sarbanes-Oxley Act presumes so, banning such services to audit clients, and b) some registrants now voluntarily restrict tax and other legally permitted services. Using fee data from for restating and similar non-restating registrants, we find no consistent association between fees for FISDI or internal audit services with restatements, but find significant positive association between unspecified services fees and restatements and significant negative association between tax services and restatements.

18 Libby boxes for KPS 1 2 3 5 4 Independent Dependent Auditor
dependence on client 1 Lower quality financial reporting Conceptual Operational Control Non-audit fees Restatement 2 3 5 Industry, size, audit policies, acquisitions, etc. 4

19 5. Other barriers and problems
Hint one: Your main contribution is: 1. New data 2. New estimation 3. New theory (or new problem) Whatever it is, Exploit it!

20 Hint Two: Broaden your contribution (and reader interest) by:
1. Making your theory elaborate 2. Using multi-methods and multi-measures 3. Generalizing your approach across contexts, disciplines, cultures, and time

21 Hint Three: In introducing your paper, tell the reader:
1. What problem or issue will be addressed 2. Why the problem or issue is important 3. How you will address the problem or issue (and what you found)

22 Order of importance of clear and compelling exposition
Title Abstract Introduction Conclusions rest of text

23 Research using Analysis
Need models for: value of process vs. state reliability role of subjective “fair presentation” reporting and auditing “second moments” economics of auditing as a regulated activity auditing in context of corporate governance rules-based vs. risk-based auditing standards Barrier: extra parties and institutions hard to model

24 Research using Experiments
Questions: How reliable is auditing of fair values? Does SAB No. 99 work (Nelson et al. 2003)? Will IAASB ED on accounting estimates work? Does SAS No. 99 work? Does ERM (COSO II) improve COSO? Barrier: How to convince regulated audit firms that your experiments are valuable to them – what’s in it for them now?

25 Research using Archival data
What are the effects of fee disclosures on profits and performance? PCAOB as standards setter and regulator (similar to evaluating the FASB and SEC)? SOX on innovation in auditing and standardized business measurement? SOX provisions on attracting new CPAs? Barrier - How to work with PCAOB and regulated audit firms as independent researchers – why should they help you?

26 Remember . . . Plan for research success
write the three paragraphs before you do the work minimize b ex ante maximize validity ex ante Make your unique contribution apparent to all Your present model of the world is simplified – be alert to revision via new problems, theories, data, and methods (read, take courses, attend seminars in potentially related areas for new theories, monitor data sources, scan for useful research tools)

27 References Cook, and D. Campbell, Quasi-experimentation design & analysis issues for field settings. Houghton Mifflin Co. (New York) 1971 (Validity types). Kinney, W., "Empirical Accounting Research Design for Ph.D. Students," The Accounting Review, April (3 paragraphs and integration). Libby, R., Accounting and human information processing: Theory and applications. Prentice-Hall, Inc., (Englewood Cliffs) 1981 (Boxes). Runkel, P., and J. McGrath, Research on human behavior – A systematic guide to method. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc., (New York) 1972 (Boxes). Simon, J., and P. Burstein, Basic Research Methods in Social Science (3rd ed.). Random House, (New York) 1985 (Chapter 3 – X, Y, Vs, Zs).

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