SYNOPSIS

This Commentary is intended to help beginning Ph.D. students identify, evaluate, and communicate essential components of proposed empirical accounting research using a three-step process. The first step is a structured top-down approach of writing answers to three related questions—What, Why, How—that emphasize the central role of conceptual thinking in research design, as well as practical relevance. The second step is a predictive validity assessment that anticipates concerns likely to arise in the scholarly review process, and the third is consideration of the likely outcome and potential problems to be encountered if the proposal is implemented as planned. First-hand accounts of Ph.D. student experiences using the three paragraphs and three-step approach are presented, along with an exercise that beginners can use to help themselves identify, analyze, and anticipate problems to improve chances for research success ex ante.

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