Taxation is a fundamental part of everyday life and it comes as no surprise that it attracts great interest from policymakers, academics, business and the wider community both in Australia and overseas. However, those interested in tax research come from very diverse discipline backgrounds including law, accounting, economics, political science, psychology and philosophy. The prior learning of many tax researchers does tend to be in the study and application of the law and typically they have little training in or exposure to the detail of the theory and practice of research design. This is a limitation for both academics and for the growing body of research students that they are being called upon to supervise. There is capacity to improve the capability of tax researchers by evaluating best practice in closely related disciplines and exploring that of other disciplines that could have relevance to taxation.
The paper explores the fundamental aspects of research design, including a range of philosophical paradigms and strategies of inquiries that could have application to taxation. The framing of research questions (or hypotheses) is considered, as is the need for alignment between research objectives, research questions, philosophical paradigms, strategies of inquiry and knowledge claims. The application of mixed-method designs is also considered. Pitfalls in research design to be avoided are discussed as are suggestions by which the robustness of tax research can be improved.
Date of this Version
Margaret McKerchar, "Philosophical Paradigms, Inquiry Strategies and Knowledge Claims: Applying the Principles of Research Design and Conduct to Taxation" (August 2009). University of New South Wales Faculty of Law Research Series 2009. Working Paper 31.