Transparency and the rhetorical use of citations to Robert Yin in case study research

Maurizio Massaro*, John Dumay, Carlo Bagnoli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – This paper aims to analyse “how”, “why” and “where” authors use citations of Robert Yin’s classic text, Case Study Research: Design and Methods, to determine the application of methodological transparency in published case study research.

Design/methodology/approach – The analysis is conducted using a structured literature review methodology.

Findings – The results reveal problems of obliteration by incorporation, miscitations, appeals to ethos, rhetorical convenience and a shadow effect, also known as adumbration. The authors argue that case study research relying, either in full or in part, on Yin’s methodology should transparently describe how and which parts of the methodology have been applied. Thus, the conclusions signal some opportunities for improving transparency in the use of citations in case study research.

Research limitations/implications – The analysis highlights behaviours that may lead researchers to questionable findings due to a lack of methodological transparency in developing case study research, along with some recommendations for avoiding such problems. Improving transparency is useful for readers to understand what was done, for reviewers and editors to evaluate the research, and to guide other researchers who wish to conduct case study research.

Originality/value – This research compares citation practices in case study research in accounting and management with a focus on citations of Robert Yin. The results build on previous studies that analyse how scholars apply case study methodology that encourages researchers to adopt greater transparency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-71
Number of pages28
JournalMeditari Accountancy Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2019


  • Case study
  • Qualitative research
  • Rhetoric
  • Transparency


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