Content analysis in environmental reporting research: enrichment and rehearsal of the method in a British-German context

Cornelia Beck, David J. Campbell, Philip Shrives

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    165 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    A number of previous studies have utilised content analysis as a method for analysing environmental reporting. In this study, a method, devised by the authors and capable of both mechanistic and interpretative narrative interrogation is presented. By adopting a matrix approach to environmental narratives, multiple information characteristics can be taken into account when analysing disclosures. The method developed in this paper (termed CONI or consolidated narrative interrogation) provides a measure of information diversity, information content and volume. The content analysis instrument facilitates data capture inaccessible to less penetrating research instruments. The joint objectives of this paper are to report on the development of CONI and to demonstrate its capacity to extend the capability of content analysis methods. In particular, the paper demonstrates the utility of CONI through the application to a matched sample of 14 pairs of companies from the United Kingdom and Germany over a period of five years. Findings include the observation that information diversity has broadened over time. The study also notes the dominance of narrative over numerical content with little disclosure containing comparative or contextualised numerical information. There were few significant differences in environmental reporting between the two countries. The paper concludes with suggested opportunities for future research using the CONI research instrument.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)207-222
    JournalBritish Accounting Review
    Volume42
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010

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