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This paper is built on a central question: whether the usage of the terms 'methodology' and 'methods' in social science research is synonymous or not. Following this concern the rest of the paper is premised on a Habermasian critical theory approach. To evaluate how such a critical approach can be utilised in management accounting research, an attempt is made to pin-point some of the methodological positions of Habermas. This evaluation from the viewpoint of an "individual external researcher" or a "research student" perspective, suggests an alternative theoretical understanding in making sense of carrying out research in the arena of contextual management accounting.