Purpose - It is argued in this paper that there is a need for accounting researchers to adopt a critical stance to their research questions. This entails challenging conventionally held positions in order to generate new understandings of and possible solutions to the issues facing the discipline. An appropriate basis for establishing this is found in what is usually referred to as critical accounting studies.
Approach - The paper is a theoretical paper and therefore provides theoretical arguments for why a critical approach to researching accounting problems has been taken in other studies and outlines the philosophical bases for this approach.
Originality/value - Although many accounting researchers have been exposed to the different epistemological approaches to research there is little evidence in the accounting research that they are aware of the full implications for research using alternative positions and this has resulted in a sterile and fruitless research environment.