562 Limitations of the interview process Although interviews are widely used in

562 limitations of the interview process although

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5.6.2 Limitations of the interview process Although interviews are widely used in most qualitative research, this method does have some limitations. First, since the researcher knows the participant’s identity, the participants may be cautious with their responses, particularly with the small sample size and despite the assurance of anonymity (Bauer & Aarts, 2000). They may be reluctant to share sensitive information particularly if it incriminates them (Gaskell, 2000). Of the 59 participants, one Asian operator and two business experts showed some reluctance in answering some questions. The Asian operator hurriedly terminated the interview by saying that he had nothing to add to the research and that his external accountant did all the tax compliance work. This is despite his agreeing to participate in the first place. One business expert spent considerable time complaining about the New Zealand Government and its policies before making comments on ethnic SMEs. Another business expert was mindful not to make race related comments pertaining to tax compliance. These were some examples of the participants’ lack of openness and willingness during the interviews. Interviews are time consuming and labour intensive (Douglas, 1985; Dunbar et al., 2002) as they involve arranging for an interview time and transcribing the interviews. Hence, a small sample was used for this study (Gubrium & Holstein, 2002; Silverman, 2000) with the aim to analytically generalise to other ethnic operators who are faced with similar contextual circumstances (Gobo, 2007). Due to the personal and sensitive nature of tax decisions, some ethnic operators may not have reported all incidences of noncompliance especially those that were perceived as
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82 socially undesirable (Lawrence, 2006). Acknowledging the sensitivity issues, the researcher utilised case scenarios to de-personalise the issues and to encourage participants to voice their own experiences (Douglas, 1985). To further reduce the sensitivity problem, the interview covered a variety of questions on different topics including their business, tax audit and tax payment experiences, their tax compliance perceptions, sources of tax help used, process in gathering tax information, and perceptions of cash jobs. The way these questions were framed was less sensitive, compared to direct questions asking whether or not they had complied with the tax regulations or not. 5.6.3 Triangulation Triangulation is the most typically used method by qualitative researchers to check and establish validity in their studies. Merriam (1998) claims that triangulation helps qualitative researchers gain the most complete and detailed data possible. Robson (2002) states that triangulation involves the use of multiple sources, including data, researchers, informants, research designs, theories, or perspectives triangulation. This study uses informant triangulation (operators from different ethnicities, industries, business sizes and duration of business) and perspective triangulation (ethnic SME operators, tax practitioners and business experts) in data collection. Triangulation does
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  • Fall '16
  • tax compliance, SME Operators

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