• engagement research;
  • public sector;
  • sustainability reporting

Abstract:  This paper argues for the value of engagement research in order to encourage public sector accounting academics to take such an approach. Given that there is little evidence about the practice or value of engagement research, however, we set out to explore, evaluate and establish the lessons learned from a specific episode of engagement research. In outlining a project carried out between 2003 and 2005 by Amanda Ball and Vernon Soare, which sought to promote sustainability reporting in public service organisations, we argue that this form of research may positively impact government, public policy, professional accounting institutions and others involved in regulating or otherwise standardising public sector accounting practice.