LIWC Research Series:
This paper provides methodological guidance for judgment and decision-making (JDM) researchers in accounting who are interested in using the Linguistic Inquiry Word Count (LIWC) text analysis program to analyze research participants’ written responses to open-ended questions. We discuss how LIWC’s measures of psychological constructs were developed and validated in psycholinguistic research. We then use data from an audit JDM study to illustrate the use of LIWC to guide researchers in identifying suitable measures, performing quality control procedures, and reporting the analysis. We also discuss research design considerations that will strengthen the inferences drawn from LIWC analysis. The paper concludes with examples where LIWC analysis has the potential to reveal participants’ deep, complex, effortful psychological processing and affective states from their written responses.