Date of this Version


Document Type

Discussion Paper

Publication Details

Ray McNamara and Keith Duncan (1992) Fundamental Factors for Assessing Controls: A Semantic Analysis

Acknowledgements: This paper has benefited from the comments made by the commentators, Rich Lee and Norman Walker, and session participants at the University of Southern California's Audit Judgement Symposium, Newport 1991. The rights to all errors and omissions remain with the authors.

School of Business Discussion Paper ; No. 34, Jun. 1992

© Copyright Ray McNamara, Keith Duncan and the School of Business, Bond University


This paper reports a study designed to develop a measure of control effectiveness to evaluate controls in empirical research and practice. In particular, a psychometric measure of meaning, called a semantic differential [Osgood et al, 1971], is developed for the evaluation of computer controls. Functionality, strength and practicality are the three factors underlying auditor judgements. These factors resulted from a factor analysis of responses to the semantic differential instrument. A variety of uses are identified for this three factor measure of control effectiveness and include applications in audit research, audit education, and the practice of auditing.