Characterizing Accounting Research

72 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2008 Last revised: 27 Jul 2009

See all articles by Derek Oler

Derek Oler

Texas Tech University - Rawls College of Business

Mitchell Oler

University of Wyoming - Department of Accounting

Christopher J. Skousen

Utah State University - School of Accountancy

Date Written: July 24, 2009

Abstract

In response to concerns over the viability of the academic discipline of accounting we investigate trends in accounting research by examining papers published in six top accounting journals from 1960 to 2007. We use citations made by accounting papers as a proxy for their antecedent ideas and examine trends in citations, topics, and methodologies, in aggregate and by journal. Our results suggest that the growing body of accounting research draws increasingly from both finance and economics. Financial accounting topics and archival methodologies are becoming more dominant over time relative to other topics and methodologies, although these trends vary by journal. Although most concerns we discuss are recent, we find that the situation today is the result of trends set in motion decades ago with an explicit decision by influential researchers to move the discipline from a normative perspective to a positive perspective. Given its current state accounting research may be broadly characterized as research into the effect of economic events on the process of summarizing, analyzing, verifying, and reporting standardized financial information, and on the effects of reported information on economic events.

Keywords: Accounting Research, Interdisciplinary Borrowing, Citation Analysis

JEL Classification: M49

Suggested Citation

Oler, Derek and Oler, Mitchell and Skousen, Christopher J., Characterizing Accounting Research (July 24, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1121956 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1121956

Derek Oler (Contact Author)

Texas Tech University - Rawls College of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 42101
Lubbock, TX 79409
United States
806-834-2354 (Phone)
806-742-3182 (Fax)

Mitchell Oler

University of Wyoming - Department of Accounting ( email )

United States

Christopher J. Skousen

Utah State University - School of Accountancy ( email )

College of Business
Logan, UT 84322-3540
United States

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