Approaches to Accounting Research - Evidence from EAA Annual Congresses

37 Pages Posted: 10 May 2007 Last revised: 2 Feb 2009

See all articles by Rolf Uwe Fülbier

Rolf Uwe Fülbier

University of Bayreuth

Thorsten Sellhorn

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) Munich; TRR 266 Accounting for Transparency

Date Written: December 2008


This paper describes an ongoing empirical-archival meta-analysis of accounting research over the last 30 years. We investigate different aspects of research approaches documented in the abstracts of papers presented at EAA Annual Congresses. The project is organized in two distinct phases: In the first phase, we present evidence on basic variables like topics pursued, methods applied and other characteristics of accounting research (including co-authorships and international as well as cross-institutional cooperation), both in terms of their development over time and their differences across countries. We believe that the results of this exploratory analysis are likely to be relevant for other researchers, journal editors, practitioners (including standard setters and firms) and others interested in current research trends as well as the debates surrounding "mainstream" accounting research, the "multi-paradigmatic" nature of accounting research and the notion of "globalization" of accounting research. Motivated by recurring debates about the status of accounting as an (applied or pure) science and the raison d'¿tre of prescriptive-normative (as opposed to descriptive-positive) research, the second phase uses content analyses of abstracts to infer authors' methodological approaches to accounting research (including research objectives and research "world-views", or paradigms). Here also, we look at both the inter-temporal as well as cross-country dimensions. The second phase is expected to lend empirical substance to ever-recurring disputes about the scientific status of accounting and the underlying motivations of accounting researchers. Our data covers practically all EAA Annual Congresses throughout the EAA's history (1978-present), yielding about 10,000 abstracts of research papers in 20 topic areas, presented by delegates from more than 60 countries. This early version of our paper reflects the subset of this data that has already been analyzed. We present basic descriptive evidence from EAA Annual Congresses between 1998 und 2008 and put up for discussion initial results on our empirical measure of research objective pursued.

Keywords: Methodology, accounting research, normative, positive, research objective, descriptive, prescriptive

JEL Classification: M41, B41

Suggested Citation

Fülbier, Rolf Uwe and Sellhorn, Thorsten, Approaches to Accounting Research - Evidence from EAA Annual Congresses (December 2008). Available at SSRN: or

Rolf Uwe Fülbier

University of Bayreuth ( email )

Universitätsstraße 30
Bayreuth, 95447
+49(0)921 554820 (Phone)
+49(0)921 554822 (Fax)


Thorsten Sellhorn (Contact Author)

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) Munich ( email )

Ludwigstr. 28 RG IV
Munich, Bavaria 80539
+49(0)89-21806264 (Phone)
+49(0)89-21806327 (Fax)


TRR 266 Accounting for Transparency ( email )

Warburger Straße 100
Paderborn, 33098

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