Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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Discussant response etiquette

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When I was a lad in the 80’s and 90’s we were taught to say a few words of thanks to the Discussant, answer any absolutely vital and burning questions for a minute or two and then it was on to answering questions from the distinguished crowd of academic savants gathered there to pick at your entrails!

I must have missed the memo! Everywhere I have been lately has featured long winded point by point rebuttals of discussant’s comments!! Indeed, discussants are leaving their comments ppts open and authors are systematically going through the slides responding to every comment no matter how minor!!!

Personally, I find this a boring process that takes away from the academic interchange at a conference! After flying several hundred or thousand miles through overcrowded airports on airplanes with seating made for height challenged people, the last thing I want to see is three monologues!

While it may be safer for the author than taking audience questions, it defeats the purpose of the conference format. I for one would rather have the limited time spent on true exchanges of views rather than shadow dancing between the author and the Discussant!


1 Comment

  1. R.A. Evans says:

    I was recently a discussant at the Critical Perspectives on Accounting Conference at York University in July and I also noticed the same phenomenon. My discussant comments were sent to the author well in advance of the conference and I feel as though the author was compelled to come to the defense of his ‘baby’ on a point by point basis.

    I learned to never criticize a person’s children. I hope we don’t reach the point where we, as academics, become apprehensive of criticizing someone’s research paper. I would like to see a return to more open discussions of one’s work.

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