Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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New (or rather lack of) directions for audit research

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As I said earlier in my blog there is a wealth of material backlogged from my European sojourn!

One of these were two audit research observations. First, by the one of the two or three most distinguished audit researchers in the world who suggested audit archival research was nearing the end of what it could accomplish. Second, the rather insipid discussion that totally lacked any passion until I intervened at the EAR panel on ” New Directions in Audit Research” held at the EAA (and I remind the panel members that most of them had invited me directly to get up and come to an 830 am panel – ask and ye shall receive)!

Frankly I think both are problematic, but for different reasons!

There is still a lot of room for new thinking on archival audit research, but the current generation needs to stop its chokehold on the editorial process that is making conforming normal science research choices dominant in archival audit research. Indeed, the current fascination of repeating the same studies at ever increasingly refined levels (coming soon American partner level studies that will repeat the investigations done in Australia (and elsewhere) and try to make small result differences seem like mountains not the ant hills they actually are) stifles any truly innovative research . Editors are doing the safe thing by accepting realms of turgid normal science dial tuning (turning would be calling it too great an innovation) in this realm setting a poor example for audit PHD students that this is what it takes to get published in the majors. These dial tuning studies do not belong in the top journals but should be the province of niche journals. At least in North America there is a strong trend by PhD students of following up on what is published in the majors hence causing a downward spiral of fine tuning in audit archival research. This may be why some of the most innovative audit archival research is being done in Europe where luckily there is some ignorance of, or ignoring of, the Anglo-Saxon rules of the publishing game. Let’s hope that continues as it is one sign of innovative research in the archival audit realm!!!

Next up, the qualitative quagmires of the ” New Directions” Panel!


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