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AAA – the broom closet with no room for brooms

About a decade ago if you had held a panel session on qualitative accounting research at the AAA you could have held it in a broom closet with room left over. Today over 100 folks came to a panel discussion at the AAA on quality in qualitative research! Even better was the fact slightly less than half the room had done it and nearly 100% were interested in doing so!

Most of my readers are familiar with my views on research diversity and the need to use the most appropriate methods to identify and address practice issues. Field research enhances your engagement with the field of practice ( however you define practice). And with doctoral programs like Georgia, Illinois, UMASS Amherest all recently graduating PHD’s with this method in their toolkit, we may be on the verge of the breakthrough I have long advocated for in the USA. Further the placements of those students has been stellar Emory, WISCONSIN, Northeastern, and more.

This combined with the first qualitative interview paper being published in TAR in the last 30 years coming this fall, along with the combined survey interview research being done by Shiva Rajgopal (Columbia) and Michel Clements (Texas) and others in financial accounting published in JAE and JAR means the ” big 6″ Accounting journals ( however you define them from among TAR, CAR, AOS, JAE, CPA, JAR, MAR, AAAJ, AJPT, RAST) have all published such research in recent years – many with multiple articles!

And that’s the way I see it at the first day of work at the AAA.

New (or rather lack of) directions for audit research

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!

What do you do at a conference?

In another post targeting at junior scholars (PhD students and junior faculty) I would like to make some suggestions about do’s and don’ts when going to the appropriate conferences for you (see previous post on choosing conferences).


  1. Stay for the entire conference.  Nothing makes you look less serious than turning up late or leaving early.  You can do that once you are established but it looks bad when you are the newbie on the circuit.
  2. Stay at the conference hotel.  You have already spent a lot of money to get to the conference, why make your networking harder by staying a an off-site hotel?  The little bit of money you save by staying offsite is more than lost in the time you lose going back and forth.
  3. Develop a list of people in advance that you want to network with. Potential co-authors, advisors, folks who can write letters for you in a few years (e.g. tenure letters), and people who are at the cutting edge in your area.  Going to a conference without a “hit” list results in you defaulting into one of the don’ts listed below.
  4. Figure out how you are going to locate the folks on your “hit” list.  Some you may be able to fix a meeting time in advance with (potential co-authors), others you may plan to attend their presentations and talk to afterward, others you attempt to locate at breaks (although this is the hardest) and some you locate through various receptions and smaller lunches (e.g. Section luncheons, university receptions etc).  The point is that you have a plan.


  1.  Do not stay exclusively in the circle of fellow or former PhD students or with faculty from the University you are currently at.  While it may seem “safe” to stay in the bubble of familiarity that cannot be the only outcome of your conference attendance.
  2. Do not hid in your room.  Yep it is tough to network especially as many of us are introverts but hiding in your room is not the solution.

As I think of more do’s and don’ts I will add to this list.  Add your own suggestions if you wish at the bottom!!!

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