Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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If research is not cited did it actually matter

I am Sherlock Holmes fan, the nerdy Holmes not the sexy ones. I wonder what Holmes would find out if he investigated the case of the Missing Citations? Almost 25 years ago Larry Brown carried out a detailed study of citations of accounting research and concluded that an article with 4 ( four) cites a year in the SSCI ( known to younger readers as web of science) from the time it was published was a “classic” accounting article!

Now I think I have authored a couple of ” classics” but a wonder what the cutoff would be these days? Also, I wonder what % of top journal articles are never cited in Accounting? Finally, and to me the key question is, is it a necessary, but not a sufficient condition, for an article to be cited for it to matter?

Mulling over these thoughts!

Disney is doing behavioral economics research!!!!

After 30 plus years in this business I am rarely surprised at anything I hear about anymore.  But the fact that Disney Research (a division of the Disney TV and Movie and Theme Park company) has a behavioral economics research program as well as a social psychology research program floored me.  Apparently Disney Research both hires researchers directly and engages in contract research with all sorts of academics – including social psyhologists and behavioral economists!  And that does not sound too Mickey Mouse to me!!!!  Maybe a little Goofy!!  But what do I know living up North in a Snow White world!!!  Okay enough puns for today.

The lack of research in core texts

Have you ever noticed that accounting textbooks rarely mention accounting research? Compare that to textbooks in organizational behavior, marketing, human resource management, finance and economics. Indeed, one has to turn to methods courses like statistics to find a similar lack of emphasis on research. Mind you statistical books have proofs and you know that someone had to come up with those proofs in the first place!

So does that mean there is no research underlying accounting? As you know by now most textbooks in financial accounting and tax are focused on standards (financial) and the law and its interpretation (tax). Indeed, about the only book you might have seen there is research underlying its recommendations is in the Management Control Systems course that uses the Merchant and van der Stede textbook.  Sure there is lots of research in financial statement analysis books but what about the core audit, tax and financial accounting texts????  Even in “Accounting Theory” which should be known as “Financial Accounting Theory (FAT is a great abbreviation) there is only one textbook that is heavily research based.  If we were textbook writers in many evidence based fields they would laugh at our texts!!!

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