Accounting Research: Relevance Lost

Higson, Andrew and Kassem, Rasha (2016). Accounting Research: Relevance Lost. Financial Reporting, 11(1) pp. 59–76.




For research to have an impact, it has to exist in the first place. Moves in the UK to link University funding to research activity have reinforced the importance of research to academia - however, this may also have had adverse consequences. It is now very difficult for qualified accountants to obtain teaching and research positions at UK universities because of the lack of a research background. Institutional pressures on those conducting research may also have resulted in dysfunctional behaviour regarding the nature of the work conducted and the output. In the 1960s there was an attempt to make accounting research more "scientific", however, this seems to resulted in the emphasis on research methodology rather than the importance of making a contribution to knowledge. The lack of emphasis on the reliability (the reproducibility of the results) and validity (whether you are testing what you think you are testing) of statistical findings merely appears to have resulted in the application of pseudoscience to accounting research. All these factors appear to have combined to bring into question the relevance of the accounting research produced.

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