SYNOPSIS: In response to concerns over the viability of the academic discipline of accounting, we investigate trends in accounting research by examining papers published in six top accounting journals from 1960 to 2007. We use citations made by accounting papers as a proxy for their antecedent ideas and examine trends in citations, topics, and methodologies, in aggregate and by journal. Our results suggest that the growing body of accounting research draws increasingly from both finance and economics. Financial accounting topics and archival methodologies are becoming more dominant over time relative to other topics and methodologies, although these trends vary by journal. Though most concerns we discuss are recent, we find that the situation today is the result of trends set in motion decades ago with an explicit decision by influential researchers to move the discipline from a normative perspective to a positive perspective. Given its current state, accounting research may be broadly characterized as research into the effect of economic events on the process of summarizing, analyzing, verifying, and reporting standardized financial information, and on the effects of reported information on economic events.

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