Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Accounting as a dichotomised discipline: An analysis of the source materials used in the construction of accounting articles

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Simon Hussain, Dr Lana LiuORCiD, Tony Miller



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Academic research in accounting has often been characterised as exhibiting a dichotomy between the positivist approach and the critical, interpretive and interdisciplinary (CII) approaches. Our paper examines the extent of this dichotomy by presenting empirical evidence on the different source materials which the two communities use to construct their research papers. Across all articles published in six leading journals between 2002 and 2013, we find that positivist papers tend to be constructed from a narrower set of references drawn mostly from elite business journals while CII papers draw from a much more diverse range of sources, including non-elite journals, non-business journals and books. There is also evidence of the growing impact of journal ranking lists, with notable upward (downward) trends in the usage of high-ranked (unranked) reference sources. We suggest a link here with recent research on signalling within the publication process.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hussain S, Liu LYJ, Miller AD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Critical Perspectives on Accounting

Year: 2020

Volume: 66

Print publication date: 01/01/2020

Online publication date: 31/05/2019

Acceptance date: 30/04/2019

Date deposited: 30/04/2019

ISSN (print): 1045-2354

ISSN (electronic): 1095-9955

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric