The Accounting Historians Journal
Vol. 15, No. 2
Robert J. Bricker THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY
INFLUENCES FROM EARLY ACCOUNTING LITERATURE ON CONTEMPORARY RESEARCH
Abstract: This study explored the citation of pre-1960 literature in a body of contemporary accounting research. In a database of nearly 11,000 citations from 428 source articles, 117 pre-1960 accounting citations were identified. From the set of 413 nonhistorical articles, forty pre-1960 accounting citations were found. This study also examined the breadth of coverage of these citations and their distribution among journals. The results showed that many pre-1960 accounting documents traditionally considered important were not cited. This result may be useful to accounting historians by helping them to identify early research traditions that are in danger of being forgotten by nonhistorians.
The purpose of this study was to identify the classic ac-counting documents that continue to be used in contemporary accounting research and those which are not. My examination of the citations of a recent body of published accounting research showed that classic literature of any sort was only occasionally referenced. Few classic accounting works were cited, overall, and even fewer (about .4 percent) were cited by nonhistorical articles. Since most of those that were referenced were cited only a single time, relatively broad coverage of pre-1960 literature was afforded, given the small number of citations. However, many classic accounting documents and writers were not refer-enced.
Two journal patterns were noted. Some of the accounting documents that were cited multiple times by nonhistorical accounting articles were dispersed over more than one journal, suggesting general interest. Others were cited by a single jour-nal, suggesting interest limited to a single research area.
I would like to acknowledge the invaluable help of Professors Robert Colson, Larry Parker, Gary Previts, and Paul Salipante, the comments of two anony-mous reviewers, and the financial support of the Deloitte, Haskins and Sells foundation in the completion of this research.