The Accounting Historians Journal Vol. 17, No. 1 June 1990
Dale L. Flesher UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI and
William D. Samson UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA
WHAT IS PUBLISHABLE ACCOUNTING HISTORY RESEARCH: AN EDITORIAL VIEW
Although this is the first issue of The Accounting Historians Journal that has been published by the new editorial team, the current editors and reviewers have been processing manuscripts for nearly a year. During that time, 40 manuscripts have been received and, so far, only six have been accepted for publication. Such a low acceptance rate brings to mind the question of exactly what is publishable accounting history research.
The reasons for rejection have been numerous. A few manu-scripts have been poorly written and were simply boring to read, some have been based too extensively on secondary sources, others have been reiterations of previously published articles, but the majority have failed to meet the expectations of reviewers because of a lack of significance of subject matter or weaknesses in research methodology. For these reasons, this essay is designed to give potential authors some guidance in what and how to research.
GUIDELINES ON RESEARCH
First, what is research? Basically, research of any nature is an organized effort to investigate problems and answer ques-tions. It has often been said that research begins with a question and then includes a clear description of the problem to be solved. This is just as true for historical research as for a laboratory experiment. There is, however, a difference between historical research and other methodologies in that the re-searcher often cannot figure out the question or describe the problem until much of the field work has been conducted. In other words, the historical researcher often does not know the question until after the answer has been found. Therefore, a lot of wasted effort occurs in historical research because re-