Research Ideas

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Often times researchers think of a good idea for a research project but don't have the time, resources, or long term interest to examine the question. Please share those ideas you do not plan to pursue, so others can decide if they think the ideas are worth pursuing. This potentially could be very valuable for Ph.D. prep students who have to write up a potential research project for a class, Ph.D. students who must write research papers for courses, and for faculty who might be interested in working in a different area than they have in the past.

For a discussion of different research areas and interest please visit the What is accounting research? page.

General Write-ups

  • Accounting Horizons has a discussion by multiple authors on different research agendas. See here

Accounting Information Systems

Auditing Ideas

External Audit Research

  • Current Issues in Auditing published a Top 10 list of audit research questions available here.

Internal Audit Research

  • The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) sponsored the publication of a monograph that discusses research questions of interest in internal auditing. You can download the chapters for free here.

The International Journal of Auditing is hosting an internal auditor conference (see link above for details) and listed the following research questions that they view as interesting (list is not exhaustive).

  • How did the internal auditing profession change in the wake of recently changed corporate governance regulations and requirements?
  • How did the meaning of independence and objectivity evolve since the creation of The Institute of Internal Auditors?
  • Did internal auditing establish its position as corporate governance actor or is there still a long way to go?
  • To what extent differs the role of internal auditing in governmental organizations from their role in public companies?
  • How do techniques such as risk-based auditing and computer assisted audit tools impact the internal auditing profession?
  • What are the drivers behind the relationship between the internal audit function and other corporate governance actors such as the board of directors, the audit committee and senior management?
  • How did the relationship between internal and external auditors evolve in the wake of the recently changed auditing standards?
  • Which factors stimulate organizations to invest in an internal auditing function?
  • Which cultural and environmental factors explain the differences between internal auditing practices in different parts of the world?

Financial Ideas

  • Oil Companies are experiencing significant negative public reaction because of high profits while gas prices are increasing. It would be interesting to test whether these companies are trying to lower earnings and how they are trying to lower earnings. For example, they may invest a significant greater amount in R&D or sell stocks in a loss position to try and lower earnings to reduce political risk. See this paper for some similar types of arguments related to Tobacco companies. See this paper for a similar study done during the 1990 Persian Gulf Crisis.
  • A recent article about the stock market quoted Scott Fullman, director of investment strategy for I. A. Englander & Co., saying "The market is extremely sensitive to any news that's out there. A year ago, it brushed off a lot of stuff. Now, it's just the opposite, and we're seeing reactions nearly immediately when things come out." Is the market more efficient (i.e., respond faster) to information depending on the economy? Does the market react/overreact faster to news when the overall economy is slumping?

Managerial Ideas

  • Hannan (2005) examines whether paying higher wages motivates employees to provide higher work effort even when the employee has no ex post financial reward for doing so. They find that employees do work harder. It would be potentially interesting to see how long this effect lasts. For how many periods does the higher effort continue? Must employees continually be given wage increases to continue producing? How big of increase must employees be given to continue giving the higher effort?
  • Analytic paper "The Theory of Incentives" by Jean-Jacques Laffont and David Martimort says that "it is important to stress that, as with adverse selection, moral hazard would not be an issue if the principal and the agent had the same objective function. Crucial to the agency cost arising under moral hazard is the conflict between the principal and the agent over which action should be carried out." To what extent are principal's and agent's good at matching their objective functions so that conflict is lessened or completely eliminated? What determines individuals' ability to match?
  • A central piece of the debate on alternative fuel sources is costs. How do the cost allocation decisions affect the attractiveness of alternative fuel sources? For example, do current costing assumptions take into account the cost of back-up systems for such things as wind or solar energy? These fuel sources will not collect energy at a uniform rate and thus another type of energy must be able to compensate when they are down--is the cost of this other type of energy (e.g., a coal plant) attributed to the wind/solar energy costing assumptions?
  • SOX significantly increased the risk management faces (e.g., increased penalty, increased litigation risk). The basic economic prediction is that in order to get an agent to assume more risk you must pay them more. Did the passage of SOX increase management's pay? Was how management compensated changed (more stock, options, fixed pay)? Did the riskiness of this change as a result of the passage of SOX?

Tax Ideas

Other Ideas


  • Does having a CPA increase a professor's credibilty in the classroom? Does it improve teacher ratings?
  • What are the teaching effectiveness differences between teachers who have a Ph.D. and those who do not? You might measure effectiveness in terms of student learning outcomes, teacher ratings, etc.

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