Academic journal article Accounting Horizons

Three Rs and Four Ws

Academic journal article Accounting Horizons

Three Rs and Four Ws

Article excerpt

The Editorial Policy printed in this issue is largely a product of the AAA Publications Committee. My influence came toward the end of the deliberations. Although the spirit of the current Editorial Policy is similar to previous editorial policies published in this journal, that spirit is expressed differently in the current policy. Intended to serve as a bridge journal between the academic and practicing wings of our profession, Accounting Horizons must publish articles accessible to a wide and diverse audience. Such articles are likely to represent the scholarship of integration and the scholarship of application, and the occasional timely piece of discovery research that is communicated effectively without the heavy methodological content and extensive tabular presentations often found in discovery research papers.

The "Three Rs"

To describe the essential characteristics of Horizons papers, I focus on Readability, Relevance, and Rigor (listed alphabetically). Readability refers to the effectiveness with which the paper's messages are communicated and the accessibility of those messages to a diverse group of readers. Technical terms, methodologies, and tabular material must be explained clearly. Papers must not be inordinately long; for submitted manuscripts 20 pages is a good target maximum length. Relevance means that papers must address topics that appeal to a broad audience--researchers, educators, practitioners, regulators and students--and often implies linkages to real-world developments. Rigor means thoughtful, well-articulated arguments and logic, and appropriately designed examples, experiments, and tests. It does not mean that only papers with rigorous statistical or mathematical work are acceptable.

Next, the "Four Ws" help motivate the work authors describe in their manuscripts.

The "Four Ws"

The "Four Ws" came from an Editorial Board member trying to get an author team to properly motivate their work. In short, both in the abstract and in the first one or two pages of the paper, authors must briefly explain:

* what they are doing,

* why they are doing it,

* what they found, and

* why the findings are important.

The rest of the paper develops these four points and must be consistent with them. If your manuscript does not address the Four Ws, then the likelihood of acceptance by Horizons is remote. …

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