Undergraduate student research programs: Are they as viable for accounting as they are in science and humanities?

Peter A. French, Robert E. Jensen, Kim R. Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This paper reviews a recent thrust in academia to stimulate more undergraduate research in the USA, including a rapidly growing annual conference. The paper also describes programs in which significant foundation grants have been received to fund undergraduate research projects in the sciences and humanities. In particular, selected humanities students working in teams in a new "Philosophy Lab" are allowed to embark on long-term research projects of their own choosing. Several completed projects are briefly reviewed in this paper. In April 1989, Trinity University hosted the Third National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) and purposely expanded the scope of the conference to include a broad range of disciplines. At this conference, 632 papers and posters were presented representing the research activities of 873 undergraduate students from 163 institutions. About 40% of the papers were outside the natural sciences and included research in music and literature. Only 13 of those papers were in the area of business administration; none were even submitted by accounting students. In 1990 at Union College, 791 papers were presented; none were submitted by accountants. In 1991 at Cal Tech, the first accounting paper appeared as one of 853 papers presented. This paper suggests a number of obstacles to stimulating and encouraging accounting undergraduates to embark on research endeavours. These impediments are somewhat unique to accounting, and it appears that accounting education programs are lagging in what is being done to break down obstacles in science, pre-med, engineering, humanities, etc. This paper proposes how to overcome these obstacles in accounting. One of the anticipated benefits of accounting student research, apart from the educational and creative value, is the attraction of more and better students seeking creativity opportunities in addition to rote learning of CPA exam requirements. This, in part, might help to counter industry complaints that top students are being turned away from accounting careers nationwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-357
Number of pages21
JournalCritical Perspectives on Accounting
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Information Systems and Management


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