Why a Blog?
Blogging is rather new to researchers in accounting, so we thought it would be worthwhile to provide some insight into how the FASRI blog fits into the far more familiar framework of peer-reviewed publication. The short version is that the FASRI blog provides a fast and cheap complement (not alternative) to the slow and expensive communication typical of academia.
Further down the page, we also discuss:
- what makes a good FASRI blog post
- how the blog is structured
- what makes a good comment
Communication Among Accounting Researchers is Slow and Expensive
Accountants communicate primarily by distributing research papers, attending conferences; and presenting papers at other institutions. These are very slow and expensive ways to communicate.
The typical working paper in accounting runs about 30 pages with another ten pages of tables, figures and references, and takes weeks or months to make fit for public view (such as posting on ssrn). Most papers go through multiple rounds of rewriting and reviewing before they end up in a journal, with a cycle time measured in years, and hundreds of hours of input from authors, colleagues, workshop participants, reviewers and editors. Conferences and workshop presentations are also slow and expensive. They are planned months or years in advance, and consume a great deal of time and money in scheduling and travel.
Blog Posts are Fast and Cheap
Unfortunately, slow and expensive communication makes it hard to track a moving target. The FASRI Blog provides one channel for quick and low-cost communication. (Round Table Discussions are another). A good blog piece assists (rather than supplants) the publication process, and guides researchers in directions that will illuminate standard setting issues. Just as important, it does so in a way that is of very low cost to the author and the reader, and can be turned around quickly enough to respond to the pace of standard setting. A good blog post takes anywhere from minutes to an hour to write (including adding hyperlinks and formatting), and will rarely be more than 250 words.
Fast and cheap need not mean thoughtless
In most cases, the blog post will be ‘free-riding’ on our day jobs. If you have just spent hours on a literature review, reading a workshop paper, attending a conference, or reading the analyst reports or the financial press, an insightful researcher can easily find multiple low-cost blog posts that will convey some key ideas. And if you have years of involvement in accounting research, you probably have lots of important ideas that don’t take long to get in writing. But without a fast and cheap way to disseminate them, you probably haven’t bothered. Here is your opportunity!
What makes a good FASRI blog post?
A good FASRI blog post conveys a single message that helps FASRI achieve its mission. Examples might include
Pointing out the relevance to researchers of an item from the financial press or standard-setting body
- Pointing out the relevance to standard setters and researchers of a research paper
- Stating your opinion on a research dispute (for example, the appropriate interpretation of a certain type of research method)
- Providing some helpful research advice
- Announcing an upcoming event of interest to the research community
Good blog posts typically include a little bit of background (perhaps as little as a sentence or two), a link to some primary material (where the reader can find the research paper in question, for example), some commentary (what do you think).
Great blog posts often pose a question: “does anyone know of research that has examined….?” Once this community gets sufficiently active, such posts can provide a ready literature review for people interested in a hot topic, with each member of the community doing only a little of the work.
Think of your target audience as doctoral students and junior faculty members interested in research that can influence standard setting. Naturally, we expect others to read the blog as well, including more senior faculty, students at the undergraduate and masters level, standard-setters who want to know what researchers have to say, and perhaps the occasional practitioner, business reporter or member of the public with a serious interest in accounting. But viewing your target audience as doctoral students and junior faculty should help you make your posts accessible to all researchers working on standard-setting issues, without giving you the idea that blogging on FASRI is your way to reach the general public. If you want fame and glory in the popular press, address that audience elsewhere. The FASRI blog is primarily intended for the research community that is interested in standard-setting issues. (Alternatively, you might think of our audience as being the same as that of Accounting Horizons).
Each blog post is categorized according to a list that is maintained by the editors, and shows up at the top left of the home page. Reader can click on a category to see all of the posts that are tagged as a member. When you are posting, be sure to check off which categories the post falls into—this makes the website a useful archive.
Some Details about Using WordPress to Blog
Posting is very straightforward….once we have set up an account for you, just go here, click “posts” on the left, and “add new.” The interface should be very intuitive. Here are a few pointers: If you have already typed something in another program, copy it into Notepad, and THEN paste from Notepad into the text window. You will have to redo your formatting, but you can use the buttons on the top of the text window to do that. To insert a link, copy the link you want into your clipboard, then select the text you want to be clickable, and then click the icon that looks like the link of a chain, and then just paste the link in. Note that you can make the text window full screen by clicking the blue square near the right of the top bar of icons–much easier for editing.