Research in accounting is relatively young compared to other disciplines. Originally, normative research based on a priori reasoning and aimed at improving accounting practice was predominant among accounting scholars. After the 60’s, accounting academics started using an empirical positive approach, aimed to better understand accounting phenomena through empirical tests of hypotheses. As from then, research in accounting has gone through several changes in terms of approaches, research methods and topics. This paper aims at highlighting the main stages of the past evolution and recent trends in accounting research. After describing the main drivers of the shift from normative to positive approach, the dominant traits that have characterized accounting research for the last two decades are briefly analyzed. Particular emphasis is put on methods and topics. In the last section, the main limitations of current accounting research are highlighted, and some directions for future research are outlined.
Keywords: Accounting research, past evolution, future directions, research methods, research topics.