The Process of Conducting Research

The Process of Conducting
By the end of this chapter,
you should be able to:
 Define Science
 Define research
 Identify the importance of research
 Name problems with research today
 Describe the research process
 Identify ethical considerations in conducting
 Reflect on the skills you bring to the research
Science: Definition
 Science is the organized accumulation of
systematic [reliable] knowledge for the
purpose of intelligent explanation
 Science is systematic inquiry -- it is not a static or
unchanging entity.
 Research and Science are mutually interdependent
 Science is accumulated, reliable knowledge
 Research is a process through which science is expanded and
tested for validity
Economics as Art and Science
(Is Economics a Science?)
 Economics is a science because it accumulates
(reliable?) knowledge through systematic inquiry
 It is also is an art which applies knowledge to current
issues and problems.
 Good
economic research requires intuition,
creativity, and worldly experience
The Scientific Method
• The
“scientific method” is basically a
perspective on how scientific investigations
should be undertaken.
• It can be considered as a complete set of
principles and methods that help researchers
in all scientific disciplines obtain valid results
for their research studies
Elements of the Scientific Method
 Empirical Approach
 Observation
 Questions
 Hypotheses
 Experiments
 Analysis
 Conclusion
 Replication
Elements of the Scientific Method
(Empirical Approach)
Evidence-based approach.
The guiding principle behind all research
conducted in accordance with the scientific
Data derived from direct, systematic and careful
observation and experimentation (as opposed to
speculation, intuition, opinions, feeling)
Elements of the Scientific Method
Awareness of the real / physical / social world in which we
exist. This, in turn, gives rise to questions as the basis for
research studies or investigations
Elements of the Scientific Method
o Making an answerable question out of a research idea.
o The
question must be answered using available and
established scientific research techniques and procedures.
o Scientific Analysis should not be attempted on questions
which cannot be answered
Example of an answerable question:
Can regular exercising reduce an individual’s cholesterol level?
Example of a (currently) unanswerable question:
Is time travel possible?
Elements of the Scientific Method
Hypotheses attempt to explain phenomena of interest.
A hypothesis is a proposition which is empirically testable.
It usually seeks to explain relationships between variables, and
predict, and must be falsifiable
Typical hypotheses structures:
Conditional - If Condition X is fulfilled, then Outcome Y will result
Correlational - The value of Variable B is observed to be related with
changes in the value of Variable A
Causal – The value of Variable X determines the value of Variable Y
Elements of the Scientific Method
Experiments are basically about measuring phenomena
and collecting accurate and reliable data which are used
for analysis and evaluation
Accuracy – Correctness of the Measurement
Reliability – Consistency of the Measurement
Elements of the Scientific Method
Analysis is about the use of qualitative or quantitative
tools and techniques to process data
Quantitative tools and techniques are considered more
desirable (objective) than qualitative tools and techniques
Statistical and ec0n0metric analysis is typically used to
quantitatively analyze data acquired in research studies
Elements of the Scientific Method
Based on the results of the analysis conducted, we
support or refute a hypothesis
When undertaking research, conclusions should only be
based on the available data and not broadened to include
statements which are not supported by the data
Example: If the research analysis shows that two
variables are correlated (related), do not assert also that a
causal relationship exists between them
Elements of the Scientific Method
The purpose of replication is to ensure that if the same
research study is conducted with different participants
(i.e. researchers, research subjects), then the same results
are achieved
Replication establishes the reliability of a research study’s
What Is Research?
 The researcher asks a question.
 The researcher collects data.
 The researcher indicates how the data answered
the question.
Research is a Process that Results in a Product
The product is knowledge or information.
Research results are answers to questions.
Good research raises new questions.
What is Research?
There are many accepted definitions for the term
“research”, for example:
Research is an active, diligent and systematic process of
inquiry in order to discover, interpret or revise facts,
events, behaviours, or theories, or to make practical
applications with the help of such facts, laws or theories.
The term ‘research’ is also used to describe the collection
of information about a particular subject
(Encyclopedia Wikipedia)
A Definition of Research
Research is a process of steps used to
collect and analyze information in order
to increase our understanding of a topic
or issue.
Developing Critical Thinking Skills
Critical thinking = a highly aware perspective that tries to
avoid fallacies
 reveal assumptions
 adopt multiple viewpoints
 keep an open mind while questioning simple solutions
 Developing Critical Thinking Skills
Critical thinking uses a special type of argument called
empirical evidence
Argument = set of logically connected statements that start
simple and end in a clear conclusion.
Empirical evidence = evidence of actual events occurring
in the world, that come from direct or indirect observations.
What is Evidence?
Quantitative Data = evidence in the form of numbers.
Qualitative Data = evidence in the form of visual images,
words or sounds.
Approaches to Social Research
 Objective observation
 Focus on variables
 Reliability
 Separation between
theory and data
 Generalizable
 Large N
 Statistical analysis
Approaches to Social Research
 Cultural meanings
 Focus on events
 Authenticity
 Merging between theory
and data
 Situational
 Small N
 Thematic analysis
Importance of Research
 Reason 1: Research adds to our knowledge.
 Addresses gaps in knowledge
 Expands knowledge
 Replicates knowledge
 Adds voices of individuals to knowledge
Importance of Research (cont’d)
 Reason 2: Research helps improve practice.
 Economists gain new ideas for their job.
 Economists gain new insights into approaches.
 Economist can connect with other economists.
Importance of Research (cont’d)
 Reason 3: Research helps inform policy debates.
 Research allows people to weigh different perspectives on
 Research enables people to make informed decisions regarding
The research process
Factors to consider
 The impact of your personal feelings and beliefs
 Access to data
 Time and other resources
 Validity and reliability of the data
 Ethical issues
Problems with Research Today
 Contradictory or indefinite findings
 Questionable data
 Unclear statements about the purpose of
the study
 Lack of full explanation of the data
collection procedure
 Inarticulate rendering of the research
Steps in the Research Process
Theory without empirics
is empty.
Empirics without theory
is blind."
Immanuel Kant - (1724 - 1804)
The Process of Research
Identify the
Research Problem
Evaluate Research
Review the
Analyze and
Collect Data
Specify a
The Process of Research:
Identify the Research Problem
 Specify a problem
 Suggest a need to study the problem for audiences
 The analysis of business cycle is one of the most
important steps for both healthy evaluation of
economic developments and construction of
accurate economic policies.
 for a true understanding of the developments in
Turkish economy and design of economic policies
that enable stable and sustained long-run economic
growth, the results of the study have to be evaluated
The Process of Research:
Review the Literature
 Locate resources
 Books
 Journals
 Electronic resources
 Select resources
 Determine the relevant resources for the topic
 Organize the resources by developing a “Literature Map”
 Summarize the resources in a literature review
 One of the most influential empirical papers ever
published to date is a paper by Kydland and Prescott
(1990). In this well known article they displayed the
stylized facts of business cycle fluctuations in USA. In
this study following the Lucas’s definition, business cycle
is defined as the deviations of aggregate real output from
its trend.
 Plosser
(1989) investigates real business cycle
fluctuations in USA between 1954-1985. For analyzing
the properties of the business cycle, he used the moments
of the sample and found out that the growth rate of
investments is the most volatile process. Output, wages
and consumption follow this.
The Process of Research:
Specify a Research Purpose
 Identify the purpose statement
 The major intent of the study
 The participants in the study
 Narrow the purpose statement
 Quantitative: Write research questions
and/or hypothesis
 Qualitative: Identify a central phenomenon
and write subquestions
 in this study we try to identify those shocks that
impact Turkish economy and to construct the
dynamic responses caused by these shocks.
The Research Process:
Collect Data
 Determine the data collection method
 Select the individuals to study
 Design data collection instruments and
outline data collection procedures
 Obtain permissions
 Gather data
The Research Process:
Analyze and Interpret Data
 Take the data apart to look at individual
 Represent the data in tables, figures, and
 Explain conclusions from the data that address
the research questions
The Research Process:
Report and Evaluate Research
 Report research
 Determine the audience for the report
 Structure the report
 Write the report sensitively and accurately
Types of Research
 Exploratory Research = research into a new
topic to develop a general understanding and
refining ideas for future research
 Descriptive Research = research that presents a
quantitative or qualitative picture of an event,
activity or group
 Example : Unemployment in Turkey since 1980
Types of Research
 Explanatory Research = research that attempts
to test theory or develop a new accounting of why
activities, events or relations occur as they do
Example : Keynesian Consumption Theory : There
is a positive relationship between consumption and
disposable income.
 Evaluation Research = applied research that is
designed to learn whether a program, product or
policy does what it claims to do
Example : Was the contractionary monetary policy
successfull in decreasing the inflation.
Summary of Research Types
Purpose of Research
Type of Research
Main Audience
Learn about something
new and unknown
Varies, usually a
General ideas and
research questions
Provide details on
something known
Factual details and
Build a new or test an
existing explanation
Professional researchers
Test a theory, compare
Determine the
effectiveness of a
program or policy
Does it work?
Practitioners and policy
Ethical Considerations in Research
 Respect the rights of the participants
 Honor the requests and restrictions of the research
 Report the research fully and honestly
Skills Needed for Research
 Curiosity to solve puzzles
 Long attention span
 Library and computer resource skills
 Writing and editing skills
And finally……..
U N D E R TA K I N G A L L R E S E A R C H ”