Research is difficult - Research in economics The following...

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Research in economics. The following approach on economics research is taken from Steven Greenlaw’s text Doing Economics . It is a classical approach to economics which stresses the deductive method. This method is still widely used in economics, but there is also a growing body of policy research and more inductive methods. “Research is difficult. It is not a straightforward, mechanical process but one replete with ambiguities, wrong turns, and “wasted efforts” Steven A. Greenlaw, Doing Economics , p.1 Research methods = tools of economics research like good writing or statistics Research methodology = how these tools are combined to reach valid and reliable research Research = creation of valid knowledge, not just the collection of facts or information. Facts are discovered; knowledge, as an interpretation of facts, is created. Scholarship is the creation of knowledge by the construction of arguments. An argument is a point of view or position on a question or more formally an assertion or claim supported by reasons or evidence. To put it another way, research is the systematic approach to obtaining and confirming new knowledge which is reliable. How are arguments supported? Arguments compete with another through their validity. Validity comes from the logic of the argument and the evidence that supports it. When we start studying a subject, we tend to think that one answer is right and all others are wrong. However as we study economics (or any subject) more we find that there is often more than one point of view on a question. This does not necessarily mean that all these points of view are correct or valid. It might be that we don’t yet have enough evidence to settle the question or that the question is so complicated that more than one answer may have partial validity. However that does not mean that there are not also incorrect answers. So we try to use critical thinking which is the evaluation of competing arguments on the
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This note was uploaded on 02/15/2011 for the course ECON 451 taught by Professor Sinclair during the Winter '11 term at Wilfred Laurier University .

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Research is difficult - Research in economics The following...

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