3_Introduction_Part_2 - ECO 4451 Student Lecture Notes 1...

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ECO 4451 Student Lecture Notes 1 Research Methods in Economics Research Methods in Economics ECO 4451 Research Methods in Economics Introduction - Part 2 From Question to Project From Research Question to Project ± After finding a research question ± We consider further steps… (1) Developing one or more hypotheses (2) Defining variables (3) Time dimension of research (4) Reviewing the literature ± Read on your own (see syllabus) 3 Background: More About the Question ± Identify important factors related to your question ± Examples of research questions: ± Version #1 : What determines student academic achievement in school? ± Factors ± School resources ± Students’ family background, socioeconomic status ± Others?? ± Version #2 : Do students learn more when secondary schools have more resources? 4 Background: More About the Question (cont.) ± It’s explanatory , rather than merely exploratory or descriptive . ± Explanatory ± Understand observed patterns or events, shed some light on causality ± Descriptive ± Describe/document characteristics of situations, events, agents ± Exploratory ± Initial examination of topic, test feasibility of fuller study, test methods to be used in fuller study 5 Background: More About the Question (cont.) ± Research usually is about aggregates or groups, not individuals ± It’s not about any particular student, but about students in general ± Or, equivalently, it is about an individual as a representative of a group – e.g., the average student, or a large firm, or a championship team. ± Use as representatives of larger group ± Usually NOT about ONLY Jose or Sally or ONLY GM or ONLY the New York Yankees 6
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ECO 4451 Student Lecture Notes 2 Research Methods in Economics Background: More About the Question (cont.) ± It’s about regularities or probable patterns ± We want to know if students typically learn more when schools have more resources ± Not whether in every single case students learn more with more resources ± We’re after the general pattern, not the exceptions 7 Background: More About the Question (cont.) ± We’re coming at it deductively rather than inductively . ± Deductively ± start with a partial theory of what determines learning ± test whether the expected relationship between learning and specified determinants is seen in observed data ± Inductively ± start with observation of student learning and factors that might affect it ± try to discern patterns from which we would infer determinants of learning 8 From Question to Initial Project Development: Common Errors ± Framing the question in a way that leads to a “report on” rather than an “investigation of.” ± Setting out to prove a point rather than to investigate objectively a question investigate objectively a question. ± Waiting too long to match the question to
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3_Introduction_Part_2 - ECO 4451 Student Lecture Notes 1...

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