Research Methods

Course Leader: Dr Dorina Bërdufi | Dr Bülent Güzel

Home Institution: Aleksandër Moisiu University, Albania | Yildiz Technical University, Turkey

Course pre-requisites: None

Course Overview
The course purpose is to guide students with the various methods used in business and social sciences research, provide them with the necessary knowledge and skills in engaging in critical analysis, as also in undertaking a basic research. This module is built to present some of the fundamental issues that are faced by researchers in the world in their efforts to make the analysis of social and business related problems. It is essential that managers and policy researchers should be capable to conduct research projects and evaluate the validity and reliability of research projects done by others, such as internal and external consultants, research and advertising agencies, social and industry organizations and governments. In such situations where decision-making is based on research done by others, a good grasp of research methods equips managers and policy makers to evaluate and apply research effectively. At the end of the module, students will understand how research is composed and how policy researchers develop their research and how they reach their conclusions. Also, they will be able to critically interpret many of the claims or counter-claims, which are often based on statistical indicators, which constitute the bulk of contemporary problems. The course is formatted to lay more on practical emphasis of student’s research. Students in each class will be engaged in the classroom and outside it, in practically implementing the methods.

Learning Outcomes
The main objective of this course is to give the student a methodological baggage, to be able to inherit the methods of scientific research. He/she will know how to choose search techniques according to the nature of the problem posed, according to the costs and difficulties to implement.

By the end of this course students will learn the concepts of meaning, knowledge, truth, critical thinking, analyzing vs. synthesizing, causation vs. correlation, hypothesis vs. theory and scientific methods through the history of science, and understand the nature of the scientific method and the ethics in doing research. 

By the end of this course students will learn how an organizational or a social problem is translated into a research question, how to distinguish between various types of research purposes, such as exploratory, descriptive and causal, and be able to design a basic research project.

By the end of this course students should be able to formulate hypotheses based on a conceptual model and learn how variables are operationalized and measured and how the relatedness between variables does reflect in the stated hypotheses.

Students will also learn both quantitative and qualitative research methods used in their field of study and how to present their results and recommendations, in the form of a research report.

Course Content

HOURS

TOPICS

CHAPTERS

 

 (6 hours)

 

Introduction to scientific theory.

Introduction to research and scientific investigation.

 

 

(6 hours)

 

Defining a Management Problem and asking Research Questions; Research Purpose: Exploratory, Descriptive and Causal.

Exploratory Research: Internal and External Search of Secondary Data, conducting literature review, focus group interviews.

 

 

 (3 hours)

 

 

Data collection methods for Descriptive and Experimental (Causal) Research.

 

 

(3 hours)

 

Operationalizing and measuring variables.

Survey Questionnaire design.

 

 

(3 hours)

 

Part III: Data Collection

Data Collection

Habits in data collection

Questionnaires

Practical exercises and enhancement, development of specific questionnaires

Part C: C1, C2, C3

 

(3 hours)

 

Semi-structured interviews

Focus Groups

Observation

Data Narrative

Documents

Secondary sources of data

Data collection through computer communication

Exercises and practical enhancement, gathering secondary sources in an Albanian institution.

Exercises and practical enhancement: development of a focus group for a current problem

Part C: C4, C5, C6, C7

 

Part C: C8, C9, C10

(3 hours)

 

Part IV: Data Analysis

Starting analysis

Part D: D1

(3 hours)

 

Working with data

Statistical Analysis

Part D: D2, D3

(3 hours)

 

Thematic Analysis

Narrative Analysis

Analysis discourse

Exercises and practical enhancement: Analysis of a scientific research paper (scientific journal, etc.).

Part D: D4, D5, D6

(3 hours)

 

Analysis of Contents

Theory based

Exercises and practical enhancement: Analysis of a scientific research paper (scientific journal, etc.).

Part D: D7, D8

 

(3 hours)

 

Computers use in data analysis

What then? Final Issue Computers use in data analysis

What then? Final Issue

Part D: D8, D9

 

(3 hours)

 

Part IV: Data Submission and Report

Importance of Audience

Writing for scientific research: reports and diploma themes

Data presentation

Making it public and further research

Part V: Making it public and further research

Part E: E1, E2, E3, E4

(6 hours)

Scientific projects presentation

 

Instructional Method

Lectures, class discussions, debates

Short exercises: There will be 7 short exercises to be completed outside of class that will help you practice some of the skills learned in class.

Brief Article Reviews/Analyses. Select an article from a business or political science journal. In a one-page format, you will identify the research question, the main variables, and the method used.

Research Design. Everyone will develop and draft a research design.

Required Course Materials
Required reading: Bob Matthews and Liz Ross, Research Methods: A Practical Guide for the Social Sciences, Pearson Education Canada; 1 edition (June 10, 2010)

Assessment

Active Class participation- 10% of grading

Short exercises and Pop-up quizzes – 20% of grading

Brief Article Reviews/Analyses – 20 % of grading

Research Design – 50% of grading