Autumn Semester 2017, Empirical Methods in Management @D-MTEC, ETH Zurich, Prof. Dr. Wangenheim
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Why do firms conduct empirical research?
Others do it too
Justify decisions and opinions
Have knowledge and evaluation capabilities to understand the consequences of decisions
=> decisions based on empirical research are better (measured by results)
Three main research designs?
Exploratory: helps learn more about the problem, terms and definitions, or identify research opportunities. Qualitative research
Descriptive: describes the phenomena of interest. Secondary data analysis, survey research
start with a broad literature review and theory, narrow it down to specific hypotheses and test these through the collection of data.
"Classical research approach"
move from very specific (“interesting but unexplained”) observations in our data to a detection of patterns, up to a formulation of tentative hypotheses and a theoretical framework.
"Big data approach"
Ethicals principles in empirical research?
Voluntary participation: Make sure that study participants are taking part in the study voluntarily and are not coerced.
Informed consent: Inform participants about the procedures and risks involved in your research and get participants consent to participate.
Anonymity: Assure participants that no one, including yourself, will be able to link the data to a specific individual (Not always possible. Then assure at least confidentiality)
Confidentiality: Assure participants that identifying information about them acquired through your study will not be released to anyone outside the study.
No data fabrication or manipulation
Extent to which changes in the dependent variables(s) can be explained by the experimental manipulation and not by external factors=> Degree to which a causal conclusion can be drawn
Extent to which the results of the experiment can be generalized – from sample to population=> Degree to which findings are representative
=> no external validity without internal validity
Threats to internal validity (extraneous variables)?
History (what happens during the experiment)
Maturation (changes in the test units themselves)
Mortality (survivorship bias)
Instrumentation (changes to the measuring instrument)
Experimenter effect (reaction to the experimenter due to age, sex, race, …)
Socially desirable behavior and/or demand effects
Selection bias (due to the improper selection of test units)
Testing effects / reactivity (caused by the process of experimentation)
Regression to the mean (test units move to the mean in the process of the experiment)
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