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BA 762 Syllabus

Fall 2010, Fridays 2-5pm, B&E 452




This course provides a general introduction to research methods. It is a Ph.D. level course for students in the social sciences (particularly management and marketing).


There are many different ways of handling a course like this. One approach is the conceptual/mathematical -- really explaining at a deep level things like formal measurement theory, measures of association, multivariate statistics, and so on. Another approach is the in-depth, hands-on workshop on how to use a set of techniques for collecting and analyzing data. The third is a survey of what techniques are out there and when you should use them. This course is blend of the last two, focusing more on what do you do when rather than the underlying math behind specific techniques.


On finishing this course, you should not only understand the basic concepts of social science research methodology, but be able to design your own study. In addition, it is hoped that you will be able to learn more about individual techniques on a 1-to-1 basis with the instructor.


IMPORTANT NOTE: For some classes, you will be required to bring a laptop. These days are clearly marked on the schedule.



Schedule of Topics and Readings


The schedule of topics and readings is on the web at the address below. I do not recommend printing it as the schedule changes from time to time. It is your responsibility to check it every week.



On the last day of the course, students will present the results of their semester-long research project. Important: this will be an all-day class from 9 to 5.



Assignments & Grading


The course has one major assignment -- the final paper -- which is worth 60% of your grade. This paper (20-40 pages) should report the results of an empirical study. Empirical means that you actually collect data. Make sure that the paper answers a clear research question -- it cannot be an aimless application of techniques learned in class. Ideally, the project would have both an inductive step (generating theory from data) and a deductive step (testing hypotheses derived from theory). However, one or the other it is ok. Empirical consulting projects, in which you use research methods to diagnose an organizational problem and prescribe a solution based on the diagnosis, are also welcome. IMPORTANT: Avoid toy projects that are too trivial to ever be published. The written paper is due by midnight, Dec 17, but a 20-25 minute presentation on the main results will be given on the last day of class. Please hand in the paper in electronic form only!


The paper may be done collaboratively if the project is more ambitious than a single person could handle. Also, you should consult the University of Kentucky Office of Research Integrity to see if your project needs IRB approval, and do what ever is necessary on this front. Please share what you learn about this process with others in the class so that everyone learns this key competence.


Another 25% of your grade is based on collaborative homework assignments which will be assigned at various points throughout the semester.


The remaining 25% of your grade will be based on class participation. This is evaluated on the frequency of relevant, constructive contributions that demonstrate thoughtful reflection on concepts and/or active engagement with data. Important: it also includes participation on the class google group.


IMPORTANT: Please note that all assignments should be handed in electronically and uploaded to the class Google Group, so that everyone can read them.





The schedule gives the key readings for each week. In general, I have tried to provide electronic copies of all readings (though sometimes these are links through services like JSTOR, so you will need university credentials to reach them). A number of handouts, works in press, slide shows etc are also provided. These should be treated just like the published readings.


The schedule also gives an extensive bibliography for further reading in case you are interested.





I did not order any textbooks through the school bookstore, so you will have to order your books via Amazon or the like. The required and recommended books are these:


Required Books

  • Dillman, D.A. Mail and Internet Surveys: The Tailored Design Method - 2007 Update, (2nd edition), NY:John Wiley and Sons, 2007. ISBN: 0-4700-3856x.

  • Gladwin, C. Ethnographic Decision Tree Modeling. Sage. 0 8039 3487 4 [added 2010]

  • Krippendorf, K. 1980. Content Analysis: An Introduction to its Methodology. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.

  • Kruskal and Wish. Multidimensional Scaling. Sage. 0-8039-0940-3

  • Spradley, James. The Ethnographic Interview. Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch College Publishers. 0-03-044496-9

  • Strauss & Corbin. Basics of Qualitative Research. Sage.

  • Trochim and Donnelly. 2006. The Research Methods Knowledge Base. Atomic Books. [link] ISBN-13: 9781592602919. [you may prefer to buy this one directly from Atomic Books because they have an option for also downloading additional material from the web]

  • Weller, S. & Kim Romney. Systematic Data Collection. Sage. [added 2010]

Strongly Recommended Books

  • Bernard, H.R. Social Research Methods. Sage.

Other Useful Books

  • Bernard, H.R. (ed). 2000. Handbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology

  • Bernard, H.R., 2002. Research Methods in Anthropology, 3 rd Edition . Sage Publications.

  • David Freedman, Robert Pisani & Roger Purves (1998) Statistics, 3rd Ed.  New York: Norton

  • Glaser & Strauss. Discovery of Grounded Theory. Walter De Gruyter. 0 2023 0260 1

  • Miles & Huberman. Qualitative Data Analysis. Sage. 0-8039-5540-5

  • Miles, M.B., & A.M. Huberman. 1994. Qualitative Data Analysis: an Expanded Sourcebook, 2nd Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

  • Neuendorf, K.A. 2002. The Content Analysis Guidebook . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

  • Ragin. The Comparative Method.

  • Swanson, R and Holton, E. (Eds.). 2005. Research in organizations: foundations and methods of inquiry. Berrett-Koehler

  • Weller and Romney. Metric Scaling. Sage.


  • UCINET. I will provide a free registration code for each student

  • SPSS or other statistical package. This is something you will need to purchase on your own.

Online Groups and Lists

You must join the following online Google group:

  • BA 762 Group. A Google group just for this class. It allows me to send announcements and you to ask questions, discuss concepts, etc.


  • Class participation is strongly encouraged. You do *not* want to hear me lecture for 3 hours straight. And when I am lecturing, you should feel free to interrupt whenever.

  • I am not bothered by students' multi-tasking (e.g., checking email) as long as they are actively participating at the same time. If you are not a good multi-tasker, don't try this.



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