A large part of research in operations management focusses on modeling and solving practical problems. In contrast to this “OR approach”, the objective of empirical research is to collect data about practical phenomena in order to describe, explain, or predict how those phenomena work. This module provides an overview of (mainly quantitative) empirical research approaches to investigate research questions in operations management and related fields. The focus in not on the comprehensive treatment of empirical research methods, but on how to proceed from having a basic research question to an appropriate research design and methodology. Hence, special emphasis will be placed on the importance of understanding the contingent relationship between the nature of the research question and the research design used to answer it. Topics covered include quantitative vs. qualitative empirical research, framing of research questions, engaging theory and grounding of hypotheses, measurement and operationalization, sampling, model specification, and mainstream research designs and methodologies. This will enable students to critically evaluate the quality of the majority of empirical research in operations management and to design convincing research of their own.
The module will be taught using an interactive seminar style and is based on the discussion of a selection of papers.
At the end of this course, students have gained the competence to initiate, design, implement, and evaluate empirical research in the social sciences as applied to operations management.
The module is organized as a compact course consisting of four blocks (2020: Apr-03 in SO318, May-08 in SO133, May-15 in SO318, May-22 in SO133).
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