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    Introduction to Scientific Methodology


    All tracks

    Follow-up / Interfaces:           

    All classes


    Pre-reading and preparation tasks


    Lecture, group tasks, individual tasks,
    plenum discussions



    ECTS points:



    Prof. Dr. Christoph Desjardins
    Prof. Dr. Frank Oerthel

    Aims and objectives: 

    The seminar Scientific Methods gives an introduction to the whole process of planning, conducting and presenting research projects. Specific areas covered are: fundamentals of research, selection of a problem to study, review of literature and secondary data, design and setup of empirical studies for collecting data, analysis and interpretation of these data and presentation of findings and conclusions. The focus of the lessons is to enhance the student’s ability to critically evaluate data and assumptions drawn from it. The processes of planning, collecting data and evaluating facts can also be seen as valuable assets in approaching problems in everyday live. Therefore the fallibility of human reason is explicitly included in the lessons. A scientific approach to deal with one’s own misconceptions is advocated.

    General learning objectives:

    The students need to know the principles of scientific methodology and how to conduct and describe empirical research.
    The graduates are capable of doing proper scientific research and write a scientific paper that complies with APA standards
    Graduates are convinced that following the rules of scientific research is the only way to provide sustainable and transferrable knowledge for the business community

    Detailed learning outcomes:

    • Understand the principles, process and value of scientific research
    • Know the most important concepts of scientific research
    • Learn basic skills in planning, implementing and presenting an empirical research project
    • Get an introduction into analysis of survey data using SPSS (procedures and interpretation of output)
    • Learn the most widespread techniques of statistical data analysis (uni-, bi-, multivariate techniques)
    • Learn basic techniques of inductive statistics such as testing hypotheses and learn their application
    • Know the basic rules of writing a scientific text and how to apply the APA formatting and citation guidelines
    • Get an idea how to critically evaluate research papers and assumptions drawn from scientific research
    • Be able to apply critical thinking in everyday life in order to question one’s own misconceptions

    Course textbook:

    Leedy, P.D.& Ormond, J. E. (2013). Practical research: Planning and design (10th ed.). New York: Prentice Hall Macmillan. 

    Field, A. (2013). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS statistics, 4th ed.

    Script for lecture "Methodology", provided by lecturer

    Content & structure of Introduction to Scientific Methodology: 

     1. Fundamentals of research 

    • What is research? 
    • Why is scientific research useful? 
    • Basic tools of research: library, measurement and statistics 

    2. Selecting a Problem and Reviewing the Research 

    • Research problems and the derivation of hypotheses
    • Review of related literature 
    • Planning of an empirical research project 

    3. Research Methodology 

    • Qualitative research 
    • Quantitative research: setup, sampling procedures, and questionnaire design
    • Experimental designs
    • Statistical data analysis: selected uni-, bi-, multivariate methods including statistical hypothesis tests

    4. Presenting Results 

    • Elements of a research report 
    • Publication style 

    5. Questionable Beliefs in Everyday life

    • Cognitive determinants
    • Motivational and social determinants
    • Applying the scientific method in daily life

    Recommended supplemental readings: 

    Backhaus, K., Erichson, B., Plinke, W., Weiber, R. (2011): Multivariate Analysemethoden, 13th ed..

    Berekoven, L., Eckert, W., Ellenrieder, P. (2009): Markforschung, 12th edition. Wiesbaden: Gabler Verlag

    Fantapié Altobelli, C. (2011): Marktforschung. Methoden - Anwendungen - Praxisbeispiele, 2nd edition. Stuttgart: UTB

    Hollensen, S., Schmidt, M. (2006): Marketing Research: An International Approach. Financial Times Prentice Hall

    Weis, C., Steinmetz, P. (2012): Marktforschung, Kiel

    Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). (2009).

    Kuhn, T.S. (2012).The structure of the scientific revolution, 4th edition. Chicago:  University of Chicago Press

    Raab, A., Poost, A., Eichhorn, S. (2008): Marketingforschung - Ein praxisorientierter Leitfaden, Kohlhammer

    Hague, P., Hague, N., Morgan, C. (2013): Market Research in Practice, 2nd ed.

    Hollensen, S., Schmidt, M. (2006): Marketing Research: An International Approach.

    Johnson, R., Wichern, D. (2011), Applied Multivariate Statistical Analysis, 6h ed.