semester project discusses power indices W r i t i n g

semester project discusses power indices W r i t i n g


The objective of this project is for you to be able to showcase your understanding of the design of research methods.


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering are truly multi-disciplinary fields. The subfields that make them up take on a lot of different forms, and they are supported by a wide variety of research. We are unlike many older, better-established fields. For example, there is very little diversity in the nature of research that is conducted1 in psychology. In this class, we emphasize developing an understanding of this diversity with a particular focus on how it impacts research methodology, and research design.

The semester project is intended to challenge any orthodox notions that we may have of research, and integrate the notion of the design of research methods.

1According to Kidd (2002) hardly anything is published in psychology journals that we would not classify as quantitative research (according to the definition of this form of research by Creswell). In this sense, psychology is supported by a single discipline where research is concerned; it is orthodox. Note that there are several branches that govern thought in psychology (e.g. cognitive vs. behavioral) that are built on different foundations and would in their own right be considered to be different disciplines.

Individual vs. Group Work

I encourage you to undertake the projects in groups, but realize that it may be easier for you to undertake the project independently if you have a lot of factors that would impede collaboration. Working in groups does allow you to discuss ideas with other that are very likely to have different dispositions to the constitution of knowledge and how it is acquired. This will facilitate learning as well as challenge any orthodox notions that you may have.

Flexibility in Topics

The work that you produce must ultimately focus on research method(s). It will be evaluated based on how the work showcases your understanding of knowledge, methodology, the design of a research method, the implementation of research, its execution, and/or its robustness.

The work may range from a formal argument of research philosophy, to an assessment of methodology within a field, to an actual research project. In any case, the focus of my evaluation of the work will lie primarily on any discussion related to what research is, or how it is conducted2.

The flexibility allowed is intended to “encourage” debate within groups and highlight differences in thinking.

2For example, if you plan to execute some form of research, be sure that your emphasis lies on how you will be conducting the research, why you are conducting it in said manner, why not conduct the research in some other manner, what are the canons by which the research should be judged or evaluated, etc. Your execution of the work will hopefully support this discussion. Coming up with a “valid” result, etc. is not critical for this project.

Sample Topics

Rather than stipulate a specific topic for the project, below is a sample of the types of projects that have been undertaken and produced for this class, or came about from work that was conducted in this course. I also include some types of papers that have not been delved into as yet, but might spur some ideas for your groups. Note that this is not an all-inclusive list, and any new ideas or types of paper will be considered.

1)Papers on the nature of research derived knowledge

a)Brewer, Sousa-Poza; Generalized Research Canons

2)The breadth of research methodology

a)Sousa-Poza, Landaeta, Bedoya, Bozkurt, Correa; Research Methods in Engineering Management
b)Siangchokyoo, Sousa-Poza; Research Methodologies: A look at the underlying philosophical foundations of research
c)Magpili, Vasuthanasub; Providing New Research Methodologies for Engineering Research
d)Zhou; Qualitative Research in Engineering Management

3)Work on a specific research methodology

a)Sousa-Poza, Padilla, Bozkurt; Implications of a Rationalist Inductive Approach in System of Systems Engineering Research

4)The design of research methods

a)Little has been written on the actual art/process of research method design. How do we go about designing a research method? How, other than by experience, can be maximized the chances that a method is going to produce robust results?

5)The design of a research method

a)Bell, Calloway, Patel; Research Design for [testing] Adaptable SPAM Filters. This paper presents an interesting overlap between design, and testing of a design using principles of research. This should be of interest to those interested in providing more “practical” knowledge.

b)Daniels; Investigating Cultural Differences at NASA

6)A specific facet of research (such as confidence)

a)Leach (extract); Research Methods by Environmental Engineers. The extract from the semester project discusses Power Indices.

7)The evaluation of research

a)The evaluation of research is becoming a “hot” topic.

i)The perception is that the quality of publications has been dropping.

ii)Many think that the peer reviewing process is failing us. This is a serious issue since so much rests on the peer review.

b)The Generalized Research Canons by Brewer was intended to help address this problem and was presented at a conference on peer reviewing.

General Requirements



I will not be providing a specific format. You should present your work in a concise manner, consistent with a journal publication format.


You should follow a journal publication format consistently. Please note the journal format that you are using, and provide a link to the author guidelines that outline the referencing requirements.


Work within the guidelines for the journal. Typically conciseness is highly valued.

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