Creative Research in Economics  book cover
1st Edition

Creative Research in Economics

ISBN 9781138325197
Published May 31, 2018 by Routledge
190 Pages 52 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Researchers are expected to produce original findings, yet nobody explains how original contributions are conceived in economics. Recently there have been calls for more creativity in economic research, yet there is no literature that explores creative research apart from collections of biographical essays. This book aims to address that gap, exploring the process of conceiving and generating ideas for interesting and original research contributions in economics (and potentially other social sciences too).

Creative Research in Economics serves both a practical and theoretical purpose. Theoretically it presents a unique way of thinking about the nature of problems and questions in economics and the role of social science researchers in society. As such it offers an interesting way to think about the philosophy of science and methodology in economics, and how new ideas emerge in the discipline. Practically it develops techniques for finding interesting and original research contributions (as opposed to conventional data-gathering research).

Whether you are a graduate student looking for that first interesting question, a novice researcher in search of fresh avenues for research after your PhD, or a seasoned academic looking to teach the philosophy and methodology of economics in more interesting ways, you will find this book of great use.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Possibility of Systematic Originality

The state of scientific creativity in economics

Can creative research be a systematic process?

Going beyond existing creativity research

Chapter 2: Originality in Social Science Research

Defining originality

Degrees of originality

What the product of originality looks like

The disciplinary origin of scientific originality

From shared mental model to original contribution

How the leap happens

What will be regarded as conceptions?

Requirements for a systematic approach

Chapter 3: The Representation of Problems in Economics

The importance of problems in science

The importance of problem representation

Economic problems represented as trade-offs

Economic problems represented as conflicts

Comparing representations

How to construct an economic problem as a conflict

Assumption identification

Chapter 4: Originality Through Questions

Generating interesting questions

Questions of critical confrontation

Questions in pursuit of new ideas

Problematising questions

Chapter 5: Reasoning to New Ideas

Abductive reasoning

Abduction, deduction and shared mental models

Mathematical proof and creative reasoning

Abduction with the aid of a logical conflict

Abduction with the aid of questions

Chapter 6: Rational Reconstruction from Case Studies

Amartya Sen and the capability approach

Kydland and Prescott and the ideas of central banking

Ronald Coase and his Theorem

Chapter 7: Dealing with Authentic Economic Problems

The problem of authentic economic problem solving

The social nature of economic problems

The political nature of economic problems

The unstructured nature of authentic economic problems

Conventional ways of dealing with wicked problems

A participative approach to original contributions

Chapter 8: An Instructional Programme

Guiding philosophy

Instructional design

Front-end analysis

Goal, task analysis and objectives

Learning activities


Some additional findings from the first pilot programmes

Chapter 9: Next steps

Direct uses of this research

Obvious extensions

Less obvious extensions

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Arnold Wentzel is a lecturer at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, where he teaches economics, education and research writing across a range of disciplines.