Hi Fred

I'm not an economist, rather my interest in economics came about because I discovered an alternative economics that made sense to me as someone who has studied social theory and economic history. Conventional economics is absurd. Why study it? How can it generate valid research?

So, I'd broaden your question a little (apologies) and also ask if people have had any background in other subjects - sociology, economic history, history, biology, ecology, physics etc. - subjects that permit them to escape or maintain a distance from the straight jacket of mainstream economics and bring fresh ideas. 

This might work well to elicit ideas about the breadth of research approaches that can be used and why a research method is chosen. This can broaden the theoretical frame and our understanding for why a method has been chosen. 

Non of this is essential for the validity of your basic question, but I have to say that what's also been interesting to me whilst discovering a better economics has been understanding other people's theoretical perspectives and the way these have generated research approaches. 

I'm thinking of MMT in relation to institutional thinking that contributes to directing attention away from the 'micro' and towards macro economics, banking, banks and other social institutions. Of Graeber and his understanding of the anthropologist's historical record. And of Keen and his drawing upon calculus and engineering when modelling, and then more  generally, of biology and emergence in our understanding of complex systems.

Best wishes, good luck also. Your question sounds like it will be very fruitful.


On 28 January 2014 10:32, Daniel Underwood <[log in to unmask]> wrote:



Fred poses an interesting question and it will be interesting to learn what he discovers.  During my post-doctoral time studying forest ecology at the University of Washington a course in research methods (in addition to various formal classes in statistics) was required in the Ph.D. program.  I also noted many students (same ones in the research methods class) also were in the Experimental Design course. I have found what I learned in those course very useful working as an economist, and think such broad exposure would be good for the profession.


Daniel Underwood




From: AFEEMAIL Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Lee, Frederic
Sent: Monday, January 27, 2014 8:45 AM
To: [log in to unmask]

Subject: query about research methods


Dear Colleagues,


You may know that I am editing a Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Heterodox Economics.  As part of the introduction to the contributions in the Handbook, I would like to know whether heterodox economists take courses in research methods other than econometrics as part of their doctoral training.  So I have a couple of questions/queries that I would like to have some information about:


University of your Doctoral Economics Program and Years Attended:


Did you program have a course or provide training in research methods other than econometrics?  If so, could you provide a little description.


Did you obtain training in research methods other than econometrics outside of economics while as a doctoral student?  If so, could you provide a little description.


If you used research methods other than econometrics in your dissertation or ongoing research and did not obtain such training as a doctoral student, how did you acquire such research capabilities?


Alternative research methods other than econometrics could be historical, surveys, questionnaires, oral interviews, ethnography-participant observation, experimental, factor analysis, cluster analysis, nonparametric, social network analysis, agent-based computational, case study, and of course others that show up under qualitative research methods.


Any assistance you can give me in this manner will be great.




Fred Lee


Professor Frederic S. Lee

AFEE President-Elect

Department of Economics

University of Missouri-Kansas City

5100 Rockhill Road

Kansas City, Missouri  64110


E-mail:  [log in to unmask]

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