Thursday, January 9, 2014

4. What is Good Research?

Jan. 9, 2014
The professor in one of my graduate classes at Michigan State University yesterday offered this list to help evaluate "what is good research." This was of extreme interest to me, having just been in the trenches of field data analysis with Counter Culture Coffee. Artisan Coffee Imports assisted in the final phases of research on the topic of "the impact of microlot premiums for coffee producers in Colombia". I am happy to share that I believe Counter Culture's forthcoming report will score relatively high marks on most of these seven points. My comments shed light on the ones that can be difficult or may be less applicable in some cases. Counter Culture's project is a great illustration of #7: good research points the way to doing even better research in the future.

Good research:
1. Is based on the work of others. (Difficult to do as a business with little time for conducting literature reviews. Employ an intern to help.)

2. Can be replicated. (Thus it is important to document both the methods of data collection and the methods of analysis.)

3. Is generalizable to other settings. (This is true for quantitative research. Often qualitative research and assessments are not as concerned with generalizing to a larger population.)

4. Not done in intellectual isolation.
5. Is doable (scope is not so vast the research is never complete.)
6. Is apolitical.
7. Research is on-going (always generates new questions.)

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