PPA 810 - Research Methods for Public Administration


Introduction

Research in Public Administration comes in two distinct but related forms. One flows from the 19th century scientific tradition with the express objective of providing a general explanation for observable phenomena. The second derives from the action oriented environment of Public Administration. This second form is primarily prescriptive and action-oriented and therefore, quit similar to engineering and business related work. In almost every instance of prescriptive research some underlying explanatory theory is at work. For example, to say it is better to do A than B one must first be able to predict the effects resulting from both A and B and then consider the relative values of those outcomes. Traditional scientific explanatory research is therefore a necessary prerequisite for any prescriptive research.

Course Objectives

Grading

As part of the transition from traditional student to faculty colleague all graded assignments are designed to reflect real professional activities of research faculty. Each student will be assigned three article reviews for monographs that have been submitted for review to an academic journal. Time permitting students will be able to compare their reviews with those from the regular review process. Each student will also develop one 1 hour lecture on one of the major course topics for presentation to the class. The final project will be a research proposal due at the end of the semester. It is hoped that these proposal will be of sufficient quality to be submitted for possible funding

Mathematical Prerequisites

I recognize that there will be a wide variation in prior mathematical training. Consequently, I will run a Friday afternoon tutorial on a variety of mathematical topics designed to bring all students up to a minimal level of competency. I will specifically review topics in calculus and matrix algebra. While this first semester class will make use of these tools only occasionally, they will be used extensively in the second semester course on multivariate modeling.

Text Books

Babbie, Earl, The Practice of Social Research, Wadsworth Publishing Company: Albany, 1995

Cook, Thomas and Campbell, Donald, Quasi-Experimentation: Design and Analysis Issues for Field Settings, Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, 1979.

Yin, Robert K., Case Study Research: Design and Methods, Second Edition, Sage: Thousand Oaks, CA, 1994.

Fowler, Floyd J., Survey Research Methods, Second Edition, Sage: Thousand Oaks, CA, 1993.

Lavrakas, Paul J., Telephone Survey Methods: Sampling, Selection and Supervision, Second Edition, Sage: Thousand Oaks, CA, 1993.

Additional Readings

Measurement

Anderson, Andy B., Basilevsky, Alexander, and Hum, Derek, “Measurement: theory and Techniques,” in Peter H. Rossi, James D. Wright, and Andy B. Anderson, eds., Handbook of Survey Research, Academic Press: New York, 1983.

Bohrnstedt, George W., “Measurement,” in Peter H. Rossi, James D. Wright, and Andy B. Anderson, eds., Handbook of Survey Research, Academic Press: New York, 1983.

Sampling

Thompson, Steven K., Sampling, Wiley-Interscience: New York, 1992.

Theory Development:

Bozeman, Barry, “A Theory of Government “Red Tape”,” The Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Vol. 3, No. 3 (1993), pp. 273-304.

*Hempel, Carl, Aspects of Scientific Explanation and other Essays in the Philosophy of Science, Free Press: New York, 1965.

*Kaplan, Abraham, The Conduct of Inquiry: Methodology for Behavioral Science, Chandler Publishing: San Francisco, 1964.

*Kuhn, Thomas, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Second Edition, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1970.

Case Studies:

Barzelay, Michael, “The Single Case Study as Intellectually Ambitious Inquiry “, The Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Vol. 3, No. 3 (1993), pp. 305-318.

Behn, Robert K., “Case Analysis Research and Managerial Effectiveness: Learning How to Lead Organizations Up Sand Dunes,” in Barry Bozeman ed., Public Management: The State of the Art, Jossey Bass,: San Francisco, 1993.

Campbell, Donald, “Degrees of Freedom and the Case Study, “ Comparative Political Studies, September, 1975, pp. 178-93.

Overman, E. Sam, and Boyd, Kathy J., “Best Practice Research and Postbureaucratic Reform,” The Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Vol. 4, No. 1 (1994) pp. 67-83.

Wolf, Patrick J, “A Case Survey of Bureaucratic Effectiveness in U.S. Cabinet Agencies: Preliminary Results,” The Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Vol. 3, No. 2 (1993), pp. 161-181.

Experiments:

Bretschneider, Stuart; Straussman, Jeffrey; and Mullin, Daniel. “Do Revenue Forecasts Influence Budget Setting? A Small Group Experiment.” Policy Sciences, 1988, 21:305-25.

Greenberg, D.H., and Robins, P.K. “The Changing Role of Social Experiments in Policy Analysis.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 1986, 5:340-62.

Landsbergen, David; Bozeman, Barry: and Bretschneider, Stuart. “‘Internal Rationality’ and the Effects of Perceived Decision Difficulty: Results of a Public Management Decisionmaking Experiment.” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 1992, 2:3:247-64.

Rohrbaugh, J. “Improving the Quality of Group Judgment: Social Judgment Analysis and the Delphi Technique.” Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 1979, 24:73-92.

Rohrbaugh, J. “Improving the Quality of Group Judgment: Social Judgment Analysis and the Nominal Group Technique.” Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 1981, 28:272-288.

Shangraw, R.F., Jr. “How Public Managers Use Information: An Experiment Examining choices of Computer and Printed Information.” Public Administration Review, 1986, 46:506-15, Special Issue: “Public Management Information Systems.” Barry Bozeman and Stuart Bretschneider, eds.

Wittmer, Dennis, “Ethical Sensitivity and Managerial Decisionmaking: An Experiment “. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 1992, 2:443-462.

Surveys:

Bobrowski, P., and S. Bretschneider, "Internal and external interorganizational relationships and their impact on the adoption of new technology: An exploratory study," Technological Forecasting and Social Change,Vol. 46, pp. 197-211 (1994).

Bozeman, B. and S.I. Bretschneider, "The 'Publicness Puzzle' in Organization Theory: A Test of Alternative Explanations of Differences between Public and Private Organizations," Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Volume 4, Number 2, pp. 197-224 (1994)

Fletcher, P., Bertot, J and Bretschneider, S., "The role of the governmental information services unit in the market," Information, Infrastructure and Policy. Vol.4 pp. 1-19 (1995).

Welch, Eric and S. Bretschneider, “Contracting IN: Can Government Be a Business?,” forthcoming in H.G. Frederickson eds. Public Administration as Reform and Innovation.

Course Topics

  1. Defining a Research Question and Criteria (Babbie Chapters 1-4, Cook and Campbell, Chapters 1-2)
    1. Criteria for a good theory
    2. Causality
    3. Cook and Campbell Criteria for research designs
    4. Design for a Research Paper
  2. Concept Definition and Measurement (Babbie Chapters 5-7, Bohrnstedt, Anderson et. al.)
    1. Scale and Scale Properties
    2. Factor Analysis
    3. Multi-dimensional scaling
  3. Logic of Sampling and Some Designs (Babbie Chapter 8, Notes from Thompson)
  4. Data Collection - Research Designs
    1. A. Case Study (Babbie Chapters 11-12, Yin)
      1. Case study as both quantitative and qualitative
      2. Role of Theory
      3. Case Selection
      4. Data sources
      5. a. Archival b. Surveys c. Interviews d. Observation

      6. Assessment of Case Study Methodology
      7. Participant Observation
      8. Interviewing
      9. Unobtrusive Measures
    2. Survey Research (Babbie Chapter10, Fowler, Lavrakas)
      1. Role of Theory
      2. Instrument Design
      3. Sample Design
      4. Implementation issues
      5. Selection and response bias
    3. Experiments and Quasi-Experiments (Babbie Chapter 9, Cook and Campbell Chapters 3,5,7)
      1. Pure Experiments
        • a. Control
        • b. Treatment
        • c. Randomization
        • d. Some Designs
      2. Quasi- Experiments
        • a. Non-equivalent control design
        • b. Interrupted Time-series design
        • c. Passive Observational