Case Studies

This is a list of case studies that I have authored. These case studies introduce the students to some of the problems that are encountered while conducting research and what sort of techniques are used to address these issues.


Negotiation and Cooperation: A Simulation Using Agent-Based Modeling

Published in SAGE Research Methods

Many people end up working in fields different from what they had originally intended. I hold a bachelor’s degree in computer and communications engineering but ended up doing my PhD in organizational theory. As a computer and communications engineering student, I was exposed to a lot of programming, and I liked it. When you program, you create things that do not exist, and you see the result of your work when you run the program. Many of my friends, and students, ask me whether studying engineering was a waste of time since I no longer practice it. The answer is no, and the reason is that I have found my programming knowledge to be very useful in the social sciences. As Steve Jobs said, sometimes you have to connect the dots. The purpose of this article is to introduce the reader to a specific type of computer programming that can be very useful to social scientists, agent-based modeling. The only way to learn and understand programming is through an example. This is why, in this article, I will develop a simple model of negotiation and cooperation between individuals. The article will then show how the model is implemented using NetLogo, which is the most popular agent-based modeling environment. Finally, the article will show the reader how he or she can visualize the result of the simulation.


Probing the Minds of Female Engineers: The Richness of Qualitative Research

Published in SAGE Research Methods

This case is a reflection on my first experience using interviews in a research project. Although I believe in the power and elegance of quantitative methods, qualitative methods allow for research that is richer, deeper, and in many instances a better read. The article describes how I chose the research topic and what led me to use interviews even though I had originally planned to use regression. The article then goes on to describe how my colleagues and I conducted the interviews. Finally, I highlight the main learning points that I came out with from this research project.


The Statistical Toolbox: Reflections on my Dissertation Experience

Published in SAGE Research Methods

Starting work on your dissertation is a truly daunting task. While working on my own dissertation, two pieces of advice given to me by my advisor shaped how I approach the topic of research. This article summarizes my experience in dealing with these pieces of advice. The article describes why the first piece of advice was the best advice that my advisor gave me. The article also describes why the second piece of advice went contrary to the first, thus leading me to abandoning the piece of advice. I talk about the difficulties I faced while collecting data, and how, by expanding the number of tools in my statistical toolbox, I was able to work with what I had. Statistical analysis is not an easy subject, especially the methods that are used in quantitative analysis. The mathematics behind them is complicated, to say the least. Fortunately, social scientists do not need to know the math. They do need, however, to understand the underlying principles to mold these tools to their situation. Luckily, there are resources that help you do this, but you have to look for them carefully.