Introduction to Scientific Work and Empirical Research (Einführung in das wissenschaftliche Arbeiten und die empirische Forschung)


  • Semester: Winter Semester 2022/23
  • Degree programs: cf. the corresponding Bachelor's degree program lists (also under the old name).
  • Scope: 2 SWS/3 CPs
  • Exam: group work & term paper (ungraded)
  • Material: own laptop / tablet
  • Dates: to be announced, probably end of January 2023
  • Registration: To register, send the following information to Elisabeth Hofmann (e.hofmann(at)
    • name, matriculation number, field of study, semester of study
    • Application deadline: up to and including 31 January 2022
  • Contact person (for questions regarding content): Henning Meier henning.meier(at); Richard Betzold richard.betzold(at)




Methods of empirical research are becoming increasingly important in business administration. The course provides a general introduction to scientific work and then goes into more detail on the approaches of empirical research. To this end, the lecture builds a bridge from philosophical epistemology to the evaluation procedures of mathematical statistics and focuses on the development of research designs for obtaining empirical data. After a brief introduction to epistemology, various forms of empirical research are introduced (action research, case study, experiment, interview, survey, secondary data analysis). Based on this, particular attention will be paid to operationalization in empirical research (questionnaire construction, construct measurement, item formulation) and to special features of data collection. Following the theory transfer, different multivariate methods of data analysis will be presented using case studies.


Content Overview

  1. Scientific work
  2. Epistemology
  3. Basics of empirical research
  4. Empirical research approaches and forms
  5. Operationalization in empirical research
  6. Causality, population and sample
  7. Data analysis with multivariate methods
  8. Group work



To successfully pass the course, students must write a term paper. Within the term paper, the primary task is to briefly outline an existing economic theory and then develop a research design to test a derived research question from that theory. Apart from data collection, all steps are to be presented and discussed within a short essay.



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Learning Goals


The primary goal of the course is to familiarize students with various concepts and tools to set up empirical research designs. The secondary goal is to provide students with the fundamentals of data collection and methodological evaluation.


In the course, empirical methodology is approached from the perspective of a behavioral scientist rather than a statistician. Therefore, the emphasis is on the judicious use of data collection methods and analysis techniques for accurate (in the sense of publishable) theory testing. However, although statistical concepts are covered extensively (to ensure that procedures and techniques are applied judiciously), statistical theory per se is not the focus.


  • Albers, S., D. Klapper, U. Konradt, A. Walter u. J. Wolf: Methodik der empirischen Forschung. 2. Aufl. Wiesbaden: Gabler 2007.
  • Backhaus, K.; Erichson, B.; Plinke, W.; Weiber, R.: Multivariate Analysemethoden. 12., überarb. Auflage, Springer, Berlin u.a. 2008.
  • Bortz, J. & Döring, N.: Forschungsmethoden und Evaluation für Human- und Sozialwissenschaftler. 4., überarb. Aufl., Springer, Berlin u.a. September 2006.
  • Bryman, Alan: Social Research Methods. 4th Edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2012.
  • Klandt, H., & Heidenreich, S. (2017). Empirische Forschungsmethoden in der Betriebswirtschaftslehre: von der Forschungsfrage zum Untersuchungsdesign, eine Einführung. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG.
  • Schnell, R., Hill, P. B. & Esser, E.: Methoden der empirischen Sozialforschung. 7., völlig überarb. und erw. Aufl., Oldenbourg Verlag, München 2005.