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AG ECON 560 RESEARCH METHODS                                                                            (1L + 1P) I

Objective
  The objective of this course is to familiarise students with the basic methods of research in economics. The course explains all aspects of social research starting from hypothesis formulation to data analysis. The issue of ethics in research is also discussed in the course.

Theory

UNIT I
  Importance and scope of research in agricultural economics. Types of research - fundamental vs applied. Concept of researchable problem, research prioritization, selection of research problem. Approach to research; Research process.

UNIT II
  Hypothesis: meaning, characteristics, types of hypothesis. Review of literature. Setting of research objectives and hypotheses. Testing of hypothesis.

UNIT III
  Sampling theory and sampling design, sampling error, methods of sampling, probability and non- probability sampling methods, criteria to choose. Project proposals: contents and scope, different types of projects to meet different needs, trade-off between scope and cost of the study. Research design and techniques; types of research design.

UNIT IV
  Data collection: assessment of data needs, sources of data. Mailed questionnaire and interview schedule: structured, unstructured, open-ended and closed-ended questions. Scaling techniques. Preparation of  schedule. Problems in measurement of  variables in agriculture. Interviewing techniques and field problems. Methods of conducting surveys; reconnaissance survey and pre- testing.

UNIT V
  Coding, editing, tabulation and validation of data. Tools of analysis – data processing. Interpretation of results. Preparing research report / thesis; Universal procedures for preparation of bibliography; Writing of research articles.

UNIT VI
  Ethics in research. Meaning of ethics in research; principles and elements of ethical research; design, implementation and operationalisation of ethical research.

Practicals
  Exercises in problem identification. Project proposals – contents and scope. Formulation of objective and hypotheses. Assessment of data needs – sources of data – methods of data collection. Methods of sampling – criteria to choose – discussion on sampling under different situations. Scaling Techniques – measurement of scales. Preparation of interview schedule - Field testing. Methods of conducting surveys. Exercise on coding, editing, tabulation and validation of data. Preparing for data entry into computer. Hypothesis testing – parametric and non-parametric tests. Exercises on format for thesis / report writing. Presentation of the results.

Suggested Readings