Association for Heterodox Economics Postgraduate workshop

16th-17th January 2014

Joining instructions


The Open University in London
1 - 11 Hawley Crescent
Camden Town
London NW1 8NP


Nearest Underground: Camden Town (Northern Line)

Local hotel information:


Draft Programme:

Thursday 16th:

Please arrive promptly at 0930 on the 16th.

Coffee and registration: 0930-1000

1000-1100: student introductions

1100-1115: coffee break

1115-1245: Jamie Morgan

1245-1330: lunch break

1330-1500: Paul Downward

1500-1515: breakout/coffee

1530-1715: Daniel Wheatley/Paul Downward

1715-1730: reflections

1900: dinner TBC


Friday 16th:

0930-0945: reflections on day 1

0945-1100: Frederic Lee

1100-1115: coffee break

1115-1300: Andrew Brown

1300-1345: lunch

1345-1500: Bruce Cronin

1500-1530: breakout/coffee

1530-1630: student workshops

1630-1700: wrap up, paperwork


Students: please bring with you information about your current research PLUS specific questions you have about research methodology. You will be asked to present very briefly (5 minutes maximum) from notes at the beginning of the workshop.

Student resources: see the reading lists and questions below AND the attached resources pack. Other resources will follow. Please attempt to read or at least skim the materials in the resources pack.

Expenses: please bring with you receipts for travel expenses. If you are able to accept a cheque in Sterling, we will give you one at the time. If you require an international bank transfer please also bring full details of your bank account.

Dietary requirements: If anyone has any dietary requirements please let us know as soon as possible. We have assumed that there will be vegetarians present and for simplicity have ordered vegetarian food as standard.



Details on sessions (provisional)


Jamie Morgan

Is it worth worrying about philosophy and a critical approach to methodology (rather than mastering my methods) when I've got a PHD to finish...

  • Will you be consistent?
  • Will your work be defendable (what does this mean)
  • Will your work be knowledge - science or scientism?



See readings below. Further readings contained in folder.


Paul Downward and Daniel Wheatley

‘Mostly Harmless Econometrics: A non Empiricist’s Companion’

  • ‘What is the difference between description and inference in empirical work?’
  • ‘What does statistical testing actually test?’
  • ‘What role does theory play in your research?’


Mixed methods research

  • What are the benefits and costs associated with a mixed methods approach?
  • Mixed or multi-methods, what is the difference?
  • How might mixed methods be used to (re) address your research question?



Downward, P. And Mearman, A. (2002). ‘Critical Realism and Econometrics: Constructive Dialogue with Post Keynesian Economics’, Metroeconomica, 53 (4): 391-415.

Downward, P. and Mearman, A. (2007). “Retroduction as Mixed-Methods Triangulation in Economic Research:  Reorienting Economics into Social Science.” Cambridge Journal of Economics 31.1:  77 – 99.


Frederic Lee

Critical Realism, Method of Grounded Theory and their Application to the UK Research Assessment Exercise



A.        Introduction:  Critical Realism and its Relationship to the Method of Grounded Theory

1.         Structures and Causal Mechanism- Agency

2.         Retroduction and the Method of Grounded Theory


B.        Method of Grounded Theory as a Research Strategy

1.         Pre-existing Ideas and Concepts

2.         Data, Constant Comparisons, and Theoretical Categories

3.         Structures, Causal Mechanism, and Grounded Theories

4.         Grounded Theories as Narrative Analytical Explanations


C.        Application:  UK Research Assessment Exercise

1.         Empirically Grounded, Structural-Causal Going Concern Recursive Model of UK Economics

2.         Structure-Acting Organizations-Decisions-Outputs-Discipline Events

3.         Data:  Mixed-Data Triangulation

            a.         Numerical/Statistical Descriptive Data

            b.         Historical/Archive Material

            c.         Survey/Questionnaire Material



1.         What is the difference between theory construction and testing a theory?

2.         Should theory be grounded in the real world?

3.         How does empirically grounding theory constraint what theory can say?



Material on Grounded Theory:

Lee, F., “Critical Realism, Grounded Theory, and Theory Construction in Heterodox Economics”,

Downward, P. and Mearman, A.  2007.  “Retroduction as Mixed-Methods Triangulation in Economic Research:  Reorienting Economics into Social Science.”  Cambridge Journal of Economics 31.1:  77 – 99.

Olsen, W. and Morgan, J.  2005.  ‘A Critical Epistemology of Analytical Statistics: Addressing the Sceptical Realist,” Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 35.3:  255-84.

Scheibl, F. and Wood, A.  2005.  “Investment Sequencing in the Brick Industry:  An Application of Grounded Theory.”  Cambridge Journal of Economics 29.2 (March):  223 – 247.

Material from the AHE Web Site regarding the UK Research Assessment Exercise:

Harley, S. and Lee, F. S. (1997) ‘Research Selectivity, Managerialism, and the Academic Labor Process: the future of nonmainstream economics in U.K. universities’, Human Relations 50(11): 1427–1460.
Download PDF here

Lee, F. S. and Harley, S. (1998) ‘Peer Review, the Research Assessment Exercise and the Demise of Non-Mainstream Economics’, Capital and Class, 66: 23–51 Download PDF here

Lee, F. S. (2007) ‘The Research Assessment Exercise, the State and the Dominance of Mainstream Economics in British Universities’, Cambridge Journal of Economics, 3(2): 309-25. Download PDF here

Lee, F. S., Pham, X. and Gu, G. (2012) ‘The UK Research Assessment Exercise and the Narrowing of UK Economics – Appendix’. Download PDF here


Andrew Brown

Large-scale survey research



Brown, A., Charlwood, A., Forde, C. and Spencer, D. A., ‘Changes in Human Resource Management and Job Satisfaction 1998-2004: Evidence from the Workplace Employment Relations Survey’, Human Resource Management Journal, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 237-56, 2008 

Brown, A, Charlwood, A., Forde, C. and Spencer, D.A., ‘Job Quality and the Economics of New Labour: a critical appraisal using subjective survey data’, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Vol.36, No.6, pp. 941–71, 2007

Brown, A., ‘Reorienting Critical Realism: a System-wide Perspective on the Capitalist Economy’, Journal of Economic Methodology, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp.497–517, 2007


Bruce Cronin: social network analysis


Readings and further materials to follow.

Important Web Links 

Methods @ Manchester:  Research Methods in the Social Sciences

Comparative Methods for the Advancement of Systematic Cross-Case Analysis and Small-N Studies

For Fuzzy Set Analysis and QCA help go to Compasss Mailing List which is managed by Wendy Olsen:

Econometrics Software


Links to Important Books on Methodology

Applied Economics and the Critical Realist Critique

The SAGE Handbook of Case-Based Methods

Data Collection:  Key Debates and Methods in Social Research

Realist Methodology

The SAGE Handbook of Grounded Theory

Economics and Reality

Reorienting Economics

Critical Realism:  Essential Readings