Discussion: The Ups and Downs of Empirical Research

Discussion: The Ups and Downs of Empirical Research

October 24, 2013

DT Cochrane

It is exciting to see this website grow. Content is being added here and there, and our Working Paper Series has its first paper.

What already stands out on this website, in my opinion, is the strength of the empirical research. With our feet planted in society itself, we have before us a great big object in need of study: capitalism. Empirical research, as slow and tedious as it sometimes feels, gives a critique of capitalist power a foundation on which to construct broader, more general theoretical claims.

What is hidden from the presentation of empirical research, however, is all of time that was spent overcoming hurdles. The final version of a figure or table can look clean, but the person or persons responsible can tell you a long story about the difficulties involved.

Below is a simple visual representation.

How I feel when I think new data will support my theoretical arguments: dance_suit

How I feel when I actually take a closer look:


Do you have a story about the ups and downs of doing empirical research? Any inspiring stories of an empirical problem finally being solved? Please share in the comments below.