PAP 3310 Sept 10, 2012 : Week 2
What is Research?
‘Research is a systematic search for answers to questions using a clearly specified process for gathering
and analyzing data. It is empirical, meaning that information is derived from experiment, observation or
experience.’ (Johnson, p.8)
o If you don’t have a definition of research then everything can seem like a research.
o It answers questions... what you are trying to find out. Research is always informed by a
question and it’s always challenging to find out just the question. It’s important to get the
o Many methods to answering the questions. And to figure out the process they use to gather
Importance and Particularities of Research in Public Administration
• Importance of research in public admin (class discussion)
‐ Nature of the issues: ‘Wicked problems’, controversial issues
‐ Nature of the context: political, research only one input to decisions
‐ Nature of the research: often based on social science research, trade-offs have to be
made between quality and cost, role of assumptions
o why is research important: the importance of research is: - it is fundamental decisions
that is affecting lots of ppl (policy decisions, and individual programs...) These decisions
are made by research. Affecting large numbers of people, environment, decisions
governments make have consequences, they have to be informed by research. Given
the importance of these decisions.
o Wicked problems: very complex, multiple dimensions, has so many situations. Energy
challenge is an example of wicked problems; it has lots of issues (lights, power, oil,
o Nature of issues: many issues are wicked problems: they are extraordinarily complex its
not obvious to figure out causal relationships.(ex student loans: what is the best
repayment schedule). Energy issues: many competing objectives. all research studies
have flaws the issues are controversial.
o Nature of context: The context is political- authoritative allocation of values. Who’s
values are pursued? Informed by values beliefs, etc. Its political and research is only one
input to decisions, its made for a variety of reasons.
o All research studies have flaws
o Politics is about values... when it comes to energy , it’s no different
o Nature of research: social science research based. Because we are dealing with humans,
people, and social concepts. It’s a social science research . there can be multiple
answers, and alot of uncertainty, and challenges undertaking and evaluating research.
Trade off have to be made between quality and cost, its not cheap costs a lot. Made on
the basis of imperfect information.
o Role of assumption- assumptions, biases, values, opinions, we are going to be bias when
it comes to evaluating research or designing a research study, or creating a research
o In social sciences there can be many answers.
o Research is not cheap, costs a lot of money
o What do we still need to know (3rd reflex). There’s always things and answers we need
o Values, beliefs,... we are always going to be bias when it comes to making a research ...
you need to have an open mind. Experience, religion and values will affect your
evaluations... so u need to minimize this to try to be fair and open minded.
Types of Research and the Research Process
Types of Research
• Scholarly versus Applied
o Scholarly = building theories.
o Applied = problems driven. What do we do about it. Answers the problem. Ppl are more
interested to the applied research
o We are going to be doing more applied research
• Qualitative versus Quantitative
o Qualitative: exploratory, detailed, “Telling the story”, context, descriptive.
o Quantitative: numbers, larger, studies, gathering data.
o Both in conjunction makes the best research
The Research Process (Johnson, p.9)
• Iterative process with three phases:
o What is the state of knowledge? What do we need to know for this research?
Coming up with the research question. Planning stage in the most important...
getting the research question right because you don’t want to screw up the
o Methods, process
o Informing the policy decisions. Briefing note
Which Phase is the Most Important? Planning. In the beginning is the research question getting it
right and planning properly. Its the blue print for your study. Reporting is very important as well its going
to be what informing the policy decisions.
Challenges and Threats to Research in Public Admin
Are policy decisions based on research or are they based on ideology, intuition, experience, will of the
o Multiple inputs in policy decisions.
Is there enough funding for research?
A Closer Look at the ‘Death of Evidence’ Rally
* Death of evidence- rally when the mps were here, scientists got to get to argue that they are
moving away from research not funding enough. There have been cus to scientific and social
scientific research- statistics Canada they made the long form census voluntary no longer
mandatory. This would be a problem because when you send it representatively. You make sure
u have representative simply if it’s not mandatory you lose confidence in the results. Cutting
funds to research that aren’t in government political agenda/policy. The claim is that they are
trying to hide the evidence they don’t want.
Sept 13, 2012-09-13 -- The Canadian Energy Challenge
Canada’s Energy Context
In a nutshell, Canada is…
Energy rich *Hot and cold *Large and small
A (federal) energy ‘superpower’ with one main client ;)
east-west energy politics but north-south energy economics
tremendous energy/climate change challenges
o Canada has lots of natural resources that’s why we are energy rich. Weather is
hot and cold, so we need strong needs of energy (ac and heat). Large country,
lots of energy required for transporting… but with a small amount of
o Country with multiple energy policies.
o East- west energy politics: fights in the country. For the most part the energy
flows from north south, so Canada and USA.
Canadian Energy Resources
Among the richest in the world
Third largest oil reserves: 175 billion barrels of oil (170bbl oilsands)
Natural gas reserves: 62 trillion cubic feet (+355 tcf shale)
Electricity generating capacity: 128 GW
o Canada’s the third richest in oil. Saudi Arabia’s first.
o amount of reserves changes, depends on technology and price. We are the largest hydro. These
resources are on conventional resources. – resources that are much more challenging to
o Canada is energy rich- we have significant natural resources, hot and cold temperature strong
needs for energy significant consumers, we are also a large country in terms of land mass alot of
energy requirements in terms of transporting things across, but with a very small population
they need energy to be able to move around
Oil principally in AB, SK & offshore NL
Natural gas principally in AB, BC, NS, NL but also North, SK & PQ
Hydro mostly in PQ, BC, ON, MB and NB
Nuclear principally in Ontario but also NB and PQ
Increasingly non-conventional and harder to develop
Canadian Energy Production, Consumption & Trade
Fifth largest energy producer in the world
Oil production set to increase
Natural gas production – future unclear
Electricity production – set to keep pace with demand
Energy consumption dominated by hydrocarbons – exception is Canada’s relatively ‘clean’ electricity
Energy markets regional markets and highly integrated with US
Energy exports/imports virtually all to US for oil, natural gas and electricity (all)
Where were you on August 14, 2003?
Blackout of August 14, 2003 at 4pm EST
o Ontario, Quebec, and USA ( New York)...
o Largest blackout.
o Weren’t cutting the trees around the power lines.