The Department of Corporate Leadership and Entrepreneurship uses different methods and instruments in research. Consecutively, the most important methodical approaches are briefly illustrated:
Personal questionnaires and online questionnaires
One of the most frequently used methods for systematically getting information about attitudes, traits, preferences and behaviour of persons is to ask them directly. In this connection, qualitative and quantitative approaches are differentiated. Qualitative questionnaires are often used in the exploration and theory development phase. To establish space for creating something new the interviewee should be limited as less as possible in his/her answering possibilities. With the aid of content analysis relevant information should be extracted from the data gathered.
In later phases, these observations become measurable and verifiable by the aid of quantitative methods. The aim should always be to extrapolate from statements of a preferably representative subset (sample) to real conditions and connections of an underlying entity (population). A high proportion of standardization, the use of validated measurement procedures as well as the guaranty of anonymity help to minimize distortive tendencies, like social acceptability.
In laboratory examinations in the Max Jung lab for experimental economics individual and strategic decision making processes are being examined. Situations from economic life are simulated in the laboratory in which participants of the experiment have to make their decisions. The goal is to test (game-)theoretical models for behaviour in such situations with actual behaviour in the laboratory and to extend the models with this empirical basis.
Magnetic resonance imaging System
Magnetic resonance imaging is a non-invasive method which enables producing sectional images of the brain with high spatial resolution. These images are generated with the aid of a strong magnetic field and high-frequency impulses (radio waves). The brain has – similar to muscles – a high degree of plasticity. Areas which are often activated while playing an instrument can be more distinctive within the brain of a professional musician than within the brain of an average person. Similar observations can be made regarding the expertise of persons in other areas of life. Those differences in the anatomic nature can be visualized with the aid of the structural magnetic resonance imaging.
In contrast, it is possible to visualize activities of the brain with the aid of the functional magnetic resonance imaging. An activated area needs more oxygen which is transported to this area through blood. The different magnetic attitudes of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood (BOLD signal) indirectly suggest activities of the particular structure. Thus it can be examined which areas contribute to the solution of a task. By linking this knowledge, networks and structures can be identified whose activation enable assumptions about the thoughts and feelings of a person.
How we perceive our environment substantially influences our feelings and consequently our behaviour. A big part of our sensation is gained through the visual perception. Similarities of groups as well as differences between individuals can be explained using i. a. the choice and filtering of information. The eye tracking research tries to use this relation and to track which contents get the most attention of persons – as well as when, how and why. This is how preferences in action are indirectly explored and how it can be examined which changes of certain parameters maximize the effects in perception and behaviour.