Field-Based Research on Production Control

Part of the International Series in Operations Research & Management Science book series (ISOR, volume 151)


Field-based research is a form of empirical research and involves actual experiments or observations. The experiments and observations are often used to support or test scientific claims. They are also often used to generate insights about a phenomenon or possible research topics for further analysis (e.g., find a suitable topic for a graduate student). Although we perform field-based research for a number of reasons, we hope that the results we obtain are sound, scientifically valid, and provide value to both the field and science. Through field research, we endeavor to understand and model the business process, or capture the important and salient characteristics of the problem so that we can include them in modeling and analysis. We might hope to incorporate findings from field research in automated tools and advanced algorithms, making them more realistic and useful. In the best situation we can hope for scientific results that can predict or guide processes to the best possible outcome. This might be the lowest inventory levels possible, highest quality, least scrap, the most nimble and responsive reaction to a change in demand, or the quickest completion of an order. Strong, rigorous science is often associated with characteristics such as awareness and minimization of bias, inclusion of the necessary and sufficient aspects of the problem, ability to be replicated, evidence-based reasoning, careful and supported lines of causality, consistency in the use of terms and definitions, and the ability to be generalized in different ways. The science can take different forms: descriptive, prescriptive, predictive, or normative. Each type of science has assumptions and limitations. Each type also has recognized methods and tests of scientific quality. This chapter discusses various types of field research and presents ideas and methods for the sound undertaking of each type.


Supply Chain Business Process Inventory Level Production Control Assembly Plant 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Management SciencesUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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