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Economics/Thesis on Groundwater in India

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Question
Dear Sir
I am working on my thesis that is based on a project titled "Understanding the magnitude of tanker based economy and its implications on water resources: A study of water tanker market in Peri-Urban Area." My study area lies in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.

My research question are based on the following line:

1. What does the analysis of past 50 year depth to groundwater level of the area offers on a Basin level?
2. What is the status of groundwater particularly in those watersheds where the fluctuations have been high.

I was unable to do a detailed field work, where I had to find out number of private tankers operating in the basin and mapping of location where they get the water from.

I am having difficulty in building my literature review on these lines. Can you please help me structure my lit. review for my study. I am trying to make it interdisciplinary. Supposedly following the lines of Ecological economics, socio-economic and socio hydrology. Can you please suggest me few reads. Please help me as I am completely lost.

Thanking You.

Sana

Answer
Dear Sana--

I am sorry that you're having such a tough time. When you say you're working on your 'thesis,' I'm assuming that it's either at the master's or the doctoral level. In either case, there should be a faculty member who can help you. That's part of what your tuition is paying for--help in situations just like this one.

FWIW, I would also offer you the thought that 'interdisciplinary' research is difficult on any level. The scholars I know who do such research (a) have PhDs, (b) are tenured faculty members, and (c) have many years of research experience. Even then, it's a very hard slog. Therefore, one thing I would suggest to you is to narrow and simplify your research questions.

Speaking of which, I think that Research Question #2 is especially problematic. I'm troubled by the word 'status' - it's broad, imprecise, and ambiguous. Especially for someone who is new to conducting independent research, as I suspect you might be, 'broad,' 'imprecise,' and 'ambiguous' are three attributes that you should seek to avoid in the wording of any Research Question.

That said, when I read Research Question #1, it doesn't make sense to me. I don't understand 'to groundwater level,' 'offers', and 'a Basin level'.

If, for some reason, you cannot access a scholar at the institution you're attending, you should do 'key-word searches' at Google Scholar and also at the Social Science Research Network. If you're not yet registered w/SSRN, you'll need to do that. It's free, so don't worry about having to pay anything.

FWIW, I just went to Google Scholar and searched on the word groundwater . What I found was interesting, at least to me, who knows nothing about the area of your research. Here are links to the first three 'hits' that appeared from my search: click here; then here; and finally here.

Finally, if you need to discuss this further, please e-mail me off-line: cfa2005@gmail.com . I'd appreciate knowing if those three links in the preceding paragraph were at all helpful. I look forward to hearing from you directly and hope that what I've offered here is helpful. Please note that I have narrowed the title of your question because 'Thesis' is just too-too broad for those who might be looking for help on a similar topic.

I hope this is helpful, Sana. Do let me here directly from you, please.

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Warren D. Miller, CFA, CPA, ASA

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My expertise in economics is limited to three sub-disciplines: Austrian economics, industrial organization, and evolutionary economics. Questions dealing with macroeconomics and other sub-disciplines of the subject should be submitted to those who have the appropriate expertise. N.B.: I DO NOT ANSWER QUESTIONS MARKED 'PRIVATE' because I believe that knowledge should not be hoarded. I also believe that such questions are likely to come those trying to cheat. Also, as one who was a full-time academic for half a decade, I can recognize test/homework questions several time zones away. Do not demean yourself by submitting such questions to me. Those who do so are cheating; I WILL call you out publicly. I have a zero-tolerance policy for cheating and dishonesty. In addition, please don't emulate the businessman who posted a request for help in August 2008. He expressly denied that he was seeking "investment advice" and said that his query was for, and I quote, "educational and informational purposes." Later, he allowed as how his questions related to the possible purchase of a $500K piece of equipment. I said I thought he had misrepresented himself. Bottom line: high-end business consulting is how I make my living. I am the sole support for my family. Please respect that fact and don't try to get for free what our clients pay for. If your company is big enough to have a sophisticated problem, it can afford to pay for the expert advice we and others provide. Beckmill Research, LLC, is a 95-octane firm. We're small, but we've been at this for nearly 20 years. We know what we're doing. Segue: Early on, some asked me for career advice; I gave it. I now get many such requests. The demand for a valuable good that is free is unlimited, so I now charge for that advice. Email me: cfa2005@gmail.com. Finally, PLEASE DO NOT ASK FOR INVESTMENT ADVICE. I am not licensed to provide such advice. If you want such counsel, talk to your financial planner or other financial adviser.

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I work with Austrian economics (which differs in major respects from the traditional economics), industrial organization (which is about industry structure, conduct, and performance), and evolutionary economics (almost, but not quite, the economic analog of its biological counterpart) every day in my work. I appraise closely-held businesses, provide exit-planning services, and offer high-level strategic analysis, advice, and solutions to CEOs and owners of mid-sized businesses. Understanding, applying, and writing about these disciplines is an essential part of how I have made my living since 1993.

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