Thursday, April 27, 2006

Term Paper Posts

I used to have students present their term paper topics to the class during the last week of class. It always frustrated me a bit, though, because each student only was given 15 minutes or so to present and get feedback. This never seemed to be enough time.

This year we will use this space to present your topics and get feedback. By next Thursday, I want each of you to post a brief description of your topic which looks similar to empex5 (hopefully you will have some at least preliminary results, but if you don't that isn't the end of the world) and includes:

1) A brief description of the hypothesis (hypotheses) that you are examining and a clear empirical prediction. What question are you trying to answer? What are the economics behind your argument/story?

2) What is your empirical strategy? This should include the basic equations you are estimating (e.g., Y = a + BX + cW + dZ + ... + e), a description of the data you employ (i.e., you should briefly describe your dataset), and, if necessary, details of any experiments you are running.

3) Any results you have obtained.

4) A basic description of any concerns with your approach. What might be biasing your results? Non-random sample? Measurement error? Omitted variables? Simultaneous causality? Any other problems which might affect what we can conclude from your analysis?

Keep the post on the main page brief. If you want to go into great detail (and I encourage you to do this), please send me a document version and I will post a link to it.

Please note that part of this assignment is commenting on your tutorial mates ideas in order to help improve their work. This can be done using the comment threads or email (just cc me on any email that you send). You obviously don't need to comment on everybody's ideas, but you should be sure to comment on at least 4 or 5.

Further note that you can post your ideas anytime you are ready. In fact, you have incentives to not post on Thursday. If everyone posts at the same time your ideas might get lost and not draw as many good comments. So you should think about posting earlier before others post in order to attract maximum attention.

Finally, I have longer to turn in grades than I thought, so the term papers will be due Friday, May 12 at 11:59 PM.

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