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Unformatted text preview: ECON 196 - Fall 2010 Paper Guidelines Writing a good economics paper is both an exciting and a nontrivial task. It requires a sustained e ort in identifying an important question and in developing a credible model to think about that question or a testable hypothesis to answer it. In some cases it may require collecting data that gives the opportunity to test an hypothesis. You are encouraged to structure your paper in four parts: introduction, literature review, body and conclusion. In addition, a very brief abstract of no more than 100 words should precede your paper. 1 Introduction Identifying an important research question is the most crucial part of the research process, and often the most di cult, too. A good research question has to be concise (remember, you have to write a 15 page paper, not a book), feasible and important. Choosing a research question requires balancing importance and feasibility. Feasibility involves tractability for theoretical research and data availability for empirical research. Whenever you come up with an idea for a research question, always try to think about a critic sitting in front of you asking Why should I care about this? . Consider this question to be a rst lter for your research question. Identify a well-de ned research question. The introduction is where you (1) present the research question, (2) motivate why it is important and brie y outline (3) how you go about answering it and (4) what your key results are. Be sure to clarify how your research question relates to material learned in Econ 196, and why the existing literature may not answer the question adequately. To write a successful introduction, you will need to have read and understood previous academic work by economists (or other social scientists) that relates to your research question, and you will need to be 1 clear about the limitations of this literature. You should also be clear on what you can contribute....
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