﻿ Research Writing Guide, Dr. Usip, Economics

A Guide To Composing & Submitting Research Projects

SITE CONTENTS

Outline
Course Information
What is New - in
Assignments?
Solutions?
Research?

Contact Information

Resources for Economists

Details
Syllabus
SPSS/win Primer
Tutorials
Descriptive Statistics
Hypothesis Testing

Regression/Correlation
Time Series Basics

Multivariate Statistics
Research Guidelines
Guide to Research

Sources of Data
Writing Guide
Glossary of Statistical Terms
Notations&Formulas

What is New in Projects

Top

Mechanics
Required Elements of a Research Report.
How to include Greek letters & Graphs in the Report
An Example of a well structured Research Report.

Mechanics
Your research paper must be type written and submitted before/on the final examination date.

1. Do the required statistical analysis.
Carry out the steps specified in the Research Guidelines & Sources of Economic Data.
Save the output of your final SPSS/win sessions using file/save/dive where the "drive" is a:/ if you are using the network in all your statistical work or is c:\ if you have the student version of SPSS/win installed in your own computer
2. Write the report of your findings
Use
the format in the Research Report Template provided below to write the final version of your report. This template contains some basic elements of a well structured research report.

I. Introduction A paragraph that describes:

1. the topic of study
2. what questions you are attempting to answer
3. the data used
4. the general conclusions you reach without the details.

II. Model

1. A description of the statistical techniques you are using. Provide the econometric model and the underlying theoretical rationale, and briefly described the estimation procedure (e.g. OLS) and the assumptions you maintain. Use the Greek letters and mathematical symbols in specifying your model.
2. Discuss briefly the hypotheses you will test and the predictions you will make without going through all the details. (Those come later.)

III. Summary Statistics and Discussion

1. Describe your data and the sample. Use the output of SPSS/win commands such as /Statistics/Summarize/Frequencies or /Statistics/Regression/Linear/Statistics (then check the boxes corresponding to the specific descriptive statistics that you want SPSS/win to compute in the process of estimating the LRM equation) to provide summary statistics for the variables that appear in your model. Briefly discuss the patterns.
2. A graph is often worth a thousand words (or numbers). Including SPSS/win graphs in your report is necessary (e.g., scattergram or scattermatrix).

IV. Results

Report and briefly discuss the meaning of the estimation results. You can simply include SPSS/win (or ECSTAT) regression table here or, if you prefer, re-organize the important information contained in it. Compute predicted values and confidence intervals and carry out hypothesis tests using the methods that will presented in class. Discuss both the statistical and administrative meaning of the results.

V. Conclusions, Extensions, and Limitations

Summarize again what questions your research has addressed, and what results you reach. Discuss how results may be limited (e.g. by not having important variables) and discuss in which directions you might extend the analysis or what new questions the results raise in your mind. One or two paragraphs is sufficient.

VI. Appendix

Provide the complete SPSS or SAS outputs that contain all the final results that appear in the main body of the report.

Including Graphs, Greek Letters, & Math Symbols in theReport

Greek letters and SPSS/win Graphs in your report
The second required section of your research project is the Model, which almost always will require you to show some mathematical symbols or some Greek letters. There are two ways you can do this: the quick way and the nice way.

1. Greek letters and math the nice way - using WPwin

If your word processor does not support Greek alphabets (and other frequently used mathematical symbols), use the letter "b" for the Greek letter beta. Use the letter "s" for the small Greek letter sigma. Use the word "SUM" to represent the summation sign (large sigma). Use an underscore "_" on the line above to represent "bar." Use the carat "^" on the line above to represent "hat." Represent a subscript using the underscore "_" and a superscript using the carat "^" on the same line. For example, the following would be written as:

y_i = beta_o + betaX_i + epsolon_i will produce

Yi =  ßo+ ß1Xi + ei
_
Y = (1/n) SUM_{i=1}^n  Y_i

^
b  =  SUM_{i=1}^n  k_i y_i

Notice that "{" and "{" surround the superscript and subscript to keep track of what goes in them. In general, don't try to get to fancy with the notation when using the quick way.

2. Greek letters the easy way

If you cannot use your word processor to generate Greek symbols, feel free to use the standard ASCII alphabets such as "A, a" to denote the intercept parameter and estimator, respectively; and "B, b" to denote the slope parameter and estimator, respectively. I just want your paper to look professional so you can be proud to show the copy of your work your friends or carry it with you to a job interview.

SPSS/win or SAS/win graphs.

1. While viewing a graph in SPSS/win (or SAS/win), you can follow the Edit => Copy Graph menu to save the image of the graph in the Windows clipboard.

2. Paste the clipboard contents into your word processor or to a GIF, BMP, or JPEG file format and then import it into your word processor.

An Example of a Typical Research Paper. Here is a well done homework assignment from last term. Pay attention to the following aspects of the assignment:

1. The basic 6 parts of the assignment are all completed, including the team comparison.

2. The language is simple and to the point. These students explain exactly what they set and to do and what results they found without wasting the readers time.

3. A lot of work has gone into organizing the output into easy-to-read tables that present the critical information.

4. Hypotheses tests are clearly stated and properly interpreted.