This module is a year-long module guiding students from reading papers, to writing papers. Along the way students are taught how to craft research questions, how to write research proposals, how to communicate research, reference management software, LaTeX, Data cleaning, how to structure a paper, in short this is a swiss army knife module for research in Applied Economics.

This class is supported by DataCamp, an incredibly intuitive platform to learn R. They support education around the world for free via this initiative. Find out more here .

Module Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you should be able to:

  1. analyse economic data using regression analysis and statistical inference, and critically interpret regression output;
  2. synthesise and communicate canonical causal research designs, with an emphasis on plausibility and application;
  3. demonstrate a professional working proficiency in data collection, cleaning, and analysis in using reproducible statistical programming packages;
  4. design and execute a causal evaluation of a real-world policy intervention and communicate the findings to a wide audience.

Detailed Overview

This is the UG Dissertation module, designed to provide you with the necessary skills and tools to conduct an independent research study in empirical economics and write a high-quality dissertation. This module is a crucial part of your undergraduate degree and will help you prepare for a career in economics or further academic study.

The module is divided into two parts. In the autumn, you will learn the foundations of research methods in empirical economics, culminating in the development of your research proposal. In the spring, you will focus exclusively on writing your dissertation under the supervision of a staff member and the coordination of the module coordinator.

Throughout the module, you’ll be guided through every stage of the research process including:

selecting your research question; reading academic texts critically; identifying a literature and synthesising its findings; identifying appropriate empirical techniques; structuring your research paper; how to write like a professional economist; communicating complex research to a wide variety of audiences. You’ll receive a mixed approach to learning, including interactive workshops, computer labs, and journal clubs. We will also offer online delivery of specialist software and office consultation times for your convenience.

My goal is to prepare you for every stage of the research process, including understanding the assumptions that underpin common research methods used in economics and crafting a well-structured research paper. We strongly encourage you to take advantage of the drop-in computer labs offered in the spring to get assistance with any issues related to your specific dissertation.

Past students have covered a wide range of topics in their dissertations, some of which can be found in the Stirling Student Economic Review. By the end of this module, you will have the necessary skills to conduct independent research in empirical economics and write a high-quality dissertation that showcases your knowledge and expertise.

Course Outline

Autumn Semester

  • Journal Clubs 1-5
  • How to come up with a research question
  • Finding Relevant Papers
  • How to write research proposal
  • Proposal Symposium
  • Using reference management software
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Getting data

Spring Semester

  • On writing a dissertation…
  • On Stata and cleaning data…
  • LaTeX (or, how I wrote a beautiful dissertation to a template, and made my life significantly easier!)
  • Dissertation Results Symposium