How to do research and write about it.


 By Carl Christian Kontz (International Trade, Finance, and Development ’18)

As we are already in the third term and the time to write the analysis for our Master’s project approaches steadily, I thought it might be a good idea to share some resources about (economic) academic writing I came across over the last years.

 

John Cochrane of U Chicago, known for his contributions to financial macroeconomics and his blog The Grumpy Economist, provides us with a concise yet comprehensive guide on how to write a paper:

 

Another great resource covering nearly all issues of a (term) paper are the notes produced by Plamen Nikolov of Harvard University:

 

The most comprehensive guide on how to write economics I have come across during my undergraduate is by Robert Neugeboren and Mireille Jabocson of Harvard University. The guide outlines the economic approach, writing economically, the language of economic analysis, finding and researching your topic, as well as formatting and documentation.

 

Matthew Gentzkow (Stanford) and Jesse M. Shapiro (Brown) wrote a fantastic practitioner’s guide on how you should structure your code, why you should automate almost everything, and how important version control is. More general, the handbook is about translating insights from experts in code and data into practical terms for empirical social scientists. It’s a must-read for everyone working empirically.

 

Deidre McCloskey, another U Chicago household name, provides a deeper analysis of how an economist writes and thinks in her seminal works on the rhetoric of economics.

 

A great resource on how to communicate your research using data visualization is given by Jonathan A. Schwabish of The Urban Institute. Schwabish is considered a leader in the data visualization field and is a leading voice for clarity and accessibility in research.

 

Last but not least, the all-time classic by Berkeley’s Hal Varian on how to build an economic model.

 

Other useful resources are

 

Good general purpose books on writing, including organization and style, non-fiction books are

 

Strunk, White, and Angell – Elements of Style

 

William Zinsser – On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction

 

Michael Billig – Learn to Write Badly: How to Succeed in the Social Sciences

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *