Intermediate Research and Study Skills

A comprehensive and successful economic education, one that permits the conduct and communication of economic research, must first enable a student to:

  1. Gain access to existing knowledge: locate published research, information on particular topics and issues, search out economic data and information about the meaning of data.
  2. Display command of existing knowledge: summarize knowledge of some economic condition, ideas of some economist, a controversy in economic literature, a policy issue.  This can occur at a variety of levels of sophistication ranging from understanding newspaper articles on economic events to interpreting equations and regression results in published articles.
  3. Draw out existing knowledge: being able to articulate economic principles used in various economic analyses (ranging from, say, an article in the Wall St. Journal to a relatively accessible academic publication).  Using primary data (e.g., a World Bank publication) to evaluate basic economic relationships such as the question of whether real interest rates in India are positive.
  4. Utilize existing knowledge to explore issues: written or oral analysis of a current economic problem with original conclusions on a relevant course of action or policy.
  5. Create new knowledge: identify or formulate a question or set of questions about an economic issue that will facilitate investigation; prepare a 5-page proposal for a research project; research study with results (ranging from simple statistical analysis to regression results) in a 20-page paper, often accompanied by a half hour oral presentation.

This summary is discussed in much greater detail in ECNPedagogicalGoals.doc.