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The Format of a Student Research Project
Aidan Kane1 aidan.kane@nuigalway.ie September 2007 Department of Economics NUI, Galway Ireland www.economics.nuigalway.ie

1 First

distributed October 1998. Comments on these notes are welcome.

Abstract This set of notes guides you on the format of student research projects in economics. Keywords research, writing, typography JEL Classification Nos. A20, C88

Contents
1 Introduction 2 The format of a research project 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Title page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Abstract . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Table of contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The main text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4.1 2.4.2 2.4.3 2.4.4 2.4.5 2.4.6 2.5 2.6 2.7 Sections and section headings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Diagrams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mathematics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Quotations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1 2 2 2 3 3 4 7 8 9 9

Citing the work of others . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Appendices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 16

3 Conclusion

List of Tables
1 Example of a Table . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

i

List of Figures
1 Example of a theoretical diagram . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

ii

1

1

Introduction

These notes set out the basic conventions which your EC350 Research Project should adopt. Some of the detail here will take time to learn. The overall rule is to take a simple design at the start and work with it over many re-drafts in order to communicate your work effectively.

2

The format of a research project

Your EC350 Research Project should have the following elements: • Title page • Abstract • Table of contents • The main text: – Sections and section headings – Tables – Diagrams – Mathematics – Quotations – Citations • Notes • Appendices • Bibliography The paper you are reading mostly follows such a design, to let you see it in action. Look at other models, above all in the academic journal literature, for what works, but take this design as a reasonable one with which to begin.

2

2.1

Title page

State the title and your name on this unnumbered page. Label the page with other relevant details, such as the course code and title, your identification number, the examiner’s name (it’s discourteous to misspell a name, of examiner or mortal) and the date. Reserve acknowledgements for a note elsewhere, and limit your gratitude to those who helped in specific, academic ways. Keep the title page simple and efficient.

2.2

Abstract

Include an abstract (no more than 200 words) on a separate unnumbered page. You will see abstracts in almost every academic journal, and you will quickly appreciate the value of an informative abstract as you survey the journal literature for your own project. Help the reader to grasp the essentials of your work quickly. Help yourself, by drafting this as soon as you have a topic and working title, and by refining it as you proceed, until the end. Think of the abstract as the answer to the question ‘What’s your project about?’ You might be asked this question by relatives, friends, and in your next job interview. Your tutor will ask this question. So will the examiner. So ask yourself ‘What’s my project about?’ Be tough on your answer, and make it concise. Your final answer is your abstract. Add some keywords below the abstract, along with two or three Journal of Economic Literature (JEL) classification numbers for articles. These codes are listed in each issue of the JEL.

2.3

Table of contents

Providing a table of contents helps the reader, and...
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