Your final paper is your culminating work for this course. This structure outline is provided as a
guideline to your work. You should include headers for each section of your paper. In addition
to the text of the paper, you should include a cover page which includes the paper title, your
name, the class name and semester, and the draft number to track changes. You should also
include page numbers, starting with the first page of text and not the cover page. If you are
confused about the content of a section, you should ask these questions in class and/or refer to
other academic papers for examples. You can also refer to the syllabus for format
specifications. I have included suggested page lengths for each section but you can adjust these
as appropriate for your work.
1. Introduction
Introduce your research question and why it matters. You can motivate it by referencing
current events, ethical concerns, or other reasons why people might care. You need to
make the reader (me) understand why this is an important question, even if
you think it is
obvious. You
must include a clear and testable/measurable research hypothesis.
Suggested Length: 1 page double spaced.
2. Literature Review
This is where you provide a literature review of the research that has been done before.
This is primarily a review of academic journal articles, but you can also reference industry or
government reports and, as appropriate, news articles. You must include at least 7-10
economics journal articles, as this is an economics class.
Suggested Length: 1 -2 pages double spaced.
3. Specific Background
If your research topic includes some specific background you think would be helpful to the
reader, include it here, e.g. an explanation of the collective bargaining agreement you are
studying, a history of immigration policy in the United States, changes in the occupation,
etc. You can be as detailed as necessary here; this is a great place to get into the weeds of
an issue or policy, or explain something that may be confusing to an outsider.
Suggested Length: 1 -2 pages double spaced.
4. Data
The Data section is where you list and explain the variables you are using in your study. You should
list the dataset name, what it is, and the years you are looking at (if applicable), e.g. Census data on
technician employment from 1999-2009. Do not add links or full citations here, but follow the
Chicago Style reference system.
You should also explain
why you are using the data. This can be as simple as “this measure of
unionization is standard for this topic” or, if it is less obvious, “I include the number of books by
university as a measure of capital”. It does not have to be fancy but you and the reader should be
able to understand why you are using some variable in your study.
If you have any tables or figures separate from your results you can cite them here, e.g. descriptive
tables of the data you are using, such as minimum/maximum/median/modal values, the number of
people impacted by a policy, the average number of years between policy changes, etc. You should
cite the tables/figures in the text, e, e.g. “The median wage and employment of teachers from 2000-
2005 is reported in Table 1”. Your actual tables and figures should be collected at the end of the
paper, in the order in which you cite them.
Suggested Length: 1 page double spaced.
5. Methods
This is where you state how you are testing/measuring your hypothesis. This is not where
you state your results. Instead, explain what you are doing, e.g. explain the OLS regression
you are using with the equation specified with your variables; explain the historical trend
analysis you are using and what variables go on the X axis and Y axis; explain the t-test or
other statistical test and how you are organizing the treatment and control groups for
comparison and analysis; explain the survey methods you used when collecting survey data,
etc. If you prefer, the Methods section can appear before the Data section.
Suggested Length: 1 page double spaced.
6. Results
This is where you get to shine! You have done a lot of work; now tell us what you found. Be
as specific as you can and make sure you cite any tables or figures which illustrate or list
your findings.
Suggested Length: 1 -2 pages double spaced.
7. Discussion/ Conclusion
These sections can be the same or separate, depending on how much you have to say. This
is where you get to talk about your results and why they matter, potential policy
applications, what we might infer from a trends analysis, etc. Wrap up your findings and
research question one last time in a neat bundle.
Suggested Length: 1 page double spaced.
8. References
I would expect no less than 20 citations, with no less than 7 economics journal articles. The
references should be formatted in the Chicago Style.
9. Tables/Figures
Tables and figures are listed in the order that you cite them, and they appear after the
references. All the tables should be listed in order, and then all the figures.

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