Skip to main content

Unit information: MRes Research Methods in Economics in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name MRes Research Methods in Economics
Unit code EFIMM0024
Credit points 15
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Smith
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Economics
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The aim of this unit is to introduce students to doing research in economics and to prepare them for writing both a PhD proposal and a dissertation. The unit will cover a number of key issues that arise in doing economic research and will prepare students for writing a PhD proposal and their MRes dissertation:

- Alternative approaches and key principles to economic research (different types of theory, alternative approaches to empirical research) and relative controversies - How to come up with a research topic and a research question, defining its core elements - How to do a literature review and access data - Writing a PhD proposal

Writing academic papers

Intended learning outcomes

The units provides students with the standard principles for research design and as well as discussing the scope and limitations of these principles themselves. Students will also understand the key steps in formulating a research project in different fields of Economics; they will be able to critically evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of different research methods. Finally, they will be aware of common problems faced by researchers.

Teaching details

There will be two lectures and one class per week. Coursework will consist of assignments which will also be used for course assessment.

Lectures will introduce and discuss basic principles for research design with their scope and limitation. They will also discuss the application of these principles to different areas of economics.

Classes will provide the opportunity to discuss the practical application of these principles by encouraging students to build up their own research proposal which they will utilize as a basis for their dissertation.

Contact Hours Per Week 3

Student Input

20 hours lectures

10 hours tutorials

15 hours preparation of weekly exercises

15 hours preparation of dissertation outline

90 hours individual study

Assessment Details

Summative assessment: Assessment will be based on regular assignments (e.g. an exercise in looking at research questions and methodologies, a referee-style report, a literature review) totalling 50% of the mark and a dissertation outline to be handed in at the end of Term 2 (also worth 50%)

Formative assessment: class participation and discussion. These will provide further opportunities for feedback on the students’ progress.

Reading and References

There is no text book for the course. Instead, the reading will combine “how to guides” (examples listed below) with detailed study of specific academic research papers, used to illustrate each of the topics.

J. D. Angrist, D.M. Blau, A. Falk, J.-M. Robin, C.R. Taber, “How to do Empirical Economics”, Investigaciones económicas. vol. 30 (2), 2006, 179-206

D.Powers, “How to Write a Research Paper in Economics?” Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley. Mimeo.