Overview of an Economics Dissertation
Writing an economics dissertation could be tasking and rewarding at the same time.
To help remain on course and effectively express your ideas, it is important to observe an appropriate dissertation structure.
The writing process requires you to utilize knowledge acquired from different course modules to address a particular problem/issue.
Some of the key areas you should demonstrate competency in include literacy quality, ability to conduct research, and originality of thought.
Such competency is critical in researching the dissertation topic in a methodical manner, conducting an empirical and theoretical literature review, and generating logical dissertation results.
It is important to note that dissertations are scholarly works.
Key Areas to Consider when Writing an Economics Dissertation
As earlier mentioned, the process of writing a dissertation should demonstrate your development into a scholar.
There should be a shift in your thought process as well as the way you express your ideas.
To help demonstrate scholarly attributes, you should consider the below areas of concern.
a) Dissertation topic
This is one of the most important areas of concern in an economics dissertation.
You are required to come up with one key idea or a set of closely related ideas to scrutinize.
This process demands extensive reading and it’s time consuming.
Areas being explored must be within topics covered in the course. In this, you must utilize course concepts, bodies of knowledge, techniques and principles to issues/problems under study.
You should always focus on smaller aspects of issue(s) being studied to enhance an in-depth evaluation.
A good economics dissertation topic should be:
1) interesting enough to keep you hooked throughout the writing process,
2) feasible in terms of available data and time,
3) academically valid to ensure that it is within a wider theoretical framework, and
4) original in contribution.
b) Literature review
The literature review is equally a critical area of concern.
In this area, you are supposed to exhibit an in-depth understanding of empirical and theoretical aspects of your particular research area.
The entailed literature review should illustrate the relevance of and relationship between respective literature and your work.
This requires you to focus on the key aspects of research that relates to your study, where such aspects usually encompass the methodologies used.
Important elements of a good literature review include:
1) it should demonstrate a relationship between the research and the dissertation/ research question,
2) should compile available information to determine the prevailing research gaps,
3) should clearly identify what has been known what is yet to be known, and
4) should develop questions that require further exploration.
Data is also a critical part of an economics dissertation.
You must ensure that relevant data is available before deciding on the topic to explore.
Common types of data that could be utilized include cross section data, time series data, and panel data.
There must be adequate variables and observations.
Usually, observations should range between 30 and 100.
The number of observations should inform the types of methods employed.
You should clearly define your data and what they intend to measure.
The data should then be sorted to make it usable.
You should conduct a descriptive analysis of the data to identify possible trends, seasonality, temporal dependencies, and unusual observation.
Steps in Writing an Economics Dissertation
The process of writing an economics dissertation should be systematic and well thought out.
Making the task more manageable would require you to adopt numerous steps that work as milestones in the writing process.
These steps include:
a) Selecting a Topic
As earlier noted, choosing the right topic is critical in writing a good economics dissertation.
This topic will be studied throughout the whole year and should therefore be interesting enough to keep you engaged during this period.
Selecting the topic should start by identifying a general area.
You should then consult your advisor on how to narrow down the topic.
The advisor should help direct you towards a topic that can be completed within the available time while using accessible tools.
b) Conducting a Literature Review
This is the next step and entails a broad and in-depth search for information on your study question(s) and other areas related to the study question(s).
The search should include consultations with your advisor and other experts, examination of library books and articles, and search for relevant online materials.
It is advisable that you start writing down the pertinent content as early as possible.
You are advised to keep detailed notes on the materials you analyze, with appropriate bibliographic information.
c) Collecting Data
This step requires you to assemble the economics dissertation’s data base.
Doing this requires you to clearly understand all the requisite data series.
This is realized by developing a list of the essential data, where you should establish the various features of relevant data.
Such features involve aggregate or disaggregate nature of the data and frequency of observation.
All the variables needed in the study should also be listed and an analysis on their availability conducted.
You should device approaches to deal with unavailable variables.
Using the compiled list, go ahead and collect the relevant data as you enter it into a computer data base.
d) Results generation
Generating the results requires you to apply the gathered data in the selected research methodology.
As such, generating the results may encompass numerical data interpretation, economic models application in theoretical reasoning, other results comparison, experimentation, hypothesis testing, coefficients estimation, and application of econometrics methods in hypotheses testing.
It is important to understand that the results could turn out different from what you expected.
Therefore, it is critical to generate them earlier enough to afford you the opportunity to rationalize them if need be.
e) Dissertation conclusion
Generating the economics dissertation conclusion requires you to assemble the whole draft and write down the conclusion.
This would entail compiling all the parts of the dissertation into one coherent argument.
You should start by highlighting your central question, explain how the study relies on other studies to advance the argument, then describe and interpret the results, and finally sum up everything by giving a positional statement.