The purpose of this project is to introduce you to the collection and analysis of real world data.
This project is an excellent exercise for those who may wish to pursue graduate studies, and for
those who go on to jobs which require analytical skills.
You will be responsible for choosing a research question” – a question you would like to
attempt to answer using the econometric skills we develop in this class. You must then nd
suitable data, and perform some analysis of this data to answer your research question.
an independent project and should consist of your own original work.
There is no required length for the project, but it should not be possible to create a good
project shorter than 10 pages. At the same time, it is unlikely that a project longer than 25
pages is well written. Be sure to be thorough but do not repeat yourself or add unnecessary
A good project will be comprised of the following components:
Introduction – Describe your research question, any relevant background knowledge and
explain why your project is interesting or important.
Data – Describe the surveys your data comes from, what variables you use, and how they
Methodology – Describe the estimation techniques you use and your specication. Explain
why you are using this technique and specication.
Results – State and interpret your ndings. Explain how the data are answering your
References – Cite any studies which you found to be similar to yours, and any sources used
for background information. Also cite your data sources.
The purpose of the proposal it to ensure everyone is moving forward on their projects and that
reasonable topics have been chosen. Your proposal should be only 2-3 pages in length and should
include the following:
Describe the research question you wish to answer
Discuss similar literature you have found
Describe the data you wish to use and where you have found it
Note that if necessary you may change your topic after submitting the proposal. There is a
strong relationship between students who do well on the nal project, and students who submit
a proposal (thereby receiving suggestions and help).
Although this is an independent project, it is acceptable to ask for help
when nding your data. Myself or the T.A. may be able to help you, depending on your research
question. Beyond this class, you might approach a professor who you know does research similar
to your research topic for suggestions. Finally, the DRC in the library maintains a website
devoted to data retrieval:
. Some of you may choose
to collect your own data from published documents or statistics. This is ne, however it is very
time consuming and should be chosen ONLY if there is no other way to get suitable data.
You will likely benet from looking at some similar studies that have
been published in academic journals. While many of these have very technical sections, simply
reading the introductions may be helpful. Not only will these be good examples for writing style,
but also they may help you to formulate your research question or choose a dataset. The easiest
way is to search Google scholar:
http://scholar.google.comfor direct links to these papers
Although it is not often stressed in coursework, writing is an important skill
in economics and in the workplace. It is recommended that everyone have a parent, friend or
classmate proof-read their paper. We often miss our own mistakes when we become too familiar
with our papers. Writing help is also available through the library:
. You are encouraged to make
use of this help.
The computer lab in which you have your weekly lab sessions is open daily
from approximately 8am until 10pm. You are free to use Stata on these computers any time
the room is not booked. There is a schedule posted on the door which indicates when the lab
is reserved. There are often cancellations as well, so you may be able to use it at other times.
Although some time may be provided during your weekly labs, you should not consider this time
sucient to complete the project.
Stata is also available on the LINUX server so you may access remotely from home through
a SSH connection at
general.uoguelph.ca. Due to the nature of LINIX, however, the environ-
ment is entirely command line based.
The marks for the project will be allocated as follows:
Writing (clarity and correctness):10%
Introduction (motivating your topic and background info):15%
Data (data collection, organization and description):15%
Methodology (choice of specication and justication for it):15%
Results (presenting and interpreting results, explaining implications):35%
Creativity originality diculty etc:5%
By contrast, there are no marks for the following: Expensive binders (just a staple will do),
cosmetics such as color printing or fancy fonts, table of contents etc.
The deadline for submissions is 11:00AM on the specied day. There will be a submission
box in the economics department (7th Floor MacK). You should submit a paper copy of the
assignment and your STATA (or other) code in this box. In addition you must upload a copy of
the assignment to courselink for plagiarism checking. Except for approved circumstances, late
submissions (both the nal draft and the proposal) are penalized as follows:
up to 24 hours late: -5%
24-48 hours late: -10%
48-72 hours late: -15%
more than 72 hours late: submission not accepted and a mark of zero is awarded.