ECN 5900: Research Methods                                                       Instructor: Noel Brodsky

Economics 5900, Fall 2017                                                         Office: 2831 (215D) Coleman Hall

                                                                                                Phone: (910) 688-3788



                                                                                                Hours: 12:00pm-1:00pm MWF,

            2:00pm-3:00pm W

                                                                                                or by Appointment



Classroom Participation                                                           =   20 POINTS


TOTAL               120 POINTS


Expected Grade Distribution and Curve Structure:


The Cutoffs are as follows:


88% = A, 77% = B, 66% = C, 55% = D, below 55% is an F


Special Information: Term paper: The paper must utilize a word processor, done by the student turning the paper in for his or her grade. Failure to do this will result in a failing grade for the paper. The paper is absolutely required for the course, and regardless as to the point value of the paper, failure to turn it in will result in an automatically failing grade for the course.  The paper is of your own making, subject to my approval.  The paper must be on a topic related to Economics.  A poor topic choice is serious, and can result in a loss of 3 (three) letter grades on the paper. It is a longer paper, say about 25-35 pages. Do not ever copy from someone else.


Important Dates:


Paper: Proposal Due October 27, 2017 Paper Length: 15-25 pages, word processed, double-spaced, your work.  Final Draft Due Monday Decemeber 4, 2017, at 4:15pm. The paper may be turned in on Wednesday, Decemeber 6, 2017, with the loss of 2 letter grades, each day thereafter, one letter grade is lost. You will present your paper during the final.


Special requirement: All students are required to have a computer account.  Email is a fundamental means of communication for this course, expect to use it.  You are also required to use a statistical package for this course.  I will use SHAZAM, and will provide you a means to install the package on the system of your choice.  You may choose to use a different package, but I will not support any other package.  Excel, while useful for some elements of the course, is not an acceptable statistical package.


Participation:  This class does not function without active participation from all students.  All students will present papers, using Powerpoint, throughout the class.  I will provide some .pdfs for some of the papers, some of the papers you will find on your own (that’s called research!).  You are required to read all papers before class, whether or not you are presenting.

Research Methods Economics 5900

 N. Brodsky, Instructor



Ethridge, Don (2004). Research Methodology in Applied Economics. 2nd edition. Ames, IA: Blackwell Publishing.

Neuman, W. Laurence (2006/2011). Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. 6th/7th edition. Pearson / Allyn & Bacon.

Other readings: as assigned.



Some practical matters:


Format, Department and University Guidelines

Graduate School Thesis manual


American Psychological Association (2001) Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. (6th edition) Washington D.C., APA.

APA research style crib sheet


American Economic Review Style Guide:


Varian, Hal “What I’ve Learned About Writing”



Readings on methodology


Colander, David (Summer 1993) “The Lost Art of Economics.” Journal of Economic Perspectives. Vol. 6 Issue 3, p. 191-198. (reprinted in his book The Lost Art of Economics, Edward Elgar, 2001, 19-26).


McCloskey, Donald. (April 1985) “Economical Writing.” Economic Inquiry. Vol. 23 Issue 2, p. 187-323.


Hands, D. Wade (March 2001) “Economic Methodology is Dead - Long Live Economic Methodology: thirteen theses on the new economic methodology.” Journal of Economic Methodology. Vol. 8 Issue 1, p. 49-64.


Frey, Bruno S. “Why Economists Disregard Economic Methodology,” Institute for Empirical Research in Economics working paper no. 58, September 2000.  Published in the Journal of Economic Methodology, 8(1), 2001, pp. 41-47.


Varian, Hal (Sept, 1997) “How to Build an Economic Model in Your Spare Time,” American Economist, available at



Areas of economic research emphasized in class:








For your literature or data search, you may consult the Reference desk at Booth, near north end of the third (main) floor.


Disability Statement


If you have a documented disability and wish to discuss academic accommodations, please contact me as soon as possible. Alternatively, you may wish to contact the Coordinator of the Office of Disability Services (581-6583).    


Student Success Center: Students who are having difficulty achieving their academic goals are encouraged to contact the Student Success Center ( for assistance with time management, test taking, note taking, avoiding procrastination, setting goals, and other skills to support academic achievement.  The Student Success Center provides individualized consultations.  To make an appointment, call 217-581-6696, or go to 9th Street Hall, Room 1302.


Academic integrity: Students are expected to maintain principles of academic integrity and conduct as defined in EIU's Code of Conduct (  Violations will be reported to the Office of Student Standards.


Learning Goals:


  1. To frame a research question well once the topic of research is identified
  2. Learn why literature review helps research and how to review literature for the research question in hand
  3. How to develop a theoretical framework, a statistical model, or both
  4. Collecting data required to estimate / analyze the chosen model
  5. Assembling and presenting results of model estimation
  6. How to make effective arguments in answering research questions and writing a paper
  7. What goes into an effective oral presentation of own and others’ research papers
  8. Understand how research progresses in various fields within economics
  9. How training in Economics is used in the real world