applied research project

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Your final project is a short applied research project (no more than 8 pages) using ordinary least squares on data that you collect. These data can be from a secondary source (like from the GSS, NBER, Economic Report of the President, United Nations or World Bank “development indicators,” or from other links such as the data freeway (Links to an external site.)) or you can collect data yourself (primary data).

In your project you should:

1) Ask an interesting question and briefly search for other research that can put your question into a context that is suitable for OLS analysis.

2) Formulate working hypotheses about the relationships between your independent and dependent variables.

3) Get to know your data. This involves describing your data including descriptive statistics and graphs if appropriate.

4) Analyze your data using OLS regression. You can use OLS even if your dependent variable is binary.

5) Present your results. This includes:

Hypothesis testing.
Specification analysis.
Sensitivity analysis.
6) Summarize your results. This involves a brief discussion of your findings in the context of your working hypotheses.

7) Make sure to document your results so that another research could replicate what you did.

A good project is one involving analysis that you are interested in. I will give high marks to enthusiastically written projects – those that I can tell you find enjoyable. It is completely appropriate to use this project as a supporting part of another class. If, for example, you are taking a class in sports economics, feel free to write your project using sports data. If you are going to apply to law school, you might find it interesting to analyze data involving bankruptcies or crime. In this class, I hope that you have learned a bit about beginning to to use statistics to help tell a story and to discover how data can assist you in learning about whatever it is you are, or will be, interested in.

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