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Economics Research Paper
Why A Term Paper?
Parameters of the Paper
– No more than ten pages ideally 7 to 10 pages (under five is probably too short).
– Exceeding the limit will not be penalized unless it is excessive (over 20 pages).
Use 12 font, double spacing and standard margins.
– Cover page to include Paper Title, Your Name, Course Title, and Date.
– Citations in the form of footnotes.
– A bibliography.
– Your Paper can be structured in the following way:
– Statement about the context of the question – explain why the question in important
(either in the ‘real’ world or for the academic discipline of economics)
– Give you answer to the question
– Summarize your argument in support of this answer – this summary should match the
order of your paragraphs
– Decide on the most logical order of your paragraphs – this might be importance,
chronology or causation, but the basic flow should be simple and clear
– Start each paragraph with a sentence that clearly addresses the question itself – this will
be your thesis for the paragraph and if a reader only read these opening sentences, they
should make sense one after the other and provide a summary of your argument
– Follow the opening ‘topic’ sentence with your reasoning and evidence for why this
opening statement is valid. The more detail you can bring in, the more expert you will
sound and the more persuasive your argument will be.
– Summarize your argument again – as you did in the introduction (different words
– Restate your answer to the essay question
– So what? – say what the significance of your answer is either in the ‘real’ world or to the
academic discipline of economics
– List the books / articles you read while researching your answer
Cite your Work!
What to cite: Deciding what material to cite can be tricky. On one side of the citation spectrum
you’ve got direct quotations-material typed word-for-word from the source text-that should
always list the source. On the other side of the spectrum you have your own personal arguments
and ideas; obviously these won’t have a source to cite. Then you have everything else in
between. Often it can be difficult to tell where your research ends and your own ideas begin or
whether a fact or idea can be considered common enough to skip the citation. When you’re in
this gray area, it’s a matter of personal discretion, but there are a few guidelines that can help:
Direct quotes. Material that is copied word for word from another source should always include
a citation. Note that direct quotations should be used sparingly. Unless the writer’s language is of
interest or you feel they expressed an idea in a way that you can’t paraphrase, it’s better to
summarize the point.
Paraphrasing. If you’re paraphrasing someone else’s ideas-that is, you’re not quoting word-for-
word but you’re restating an original idea that came from another person’s work-then you need to
use a citation.
Controversial ideas. Anything that could be considered controversial should include a reference
to the source; if you’re taking a side in a debate you need to show you have evidence to back it
General knowledge. General facts such as dates and names don’t require citations. If you can
find it in any common textbook or encyclopedia, then you don’t need to cite a specific source.
Everything else. If you’re not sure, it’s always better to play it safe and provide a citation.
Remember, anything that doesn’t have a citation you’re taking credit for, and you’ll be better off
if your paper has too many citations than if it looks like you’re intentionally plagiarizing
somebody else’s work.
Style For citation and bibliography format and other matters of style follow The Chicago Manual
of Style 16th Edition.