Online research

This week has obviously been a lot about online research. The toughest part is probably to get started. What do I look for? Where do I look for it? We already got the second answer provided: Econlit (and/or other econ databases). I started thinking about key words for my online search to figure out the first question. My research question is: Should Sweden have joined the Eurozone in 2003? Sweden is my subject so it was obviously going to be one of my key words. I finally came up with my search: Sweden AND (EMU OR Eurozone) AND euro. I was worried that I was going to get hundreds of results but it turned out to be 28, so it was quite easy to sort through them. Turned out I got one perfect hit and a couple of other good articles that I will review further more. Some of the articles were irrelevant but you can get a pretty good sense about the articles by reading the summaries. If they look interesting to you, you should download the articles and keep reading – it is efficient and you do not have to read through irrelevant articles. But the key is to spend time on finding the right key words so you do not end up with 1000 articles in the output.

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EconLit Research

For this assignment, I only used ECON-lit. My topic is “Austerity in Greece”. I thought that I was going to find so many sources on the topic, given that it has been such a big deal over the past six or seven years (At least, that is what I thought). However, I only found a total of 20 sources. They all seemed quite relevant to my topic when I read the abstracts, but are 20 sources enough? Perhaps I should broaden my research to austerity in the entire Eurozone?

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Lit_Review

Using the UMW Libraries Quest system, my search filtered down to about 1,000 scholarly articles. Luckily, the first few results were actually pretty relevant with less than a handful being understandably only marginally related. The text I came across, though, is an interesting point at which to start, I find. It’s targeting the typical college student reaction to credit card incentives, a demographic I’m comfortable focusing in on assuming there’s enough data available. It may be too specific, but it’s at least got the general direction of where I want to take things, I think.

Additionally, I’ll probably also be looking at sources from the Fed to get a policy perspective; it seems like a point of view I’d want to take into account. Once that’s all summed up, I assume I can go on and build a project around demand models across various age groups, or something to that effect… I honestly don’t know what that entails at this point, but I’m definitely willing to take a chance and see what comes up. For the purposes of this stage, I’m just keeping my eyes open for all sources that hone in on the correlation between credit card incentives and borrowing to keep my options open.

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Beginning My Research

While conducting my research, I’ve realized that the topic that I have chosen is fairly new in the research field; essentially the effect of climate change on conflict/migration. I really want to prove (statistically) whether or not conflict is associated with climate change. There is limited research directly related to my topic but at the same time I can use data from multiple sources  to help me in my research.  I found that there is lots of data conducted on migration tendencies which is very useful.  Previous research has shown me that migration can be directly correlated with conflict. Continuing forward, I will specify (in my keywords) the types of climate induced migration that occur and see if they correlate with conflict.

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Post-Assignment 2

Assignment 2 gave me some pretty good insight into what I want to do for my specific research question, which is what I was most concerned about. Although there are a lot of things that tie into my broader topic (healthcare), I think that choosing one specific thing that isn’t mentioned much in the literature will be the best choice. In this way, I can create knowledge on healthcare, rather than just adding to what someone else has already said. Also, I have to make sure that this research question is interesting to my audience as well.

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Step 2

After the librarian came and talked to the class on Monday, I was eager to begin my research. Like Dr. Greenlaw said in class, many professors expect each student to already have a sufficient amount of knowledge about conducting research even before class begins. It is refreshing to be in a class where step by step instructions and advice is given in order to help everyone create a successful research paper. I began my research quest by going onto EconLit and typing in the words, “Gender” “Pay gap” “NCAA.” Only one peer reviewed paper came up about my subject regarding the gender pay gap in Division I basketball. The paper looks very helpful and seems to be a good source of background information but I would like to be able to have more peer reviewed articles. If anyone has any suggestions of what other words I could search in order to create a broader spectrum of results that would be great!!

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And so it begins…

As I started conducting my research on ECON-lit for the second part of the research assignment, I realized how important the Boolean operators were when I used them for my search. I first searched my topic without using any similar key words or Boolean operators and of course I didn’t find any articles that were relevant to my topic. I then went back to the sheet the library resource handed out to us during her presentation and chapter 3, which we had to read, and realized what I needed to do in order to find a lot more ‘hits’ than ‘misses’… and this of course was mainly using the Boolean operators, so I recommend getting your use out of those!

Also, today in class we spent the period discussing what makes a good research question and one thing that struck out to me is making sure your question is a problem to be investigated and something people do not understand. Over the weekend I had a discussion with one of my friends who is a business major on whether or not microfinance institutions actually make a difference. We were having this conversation because I was trying to get him to join La Ceiba, the student-run microfinance institution here at Mary Washington. This made me start thinking of other possible research questions I could do that still links with my research topic. This could also be a good research question because microfinance is an institution that some people do not understand how it actually works and it can be investigated on whether or not it does have an impact on the economy.

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Initial Research: My Thought Process and Takeaways

While beginning the process of research I think that I’m slowly building an understanding of the week by week set up of this course. I imagine that an attempt to rush this type of project would end up poorly. My main takeaway so far is that this form of research really benefits from having a solid foundation of what you want to find with search engines like econlit. This doesn’t necessarily mean finding only information that reinforces your goal, but could include background information that may make up survey of relevant literature on your topic.

On a more random note this is a pretty entertaining econ video/series that may help out marginally with some peoples’ research topics.

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When considering sources

When noticing sources for the Fridays assignment, I am reminded of a style of literature review I learned in high school that still serves me well today. Whenever I am presented with an item of information, where it be from Econ lit or Jstor, I examine the sources by reference to its Origin, Purpose, Value, and Limitations. When doing this examination of the hits that pop up on my search I, and perhaps you, will be able to narrow your sources you eventually use will be refined to academic quality. By using this method in Economics, you can make sure that your source material is accurate by selecting sources with a trust worthy origin, you examine what value the word of the literature or the data has on your thesis, understand if you are using the source material to its purpose with respect to what the author of the source material intended, and finally acknowledge the limitations of your work so you can conduct good research.

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Searching EconLit

When beginning your research on EconLit you may find the Search Tips option helpful. Here is the Search Tips Link. Specifically, filtering your keywords to be found in the abstracts of the documents will reduce irrelevant results.

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