Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Undergraduate Research Course

David Madden and I have been running a course on Economics research for the undergraduate single honours course. It is given in Semester 1 and is partly designed to prepare them for the undergraduate dissertation, which takes place in Semester 2. The course was David's idea, partly inspired by the results of our external review, where suggestions were made by external experts. The course involves firstly some basic discussion of economics research, followed by a journal club session, followed by case studies followed by a data project. All aspects of the course involves students working together in groups of five or six. The assignments for the journal club and case studies are handed up as group assignments and the data project will be delivered as an individual assignment. We also have made attendance mandatory. With a few weeks in, this course is definitely a positive experience with a lot of really active and interesting discussion about Economics. This is the first year of the course and we are both interested in how it could be developed both this year and in future years. Some of the suggestions coming out of the literature include (i) assigning students the work of particular Nobel laureates to review (ii) assigning actual data collection to students (iii) Stephen Kinsella has blogged about book reviews as a potential tool. I have been getting some interesting emails and "corridor talk" about previous posts on this type of stuff so if anyone is interested in talking about how all of this works, you know where I am.

1 comment:

Enda Hargaden said...

Great idea. (Well done Dave!)

As this group will likely include a few future PhDs, you might consider getting someone (a faculty member?) to give them an optional day-long course on further maths/econometrics. Give them an insight into what could be in store.

I think the Nobel review is a great idea. Even better if they have to informally present the results to the rest of the class so that they get exposed to everything from Kahnemann to Lucas to North etc.