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Five Term Paper Suggestions - Introduction
[Part 1: Tips on writing a term paper]
by Mike Moffatt and Hannah Rasmussen
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: Term Paper Tips - Introduction
• Part 2: Term Paper Tips - Cigarette Taxes
• Part 3: Term Paper Tips - The Kyoto Protocol
• Part 4: Term Paper Tips - Stadium Subsidies
• Part 5: Term Paper Tips - Economic Impact of SUVs
• Part 6: Term Paper Tips - Dividend Tax Cut
• Part 7: Term Paper Tips - Final Words
 Related Resources
• Glossary of Economics Terms
• Economic Research Institutes
• Economics Working Papers

Writing a term paper is often the most dreaded part of an economics course. Often students have difficulty picking a topic suitable for an economics term paper. Either the idea is much too vague, such as, "I want to write something on the auto industry" or the idea has little or nothing to do with economics. A second problem is locating sources for your term paper. It is often difficult to locate good sources of information on a subject with which you are unfamiliar.

In an effort to combat these problems Hannah and Mike have put together five topics for economics term papers. The topics lend themselves well to "discuss an issue" style term papers, but probably are not suitable for term papers which require statistical or econometrics analysis. Each topic contains a brief summary of the issue, a few key questions to answer in your paper, and a list of resources which will help you get started on your research.

The starting points for research include links to newspaper and magazine articles, policy papers put out by think tanks and lobby groups, and lists of academic journal articles. Most journal articles and books are not available online, so you’ll have to obtain these at your school library. Ask the librarian if you are unfamiliar with where the economics journals are located; they’ll be happy to help. The sources you use will depend on the level of the term paper you are writing. Magazine articles are generally appropriate for high school and freshman community college courses, while upper year university courses will require you to use academic journal articles and books. If you are unsure what types of sources you are allowed to use, ask your professor, instructor, or teaching assistant.

The research articles referenced in this article are not meant to be an exhaustive list of sources on the subject. Many of the magazine and journal articles will list other sources you may want to look at. You can also do a Google search for web pages on your subject, but be mindful of the source of the information presented. Anyone can write a web page and have it published on the Internet, so it is important to know what the credentials of the author or organization publishing the piece are. Most schools also maintain a list of research resources for economics students. The one for the University of Rochester is located at: http://www.library.rochester.edu/index.cfm?page=157. When you find a good piece of information or an interesting fact, be sure to jot down where you got it. This will help when making citations or references later.

You may also want to see the economics glossary on this site for information on a topic. It can be found at: http://economics.about.com/library/glossary/blglossary.htm. Many of the entries contain starting points for research, such as the entry for cartels.

Now let’s get to the topics!

Next page > Part 2: Term Paper Tips - Cigarette Taxes > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

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