economics of higher education
Requirements for the Final Paper
You are required to conduct original research (with an emphasis on quantitative aspects of it) on some particular issue in higher education, and present the results in the form of a paper. The paper will try to build on the tools and skills you have mastered during this and other courses.
You can work on any topic relating to higher education – either in the US, or elsewhere in the world. Also, you have to analyze some data, for example, you can have a paper which looks like the Winston paper we read for the first assignment – logical reasoning accompanied by charts and tables.
• 12 point, Times New Roman font (like this Word file)
• Line spacing of 1.5.
• 1-inch margins on all sides
• Numbered pages
• The main text should be between 12-15 pages for single submissions and 20-24 pages for joint submissions
• References, tables and charts are extra and not included in the page limit. (You may put in a data appendix if you want, but it is not necessary.)
• APA style of citation for references (in which you refer to sources by inserting parentheses in the text giving the author, date of publication, and the relevant page if necessary) and then list all the sources alphabetically on a References page at the end of the paper. When citing an author with two or more publications in a given year, distinguish them with letters after the date e.g. 1999a, 1999b.
Contents of the Paper
The contents of the paper should generally include the following.
Title Page with Abstract
This should include the title of the paper, your name, contact address, acknowledgements, disclaimer, etc. Also include an abstract, in about 150 to 200 words, summarizing what your study is about, how you approach the topic, and your findings.
Here you should set up the issue – the particular area and question in education that you focus on – and discuss why it is important and interesting. You may also want to mention if your findings might have some policy relevance in the real world.
A summary of the previous literature, including references to any debates or disagreements. You should ideally link your own proposed research to this literature, discussing what your own contribution will be. (Later, after you present results from your analysis, you should discuss the importance of your findings vis-a-vis the existing literature.)
Discuss the data set in some detail – where did you get it from, how it was collected and for what purpose, why it is an important source for your current evaluation (that is, whether it has any special features that make it particularly appealing to your study), etc.
Research design/Theoretical framework
This does not mean mathematical or algebraic equations- just that you should discuss the underlying analytical framework behind your research. For example, you may want to look at the effects of attending community colleges. You should then discuss what the possible effects might be – on completion, transfer to a 4-year college, additional years of schooling, etc.
Research design/Empirical framework
For those of you who will be doing regression analysis, you should describe the regression equations that you wish to run in the data – that is, your dependent and independent variables. For every independent variable, mention the expected sign (or if the expected sign is ambiguous due to multiple factors being at work.) You should discuss your methodology clearly at this point – e.g. if you have a 0-1 binary variable as your independent variable, you should say whether you are running an OLS, or a probit, etc.
For those of you who are not doing regression analysis, but some other form of statistical analysis, just describe it.
Results/Discussion and Interpretation
Discuss your results, step-by-step. Pay attention not only to the signs of the coefficient, but also their magnitudes. Then take a bird’s eye-view approach, and discuss the overall importance of your results. Finally, compare and contrast these results with earlier work in the literature.
Limitations/Directions for Future Research
Not so much a statement on your ability or effort, but what you might have been able to done if you had infinite resources, either in terms of time or data. In other words, talk about what the next researcher in this area should try to address.
Just a wrap-up of what you have been doing. Make it short and concise, unless you want to highlight some interesting fact or extension.
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