Author Topic: What is needed in a good essay  (Read 701 times)


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What is needed in a good essay
« on: May 07, 2017, 11:31:58 AM »
We will need to write an essay for the final. What kinds of things do you expect to see in a good essay? What points should be focused on?

Thomas VanDer Straaten

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Re: What is needed in a good essay
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2017, 06:10:56 PM »

Hi Jason, there is no specific "formula" for a good essay response, but speaking generally, your essay should be sufficiently detailed (especially for certain parts - some of these will be determined by the certain topic or question you are given) and specific (don't just say that you will be careful of sample selection - how? what will you look for to determine if your sample is selected? Is it likely your sample will be selected? What will you do if your sample is selected?).

When I was preparing for my final, I found it helpful to rewrite Notes 20 into a structured list. Then I would come up with a few topics / research questions, and practice briefly writing through how I could go about researching it, keeping in mind my rewritten Notes 20. This way, you are able to recognize things you would not have given much thought to (sample selection may be a big issue, I need to be sure I touch on points X, Y, and Z relating to it) and helps you organize your thinking into a clear structure. Some points, depending on the topic, will need more focus than others. For example, some topics will need a much, much, much more careful evaluation of the casual model behind a particular economic process than others (for example, compare the causal model here - in 'Conceptual Underpinnings' and the causal model here, both papers written by the same economist). It really depends on what topic you are given, though if you are unsure, you should err on the side of giving more detail (remember you have a time limit too). Some areas of your response will need a lot of discussion regardless of the field - interpretations of your results (examining endogeneity, fixing your model, conducting robustness checks) is very important and shouldn't be neglected in any essay response.