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Purpose Qualifying Exam (Dissertator status) Plan for your remaining education Convince your thesis committee the dissertation will “work” Beginnings.

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Presentation on theme: "Purpose Qualifying Exam (Dissertator status) Plan for your remaining education Convince your thesis committee the dissertation will “work” Beginnings."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Purpose Qualifying Exam (Dissertator status) Plan for your remaining education Convince your thesis committee the dissertation will “work” Beginnings of at least a first paper/chapter.

3 TimeLine Second Year: Field Classes, papers, looking around. Summer After Second Year: Begin a search on a topic, meet with faculty. Third year: Develop proposal in Fall, Proposal Defense by end of Second Semester.

4 Finding a Topic Feasible vs Interesting Someone here to work with Interesting enough to you to keep you motivated Four Basic Approaches Expand Existing Literature The RA Route The Newspaper or Hot Topic The Faculty Suggestion

5 Expand on Existing Literature Literature review from field class Picking up an “obvious” hole or open question Advantages: Follows your interests from second year classes Clearly fits into a literature Develops skill in picking topics Disadvantages May not have an obvious advisor May take a while to fully develop Finding the balance between feasible and interesting is hard and time consuming.

6 The RA Route Research topic stems from work you do as an RA Expanding on an existing study Advantages: Natural Choice of Advisor who is familiar with topic Low cost in finding topic/working on it. Pretty good idea about feasible/interesting at start. Disadvantages You don’t really learn as much about picking a topic. It may not reflect your interests (hard to keep momentum/long term agenda) There is always then a bigger question of “whose work is it?”

7 The Hot Topic Ripped straight from the headlines! The topic is determined by important policy issues. Advantages: Probably very interesting to you (motivation/longevity). Interesting to others (committee members/job market). Easier to motivate. Disadvantages Lack of expertise with advisor. Not clear into what literature it fits (publishing) May be difficult to keep interest while narrowing to feasible.

8 Suggestion from Faculty Comments from faculty in classes “this is an interesting open question.” Discussion with faculty member “what open questions in XXX are important?” Advantages: Probably a good topic/question. Lower cost in getting started. Natural choice of advisor (usually). Disadvantages You don’t learn to pick a topic. It may not reflect your interests. Negative selection of shared ideas?

9 Choosing an Advisor/Committee I’m here to help with that: you should talk with me about who you want to work with. Field Classes: a great place to get to know people. Just meet with them: , make an appointment. Advisor will help with committee.

10 You’re Not Paul Samuelson Don’t fall prey to the Magnum Opus fallacy Break it into smaller tasks. Write a paper, not a thesis (then write another paper…) Break the paper into smaller tasks too. Get feedback regularly: we don’t expect you to solve all your problems by yourself. Other graduate students are helpful. Talk to each other.

11 Setting Deadlines Welcome to the real world: you set and keep deadlines! Make them realistic. Strive to meet them. (self flagellation? Self Reward system?) This is where loving your topic matters. The most important thing is to write something every week! Programs (and notes, output) Literature review Results? (even if wrong!)

12 What’s in a Proposal? A credible central essay (job market paper). Furthest along It doesn’t have to be done, but a good start. A credible plan for additional work: 1 or 2 essays, chapters etc. Knowledge of the Literature, data, and appropriate modeling/estimation approaches.

13 How to Proceed Talk to faculty. As early as second year. Begin with writing Literature Reviews: – What are open questions? – What are limitations of previous studies? Papers and Projects in 2 nd and 3 rd year classes. Read (the literature) Talk (with faculty) Write write write

14 Outline of a Proposal Introduction is motivation and overview Lit Review: places you in literature Not a paragraph on every paper you’ve read Data Section As much detail as you have Model Section Theory and econometrics Outline of Expected Results

15 Rules Proper Citation (Chicago Manual of Style) Learn to write. Get some books on it. Think about it. Get editing help. Read each others stuff. Write. Revise, revise again, rewrite. Then write.


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