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School of Social Sciences

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BAEcon Economics
Learn how the social sciences can help you to understand today's world.

BAEcon Economics

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Applied Economics Dissertation A (Semester 1)

Unit code ECON32211
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Social Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No


See course Blackboard pages.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Econometrics ECON20110 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Applied Economics Dissertation A (Semester 1) Pre-requisite: A minimum grade of 65 in ECON20110 Econometrics

Students must achieve a minimum grade of 65 in ECON20110 to be able to take this unit.

This course unit is available to BSc Economics and BA Econ students only.


This module has students bring together the various parts of Economics, Statistics and Econometrics they have learned at Manchester and apply it to a single piece of original research. ECON32211 is the first half of the Applied Economics Dissertation. The aim of this module is to introduce students to applied economic research. As a result they will have a fuller, more holistic understanding for the material covered throughout their degree and be able to synthesize various concepts and methods learned into a single piece of analysis. 

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module you will:

  1. Be able to critically evaluate existing research and evidence.
  2. Be able to formulate and develop a research question.
  3. Know how to write a research proposal.
  4. Know how to review and summarize existing research.
  5. Gain experience with the statistical software package Stata.
  6. Be prepared to continue their research in ECON32212.


This module is designed to introduce students to doing research in Applied Economics (i.e. using data to answer economic questions). It is the first of two modules (including ECON32212 in term 2) that make up the Applied Economics Dissertation.  This module focuses on the development of some basic research skills including how to formulate a research question, how to critically evaluate existing research and evidence, the use of statistical software to manage and analyze data econometrically and how to present economic analysis.

Note the dissertation and its components are not analogous to essay assignments students may have done elsewhere. The dissertation is a heavily supervised piece of original research. Students are encouraged to get help, advice and guidance from anywhere they can (including but not limited to their supervisor), though the final submitted work must obviously be their own. While the work is heavily supervised, this module requires significant discipline on the students part to ensure progress is made throughout the term. “Cramming” will not work for this module.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Synthesizing information into a singular piece of analysis. Critically evaluating existing evidence.
Oral communication
Presenting technical economic ideas and concepts.
Written communication
Writing technical economic ideas and concepts.
Improved computer literacy, in particular with statistical software packages.

Assessment methods

Research Proposal

  • Weighting: 55%
  • Due date: 15/01/18
  • Length: 2500-3000 words
  • Structure: Essay

Referee Report

  • Weighting: 5%
  • Due date: Variable
  • Length: 500-1000 words
  • Structure: Group presentation

Data Inventory

  • Weighting: 10%
  • Due date: 15/01/18
  • Length: 500-1000 words
  • Structure: Essay

Stata Project

  • Weighting: 15%
  • Due date: 22/11/17
  • Length: 1000 words + do file
  • Structure: Project


Research Proposal Presentation

  • Weighting: 15%
  • Due date: 27/11/17
  • Length: 8 slides/10 minutes
  • Structure: Presentation

Feedback methods

Staring in week 5 of Term 1 the students meet with their individual supervisors weekly. These are small group sessions where students can update their supervisor on their progress, raise any questions or concerns they might have regarding data, conceptual issues, methods, topics, etc. It also gives the supervisor the opportunity to provide feedback on how the students seem to be progressing. 

Recommended reading

These will be provided on Blackboard:

  • “Ten simple rules for structuring papers” by Kording and Mensh.
  • “Why do beginner econometricians get worked up about the wrong things?”.
  • “How to read and understand a scientific paper: a guide for non-scientists” by Raff.
  • “How to do Empirical Economics”  by Angrist et al.
  • “A guide to writing in Economics” by Dudenhefer.
  • “Science Isn’t Broken. It’s just a hell of a lot harder than we give it credit for.” by Aschwanden.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 10
Practical classes & workshops 7
Project supervision 11
Independent study hours
Independent study 172

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Peter Backus Unit coordinator

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