r keeney april 23 2012 n.
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Effective Written Communication in Quantitative Economics

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R. Keeney—April 23, 2012. Effective Written Communication in Quantitative Economics. Communicating Economics. It is expected that if you have a Purdue AGEC degree, you will be an effective communicator of economic rationale and ideas Written and oral Interviews and applications

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communicating economics
Communicating Economics
  • It is expected that if you have a Purdue AGEC degree, you will be an effective communicator of economic rationale and ideas
    • Written and oral
    • Interviews and applications
    • Assignments, projects, technical reports, your own promotion etc.
some guidelines
Some Guidelines
  • All from Research without Tears
    • John Creedy, 2008, published by Edward Elgar Press
  • Quote from Samuel Johnson:
    • “What is written without effort is in general read without enjoyment.”
  • There are lots of types of writing
    • Each profession has its own standards and requirements
    • The aims here are meant to encompass nearly all professional (non-literary) writing
the objective of professional writing
The objective of professional writing
  • Clarity
    • Written communication must emerge as a transparent statement of issues, methods, and results/conclusions
  • Data/Calculations/Graphs are not clear communication
    • These are supportive or contradictory evidence in the development of a thesis (argumentative or descriptive)
    • As the author, you are the expert providing the interpretation
    • Provide clear interpretations and justify them
  • Succinctness is a virtue (often where the effort part comes in)
creedy s 4 characteristics of well written analysis
Creedy’s 4 Characteristics of Well Written Analysis
  • Demonstrates a clear depiction of the question or problem addressed
  • Motivates the question as worthy of study or investigation
  • Explicitly states both methods and results
  • Recognizes both the value and limitations of results and conclusions
effective writing
Effective writing…
  • …tells the reader…
    • What they will discover in the reading
    • Why this discovery is worth knowing
    • How this discovery was made
    • What is the importance or significance of the discovery
  • …consists of careful draft and revision
    • Critical review can be important to revision
  • …takes time and planning
  • Nearly every document has an introductory section, in almost every case it is the key to successful communication
    • In some professions this may be less important than an Executive Summary
    • It must provide (at least in general) answers to what, how, and why relative to the topic addressed in the writing
    • Also might lay out the further writing via signposts
      • How is the document organized for the impatient reader who wants to read in a different order than you have written?
background review sections
Background/Review Sections
  • Relevance
    • Reviewing literature is done to serve your purposes, not to drop names or show how much you have read
      • Good literature reviews are not exhaustive
        • Your knowledge/familiarity on the other hand…
    • Might be the worst taught aspect of the writing discipline
    • Be sure to avoid: Author 1 showed/said/found X…Author 2 showed/said/found Y…Author 3 showed/said/found Z…
main body
Main Body
  • Technical and other descriptive reporting
  • Results reporting and analysis
  • A highly variable section of writing that is tough to generalize
    • Let your topic be your guide on how a body section is broken up among discussions of
      • Data and methods
      • Results
      • Analysis
  • Restatements
    • Question/Approach/Findings
  • Implications
    • Your analysis has to mean something…
    • What limitations have been overcome and what remain
  • Necessary future work
example paper on website
Example paper on website
  • On the class website, my writeup of the AGEC 352 diet using all 1100+ foods from the 2009 database
    • Whether it’s a good or bad example of written communication is up to you to evaluate
      • Reading critically helps your writing
      • When you are reading and find something you don’t understand, ask yourself if it is your knowledge or the author’s ability to communicate that is limiting…