February 05, 2003

Progress Report 3

pdf file for form

It is time to pick a term paper topic. I will be approving your topics and will inform you if your topic is not suitable. Please stop by my office if you want to discuss an idea before putting in a lot of time and energy.

We are approaching this course from three viewpoints: (1) The lectures cover specific points of economics using short handouts. (2) The textbook describes the entire money and banking field in general, and we are interested mainly in the descriptive material from that source. (3) The term paper will cover a narrow, but descriptive topic in depth. Your goal for this third element is to learn a lot about a particular point without doing the sort of analytics we deal with in the lectures. Ideally, I would like you to read and evaluate the congressional hearings and reports (or material of a similar level) on one particular policy issue.

I strongly suggest that you find a topic by browsing. Look through CIS, EconLit, ABI-INFORM, or even your textbook. The most important point is to quickly, efficiently sort through a set of ideas, establishing the likelihood of finding good references for each. That is, think about some ideas before you start doing detailed reading, but make sure you see references listed for your idea. A good guideline is the following: if your reference has color pictures, it is not likely to be acceptable.

Please try to find something that you find interesting because you will do better work if you are interested in your topic. In your term paper, you will be discussing an issue with at least two opposing viewpoints that are expressed in your research material

Progress Report Contents. The form for Progress Report 3 is available as a pdf file. (From most computer labs, you can simply click on the link and then hit "print" once the form is visible.)

Staple your material to the PR3 form. Make your own copy of this progress report. I will be keeping the copy you turn in.

We want to be sure that ample reference material is available. The form asks for six references. You can either use the Reference Report Form or you can provide the same information in a similar format.

If a reference appears in a work with corporate authorship, which many of your references will, you must also describe the volume as a whole. I would suggest that you use one citation for a volume and then reference that volume by number. For example:

[1] Senate Student Activities Committee, Hearings on Restricting Hours of TV Viewing at Federally Supported Universities, May 1, 1991, ...

[2] Joe Student, "I Want my MTV All Night Long," in [1], pages 100-120.

(2) State the two viewpoints that you intend to evaluate. A few sentences for each position will be adequate. State the numbers of the references that present each position.

Professional Standard. Before you turn in your work, apply the following standard. Does this look like the professional work of an educated college graduate? Would anybody pay good money for this type of production? If your work does not meet this standard, why not?

Posted by bparke at 09:49 PM

January 22, 2003

Progress Report 2

Due 1/30/03.

The point of this progress report is not to find a term paper topic. The point is to find out where the term paper topics are to be found.

In Econ 185, we follow standard business practice when it comes to copies of paperwork. That is, when you give me a document, that is my copy and I am going to keep it. If you might want a copy of a document that you turn in, then make your own copy. For example, I am going to keep your progress reports.

We also follow standard business practice when it comes to fasteners. If you turn in more than one sheet of paper, I expect the sheets to be stapled together. Standard business practice dictates that work with one corner folded over and, optionally, torn is the work of a child. Standard business practice regards work held together with a paper clip as unfinished.

For Progress Report 2, you are going to turn in two Research Reports stapled together. Paper copies of the Research Reports will be available in class, but you can print your own copy at Research Report.

Your first step (which you have completed already!) is to read your textbook. In doing so, you have undoubtedly discovered some ideas for term paper topics relevant to this course. You do not need a topic at this point, but it will help to have a few sample key words for your trial searches described below. (Hint: I am totally bored by the topic, should banks be allowed to sell insurance.)

1. Read Free Term Paper Ideas at the EconModel web site.

2. Congressional publications are fertile sources for debates about issues.

We will begin by going to Davis Library, which is in the vicinity of the student union and the bookstore. (It's the tall building with all the books.) After you enter the library, proceed to the Government Documents and Social Science Reference area down the lobby and to the left. Locate the Congressional Information Service (CIS) volumes.

You are going there to explore the primary sources we will be using to do our term papers. There is no need to do anything about your particular term paper, but we do want to get prepared to take action later this semester. Eventually, you will need an issue with at least two sides.

Please look through a few volumes of CIS to see how it is organized, noticing that there are indices by subject and by committee. Pick a likely looking reference and copy down its index number. Look up that index number in the abstracts volumes. Notice that the committee's publications are gathered in one place and you have probably stumbled on other material about the same subject. Take the citation to the reference desk, show the copy to the librarian, and ask him/her to retrieve that material from the closed stacks in the basement. Complete a reference report.

3. Electronic bibliographic systems are fast.

We will now compare this old technology with electronic bibliographic systems. We will use the electronic version of CIS plus ABI-INFORM and ECON-LIT. To find these, go to library.unc.edu and look for the heading "E INDEXES AND DATABASES." The electronic version of the CIS publication is call LexisNexis Congressional. ABI-INFORM is oriented toward general business and trade publications. ECON-LIT is an electronic version of the Journal of Economic Literature, which is oriented more toward academic economics. If you find other useful indices, let me know and I will add them to this document.

The basic idea, once you get into CIS, ECON-LIT, or ABI-INFORM, is to learn how to search by keywords. Try "mortgage". Then see if you can figure out how to select out citations listing both "mortgage" and "testimony". Once you get the number of citations down to a manageable number, see if you can find the button to look at one and the button to print a list. Complete a reference report for one electronic database citation.

3. Search engines.

Go to www.google.com. Search under mortgage. This is fast, but the depth of what you find can be limited, and there is a lot to sort through.

Vanity Searching

Go to google.com and enter your name. The world has two classes of people: those who show up on search engines and those who do not.

Check out the #1 Google rankings for EconModel.

Posted by bparke at 09:40 PM

December 30, 2002

Progress Report 6

Econ 185 Term Paper Review Prof. Wm. Parke

1. What is this paper about?

2. How well does the author do in addressing the above issue in the first few paragraphs?

3. How well do the sections in this paper exhibit a clear, logical organization?

4. Do the paragraphs present ideas clearly with one topic sentence per paragraph and all sentences supporting that topic sentence?

5. Evaluate the stapling, the typing, and other physical attributes relative to a serious, professional effort by a bright graduate of a prestigious university.

6. Do the same for the spelling and the grammar.

7. To what extent does the bibliography give the appearance of serious research? Are the references clear and complete?

8. How well does the author maintain a professional tone? (For example, there should be no "stream of consciousness" lapses that suggest a hurried preparation.)

9. What single element of this paper most needs improvement?

10. If you had important responsibities in the business world and had just read this paper, would you be moved to include this person on your team? Why or why not?

Goal: Perhaps a dozen individuals in the history of the English language have produced written works that admit no possible improvement. The rest of us strive not for perfection, but for improvement. The greatest learning experience you can have with your term paper is to wait a while and then go through this ten point list from the point of view of the reader in item 10. For that reason, you should keep this sheet of paper.

Rules: Six points per review. Maximum of two reviews. These are due by the time of the final exam. Please number your responses as above, but feel free to add additional comments as appropriate. Make sure you clearly answer the first three questions at the top of page 1.

Posted by bparke at 09:53 PM

Progress Report 5

It's time to take a snapshot of your progress to this point. I want a copy of what you have regardless of whether it is done or not. You should have something intermediate between the annotated bibliography and a finished product. A rough draft, perhaps.

Please check the following items as you prepare this progress report. If your work has any deficiencies, please correct them quickly.

__ A copy of my work to date is stapled to this page.

__ I understand that copying the work of others is plagiarism regardless of whether I use footnotes or other citations. All my copying is in quotes, and quotes are not a major element of my paper.

__ I have numbered my sources in the bibliography so that I can use citations by number in my paper, avoiding footnotes and Latin. For example,

Senator Billy Joe Bob says we should close bases in somebody else's state [1].

would be compatible with a bibliography entry of the form

[1] Bob, B.J., Comments on Base Closures, in Senate Military Preparedness Subcommittee, Where to Close Bases, Hearings of July 4, 1990.


If numerous sources are in the same volume, you can give the volume itself a number and then say "... in [5]".

__ Every item in my bibliography includes a meaningful author, title, page reference, and date of publication. Items in corporate works include the author (or organization) and title.

__ I have divided my paper into sections. Each section is numbered and has a title.

__ I have divided my sections into paragraphs. Every paragraph has a topic sentence, which almost always comes first, and everything in a given paragraph supports that topic sentence.

__ I discuss the two sides of my issue as objectively as possible in two separate sections. I then present my thoughts in an additional section.

__ The first two pages of my paper clearly state the point of the paper and summarize the results. If a reader reads only the first two pages, I have made my best possible presentation.

__ My paper is long enough to look like the serious work of a university graduate, but not long enough to make Prof. Parke feel bad.

Posted by bparke at 09:52 PM

Progress Report 4

Before completing this progress report, you must consult with me about Progress Report 3.

This progress report must contain the following items stapled to this sheet. As always, make a copy for your own use because I will be keeping my copy.

I. Statement of your topic.

II. Statement of side A ( page)

III. Statement of side B ( page)

IV. Annotated bibliography.

V. Outline of ideas

An annotated bibliography is a listing of sources with a short description of the contents of each source. The idea is to summarize the reason why each source is useful for your project so that a reader can better understand the contents and value of your references. (The CIS volumes are an example of an annotated bibliography.) You will be submitting an annotated bibliography with your final paper so you can view this progress report as a draft.

Your annotated bibliography must contain at least 3 sources for each side with a - page summary for each source. Your citations must satisfy the following requirments. (i) Each must include a call number so that I can get it from the library without looking anything up. (ii) Each must include the author, the title, the date, and the pages. If it is in a volume with other material, you must also specify the author and title of that volume.

The best way to handle a volume containing multiple sources is to make just one listing for the volume and then reference it by number in your other citations. For example,

1. "How to make money in international banking," BCCI President, contained in [2].

2. "Hearings on sleazy practices in international banking," Senate ..., Jan. 1991.

I give low grades to term papers without section titles. You will have (at the very least) an introduction, a section for each side, a section for your analysis, and a conclusion. The main point of the body of your report will be to present the evidence and arguments for the two sides. The most effective presentation is generally a fairly simple point by point discussion. Furthermore, it is easiest to tackle a project in smaller pieces. So you need to subdivide your topic. In the outline you submit with this progress report give the section title and list the major points within each section.

Unless you are a successful novelist with a publishing contract, you must follow these rules: Every paragraph must have a topic sentence. Unless there is an extremely good reason for a deviation from good form, the topic sentence must come first. Every paragraph should make sense when viewed in isolation. Sentence should be written in passive voice only when absolutely necessary.

Plagiarism violates our honor code. The most irritating form of plagiarism is borrowing a paragraph and then "footnoting" the expropriation. (Imagine how distressing it could be to read exams that barely meet the standards for a C in this class and term papers that meet the standards for Newsweek and Time.) Resolve to succeed or fail on your own merits because that is what will happen in the real world.

Posted by bparke at 09:51 PM