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Research Opportunities

Student Research in the Department of Economics

Undergraduate

There are a number of research opportunities that undergraduate students can get involve in whilst they are studying here – please find below a list of them.

Research in Applied Economics

Research in Applied Economics (RAE) is a core 30-CAT module for final year undergraduate students and is the only compulsory module for BSc (Econ) finalists. The Department regards RAE as the capstone undergraduate module through which the Department delivers on its ambition to develop a teaching pedagogy based on the concept of the ‘Undergraduate as Researcher’. The RAE dissertation gives students the opportunity to demonstrate, deepen and consolidate their knowledge and understanding by applying skills and techniques and demonstrating independence, creativity and originality in the study of a particular applied research question of their own choice.

Carroll Round

RAE students have been remarkably successful in having their submitted papers accepted for presentation at Georgetown University’s prestigious Carroll Round (23 acceptances since 2007), an annual conference which attracts students from top undergraduate programmes, including the universities of Chicago, Columbia, Duke, Harvard, MIT, LSE, Oxford, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale. Since 2011, six of the RAE students’ projects presented at the Carroll Round earned prestigious awards for Outstanding Participant and Paper.

IAES Best Undergraduate Paper Competition

In 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 RAE students were shortlisted among the four finalists worldwide for the Best Undergraduate Paper Competition organised by the International Atlantic Economic Society (IAES). In 2015 and 2016, Warwick Economics students were announced as the overall winners of the IAES competition and had their RAE papers published in the Atlantic Economic Journal.
2018 IAES Conference in New York, U.S - read Paul Noller's report here

British Conference of Undergraduate Research

The Department also supports typically four students per year to present RAE projects selected by the British Conference of Undergraduate Research. Some of our students was judged to be the best overall presenter and consequently offered a Travel Fellowship by the Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning to present their research at the International Conference of Undergraduate Research.

2018 - BCUR Conference in Sheffield, UK - read Paul Noller's report here

Preparation for Undergraduate Research

Students develop skills to link quantitative techniques into economic theory throughout the entire curriculum

  Module Skills
Year 1 Mathematical and Statistical Techniques, Computing and Data Analysis, Economic Briefings Project Develop mathematical, statistical and research skills in computing and data analysis; group work and presentations
Year 2 Econometrics and Applied Econometrics Develop further quantitative methods, group work and presentations
Year 3 EC331 Research in Applied Economics Original individual piece of research. The next step in the transition from ‘student’ to ‘independent’ researcher

In the Curriculum: Modules

Students take this first-year module to develop the “requisite quantitative skills for a rigorous study of contemporary economics.”

This first-year module provides students with “the requisite quantitative background for a thorough and rigorous study of economic analysis, econometric methods and applied economics subjects.” Students are trained in many of the techniques required to analyse data, which is an important skill in itself and feeds into the final year Research in Applied Economics project.

This first-year module is designed to develop undergraduate students' research skills, particularly within computing. It teaches them how to generate pictures, diagrams and equations in word and introduces them to an advanced statistcal software package. They will use this throughout their degree and students learn how to use this to handle and describe data, to understand and interpret relevant economic statistics and to undertake hypothesis testing. It also requires students to undertake numerical work on microeconomic datasets, which forms a crucial part of the training of every economist.

Students are assessed through assignments that aim to give students skills in managing, manipulating and presenting data, using the statistical package Stata.”

All of the skills developed here are a key foundation for students who move onto study Econometrics in year 2.


As part of the first year non-credit bearing Personal Development Module, students work in groups to provide Economic Briefings. They are given particular economics series to analyse, such as, the German unemployment rate or Canadian GDP growth and are asked to present the data and a briefing that provides analysis of it.

Students undertake multiple briefings each year, reflecting what analysts are required to do at institutions, such as the Bank of England. All students are therefore applying many of the tools and techniques learnt in their first year modules to analyse and present economic trends.


There are two second year modules (Econometrics 1 and Applied Econometrics) which build on the skills and techniques learnt in the first year modules Mathematical and Statistical Techniques and Computing and Data Analysis. Within the assessments of these Econometrics modules, students are no longer given the data or the question they are trying to answer, but are required to decide on the interesting questions, find their own data and undertake and organise their analysis in the best way to address the questions. The emphasis of the essay is on linking economic theory to testable implications, interpreting your results, and the implications of the results for policy and for our understanding about how economic agents behave.

These modules are therefore aiming to prepared students for independent research, providing students with important skills, which are of both academic and vocational value. The skills they learn are not only essential for the final year Research in Applied Economics project, but are an essential part of the intellectual training of an economist and will be useful in a range of careers.

One of the key aims of these technical modules is to help our students transition from "student" to "researcher". The module also aims to equip students with a range of competencies, including: an awareness of the empirical approach to economics; experience in the analysis and use of empirical data in economics; understanding the nature of uncertainty and methods of dealing with it; the use of econometric software packages as tools of quantitative and statistical analysis.

 
In the Curriculum: Dissertation

This final year module is the culmination of many students' undergraduate degree in Economics and is an applied dissertation module, which requires students to undertake a piece of independent research. Students firstly are required to design their own research question, undertake a literature review, find their dataset or create a theoretical model and then conduct their own economic analysis. This project sees the student become an independent researcher and is assessed entirely by coursework, including a literature review, a data presentation, a results presentation and a 5000 word project. This project is the most important piece of academic work that students will undertake and is seen as a beneficial educational experience by students, external examiners and employers and the average quality of the work is exceptional, in part due to the ongoing research training that students have received during their three years.

This module provides students with the opportunity to deepen and consolidate their previous knowledge. It directly builds on and uses the skills, methods and techniques that were developed through year one and two modules, requiring students to apply the basic principles of economics to a practical study, using a combination of economics techniques and statistical tools.

The RAE module is highly resourced, with each student choosing a supervisor, having been provided with information on supervisors' interests and expertise and weekly meetings scheduled in small groups. At the end of the second year, students are given clear instructions on how the project works, and they are informed about research ethics and encouraged to consider questions of interest, which might form the basis of their research. Students are warned that they may struggle to find the datasets they need, and are offered training sessions in the Library during term 1 of their final year. They are also given links to key institutions and websites, containing datasets that they might want to use. Students are also given exercises and examples to try out before they start tackling their own data.

They receive lectures on research methods, data models and other issues they may run into, all of which build on the training they have received in previous years. There is also an online helpdesk forum where students can ask questions on, where tutors are on hand to answer them. Students can also book appointments with tutors to discuss technical and software-related issues. Students can also browse and read past projects, as well as watch videos of tips from Professors in the department on how to choose a research question, what to focus on, and how they approach the task of carrying out research.

Many of the final projects are close to, if not at, publishable standard. Some of our best students present their final project at the Carrol Round and we have a very good record of winning the Best Undergraduate Paper and Best Participant at this international conference, which is a testament to the quality of the students and the research they undertake.

Postgraduate


In the Curriculum: Modules

MSc students take this pre-sessional course to “have an understanding of fundamental concepts in mathematics and statistics relevant to the other core modules and be able to apply these concepts to economics.”

In Econometrics A and Econometrics B students produce high quality empirical econometrics, developing the critical insight to appraise econometric results obtained by others, and coming to a balanced view concerning the weight of the empirical evidence presented. The modules help prepare students for independent research, and those completing a 50 CAT module have the opportunity to complete a group econometrics project on a topic of their choosing. The project helps students learn to initiate their own exploration of economic questions, which is a key skill for career paths in research, analysis and working as a professional economist.

 
In the Curriculum: Dissertation

MSc Economics and MSc Economics and International Financial Economics students complete a dissertation over four months in the summer. This consists of a proposal (20%) and an 8000 word dissertation normally submitted in September (80%). The main aim of the dissertation is to encourage independent study and to provide a foundation for future original research. In terms of learning, the dissertation should provide students with a number of research skills, including the ability to define a feasible project allowing for time and resource constraints, develop an adequate methodology, make optimal use of library resources, access databases, understand their uses and limitations and extract relevant data, and work without the need for continuous supervision.

We help students develop research skills and prepare for the dissertation through research methods lectures in the Spring and Summer Term. These explain the dissertation process, including issues such as the selection of a topic, allocation of the supervisor, when the proposal is due and how students will be supervised. Past dissertations are reviewed, explaining why they received high marks and where there might be weaknesses. We continue to build skills in econometrics packages for economists and provide guidance on economic data sets and how they can be used. Students receive academic writing and library dissertation training sessions. Students can also book helpdesk appointments with tutors to discuss technical and software-related issues throughout the summer term and vacation.

2016/17

  • Stuart Allen - Income Tax Withholding, Reference-Dependent Preferences and the role of Salience
  • Jordan Barnard - The Nazi Origins of Comparative London House Prices and Schooling Provision
  • Aakanksha Jaiswal - Risk Attitudes in Information Privacy: An Application of the Domain Specific Risk Attitude Scale
  • Danial Khan - The Economics of Network Neutrality
  • Darja Milic - The Impact of Non-banking Financial Institutions on Monetary Policy Transmission in Euro Areas
  • Emil Nielsen - Entry of FinTech Firms in the Retail Payments Market
  • Christopher Scott - The Effects of Immigration on Productivity - An Industry-Level Analysis
  • Nayuta Shoji - Deposits, Co-ordination and Economic Downturns: A Two-period Global Game
  • Efthymios Smyrniotis - Strategic Bankruptcy: A Game of Co-ordination and the Effects of Stress Tests
  • Yifan Zhang - Pro-cyclical Leverage, Asymmetric Information and Financial Market Instability: An Integrated Approach

Student research opportunities outside of the Department


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Academic Support Librarian

Your Academic Support Librarian provides targeted support in your subject area, helping you to develop information and research skills during your course.

Support and training is available in:

  • literature searching
  • finding, using, and evaluating information
  • referencing and avoiding plagiarism
  • reference management tools
  • using digital tools

Browse a full range of Library courses, visit and enrol on the dedicated Moodle learning page.

It is an excellent starting point for any student researcher. You can access subject support with dedicated discipline key electronic sources, contacts, resources, professional bodies, as well as guidance and other resources related to studying and conducting research in your faculty and discipline.

For interdisciplinary research and projects spanning your department and degree interests, please visit the full list of library subject support or contact the library at academicsupport@warwick.ac.uk or library@warwick.ac.uk

The Library can also buy materials for your subject. Contact the Library with requests for book purchase, skills training or for any assistance with your research at academicsupport@warwick.ac.uk

Academic Writing Day

Academic Writing Day is a full day writing workshop that runs from 10am to 4pm and include topics such as:

  • stages and requirements of writing
  • organisation and structure of assignments and essays
  • paragraph construction
  • language and style academic style
  • ethics in writing and research, referencing
  • reporting (paraphrase/summary)

The day covers all major aspects of academic writing for taught students, and is a combination of lectures and seminars. The topics aim to address in depth the challenges posed by essay/assignment writing. Check out the workshop page and book your place at the next Academic Writing Day.

After attending the Academic Writing Day you can continue developing your research skills at the Academic Writing Open Fora.

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British Conference of Undergraduate Research

The British Conference of Undergraduate Research promotes undergraduate research in all disciplines. The Conference meets annually every Spring in a different British university. Undergraduates of all levels are invited to submit papers, posters, workshops and performances to the Conference. Abstracts are peer-reviewed and those accepted will be invited to attend the conference. The call for papers is usually published in the autumn.

An undergraduate research conference is just like any other academic conference. There will be spoken papers, lectures, poster presentations and workshops — but each one will be delivered by undergraduate students presenting work they have done either as part of their course, internship, or individual project. For two days, you will be able to talk to undergraduate researchers from your own disciplines, and you will also learn a lot about how other disciplines approach research problems.

If you are an undergraduate student, this is a great opportunity to meet students from other universities and share your work. Many courses include opportunities to develop independent research. You might be working on a dissertation, or you may have devised your own topic for an assessment. You might have worked with an external company, or worked with a researcher over the summer to help them with their research project. All research is welcome at this conference, in any discipline taught in Higher Education.

Find out more on the BCUR website.

Please note: Conference fees are usually covered by student's own university. Check with your department before submitting to the Conference and/or registering to attend.

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EndNote training

EndNote is software which helps you to organise your references and to automatically format citations, reference lists and bibliographies in Word. It is an essential tool for any student researcher.

Useful downloads, videos, training material and support

Want to know more about managing your references, saving time and avoiding plagiarism? Sign up to one of EndNote Online Workshops.

The workshop will introduce you to your enhanced EndNote Online (formerly EndNote Web) account, enable you to add references to your library and use the Cite While You Write function in Microsoft Word to generate citations and bibliographies.

More support and help with Endnote endnoteweb@warwick.ac.uk (EndNote Online) or helpdesk@warwick.ac.uk (Endnote Desktop)

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Global Research Priorities (Energy) bursary

Since 2012, the Energy GRP have been supporting up to 5 Undergraduate Summer Placements, each with a bursary of up to £2,000. The Energy GRP bursaries are affiliated with the University's Undergraduate Research Support Scheme (URSS), and are to help with living costs and expenses associated with a research project and will be paid directly to the student. The project normally lasts between 4 and 10 weeks and supports energy research. Students from any department are welcome to apply and the Energy GRP encourage applications from both science and non-science disciplines.

The scheme is open to all Warwick undergraduate students, usually non-finalists.

The Energy GRP are particularly interested in projects that develop connections between departments and with external partners.

Find out more on the Energy GRP website

Global Research Priorities (Materials) bursary

The Materials GRP support up to eight Summer Placements, each with an award of up to £2,000. The Materials GRP bursaries are affiliated with the University's Undergraduate Research Support Scheme (URSS), and are to help with living costs and expenses associated with students’ chosen projects. The project lasts between eight to ten weeks and must involve the study of Materials. The level of support depends on the length of the project, based on a calculation of £200 per week, up to a maximum of 10 weeks, or £2,000.

Students from any department are encouraged to apply, but they must secure their own project before they apply.

Priority is given to (in the following order):

new collaborations (i.e. where the two academic supervisors have not previously worked together)
new projects (i.e. where there is an existing link between supervisors, but a new area of research is being explored)
existing collaborations

Find out more on the Materials GRP website

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IATL Masters' Project Funding

Institude of Advanced Teaching and Learning (IATL) has a number of Master's student funding opportunities to support innovative student projects under the following strands: Research, Collaboration and Performance.

Visit IATL's student funding page to find out more information on these and other research and funding opportunities, requirements, and deadlines.

You are welcome to discuss any aspect of these research opportunities and your application with the IATL team. Please contact the team at IATL@warwick.ac.uk

IATL Modules: Postgraduate

The Institute for Advanced Teaching & Learning hosts a range of interdisciplinary postgraduate modules that encourage students from different departments and faculties to formulate relevant questions and propose novel ideas via independent and collaborative research. Some students are encouraged to further develop those ideas for publication.

Please note: Modules are available to all Masters/PGT students, but require home department approval.
IATL Modules: Undergraduate
IATL Student Ensemble

The Student Ensemble is a trans-disciplinary group of Warwick students and an alumni network that facilitates learning through performance practice. Established at the CAPITAL Centre in 2009 (with funding from the Higher Education Academy), this group has since worked with international practitioners and local communities at the Emerge Festival and Laboratory as well as visiting professionals and graduate companies.

Find out more on the IATL website

IATL Student as Producer

IATL's Student funding opportunities are in place to support innovative student projects under the following strands: Research, Collaboration and Performance.

IATL's Student as Producer (Research) funding is available to undergraduate students and taught Masters students only, who may apply for up to £1,000 for their project. Funded projects must be for research of students’ own devising, and work must be unrelated to anything they are required to do as part of their course.

IATL's Student as Producer (Collaboration) funding is available to undergraduate and taught Masters students only, who may apply for up to £2,000 for their project. The key criterion for this funding stream is that projects must be collaborative and student-led. IATL encourage students to consider the word 'collaboration' in a wide and innovative sense. Projects should always involve more than one Warwick student but students might also wish to work together with a wider interdisciplinary group of students, with members of staff, or with members of the local or international community. Their project must relate to at least one of IATL's key themes.

IATL's Student as Producer (Performance) funding is available to both postgraduate (PGR and PGT) and undergraduate students, who may apply for up to £500 for their performance project which must cover any technical costs, e.g. guidance from an approved theatre technician. Rehearsal and performance space in IATL's spaces is provided.

All IATL funding recipients need to submit a final report on completion of their project. This can take the form of a written report (1,500-2,000 words), films, podcasts, reflective journals or other resources.

Find out more on the IATL website

International Conference of Undergraduate Research (ICUR)

Led and sponsored by the University of Warwick and Monash University, the International Conference of Undergraduate Research (ICUR) is an annual, two-day academic conference. Using video-conferencing technology, ICUR provides undergraduate researchers with a unique opportunity to present and discuss their own research – in any discipline in real-time, without having to leave their home university.

ICUR challenges undergraduate students to rethink their work in an international context. As a forum, it requires presenters to consider the perspective of students from different backgrounds, and to anticipate what may be shared across cultures and local contexts. This challenge translates to research questions as well, encouraging students to examine global and regional trends in their research field, and how these might conflict with local concerns and specificities.

Since its establishment in 2013, more than a thousand students from eleven institutions have presented at ICUR. At Warwick alone, 288 students have presented over four years.

Find out more on the ICUR website

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Library Study Blog

The blog is designed to connect students with information, support and their community. It contains posts offering tips and secrets on a wide range of study skills for example improving presentations, avoid plagiarism pitfalls, preventing library fines and much more. Posts are written both by Library staff and by students about their study experiences.

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Masters Academic Writing Programme

Masters Academic Writing is the first step into research writing. Your examinations are mostly based on (module) written assignments, leading to your dissertation. Your writing should be able to demonstrate not only your ability to analyse, critically engage with material and develop complex arguments, but also aspects of originality. You can find a range of courses on academic writing, critical thinking and discipline specific literature reviews. Browse the courses and select those that suit you best.

Masters Skills Programme

The Masters Skills Programme brings together several of the development opportunities that are offered to Warwick Master’s students in one place.

  • Organising yourself and your time
  • Planning and managing projects
  • Academic study skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Critical writing
  • Speed reading
  • Taking notes effectively
  • Planning and managing projects
  • Effective literature searching
  • Introduction to Masters Writing
  • On Track - dissertation workshops*

*Your school may also offer specific dissertation support - check with your personal tutor

There is also support available for group research projects:

  • Becoming more assertive
  • Working in a team
  • Intercultural training
  • Leading a group project
  • Planning and managing projects

For a full list of workshops visit the Programme page and sign up for the workshops that interest you and develop your skills!

Workshops run across all three terms and can be used towards the Warwick Skills Portfolio Award.

If you think the Programme is missing a workshop that you are interested in, please email the the Programme team the details at skills@warwick.ac.uk

Monash-Warwick Alliance funding

Monash University and the University of Warwick have formed a strategic alliance that aims to enhance the experiences of students at both universities through the development of new models of education and research collaboration.

The Student-led Activity Scheme provides support for activities that seek to integrate the student bodies of both universities, develop ”globally-engaged students” through working as part of international teams, increase both the impact and profile of existing student-led activities at both universities, and transfer knowledge and innovation in student activities across both campuses.

Examples of activities which can be considered for support include academic-related events (e.g. summits, student conferences), cultural and intercultural activities, including sporting events, and skills development events.

The Student-led Activity Scheme provides support of up to a maximum of £15,000 (for expenses incurred by Warwick students).

Find out more on the Monash-Warwick Alliance website

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PG Hub

The Postgrad Hub (PG Hub) is a dedicated space for postgrads, enabling them to access support, work in a collaborative environment and socialise with peers. Click on the link to check availability, latest updates, support, and exclusive postgraduate and research events.

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Reinvention Journal

Reinvention is an online, peer-reviewed journal, dedicated to the publication of high-quality undergraduate student research. The journal welcomes academic articles from all disciplinary areas. All articles undergo rigorous peer review, based on initial editor screening and refereeing by two or three anonymous referees. Reinvention is published bi-annually and only houses papers written by undergraduate students or papers written collaboratively by undergraduate students and academics.

Reinvention is published through the Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning and is an open access journal. Students are encouraged to make their work as interactive as possible and to include tables, diagrams and links to films, photographs and other websites where appropriate. Papers should be between 2,000 and 5,000 words in length, not including the abstract, bibliography and any appendices. They receive thorough feedback on their paper, regardless of whether it gets published or not.

Students also receive training on writing for publications, learning about what a journal article is, how it’s structured, and how to critically revise one’s publications.

Find out more on the Reinvention website

Research and Study Skills

Explore online learning and skills development resources on Warwick's Skills Youtube channel.

You can also visit one of the drop in session with a Master's writing mentor or book a 1:1 academic skills appointment.

For more information visit Skills & Student Development or get in touch with the Skills team via skills@warwick.ac.uk.

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Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme (URSS)

The Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme (URSS) gives students the chance to become directly involved in the research work of the University, experience what it's like to be a member of a research team and take part in cutting-edge research. URSS is a competitive scheme that provides living expenses (up to £1,000) and skills development training to support successful applicants who wish to carry out a summer research project as an addition to their undergraduate degree course. Undertaking a summer research project via the URSS is more than just doing a project – it will give you dedicated skills training opportunities too. The Scheme gives you both a taste of research, invaluable for those looking to pursue postgraduate study, and also adds further value to your degree from Warwick. URSS has been in place since 2002, with students on the scheme having travelled to Europe and further afield to undertake the research.

Find out more on the URSS website.