The Technique of Scientific Writing in Economics

Since I started training individual students from several economic faculties in German Universities about the technique of scientific writing, they asked me where they could find some inspiration to get an appropriate topic for their Bachelor and Master thesis. Depending on the regulations of your university, the supervising professor or lecturer may suggest a specific topic (area of research). Another alternative, the lecturer may give you handouts as an inspiration (starting point) for your research and expect that you will define your own specific research question and then consult with them to fix the final topic. Before you spend a lot of time beating about the bush on how to come up with a convincing draft, your proposal should contain the following ingredients: (research topic, abstract, table of content that shows a clear argumentation line, list of literature sources, model, methodology).


How to design your Economic Research Topic for your Thesis

To arrive at your final convincing draft, you will need to observe the following sub-processes.

1. Define the Economic Problem in your Thesis

Designing your economic research topic begins with the definition of the economic problem you would like to review and analyze, e. g. such a topic “The impact of global trade imbalances on the European Union (EU)”. In such a topic, the economic problem is the “global trade imbalances”, while the “European Union (EU)” limits the context of the analysis.

2. Construct a Mind-Map for your Economic Problem and Context

At this point you should draw a mind-map depicting two general areas: (a) global trade imbalances and (b) European Union (EU), connected with an arrow from (a) to (b) to resemble (c). This and its impact is your main focus in dealing with the economic problem and the chosen context. Using a mind-map you can develop relevant keywords relating to your topic and potential theories that relate to each topic area, e. g. in (a) global trade imbalances is a macroeconomic topic on international trade, while (b) European Union (EU) is also an economic topic of economic policy (institutions), economic integration, international economics as well as international trade. This should give you a hint about the topics you should be familiar with or the literature you should consult.

3. Create spontaneous Mind-Maps and Literature-based Mind-Maps

Each time you need an idea for your thesis contract a mind-map out of your spontaneous knowledgebase. Afterwards use literature sources to construct literature-based and specific mind-maps of what a certain source delivers to you. Now you should have more than one mind-map that talks about the same topic, but from different perspectives (inspiration). Look for commonalities between your spontaneous ideas and the literature sources. Apply critical thinking: ask yourself, why there are differences and whether other sources may help to bridge the gap or not.


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