Chapter 1 Introduction

Doing research is like baking: it requires structure (you need to follow a series of steps), but it also requires passion and some magic. It requires Deep Work, and a clear commitment to produce something that helps us understand the world a little bit better.

In this Guide, I will introduce some of the elements that will help you produce a great research project. Just as with a baking book, I will introduce some of the elements and stages you need to follow in producing your research paper. But it is important that you also feel free to include your own magic. Use the elements that will help you keep motivated in the process and make it feel your own.

In Section 1, I start by providing a general overlook of what makes a research project, a great one. Then, Section 2 looks into the most basic issue: How to find a research question?. Even the best research project will be useless if the research question does not attract the attention of an audience. The Guide introduces what are some of the main characteristics of a great research question, and how to get inspired. I include some handouts with some of the stages that you need to go through in order to find the best research question for you.

Then, in Section 3, I will look into some of the most important aspects that you need to keep in mind when structuring your argument. Section 4 introduces some of the elements that every empirical paper (in economics and political science) that follow quantitative research methods needs to include. Section 5 mentions some of the issues to keep in mind when writing an empirical model and working with data. Section 6 focuses on how to structure the presentation of your research project and provides some tips to keep in mind when presenting.

This volume, of course, is still a work in progress. It compiles information that I have found useful from multiple scholars. I include the specific citations and links in the specific sections, so you can read more about it. It also includes some things that I learned while working on my own research (most of it, I have learned the hard way). But, as I gain more experience and find more information, I will expand this Guide1.

But, above all, my main message is that research is fun. It allows you to explore and learn more about a topic and contribute to our understanding of how the world works. It also provides you with a set of skills that will be useful in your future careers and hopefully, in your lives. You will be able to tell a story in a clear and effective way, you will learn how to analyze data, and how to become a better writer and communicator. I hope that you learn that economics provides you with a set of tools and knowledge that can be combined with information and knowledge in other fields, and that you belong in this process of improving our knowledge in the discipline.

Now, let’s do some research!