Faculty Corner: 5 tips from Prof. Jeffrey Miron
Prof. Miron offers 5 great tips on writing a research paper:
1. If you understand what you have done, you should be able to explain it to a duck.
2. When you’ve finished writing a draft, try to eliminate 20% of the words.
3. Make a literature review a critical literature review. Recognize when the reader really needs to have seen a summary of all the recent literature and when all the reader really needs to know is, “The most recent paper before this one argued X while I argue Y.”
4. Many students have drunk the Kool-Aid of their department. They take certain assumptions as uncontroversial, forgetting that maybe not everyone necessarily agrees. Word sentences about those things carefully and don’t take assumptions as obvious without thinking about how others react to them.
5. On the job market, you have to appeal to a broad audience. Your reader on the recruiting committee may not be from your area, so don’t write your paper for the seven people in world who already care about your topic; also write for the broad range of economists who aren’t yet interested but might be if you show them why.