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Crafting An Economics Research Paper Introduction
The history of economics is rooted in observations and inductive reasoning about the problems of scarcity, production, and consumption. But modern economics is far more deductive, analytical, and mathematical, in its approach to these same issues as it attempts to take a far more scientific approach. Ultimately, though, the discipline is hampered by an inordinate complexity that distances it from the hard sciences, and it must draw some conclusions on greater leaps of faith. When you write an economics research paper, these two forces will tend to conflict somewhat. Address them clearly, and you will craft a great introduction that will earn you the respect of your readers. Follow this recipe to succeed.
- Contextualise the Economic Problem
- Identify the Relevant Schools of Thought
- Highlight the Limits to Your Analysis
- Describe Your Research
- Reveal Your Conclusions
To orientate your reader, you need to name the particular economic problem that your paper concerns in the introduction. For example, you might note that upward-sloping demand curves have long been theorised in the case of luxury goods, but that the extents of short-run observations of such trends have never been analysed at their extremes. This will immediately give your reader the frame of reference they need.
If your analysis assumes a particular economic school of thought, or looks to support its views, or takes a heterodox position, it is important to clearly state the views and the position taken in your introduction. For example, traditional thought has discarded all notion of the labour-theory of value; but neo-Marxist schools may still analyse value in those terms. Your paper might clearly identify that it finds some support for the neo-Marxist position.
Economic phenomena are very often localised to particular markets, or timeframes, or regions of input variables. Following from the school of thought clarification above, your introduction should state if any particular constraints are relevant, such as if the support you find applies only to particular classes of goods in developing economies, and cannot necessarily be generalised to all goods in developed economies.
Give a brief description of the analytical method, data gathering, analytical method, and findings of your research. In general, this section will be heavy with the jargon typically used in economic research.
Finally, look ahead in your introduction to the conclusions you have drawn from your work. Ultimately, this prepares your reader to follow along with the development of your argument with an eye to the quality and interpretation of the evidence you present. Though, of course, this may open your work up to question, ultimately this is the noblest objective of presenting evidence-based economics research in a scientific manner, to progress the discipline, our understand, and ultimately the wellbeing of mankind.