Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Abstract, Introduction, and Conclusion

Start revising the paper. Noll (2005, p.17)---last year's job market guide for PhD candidates at Stanford University---convincingly argues for the importance of the abstract, the introduction, and the conclusion of the job market paper. These are the parts of your job market paper that recruiting commitee members at universities actually read.

I think it's better to revise these three parts of the paper first. After revising the main text I will need to modify these parts anyway. So I will spend twice as long time as I would do if I revised these three parts only in the end.

The abstract must be short. The upper limit is 150 words. It must include the research question, the research method, and a brief statement of most important results. (Noll 2005, p.17)

I think that the introduction of a paper is more or less the same as the introduction of a seminar as described in Cox (2000): the question to be addressed, why this question is important, why the existing literature fails to address it properly, what your new and better research method is to address the question, and the summary of results.

More trickly is the conclusion. Cochrane (2005, pp.3-4) even argues that there needs no conclusion. But he suggests some idea for what should be written in the conclusion: a short paragraph or two acknowledging limitations. I think implications for future research and policies can also be included. In addition, David Levine (see under the heading "Stylistic issues") says the conclusion should be "accessible to the nonspecialist reader".

I forego the opportunity to go to Heyward Gallery with Cheyok and to a classical music concert with Katsumata-san tonight. Now I'm on the job market.

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