ECON 7225 - Master of Applied Economics Dissertation

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2017

Each student is to undertake an individual research project that exhibits original investigation, analysis and interpretation. Students need to contact the Academic Program Coordinator before the semester to discuss suitable topics and potential supervisors.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ECON 7225
    Course Master of Applied Economics Dissertation
    Coordinating Unit School of Economics
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 6
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites Credit average for other MAppEc courses
    Corequisites ECON 7238
    Restrictions Available to PGCW Economics students only.
    Course Description Each student is to undertake an individual research project that exhibits original investigation, analysis and interpretation. Students need to contact the Academic Program Coordinator before the semester to discuss suitable topics and potential supervisors.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Florian Ploeckl

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    The purpose of the dissertation is to encourage students to undertake independent economic research and to foster research-related skills, which should benefit future study and employment.

    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
    1 Demonstrate specialist knowledge in the area of their research.
    2 Demonstrate the ability to initiate research and to formulate viable research questions.
    3 Demonstrate the capacity to design, conduct and report sustained and original research.
    4 Demonstrate the ability to evaluate and synthesize research-based and scholarly literature.
    5 Present research findings and argument in a suitably structured and sequenced thesis that conforms to protocols of academic presentation and research practice.
    6 Demonstrate the ability to critique literature and conduct analyses at a Masters level.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1,4
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    2,3,4
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    5,6
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    3,5
  • Learning Resources
    Recommended Resources
    A bibliography must be included. Since different journals use different methods, it is necessary to choose one method and stick to it consistently. For some guidance concerning bibliographical methods, consult one or more of the references listed in the Barr Smith Library subject catalogue under the heading "Dissertation, Academic"; for example, Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Dissertations.

    Students are recommended to consult the Writing Centre at the University for writing and language questions.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Unlike standard coursework, research is a relatively unstructured activity. Student must self pace and self monitor their own progress. One to one guidance is provided in supervision sessions. Regularity of supervision will be set in accordance with their supervisor. A regular schedule would be a meeting at least once every 2 weeks.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The University expects full-time students (i.e. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies. This course is 6 units.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Teaching & Learning Activities Related Learning Outcomes
    Supervision 1 - 6


    1. The student is to prepare a short proposal of the research idea no later than one week before the beginning of the semester and submit this to the Course Co-ordinator.
    2. Approval to enrol must be obtained from the Program Co-ordinator before the semester starts. A supervisor will be assigned by the Course Co-ordinator once approval is granted.
    3. The student is to arrange a first meeting with their assigned supervisor within the first 2 weeks of semester.
    4. At the initial (or a subsequent) meeting the student, with approval of the supervisor, will decide on the exact research question, the paper to review or materials to use as well as the relevant structure and sections of the dissertation.
    5. Students are expected to submit written drafts of each section to the supervisor. The supervisor is then expected to provide a constructive and critical assessment of the work submitted and make a note of the comments given.
    6. For each section of the dissertation, the supervisor is expected to read and comment on the section at least once. The student is then expected to revise the individual sections, and submit them combined as the final version to the supervisor.
    7. Upon receiving the final version of the dissertation, assessing the content, and deciding upon the mark, the supervisor is expected to provide feedback on the student’s work – including the strengths and weaknesses of the dissertation.
    8. Throughout the semester students are strongly expected to attend the Thesis Workshop on Monday's and the Friday Seminar.
    Specific Course Requirements
    The dissertation takes usually the form of a critical assessment of a particular economic or policy issue or more focused of a journal article, formal working paper, book or other suitable object. To write this critical assessment, students need to carry out background reading, review references listed in the paper and identify other related works. The student is expected to clearly locate the specific paper being examined within the body of literature, as well as demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical and/or empirical material in the paper, provide a critical assessment and extensively discuss research or policy implications.
     
    Alternatively the student works on a project that makes use of original empirical material/data that they have access to. This might involve working with an outside co-supervisor (for example, someone from the student’s current or former workplace), but still requires principal supervision from an academic staff member of the School. Whilst the student would be focused on making use of empirical data, relevant literature would clearly need to be referred to in order to represent thorough research practices. Although an econometric or applied economic investigation is the most common, and recommended, form other acceptable methodologies are conceptual research work, case studies and original surveys


    Topics for Dissertation:
    Students are responsible for proposing the topic of the dissertation, although they are encouraged to discuss their area of interest and ideas for a selection of the main work with the Program Coordinator or relevant faculty members. Students have to formally submit a proposal not later than one week before the semester to the Program Coordinator, who then assists with the identification of a suitable advisor. Approval by the Program Coordinator and supervisor has to be granted before the start of the semester.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Due Date/ Week Weight Length Learning Outcomes
    Final Dissertation Paper Week 13 100% 4,000 to 7,000 words range 1 - 6
    Total 100%
    Assessment Detail
    The standard of English expression is expected to be high. Students may wish to consult references listed in the subject catalogue of the Barr Smith Library under the heading "Style, Literary". While supervisors will offer reasonable assistance, the writing of a dissertation is the student’s task and students must not expect the supervisor to convert careless or poor prose into good English.
    Submission
    The length of the dissertation will be decided in conjunction with the supervisor and course coordinator, but typically it is in the 4,000 to 7,000 words range.

    There should be a title page showing:
    • the title in full
    • the full name and degrees of the candidate
    • the School in which the candidate submitted the work
    • the degree for which the dissertation is submitted
    • the date of submission
    • the declaration.
    The declaration includes the signature and date and the following paragraph. "Except where appropriately acknowledged this thesis is my own work, has been expressed in my own words and has not previously been submitted for assessment."

    There should be a brief (less than 1 page) abstract preceding the text of the dissertation. This should indicate the aims, scope and conclusions of the dissertation, as well as the word count. 

    The dissertation must also include a bibliography. See under Recommended Resources above.

    The exact submission data and procedure will be posted on MyUni before the start of the semester.

     The supervisor and the second reader will mark the work independent from each other. The total mark is the average of the two marks. If the two marks differ by more than one grade, the course coordinator will reconcile the marks with the help of a third reader.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    In assessing theses, examiners look for the following attributes. Depending on the format of the thesis not all of these criteria are appropriate in each case.

    1. Topic; is it well-defined, justified, and suitably motivated?

    2. Structure; is it logical, coherent, and well explained?

    3. Literature context; does the dissertation exhibit knowledge about the larger literature?

    4. Understanding; is a thorough understanding of the methods and tools used in the literature evident?

    5. Independent thought; does the analysis demonstrate originality and independent thought?

    6. Conclusions; are conclusions and implications clearly drawn and are the limitations of the study identified?

    7. Quality of presentation, is the language clear and understandable, is the use of tables, diagrams and other figures appropriate and well executed, and are formal conventions like footnoting and referencing followed?

     
    High Distinction:
    The dissertation excels across most of the range of the described attributes and shows at least high competency in all of them
    Percentage Range: 85-100

    Distinction:
    The dissertation will be at least highly competent across the attributes, and probably excel in at least one of them. Relative weaknesses in some areas may be compensated by conspicuous strengths in others
    Percentage Range: 75-84

    Credit:
    The dissertation will show competency across most of the attributes, though may have inadequacies in a few of them. 
    Percentage Range: 65-74

    Pass:
    The dissertation contains some serious inadequacies. However, to obtain a pass rather than a fail the dissertation must show some understanding of research topic and evidence of independent analysis.
    Percentage Range: 50-64

    Fail:
    A fail is a rare result, given when the student displays little understanding of the relevant economic ideas, and fails to meet the criteria for a pass.
    Percentage Range: less than 50

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
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