Journal Article Summary Discussion Question
Summarize an academic article (3 double-spaced pages). Work smart: choose an article related to your final paper for the class. (Remember to cite it correctly of course.)
Your article must be from a reputable business/economics/policy journal OR be a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). Your goal is to condense the information contained in the article while acquiring for yourself a more thorough understanding of the issues the article addresses.
Your summary should answer the following questions about the article:
What big question does the article seek to answer?
What specific question does the paper seek to answer?
What approach does the author use to answer the specific question?
What methods and data does the author use?
What are the main results/findings? Does this fit with other research in the area of research?
What further questions does the article raise?
For tips on how to read a social science article, refer to: http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/files/instructors/How_to_Read_a_Journal_Article.pdf (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Here is a (not-nearly-exhaustive) list of economics/economic policy journals considered well-regarded by the discipline of economics.
Journal of Economic Perspectives (JEP)
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management (JPAM)
Journal of Economic Literature (JEL)
American Economic Review (AER)
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy (AEJ: Policy)
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics (AEJ: Applied)
Journal of Political Economy (JPE)
Journal of Public Economics (JPubE)
NBER Working Papers
Quarterly Journal of Economics (QJE)
RAND Journal of Economics
Review of Economics and Statistics (REStat)
Note: The author of a typical academic journal writes for an audience of other Ph.D. economists. That means it is likely that the article you choose may include challenging technical details you do not fully understand. You may not understand 100% of the article, but you need to understand its main points. If you do not have confidence that you understand the main points of the paper, choose another one. Articles in the JEP, JPAM, and JEL tend to be easier for less experienced economists to read.
Questions about the trustworthiness of information should always be front and center when doing research. With the proliferation of available writing on virtually any subject made possible by the internet, that question is more significant now than it has ever been. Most conventional ‘tests’ of legitimacy have to do with the agenda of the authors and the track record/reputation of the journal from within the conventional ranks of university level members of the field. But time has shown us that not everything published in legitimate journals is necessarily correct (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., and that accuracy appears in a variety of places (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. I say all this to encourage you always to have your ‘radar’ on when you read or hear what sounds like ‘real’ information. All that said, this assignment asks that you summarize an article in what those in the discipline consider a reliable source.
If the journal your article appears in is not among the top 500 in this list: https://ideas.repec.org/top/top.journals.simple. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.ask me. If your article offers only information, but little or no information about how that information was discovered, move on to another choice.