Group final project

Students can work in groups of 2-4. You must choose one of the two following options for your final project:

  1. Original research project: Provide novel insight into international development through the original analysis of non-traditional data. You should begin by clearly articulating a research question or hypothesis that can be answered or tested within the course of the semester. Be ambitious, but be practical – you must be able to obtain all of the necessary data quickly, and the analysis you propose must be feasible.
  2. Grant proposal: Write a compelling research proposal describing a feasible project that uses novel sources of data to answer a pressing question in international development. Your idea should be compelling, novel, and feasible. To be compelling, it must tackle an important question that people care about. To be novel, you must clearly articulate your research question, and convince the reader that this question is not something that has been adequately addressed in the literature. To be feasible, you must convince the reader that your team can realistically achieve your goals in a realistic (6-18 months) timeframe. Do not propose to use a dataset that you could not reasonably obtain within 3-6 months (better yet, initiate conversations to obtain the necessary data, and present summary statistics of the data in the proposal!). Include an approximate budget and schedule of milestones and deliverables.

There are a few deliverables associated with each project:

  1. Abstract (Due March 15): Submit a 1-2 page summary of your idea. Make sure to include the following in this summary: A title; the names of all group members; a 1-sentence summary of the research question you hope to answer (this sentence should end with a question mark!); a 1-paragraph abstract; a description of the data required; an overview of the methods you will use; and a list of the 3-5 most relevant papers. After reading this abstract, it should be clear to the reader that your project or proposal is both interesting and feasible (on this latter point, you must succinctly describe how your methods will allow you to answer your question based on your data).
  2. Lit review and summary statistics (Due April 5):  Conduct a thorough literature review of related work (or related projects in the private or public sector). Submit an annotated bibliography that describes the 5-10 most relevant papers. For Grant Proposals, also identify 2-5 sources that would be likely to fund your research, and include an outline for your grant proposal. For Research Projects, also include a few pages of summary statistics of your primary datasets (this means you have to have your data in hand by this point!). Summary statistics include N, min/median/max/mean/SD of key variables, etc.
  3. Final presentation (Due April 24): Details TBD.
  4. Final report (Due April 30): Grant proposals should be modeled after a common standard, such as an NSF proposal, and are expected to be 10-20 pages. Research project write-ups should be modeled after an academic paper, and are expected to be 5-15 pages excluding figures, tables, and appendices (which will likely add an additional 5-15 pages).