The essay is a proposal for an original experiment. The essay will have an introduction
(which consists of a literature review and the research question), discussion of alternative
theories, design of the proposed experiment (including discussion of any specific methodological
issues), discussion of expected results (including measures you would use) and a
The key components of the essay are to:
• Propose an original experiment, which is designed to answer a specific research question.
– In order to determine if your idea is original and where it fits within the existing
literature, you will need to conduct an extensive literature review. A practical
training session will be held to assist with finding appropriate articles (economics
• Explain in sufficient detail the design of the experiment:
– The experiment should adhere to the basic principles of experimental economics
that are covered in this course!
– Specific design choices should be explained and justified.
– Consider several treatment dimensions.
Submission will be electronically via the link on the course Blackboard site.
Essay Proposal (5% of final grade)
The purpose of the proposal is to give you feedback on your proposed topic and ensure you
have a viable essay topic.
You should submit a TWO page description of the proposed research question for your essay.
The proposal should include the following items:
• Essay title
• A brief description of the specific research question you will be addressing in your essay
• A discussion of recent relevant literature including references to at least
FIVE economics journal articles on which your essay will be based. This discussion
should clearly explain how your experiment is related to but differs from those
already in the literature.
• A short description of your proposed experimental design.
• A reference list (which may be on a separate third page).
Research Essay: Detailed Marking Criteria
Your essay will be marked out of 100 and contributes 25% of your final course grade.
• Clearly stated research question
• Clearly demonstrates the originality of the research by discussing the relevant literature
(predominantly economics journal articles). This discussion should go beyond the five
economics journal articles you identified in your proposal
• Strongly motivates the research question
Theoretical Background (19%)
• Clear statement of the specific hypotheses to be tested
• Motivates these hypotheses using theories or concepts from the literature
• Discusses alternative theories and explanations
Experimental Design (28%)
• Describes in sufficient detail the design of the experiment including justification of
specific design choices
• Clearly shows how the experiment is able to test the presented hypotheses
• Demonstrates understanding of the methodological issues relevant to the design
Expected Results (9%)
• Clearly describes the expected results and how these will be measured (i.e. what data
will you use from the experiment to test your hypotheses, NOT statistical methods)
• A well-structured essay including an informative conclusion
• Clear and concise expression with very few spelling or grammatical errors
• Appropriate length (maximum 3000 words)
• Properly references existing and related work
• Adheres with formatting and style requirements: double spaced, font size of 12
Penalties will be applied for:
• Late submission of the essay (penalty specified in Section 5.3 of the Course Profile)
• Academic Dishonesty: please note that this includes both poor academic practice, as
well as deliberate plagiarism. (Section 6.1 of the course profile provides more information).