Lutz Hendricks - UNC - Department of Economics

Finding a Topic

It is hard to overstate how important it is to find a good topic. It is crucial, essential, make or break. So spend time on it.

A good topic poses a specific question. If you cannot state your topic as a question, you are in trouble.

How to find a specific question? Start with a broad area that interests you. This should be narrower than a field (narrower than “monetary economics”, for example), but broader than a specific question (such as “What are the effects of Quantitative Easing on long-term bond yields?”). More like: “Unconventional monetary policy” or “College dropouts” or “the role of institutions for cross-country income differences”.

In order to narrow this down to a specific question, you need to read a lot.

You need to understand the literature before you can identify a topic.

Key points:


Your task for this week (due next Tue) is to identify a broad topic for your thesis.

You should post on slack a description of that topic and 3–4 survey references.