Evidence and Empirics

‘A gram of experience is worth a ton of theory’

Lord Salisbury, former British Prime Minister

‘Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that’s even remotely true!’

Homer Simpson

Very few economics dissertations will avoid bringing in evidence at some point. Looking at data allows you to see if your elaborate theories describe the world accurately.

The type of analysis that you present will depend on:

  1. your topic

  2. the available data

  3. the techniques you have covered in your course

As mentioned in ‘Choosing a title‘, you should slant your choice of research question to play to your strengths. This means if you want to show off your econometrics, to make sure that the data you need is available and that the topic lends itself to such analysis.

See ‘Finding Data‘ for practical advice on finding data.

But there are some slight differences between a dissertation and an empirical project set by a faculty. You have more freedom in a dissertation, so you can try things that you can’t in an empirical project.