## Free interactive learning software

I’ve come across a very useful tool while looking at open access fisheries models. The Wolfram Demonstrations Project offers free interactive software for a variety of economic concepts. The software allows the user to play with various models and get an instant visualization. No more ~~guessing~~ economic reasoning about what happens to economic rents; now it only takes a few clicks. In the fisheries model I played with, I could slide a bar to increase price or units of effort.

Their YouTube channel gives a quick peak at over 6000 of their interactive models. Watch 20-second clips of what you can do with the model and then decide which ones to play with. Very effective time-saving! Now if only I can stay focused on my topic instead of playing with this software…

## Stata and Excel help: Descriptive statistics

This is by far the best tutorial on descriptive statistics commands in Stata. Exel commands are given also in the first half of this very long page.

http://www.princeton.edu/~otorres/Excel/excelstata.htm

Thank you, Princeton!

## Stata help

As part of my data analysis for my honours thesis I’ve had to use Stata. Having learned EViews over the past two years didn’t help at all, except when it came to looking for answers! I found this Queen’s University guide to Stata by Mike Abbott: http://econ.queensu.ca/pub/graduate/stata/

Here is a breakdown of the tutorials to help you find which tutorial you need for that pesky Stata problem!

Tutorial 1: **Getting Started with Stata**

Tutorial 2: **Introduction to Selected Stata Commands**

Tutorial 3: **The Basics of OLS Estimation in ***Stata*

Tutorial 4: **Generating and Graphing Predicted Values and Residuals After ****OLS Estimation**

Tutorial 5: **Hypothesis Testing of Individual Regression Coefficients: Two-Tail ****t-tests, Two-Tail F-tests, and One-Tail t-tests**

Tutorial 6: **Functional Form and Variable Re-scaling in Simple Linear ****Regression Models**

Tutorial 7: **Estimation and Hypothesis Testing in Multiple Linear Regression ****Models**

Tutorial 8: **Using Dummy Variable Regressors to Test for Coefficient ****Differences in Multiple Linear Regression Models**

Hopefully these tutorials will help get you going!

## How to write a critical review of an academic journal article

Your professor has asked you to write a critical review of a paper. Where do you start?

The questions below are a great kick-off point. Read them, then read your article. While reading your article, make notes and brainstorm answers to the questions. You might find it helpful to skim the article once, and then go back and look at the areas of interest in more detail.

A typical review should be 2 – 3 pages long (or whatever your professor specifies) and should address (at least) the following issues:

• What question is the author(s) trying to address and why is this interesting? What

contribution does this article make to the understanding of the issue?

• How do the authors answer or analyze the question? That is do the authors use a

theoretical model, econometric analysis, etc? What are the main (crucial) assumptions

the authors make? How sensitive are the results/conclusions to these assumptions?

• What are the weaknesses in the article? Imagine that you were assigned to defend a

policy that was brought into question by the findings contained in the article. How

would you do so?

• You may find it useful to do some research, i.e. look up one or two relevant articles.

These questions were given to me as part of an assignment in a course in Canadian Microeconomic Policy. In the name of knowledge mobilization I am sharing them with you! I hope you found it helpful.

## Starting the new year off with… data entry

Another semester come and gone. While this puts me closer to graduating (YES!) it means my thesis is due in three months (EK!). While this semester won’t be as busy as my last, I will have other things to worry about. (What am I going to do after I graduate? Will my GPA be high enough? What advanced will I make in my knowledge transfer research project? Yikes, yikes, yikes.)

The semester has started off well, and I managed to enter the data from the 96 surveys I collected as part of my thesis research over the weekend. Now comes the next part: figuring out what it means.

The hardest part about the data entry, after figuring out how I wanted to lay it out in Excel, was interpreting some of the responses. If you ask a “yes or no” question, and the participant fills in 4/5 as “yes” and leaves the other blank, does that mean their answer is “no”?

I haven’t made any assumptions yet, but a lot of the surveys have minor issues like that. Another example is a question that asked to put a check mark beside the item that the respondent used *most*. Many respondents checked more than one answer! How do I deal with that?

I guess focusing on these somewhat trivial decisions lets me steer clear of actually trying to make sense of the aggregated responses. Time to get back to work and start crunching these numbers!!

## Undergraduate research at the University of Victoria: My perspective

To find out more about undergraduate research scholarships at the University of Victoria, click here.

Video credit: Dr. Elizabeth Grove-White, University of Victoria.

## Data collection: A lesson in time management

With my survey and experiment less starting in less than two hours, I am finally feeling like things are under control.

“Just a short survey, conducting it is not a big deal,” I thought. Boy, was I wrong! The printing went smoothly, but there were additional hours I hadn’t anticipated. Folding 200 surveys takes longer than you’d think! And then I had to staple them too (three pages fold together to form a booklet).

I did get some things done ahead of schedule: The psychology department kindly lent me a box of golf pencils, I quickly used EViews to get a random number list, and my #1 assistant (i.e., my mother) got the 200 toonies for me from the bank. All seemed to be on track.

The experiment part of tonight’s research involves giving participants $2 as compensation for completing the survey. The $2 is given in three different ways. This is the part that I left to the last minute to actually put together (big mistake!).

One group of surveys has the $2 coin attached to the back, the second group has a voucher attached to the back, and the third group tells the participant to hand in their survey and that they “could donate [their compensation] to The Commons.” The random number list assigns a type of survey with the participant (much more high-tech than it sounds).

After three or four hours of tedious work this afternoon everything is on track! Somehow I managed to get everything done–most likely because I’ve been working away at bits of it all week. The lesson? Things always take longer than you think they will; be sure to leave some buffer room.

Time to have a cup of tea and enjoy the calm before the storm!