Group final project

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

  1. Write an original research paper: Articulate and answer a novel research question in international development. Your project should rely on the original analysis of non-traditional data.  Your goal should be to have the first draft of a short paper that could be published or presented at an academic research venue (here is an example of a successful project from last year). Be ambitious, be practical, and start early: you need to be able to obtain and analyze the required data within the course of a semester.
  2. Build something useful: Build a public-facing website that transforms, merges, and analyzes non-traditional data, and provides output or analytics that are useful to people studying international development. Your tool must fill an unmet need, i.e., your contribution must be different from what is already out there.  Examples of what to strive for: Streetscore, DataChile, …
  3. Write a 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 research literature. To be feasible, you must convince the reader that your team can realistically achieve your goals in a realistic (6-18 months) timeframe. Obtain all necessary data to conduct the research study and present preliminary analysis of these 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 29): Details TBD.
  4. Final report (Due April 27): Please use the PNAS submission template for your final report. If you are writing an original research paper, aim for 5-10 pages excluding figures, tables, and appendices.  If you are building a tool/website, aim for 3-5 pages that motivate the need for the tool/website and discuss potential use cases. If you are writing a grant proposal, aim for 10-20 pages, and make sure to model your proposal after a common standard, such as an NSF proposal.