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Sunday, August 16, 2009

On I read until the day was gone

Having put in two blocks of brief intense work (for Modelling last Tuesday, and Metrics on Friday), I'm now in the midst of a furious assault on the Macro referee report. Unlike the paper we reported on for Macro last trimester, this paper makes it very easy to see where it fits into the literature. This is only a good thing insofar as it cuts down on research and reading. Otherwise, it's a very bad thing, because it makes the paper extremely irritating to read. Not to put to fine a point on it, the authors like themselves, like their work, and whack you over the head with this fact approximately once per page. I don't need to be told ten times that you did it all with the assumption of perfect capital markets! Once in the introduction and once in the conclusion is plenty!

Today's work is downloading papers and, time permitting, summarising their relevance to the paper under reveiw. I always start with the reference list at hand before branching out to the horror of database search. (A real referee wouldn't have to do this - being a subject matter expert, they'd already know exactly which papers to cite in their report.) My favourite database is JSTOR, because it's easy to use, but if JSTOR doesn't have a particular title then ScienceDirect always does. There seem to be a large number of ScienceDirect collections. I've never bothered to work out why that is, but if something appears in both, say, the ScienceDirect Freedom Collection and ScienceDirect Journals, I always go for the Freedom Collection. Because it has a much more awesome name.

Graduate Rhapsody: bringing you the very best in academic research technique!

Edit: I've just finally worked out how I download NBER working papers. I was aware that sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't, but now I've figured out what makes it work, so I'm recording it here for future reference. This method works for any NBER publication to which our library has access; other methods may work as well.

  1. Search the library catalogue for "NBER"
  2. Click on "NBER technical working paper series [electronic resource]"
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the record and click on "Full text available from National Bureau of Economic Research Publications"
  4. Login with student login ID when prompted
  5. You should now be looking at the latest Technical Working Papers on the NBER website. If the paper you want isn't a TWP, or is more than eight years old, you won't find it here. Instead, go to the top left and hover on "Publications". Select "Working Papers" from the list that appears.
  6. Enter the Working Paper number (if you know it) or keyword in the "Full Text Search for Working Papers" box, and click Search.
  7. Click on the title of the paper you want. Because you got here from the library catalogue, you'll be able to download it as a PDF from the links on the left. (If you just went to the NBER website without going through the library catalogue, the download link wouldn't be available.)

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