Tips for Doing Research

Writing Tips for PhD Students (Cochrane, 2005)

Those interested in pursuing graduate study in economics should check out the American Economic Association’s guide, which includes advice for preparing your application and guidance on suitable background preparation. You are also advised to heavily discount the value of any information that you find on EJMR. Attending your professors’ office hours may be the best way to get information, and they’re usually very open to giving advice to prospective grad students. Always get second opinions (except when it comes to us).

Two additional resources that you may find useful are:

  • The detailed rankings available at Supplemented with other sources, it gives you an idea of the relative strengths of different departments in specific sub-disciplines.
  • Admissions results posted in real-time on the Grad Cafe. This is for you to obsessively check in mid February to mid March, to see which programs have begun to make decisions.

Getting Started with LaTeX

Anyone interested in studying a quantitative discipline should familiarize themselves with the typesetting language called LaTeX. This is the modern standard for writing papers (and presentations!) in economics. At first glance, the primary advantage is its excellent support for mathematical symbols. We use it in the PJE to facilitate modularization and standardization across journal issues. If you take higher-level math or computer science courses, you may be encouraged to use it for problem sets.

The easiest way to get started is by using an online editor, such as, and the user-friendly documentation available at Eventually, you will want to migrate to an offline editor, which offers much quicker compilation times. One reliable option is TeXstudio.