Dean Peterson

Seattle University

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Writing Precise Explanations of Graphic/Tabular Display of Economic Data part of Teaching Resources:Quantitative Writing:Examples
Purpose: This assignment asks for short, precise explanations of economic data displayed in graphs and tables. Background and Pedagogical Rationale: This assignment emphasizes precise thinking and language. Students are often insensitive to the units of measure employed in data presentation. They might look at a graph displaying GDP trends and claim that GDP is falling, when, in fact, the rate of growth has simply declined. They have similar problems with totals and averages. Unfortunately, it is apparent that students do not grow out of this problem naturally. Our department's advisory board complains loudly about the "sloppy thinking" that characterizes young hires. They go on and on about how junior members of their teams prepare terrible numerical graphics for presentations and then go on to talk about the poor quality of data contained in these presentationswrong units, wrong periods, bad conclusions. In order to receive a good grade on this assignment, students need to be sensitive to the units of measure in each source and be precise in what they need to measure. Also, because students are often insensitive to selection bias, they need to be aware of how dependent results can be to the sample selected for observation.

Other Contribution

Dean Peterson part of Starting Point: Teaching and Learning Economics:About this Project:Project Participants
Associate Professor of Economics Seattle University Albers School of Business and Economics 900 Broadway Seattle, WA 98122 Phone:206-296-2538 Background Information Dean Peterson is Associate ...

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Developing Modules for Teaching Economics Participants