The Economics 103 Journal
Jean Shackelford
Spring 2011

Please purchase a separate notebook in which to keep your economics 103 journal. Since you may not have been asked to keep a journal of this sort before, this instruction sheet is designed to explain what you should and should not write about in your economics journal. This project will help you learn about and understand the current financial crisis, alternative policy perspectives and links to economic theory.

1. This is a journal and not a personal diary in which you record your personal reaction to personal events.

2. You may, however, register your personal reactions to economic events. You may find that the TV News, a newspaper article, a discussion or lecture on campus, a class lecture or discussion, readings in your text or in some other book generates your reactions. I expect to see journal entries on all Economics 103 Wednesday Night Movies, Lectures, Discussions, etc.

If an article inspired your entry, please include in your journal so that you will have a complete record of your entry.

3. If you write in your journal every day I would be delighted, but I know that is asking too much. If the articles you choose to analyze and write about are of average length, you should have as a minimum an average of 2 1/2 entries per week. That means that you should have a total of 34-35 entries at the end of the semester. You may, however choose to write a longer entry on a single topic or a much longer article or series of articles. In this case I would expect fewer total journal entries.

4. Your journal entries may vary in length. An article you read may inspire you to write a very long paragraph or even pages, while another entry may be only a several sentences reflecting your position on an event. Please feel free to expand on an entry at a later date--or to follow a single story throughout the semester..."What will happen to the value between the Euro and the dollar during the fall and early winter?" "What will happen to interest rates and speculation about further rate reductions during the semester?"

5. While I am not asking than you write a draft and then revise your journal entries, I do expect your entries to be written in complete sentences and reflect complete thoughts. Lists of words and phrases may be used to generate your thoughts, but should not be part of your journal entry. Please write legibly.

6. As the semester goes along be sure that you are trying to analyze situations or events. You will learn more about economic principles each class period. Apply these principles in your journal entries. Go beyond simply recording or reporting on an event or the main point of an article, report, etc. What follows from the event or report? What additional economic concerns might be generated? Why is this of economic significance? What other data might be around to support the arguments? What other example can you think of that might apply to this situation?

7. I will read your journals two times during the semester and at the end of the semester. It is your responsibility to hand your journal in. You may hand your journal to me two times prior to April 19th, and on May 3rd, the last day of the semester. I would strongly advise that you hand your journal in early in the term so you can see if you are "doing it right." The journals will be collected for final review on the last day of class.

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Last updated, January 2011--please contact Jean Shackelford, Department of Economics, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA 17837.

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