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“通往诺奖之路”论文篇(4):论文主体  

2009-04-17 16:26:52|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Body of the paper

论文主体

 

Your task now is to get to the central result as fastas possible. Most papers do precisely the opposite: They have a longmotivation, a long literature review, a big complex model that then getsignored, descriptive statistics, preliminary results, a side discussion or two andthen finally Table 12 of “main estimates.” By then we’re all asleep.

现在,你的任务就是尽快地写到“核心结论”部分。大部分的论文,正好相反:它们有很长的动机、很大的文献综述、很大的复杂模型(然后又被人忽略)、描述性的统计、初步的结论、一两个无关的讨论、然后,最后才是“主要估计”的表12。到这里的时候,我们都已经眯着了。

 

Here’s the rule: There should be nothing before themain result that a reader does not need to know in order to understand the mainresult.

我给大家一个规则吧:在主要结果之前,不要写读者理解主要结果时不需要了解的东西。

 

 

Theory

理论

In most papers, the “main result” is empirical. Theremay be some theory or a model, but if you (or the editor!) ask “does this paperexpand our knowledge of economic theory?,” the answer is “no.” The theory isthere to help understand the empirical work. Following the rule, then, thetheory must be the minimum required for the reader to understand the empiricalresults.

在大部分论文中,“主要结果”就是实证的。可能有几个理论或一个模型,但是,如果你(或者编辑!)问:“这个论文,是否拓展了我们的经济理论知识呢?”那么,答应就是“没有!”这儿的理论,就是帮助读者去理解实证研究的。那么,就听我的规则:这里的理论,必须是读者理解实证结果时所需要的最少理论。

 

Do not write a “general” model and then “for theempirical work, we now specialize the general shock process to an AR(1), we useonly 2 firms rather than a continuum, we assume agents have quadratic utility,”etc. Work out only the specialized model that you actually take to data.

不要写一个“普适性”模型,然后,又来一个“为了实证的需要,我们现在将普适性的冲击过程,具体为AR(1),我们只使用两个企业,而没有使用一个连续流的形式,同时,我们假设是二次效用方程式。”等等。你只要拿出那个实际处理数据时的“具体化了的模型”。

 

Empirical work

实证

Start with the main result. Do not do warmupexercises, extensive data description (especially of well-known datasets),preliminary estimates, replication of others’ work. Do not motivate thespecification that worked with all your failures. If any of this is really important,it can come afterwards or in an appendix.

从主要结果开始。不要搞一个热身式的练习、展开的数据描述(特别是众所共知的数据集)、初步的估计、复制他人的研究。不要描述你的失败。如果确实有一些是很重要,那么,放到后面去讲,或者,弄到附录里去。

 

You will mightily resist this advice. If you can’tfollow it, at least do not put anything before the main result that a readerdoes not need to know in order to understand the main result.

你会强烈地反对这个建议。如果你不遵守它,那么,最少,在主要结论之前,不要放任何读者在理解主要结果之前不需要理解的东西。

 

Follow the main result with graphs and tables thatgive intuition, showing how the main result is a robust feature of compellingstylized facts in the data. Follow that with limited responses to potentialcriticisms and robustness checks. Most of those should end up in your webappendix.

用让人产生直觉的图和表来描述主要结论,向大家展现这个主要结论,对于数据中的主要程式化了的事实,是稳健的。对潜在的批评和稳健性讨论,做有限的回应。大部分的内容,应该在网页附录处结束。

 

 

Conclusions

结论

 

Really, a conclusions section should not be necessary.If you did a good job of explaining your contribution in understandable prosein the introduction, and then documenting those claims in the body of thepaper, (writing in good triangular style), then saying it all over again ispointless. I tried omitting the conclusions section a few times, though, andthis was too radical for editors and referees. It is true that some people skipto the conclusion to look for the main result, but that’s because they are usedto authors who don’t explain it well enough in the introduction.

实际上,结论部分,应该是不必要的。如果你在“引言”部分用让人能够理解的句子,很好地解释了你的贡献,而且,在论文的主体部分,又很好地写出了那些结论(风格还是很好的“三角形”式的);那么,再说一遍,就是毫无意义的了。我有几次就努力忽略了结论部分,但是,这个部分对于编辑和评委来说,却是很重要的。确实,有一些人,就直接一略而到结论部分,去看主要结果。但是,这是因为他们已经习惯了那些在引言部分解释得不够好的作者的写作风格了。

 

Thus, conclusions should be short and sweet. Do notrestate all of your findings. One statement in the abstract, one in theintroduction and once more in the body of the text should be enough! You caninclude a short paragraph or two acknowledging limitations, suggestingimplications beyond those in the paper. Keep it short though — don’t write yourgrant application here outlining all of your plans for future research. Anddon’t speculate; the reader wants to know your facts not your opinions.

 

因此,结论,要写得短小精悍,要充满甜蜜。不要再说一遍欠的发现。在摘要部分、引言部分、以及文章的主体部分,都说了一遍了,这已经很够够的了!你应该将之浓缩成一篇短小的段落,或者两段说明,讲一些文章中没有说的东西。当然,就是要短小精悍一点——不要写你所以为的应用,勾画什么未来的研究计划。而且,不要猜测。读者想知道的是你的事实,而不是你的念头。

 

Appendices

附录

 

Appendices are a great tool. Take that delicioussection that has so many insightful comments on the literature, the generalversion of the model, the 57 robustness exercises that you did, and dump themin to an appendix. This is a good way to get them out of the paper. Eventuallyyou’ll dump them out of the appendix too.

附录是一个重要工具。在这个极有趣的段落中,有很多真知灼见的关于文献的评论,有模型的一般形式,有57个你做的稳健性研究,把他们都堆到附录中去。这个办法,很好,可以让这些东西都从论文里拿出来。最后,你会把它们又从附录中弄出去。

 

Seriously, careful authors, referees and critics oftenwant to document that the main result is robust to various other ways of doingthings. You have to do that, but once you’ve verified that it does not makethat much difference and you’ve found the one best way of doing things in yourmain result, it isn’t worth space in the paper to present all the checks and variations.Appendices are a great way to solve this problem, and you can just summarize allthe things you did in the paper. You can put the appendix on your and thejournal’s website. (“Bond risk premia” with Monika Piazzesi is an example of aweb-appendix gone wild.)

老实说,仔细的作者、评委和评论人,经常都希望这篇文章的主要结论,对于各式各样的其他方法,都是稳健的。你也必须做到这一点。但是,一旦你弄清了,它并不是那么有效的,而且,你在主要结论中,找到了一种最好的做法,那么,你就不要浪费纸张,把所有的检验和变化,都写进去了。附录是解决这个问题的最好办法。你可以总结论文中所做的全部事情。你可以将它放在你的网页上和杂志的网页上。(Monika Piazzesi的那个“债券风险价格”,就是一个让人抓狂的网页附录的例证。)

 

 

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