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College of Social Sciences hold basic workshops to improve students’ learning and research ability

In order to enhance students’ learning outcome and improve their research capabilities, the International Master’s Program of Applied Economics and Social Development (IMES) held Research Foundation Workshop on the 10th of December, inviting course teachers Dr. Shi-Shu Peng from Department of Public Finance, Dr. Yu-Hsuan Su from Graduate Institute of Development Studies, and Dr. Tzu-Ting Yang, a co-employed teacher from the Institute of Economics of the Academia Sinica, giving lectures on Applied Macroeconomics, Applied Microeconomics, and Causal Inference and Data Science in Economics respectively. The workshop was hosted by Dr. Mei-Chuan Wei, Director of IMES. In addition to IMES students, student from the PhD program Asia Pacific Studies also signed up.

Dr. Yu-Hsuan Su will teach applied microeconomics for this program next semester. In addition to introducing the content of applied microeconomics in her speech, she emphasized the application of the subject in the course. She said that since her expertise is in development economics, the course will focus on economic and social development in the field of development research. Taking the urban slum that she studied in India as an example, she explained that the discussion of property rights in microeconomics can appropriately help us understand the employment-related issues of slum dwellers. She said that if slum residents do not have the right to land where their home is located, but must defend the land at home all day, naturally there is no way to seek employment and stable job, and the family economy and poverty problems cannot be improved and resolved.

Dr. Tzu-Ting Yang specializes in public economics, labor economics and health economics. In this program, he offers Causal Inference and Data Science in Economics course. Yang said that causal inference is the purpose of empirical research, and uses “Does the increase in the price of apples affect the demand for apples?” and “Does the increase in basic wages affect job opportunities?” as examples to illustrate what is the study of causal inferences. In addition to introducing causal inference and data science in economics, he also explained to the students how to conduct an empirical study of a master’s thesis and specifically explained the thesis structure. He said that in terms of empirical research in economics, even if the final result is not obvious, it can also contribute to existing research. For example, the research results prove that some theoretical hypotheses or opinions are not perfectly correct. He emphasized that the validity and reliability of research methods are key conditions for claiming research contributions.

Dr. Shi-Shu Peng, who specializes in international economics and macroeconomics, in addition to explain the focus of the Applied Macroeconomics course he offered in this program, he emphasizes on the depth of the course will be fine-tuned according to the differences in the background knowledge and basic abilities of the students in the program. He said that if most of the students are weak in mathematical calculations and models, he will focus more to make the students understand and familiar with the important theories of macroeconomics as the course goal, but for students who want to further study and explore, he encourages and welcomes students to visit him during office hours to ask questions and discuss. Dr. Shi-Shu Peng also invited Jonathan, a student of IMES who was supervised by him, to share his experience in taking courses, in addition to preview and review, he also shares how to prepare for the exam. Jonathan emphasized the importance of being familiar with econometrics for the purpose of doing research in the future thesis writing process.

During the QnA time, some students asked whether mathematics in the applied microeconomics course will have a significant weight, and some students asked about the statistical analysis software used in Data Science and self-learning data analysis related issues through the Internet. At the end of the workshop, the three teachers all emphasized that students are welcome to discuss further questions at Office Hours after class. The participants also took this opportunity to ask the three teachers about the possibility of guiding their thesis.

Dr. Mei-Chuan Wei, Director of IMES, said that the focus and characteristic of this program is to conduct policy analysis and evaluation on social and economic development through economic approaches. There are three tracks: Social Security and Welfare, Economics Analysis and Policy Evaluation, and Environment and Resources, the compulsory courses include Applied Macroeconomics, Applied Microeconomics, and Research Methods to ensure that the students of this program have the knowledge and ability to adopt appropriate research methods and relevant economic theories when they conduct thesis research at the end. Wei said that this basic research workshop was held mainly because students expressed their hope to have more understanding of the core research approaches emphasized by the program.

In addition to the basic research workshop, IMES Office stated that this program and the Graduate Institute of Development Studies will jointly hold a development research lecture at noon on December 15. The doctoral candidate Iris Ru-yu Lin of the University of Sussex, Institute of Development Studies will give a speech on Emotions, Care and Discursive Powers: Climate Change Adaptation in Monyul, Easter Himalaya, and shared her field research in Monyul in the Himalayas on the Sino-Indian border. Interested teachers and students are welcome to participate in the discussion together.

Dr. Shi-Shu Peng teaches Applied Macroeconomics. (Photo provided by: IMES)

Dr. Tzu-Ting Yang introduced Causal Inference and Data Science in economics. (Photo provided by: IMES)

Dr. Yu-Hsuan Su will offer Applied Microeconomics in the next semester. (Photo provided by: IMES)

QnA between participating students and teachers. (Photo provided by: IMES)

Participants listened intently to the teachers’ responses. (Photo provided by: IMES)

The students actively asked questions. (Photo provided by: IMES)

IMES 2nd year student shares lessons’ experience and the key points of preparing for the exam. (Photo provided by: IMES)

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