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Academic Writing In General


Sept 13

and the Ted Talk Assignment


Sept 20

Effective Writing



Sept 27
Oct 4

Efficiency and tools for thoughts

Happy National Holiday


Oct 11

Element of Style


Submit Assignment1

Working with Resources


Oct 18

Finding literature
Citation styles


Oct 25

Interact with literature


Nov 1

The Flow of Literature Review



Nov 8

More on Ted Talks


Submit Assignment2

How to write (read) a paper


Nov 15

On Introduction



Nov 22

Literature Review (again!)



Nov 29

Result and Conclusion



Dec 6

Exam (or sth else)

Submit Assignment3

TED Talk
5-10 minutes
A single speaker
A specific topic
Introduces the main idea quickly
Usually a solution to a real world problem

Video Clip

Chris Anderson
Abstract There is no single formula for a great talk,

but there is a secret ingredient that all the best ones

have in common. Chris Anderson shares this secret
along with four ways to make it work for you.
Highlights need giving a good TED talk.
Creates curiosity in the audience by
willingness to share a secret.

Introduce the need Offer to tell the

secret to a great TED talk
Some people think that there is a TED talk formula: give a
talk on a round red rug, share a childhood story, divulge a
personal secret, end with an inspiring call to action. No, that
is not how you do a TED talk. In fact, If you over use those
devices, you will just come across as cliche or emotionally
manipulative but there is one thing that all great Ted talks
have in common and I would like to share them with you.

Introducing the Secret The

Importance of 1 Main Idea
Over the past twelve years, I have had a ring side seat
listening to many hundreds of amazing Ted speakers like
these. I have helped them prepare their Ted talks for prime
time and learned directly from them about what makes for
a great Ted talk and even though these speakers and topics
all seem completely different. They actually do have one
common key ingredient and it is this: your number one
task as a speaker is to transfer to your audience an
incredible gift - a strange and beautiful object that we call
an idea.

Explaining what is an idea

Let me show you what I mean. This is Hayley, she is about to give a Ted talk
and frankly she is terrified. Over the course of 18 minutes, 1200
people , many of whom have never seen each other before, are finding
that their brains are starting to sync with Hayley's brain and each other
and they are literally beginning to exhibit the same brainwave patterns"
I don't just mean that they are feeling the same emotions, There is
something even more startling happening. Let us take a look inside
Hayley's brain for a moment. There are billions of interconnected
neurons in an impossible tangle. But here, right here, a few million are
linked to each other, in a way that represents a single idea and incredibly
this exact pattern is being recreated in real time every single time inside
the minds of everyone listening. That's right, in a few minutes a pattern
involving millions of neurons is being teleported into 1200 minds, just
by people listening to a voice and watching a face.

Examples of Strong Ideas

But wait, what is an idea anyway? Think of it, as a pattern of information
which help you understand and navigate the world. Ideas come in all
shapes and sizes from the complex and analytical to the simple and
aesthetic and here are a few examples shared from the Ted stage:
Saxson Robertson (creativity is key to our children's future) -" my
contention is that creativity now is as important in education as
literacy and we should treat it with the same status"; Elorie Hardy
(building from bamboo is beautiful) - " it is growing all around us, it
is strong, it is elegant, it is earthquake resistant; Amanda Ameche
(people are more important than a single identity) -"people are more
than stereotypes and the problem with stereotypes is not they are not
true but they are incomplete.

The Power of Ideas: It becomes our

Personal Worldview
Your mind is teeming with ideas and not just randomly, they are
carefully linked together and collectively they form complex
structure that is your personal worldview. It is your brain's
operating system, how you navigate in the world and it is built up
out of billions of individual ideas. So for an example, If one little
component of your worldview is that kittens are adorable then
when you see this you will react like this. But if another part of
your worldview is that leopards are dangerous then when you see
this, you will react a little bit differently. So its pretty obvious why
the ideas that make up your worldview are crucial.You need them
to be as reliable as possible a guide to this scary wonderful real
world out there.

The Power of a Good TED Talk to Shape

Others Worldview
Different peoples worldview can be dramatically different, for
example, how does your worldview react when you see this
image. "What do you think when you look at me? A woman of
faith? An expert? Maybe even a sister, or oppressed,
brainwashed? A terrorist?" Whatever your answer, there are
millions of people out there who will act very differently. So
that is why ideas really matter. If communicated properly, they
are capable changing forever how someone thinks about the
world and shaping their actions both now and well into the
future. Ideas are the most possible force to shaping human
culture. So if you accept your number one task as a speaker is
9 to build an idea inside the minds of your audience.

Four Guidelines on how to give a TED

There are four guidelines on how you should go about that
task. One, limit your talk to just one major idea. Ideas
are complex things , you need to slash back your content
so that you can focus on the single idea you are most
passionate about and give yourself the chance to explain
that idea properly.You need to give context, share
examples, make that idea vivid so pick one idea and
make it the through line running through your entire talk,
so that everything you say links back to it in some way.

Step 1:Like a step by step manual. One good


Two, give your listeners a reason to care. Before you can

start building things inside the minds of your audience,

you have to get their permission to welcome you in. The
main tool to achieve that - curiosity. Stir your audience
curiosity using intriguing provocative questions to
identify why something doesn't make sense and needs
explaining. If you can reveal a disconnection in
someone's worldview, they will feel the need for you to
bridge that knowledge gap and once you have sparked at
desire, it will be so much easier to build on your idea.

Step 2. Tell the audience why they should care


Three, build your idea piece by piece out of concepts your audience already
understands. Use the power of Language to weave together concepts that
already exist in your listeners minds. Not your language but their language.
You start where they are. The speakers often forget that the terms and
concepts they use and live with are completely unfamiliar to their
audiences. Now metaphors can play a crucial role in showing how the pieces
fit together. They reveal the desired shape of the pattern based on ideas at
your listeners already understand. For example, when Jennifer Karne
wanted to explain incredible new biological technology called Krisper, it is
as if for the first time you had a word processor to edit DNA. Krisper allows
you to cut and paste genetic information really easily. Now a vivid
explanation like that delivers a satisfying "aha" moment as it snaps into place
in our minds. It is important therefore to test your talk on trusted friends
and see what parts they get confused by.

Step 3, use the language of your audience


Here if the final tip. Make your idea worth sharing. By that I

mean, ask yourself the question, who does this idea benefit?
I need you to be honest with your answer. If the idea only
serves you or your organization, then I am sorry to say hey
it is probably not worth sharing.The audience will see right
through you. But if you believe that the idea has the
potential to brighten someone else day or change
someone's else's perspective for the better, inspire someone
to do something different, then you have the core
ingredient to a truly great talk. One that can be a gift to
them and all of us.

Last, be your worst critic


Flow Chart
Topic: How to Give a Great TED talk

Summary of the 100s TED talks

one key ingredient
One main idea


The Power of
Ideas in Us
Our Current


Our Future

4 Guidelines to a Great
Ted Talk.

Assignment 5 minute TED talk

Each student will be responsible to film and

upload his own TED talk based on one of 10

topics which we will choose today. End of
THREE assignments will be given which will be
related to the TED talk (1) a mind map, (2) a
citation of literature and (3) a flow chart to be
handed in during the semester (see the schedule).


Economic growth and the environmental consequences

Income inequality and poverty allievation
The prospect of the booming housing market
The relation between education and productivity
Meeting the challenges of an aging society
Information affecting stock markets
Narrow-bracketing in economic or financial decisions
Gender differences in risk attitude, generosity, and competitiveness
The incentives of charitable giving
The emergence of the e-commerce industry

The Purpose of the TED Talk

Challenge us to find a topic that we care about
To use our creativity and explore the types of

questions that we have interest in answering

To focus on one main idea
To read literature to help us strengthen this one idea
This becomes the pattern for our thesis.


The purpose of our thesis

Yes, to get a degree
But if you plan ahead, you could
Choose a topic that you are actually interested in
Show to an employer, graduate school that you

can independently come up with a solution to a

single problem
Do not rely on short cuts and ultimately learn
nothing from SDU

Bad Example
We are going to see an example of bad research.

Like a TED talk, if you cannot explain your idea

within the first few paragraphs of your thesis,
then your idea is not mature enough yet.


The Political Externality of Media Coverage of

Food Safety in China

Bad title? What does it mean? After reading the
article, what are we trying to say?
Bad titles suggest that we have not thought about
the main idea yet.


Why is it


Political cycles and its effect on real variables in the economy have
been the subject of greater scrutiny. Papers have looked at how
political cycles affect micro-economic variables such as crime
outcomes through the timing of legislation, while other papers
have looked at macro-economic variables such as inflation and job
creation, this paper seeks to understand if the timing of when top
politicians enter or exit provincial posts affects the media coverage
of food safety in China.
Is it clear?

Who is your audience and

what language should we
use? Economists!

evidence or

Proof? Causality?
Food safety violations is an evergrowing problem in China. It

can be argued that the consequences of food safety violations

do not bear a direct political consequence to those in power
where serious violations occur.
Take for example in early 2008, there was an unusual
increase in urinary tract stones found in infants and young
children by pediatricians in over ten provinces in China
(Chen, 2008). An investigation carried out concluded in
September 2008 that the main cause was an industrial
chemical, melamine, which had been added to raw milk in an
effort to falsely increase the protein content of adulterated

Altogether, news reports showed that 22 dairy companies

were found guilty of adding the dangerous chemicals.

Altogether, reports by the Ministry of Health, showed that
294,000 infants had been diagnosed with urinary tract stones
as of November 2008, while 6 deaths had been confirmed. As
a response to this widely reported event, only the companies
representatives were punished.

Are six deaths


Why 22
firms and
not the rest?

Is the research question clear?

Which audience might be interested to know the

Does it show why it is important to know the answer?
Does the Literature Review give a good overview
about this topic?


Good Example
Good research shows a clear research question

that we are trying to solve. It does not sit on the

fence, but actually gives hypothesis and finally
It targets a specific audience and is convincing in
its use of relevant literature and has a clear focus.


A Field Study on Prizes and Encouragement on

Grades in Poor Communities: Two Countries,

One Result
Answers the
Where, what,
what for?

How do we help raise the human capital of unmotivated low

income students? Such students will likely translate into a

workforce with low productivity and live in neighborhoods
where the aggregate level of human capital declines over
time. This spells a poverty trap for such communities.
Therefore any policy adjustment which can directly impact
the long term retention of information by students increases
the productivity of the workforce in the future.

Who is the audience?

Not just
educationalists but
labour economists

Explains why this is

important to
economics not just
bad students, but
those in poor areas.

A popular and perhaps misguided direct policy intervention

tool has been to provide extrinsic motivation to such

students usually in the form of rewards or prizes for
This paper explores the role that extrinsic incentives: prizes;
or intrinsic incentives: encouragement, have in motivating
students to perform better than their peers.
Introduces the
research gap and
research question

Shows us the
2 competing

Literature Review

Two possible reasons explain why low income students are

unmotivated to learn: (1) they are discouraged by their

circumstances; or (2) they are present-biased.
Discouragement can stem from internal (see low ability, low
self esteem) or external factors (see bad teachers, bad job
prospects, a bad family background). It is clear from the
literature that disadvantaged students from lower income
backgrounds or in more rural environments are more prone
towards being discouraged by their circumstances and thus
lag behind others (see Cheo, 2016).This creates a cycle of
poverty in economically depressed areas.

Literature Review
On the other hand, studying also entails a cost whose benefit

is only captured in the future, students might be so presentbiased such that they are not able to put effort into studying.
These two explanations present two alternative hypotheses
to motivate the unmotivated student. If students are
discouraged, then we can use encouragement to counter the
negativity that they face. If students are present-bias, then
providing prizes which students might value should be
enough to make studying now more attractive to them.

Shows the main explanations in the

literature and expands to inform readers

Literature Review (2)

Economists who have studied how extrinsic incentives affect academic performance

have examined how monetary rewards given directly to students for academic success
perform (for cash incentives for grades to poor migrant children in China, see Li, et al,
2010). In Blimpo (2010) it is reported that individual target-based incentives are most
effective for students at intermediate performance levels in 100 Beninese secondary
schools. In that study, low achieving students find the target out of reach, thereby
reducing the average effect experienced by the full cohort. Higher achieving students
would win such prizes even without any need for extra effort, thus reducing the
average impact of such incentives. Leuven et al (2010) used an experimental design
which investigated the impact of a financial incentive on the performance of Dutch
university students and found large positive effects mostly concentrated among
academically strong students and those effects persisted after three years. The authors
also find that there is a negative effect on the achievement of low-ability students.


Cites the literature and gives the results

for the efficacy of using prizes

Literature Review (3)


In terms of the literature on non-monetary incentives, there are

also mixed results. Kremer et al (2009) shows that the possibility
of a merit scholarship for high achievers and the provision of
school supplies among poor students in Kenya raises academic
performance for students across the board, even the lower
achieving ones; while Angrist and Lavy (2002) show no apparent
effect at all in a randomized trial offering merit scholarships at the
individual level within schools. A possible explanation that might
account for the contrary findings is the mediating effect that
competitiveness might influence the results. As such I add such a
control variable in this study.

Shows how you use the literature to

influence your own study

Some Tips in Using Language in TED



More Organization Strategies

(1)Parallelism: Expressing parallel ideas
More Caucasians make risk averse and risk neutral
choices than all other groups, while they are least
likely to take risk minimizing and risk seeking
choices. Africans are the least likely to take risk
neutral choices and most likely to take risk seeking
choices as well as risk minimising choices.
Singaporeans are as likely to take risk minimising
choices as Africans but least likely among the groups
to make risk averse choices.

More Organization Strategies

(1)Parallelism: Expressing parallel ideas
The regression showed that investment was a very
important determinant of a countrys GDP growth
rate. The countrys type of government was not an
significant predictor of its GDP growth rate.
This paper explores the role that extrinsic incentives:
prizes; or intrinsic incentives: encouragement, have
in motivating students to perform better than their

More Organization Strategies

(2) Repetitions/variations of key words
Recent advances in trade theory highlight the

importance of political relationships between trading

partners for the volume of trade. These results
suggest that a country hoping to increase its volume
of trading with its trading partner would do best to
focus on the quality of its political relations.

More Organization Strategies

(3)Nominalization:Turning verbs into nouns
Link / Linkages
Connect / Connection
Growing / Growth
Increasing / Increases
US GDP was steadily increasing over the post-war

period. These increases in GDP led to a growing

standard of living.


More Organization Strategies

(4) Use one word to mean one thing
Bad ideas: economic development, industrialization,

growing structural differentiation, economic and

social development, economic growth, etc.
(McCloskey, 2000, p. 56).


More Organization Strategies

(5) Keep a modifier near the word it modifies

BAD: The changes in investment spending that caused GDP to

increase were rapid.
GOOD: The rapid changes in investment spending caused GDP
to increase.
BAD: Voter support for the new urban development policy, which
the government proposed to implement soon, was ardent.
GOOD: Voters ardently supported the new urban development
39 policy that the government proposed to implement soon.

More Organization Strategies:

Begin the research and writing process early
Organize your ideas, then your written expression of


Trial and error: Be willing to make changes to your

organization (and outline) as you go

Write with a main idea in mind. Be prepared to cut

other ideas away to pursue your main idea