In an economics term paper, a student isolates one topic within the subject area of the course, chooses an aspect of that topic to discuss, performs the necessary research, and writes a defense on his or her position. Economics term papers may discuss current trends in microeconomics or macroeconomics, benchmark historical systems or events, or the theory and/or theorists of the discipline.
As always, one's selection of a topic dramatically influences the success of the term paper. Because ideas in this academic discipline are so complex, the student will ordinarily achieve a more solid, persuasive term paper by studying a narrow topic, which will easily produce a term paper that presents a complete discussion. For example, rather than studying inflation at large throughout American history, the student may study the effects of the inflation of gas prices in Alabama during the George W. Bush administration.
However, one may discuss a broad topic successfully by limiting the depth of the argument. The student must exercise a great deal of discipline in this type of project, because it will require a wide range of research as well as the exclusion of the vast majority of the details that the research presents. For example, one who writes a fifteen-page economics term paper on the way World War II improved the American economy will have to exclude nearly all details; rather, the paper will have to limit its discussion to very broad, sweeping statements about the causes and effects of that improvement. The student may find this type of paper easier to write by including nonessential information in the first draft and then editing it out in subsequent drafts to meet length requirements, because seeing all the desired material on the page will help the student edit it more discerningly.
Students who write economics term papers must carefully choose their topics in order to defend them well in the paper, whether they choose to write a brief survey of a large topic or a detailed argument over a very specific topic.