build your resume

gain real-world experience

publish your scholarship 

pursue original research and creative ideas

get recognition for your work

participate in the Celebration of Student Research and Creative Activity on campus 

become a stronger candidate for graduate school

collaborate closely and build professional relationships with faculty

present your research at professional conferences

meet experts in your field

acquire valuable job skills


How to get started with undergraduate research With Me!

  1. Learn how to use Stata


Download STATA. As a student you can purchase the STATA/IC for $198.

Tutorials on how to use STATA: The UCLA Institute for Digital Research and Education is a great place to start.


2. Select a research topic


There are several ways to choose a topic. The most important part of selecting a topic is to make sure that you are interested in it. Second, select an advisor to work with. Optimally, you will choose an advisor that has written in that area and can guide you through the literature. My research is in financial literacy, financial outcomes, and financial markets. If you are interested in working with me your topic should be related to these topics.

After choosing a topic, you and your advisor should narrow down the research question. It is my experience that undergraduate students tend to ask too broad of a question that is hard to answer in a semester. Your advisor will help you start your literature review. The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina has great advice on how to approach your literature review.


3. Finding data


Finding a research question is relatively easy; finding the data is harder. While it is typically recommended to start with the question then find the data, some recommend finding data then finding an original question to ask that you can answer using the data. I will leave this decision to you and your advisor.

Here are some data sets that I use.

  1. American Community Survey (ACS)

  2. American Housing Survey (AHS)

  3. National Financial Capabilities Study (NFCS)

  4. Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking (SHED)

Here are examples of published papers that used these data sets.

  1. Goodman, L. S., & Mayer, C. (2018). Homeownership and the American Dream. Journal of Economic Perspectives32(1), 31-58. (AHS)

  2. Al‐Bahrani, A., Weathers, J., & Patel, D. Racial Differences in the Returns to Financial Literacy Education. Journal of Consumer Affairs. (NFCS)