Special Seminar For Graduate Students

Starting October 18, 2016 - Ending October 18, 2017 Expired


Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER)



Topic:       How (Not) to Choose a Dissertation/Thesis Topic

Presenter:  Professor William F. Steel

Date:         Tuesday, 18th October 2016

Time:        2:00pm    

Venue:     ISSER Conference Hall



This seminar discusses some of the pitfalls often encountered in choosing a dissertation/thesis topic for a Master’s degree. Topics that purport to investigate “impact” (or “effects”) face severe hurdles in terms of obtaining data required for a statistically valid conclusion.  A detailed conceptual framework can help to identify specific variables in the chain of cause-and-effect that may be more susceptible to data collection and analysis. Statistical analysis requires testing a hypothesis about the relationship between two variables.


About the Presenter


William Steel is currently Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, University of Ghana, teaching microfinance and consulting for the World Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. He has worked on micro and small enterprise development, micro and rural finance, the informal economy, industrialization, solar energy, and other topics in Ghana, Uganda and other African countries. He retired in 2005 as Senior Adviser in the Africa Region Private Sector, World Bank, where he worked since 1983 and also Co-Chaired the Donor Committee for Small Enterprise Development (1991-2004). He has a PhD in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and previously taught economics at Vanderbilt University and the University of Ghana. He has served as an Advisor in the African Development Bank and the Indonesia National Planning Agency. He is a founder and Board member of the Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) network. He has published widely on small enterprise development, informal finance, microfinance regulation, informal employment, and industrial adjustment.