Student Research

An undergraduate research experiences is an in-depth investigation, in the form of a project, that is conducted by an undergraduate student being supervised by a faculty mentor. Undergraduate research provides an excellent opportunity to:

  • Work on an issue or question that you are interested in,

  • Learn how economists actually do research,

  • Gain additional job skills,

  • Work more closely in a collaborative and mentoring context with a professor,

  • Improve presentation skills.

Every economics major conducts their own research study in the economics seminar course (ECO 4810). But, there are a number of opportunities for an undergraduate research experience for economics students through independent study courses and outside the classroom. Outside the classroom activities include those associated with the Student Chapter of the National Association of Business Economists, the CERPA Scholars Program, and the Brashear Prize. Student research can lead to conference presentations, journal publications, working papers and research reports.
For more information about participating in any of these activities please contact John Whitehead at


Members of the Student Chapter of the National Association for Business Economics (i.e., the Economics Club) participate in several community-based research activities including the conduct of economic impact studies and production of the High Country Economic Indicators report. 

Independent Study

Economics faculty offer 1-3 semester hour independent study courses that provide exceptionally capable and well-motivated students an opportunity to participate in all phases of economic research under the supervision of a faculty advisor. The course offers a comprehensive opportunity to more fully develop critical thinking and analytical skills, while also improving writing and presentation skills.

Brashear Prize

The Department of Economics awards the Brashear Prize in Economics to promote undergraduate economics research. This paper contest is open to all undergraduate students at Appalachian State University. The Brashear Prize program is made possible by an ASU Foundation fund honoring the late Professor John Brashear, who served in the Department of Economics at ASU from 1967 to 1980.

Journal Publications

For exceptional research, the faculty advisor will encourage and assist scholars in submitting the paper for possible publication in an academic journal.

Conference Presentations

There are several opportunities for students to present their work off-campus. Travel support is available from the Office of Student Research and Department of Economics. 

Celebration of Student Research and Creative Endeavors Presentations

The Celebration showcases meaningful research in all disciplines by undergraduates and graduate students at Appalachian. Typically, over 100 students representing over 20 departments present their results in either a performance, platform talk, or poster.

  • Matthew Drake, "The Effects of Tax Payment Amount and Schedule on Referendum Votes for a Public Good: A Comparison of SSI and MTurk Samples," 2016. 
  • Robyn Cramer, "Willingness to Pay for a National Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard," 2015.
  • Travis Ashley, "The Net Economic Value of Multiple Parking Locations at the Valle Country Fair: A Dichotomous Choice Contingent Valuation Approach," 2013.
  • Merrick Marquie, "Economic Impacts of the Valle Country Fair," 2013.
  • Jenna Cantrell, "The Impact of Additional Trail Access and Mileage on the Consumer Surplus of Greenway Trail Users in Western North Carolina," 2012.
  • Aaron Wallace, "Measuring the Economic Benefits of Greenway Trails in Western North Carolina," 2011.