Recurring Themes in My Comments: Chapters 4 & 5

These may help you, so here you go.

Know What You Are Talking About.  This means to go back to your statistics book and figure out what a t-test is to explain and reference before just willy-nilly discussing your application of t-tests and the like.  Don’t assume that what you may (not) remember from statistics courses will cover you.  One of my comments in the t-test discussion literally includes the words, “know what you are talking about.”

Past Tense.  My Chair wore out his caps lock button this go-round and I must have tried his patience with my inconsistent attention to converting my verbs to past-tense.  The study was finished so went through your ENTIRE DOCUMENT and converted verbs to past tense.

Number and Percentages. In reporting data, triple check how you write out your facts and figures.  Numbers below ten are written out; numerals are used higher than ten and for times, dates, ages, and as part of a series.  Use the percent symbol when it is preceded by a numeral.  If you spell out the number, spell out the word “percent.”

Figures and Tables.  I included every figure and table possible to computer generate, and this was not well received. The feedback was to narrow it down, and that the demonstration was confusing. The upside was that my Chair was very explicit about his expectations and even sent example tables to include for each research question.  Don’t be afraid to ask for examples and templates of what is expected.

Consistency in Word Choice.  Findings and results are synonyms, but pick one and stick with it.  Same goes for participants and respondents.  I also switched a couple of times from referring to “secondary students” to “middle and upper grades students.”  If you are flipping in your jargon, stop and select your favorite descriptors to commit to scholarly posterity.

So these were the themes in my last batch of comments, and if you read the last post, you know that I am attacking them as I would eat the proverbial elephant, and achieving Dissertation Zen as each one is completed.  The last comment, of course, was something very brief and constructive that requires tripling the discussion in my Interpretations section. Zen…….

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