Thursday, April 27, 2017

From thesis to publication

Yes, and optimisitc title and this post is really about changing honours thesis into something that you might like to submit to a journal. Anyway, no more comments on the title for now.

To start preparing your thesis consider the following generic checklist. Yes, sounds a bit daunting, I know, but it is not really, once you start, as you end up making your own work better and you might get published as many of my students have.


  • Reduce it to these subheadings: background, method, results, conclusion. Use 2-3 sentences for each of these subheadings. Some journals want to see these subheadings but for others just make sure they are covered in the abstract in that order, you don't have to type them. 
  • Check word count against journal guidelines and reduce further if needed.


  • Cut by about 50% by staying only focused on material that is related to building a case for the hypotheses.
  • Remove duplication.
  • Update citations (e.g., new up-to-date citations).
  • Cite previous work by your co-authors and their colleagues as appropriate. 


  • Remove assumption testing sections.
  • Move the "Statistical Analysis" section (where you talk about what software you used, any transformation or outlier issues etc.) to the end of the Method section. 
  • Reduce power analysis sections down to a sentence or two at most and put it in the "Statistical Analysis" section. 


  • Double check that the hypotheses are tested and reported in the order they are presented in at the end of the introduction. 
  • Remove subheadings unless absolutely necessary. 
  • Double check that all tables are needed.
  • Double check that there is not too much overlap between what is reported in tables and text.


  • Cut by about 30% to start with.
  • Make sure there are sections called "Limitations" and "Conclusion".


  • Put all tables and figures at the end of the document with tables first then figures.

To identify a journal to submit to


  • Add doi to your reference list entries.
  • Make sure to check the format requirments of the journal you are submitting to (e.g., citing, tables, figures, headings).

Other stuff

  • Remember to check the comments you have got from your examiners to see if there is anything there that you need to address.

For how to collaborate on a document see

Last but not least follow the APA manual.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

How to attract research participants

Need more participants?


  1. Given an honest estimation of how long the survey will take to complete. 
  2. Is the survey smartphone and tablet friendly?
  3. Keep any text used to attract participants short and to the point
    1. Is there an easy link to follow to participate in your survey?
    2. Does the survey have a QR Code to help people access the survey on their smartphones?
      1. See or
  4. Offer a prize such as an online voucher. You can do this even if you study is anonymous. Simply, create an extra survey (Survey X). When you main survey ends you offer participants to participate in a prize draw by clicking a link to Survey X. Make sure to explain to the participants that the main survey and Survey X are no linked. Survey X simply asks for an email address and/or a phone number to reach them on and tells them when the draw will happen. 
  5. Here are links to other pages discussing this issue
    1. "10 Easy Ways to Increase Response Rates for your Online Survey"
    2. "How to encourage participants to take your survey"


  1. You can make an experiment sound much more exciting than a survey even add images to your ads (e.g., equipment, figures, participants, program environments).  
  2. If you are keeping your participants for extended periods make sure to compensate them for their time (e.g., direct payment, vouchers) and maybe provide food and drink. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Ethics: Suggestions, forms, and templates

The following ethics related information has helped my student in the past

(For Australian university conditions at UNE)

Make sure you differentiate between hard copy and electronic copies of your data is need be.

Registered list of common tests which can be referred to when submitting an HREC application if you are using any of these tests in projects you need only to mention the "Procedure or Test Number" and its "Risk Level". This can speed up your preparation and HREC processing.

Human ethics at UNE has the latest forms and information DO NOT GET CAUGHT WITH AN OUT-OF-DATE FORM.

Here are links to various files (docx). If there is a new form on the HREC website then please use it and copy and paste from the files below as appropriate. 

The process (at least for my students)

  1. Get all the forms and documents (e.g., information sheet, consent) together and write up your HREC application.
  2. Remember to remove the pages that need removing from the HREC form (e.g., first page).
  3. Remember to delete the 'blue' explanation text from the HREC form.
  4. Don't forget to tick E1 or E2 type application.
  5. Don't forget to tick the check list table.
  6. Insert your signature as a pictures into the cell next to your name in the signature table.
  7. Send the whole lot to me (and if relevant any other supervisors) as one Word document or separate Words documents.
  8. You will get the lot back with comments; note how to collaborate on a document.
  9. Once everything is looking good I send the application to Head of School (HoS) and from his/her office the application goes to ethics.
  10. Ethics then gets back to you and other supervisors with comments that we need to address.
  11. Once we have address all concerns by ethics we get the approval number. 
  12. Set to start data gathering.  

Common mistakes

  1. Project title is inconsistent across your different documents.
  2. You have forgotten to indicate if this is an E1 or E2 application (see the HREC main form).
  3. You have left comments and track changes in the documents to go to HREC. No track changes needed unless you are updating the from as per HREC conditions.
  4. You have not checked the checklist boxes on the HREC main form.
  5. Attachments are missing such as text for emails to be sent and ads to be posted.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Publications: Where to find my publications

For a list of my publications go to my profile at Google Scholar

For my publications as a blog go to

For full text access to my articles try my profile at ResearchGate or

My university profile is at

Blog posts on health psychology, supervision, and statistics and research method related issues is at

I've got a few funny and/or educational videos at YouTube:


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Health Psychology: Extra unit material

Some Textbook Resources


Carey, J. (2008). Do cholesterol drugs do any good? BusinessWeek, pages 52-59.

Provided here as the original sources is no longer:

Original source:

And a second sources seems gone too.

Second source:

Mass treatment

News paper articles

Heart attacks get less deadly
Original source:

Cancer patients in denial over poor lifestyle choices

Original source: 


Chapter 9

How blood pressure works - Wilfred Manzano
How a Normal Heart Pumps Blood -- The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Friday, February 6, 2015

Power and effect size: Lecture related material

Files for Power and Effect size lecture

Material backing up a lecture on Power and Effects size to 4th year students.

Lecture slides (1 Feb 2017): 
- PowerPoint file "PSYC402H-ES-power-2017.pptx"



Difficulty downloading the above files?
Please note section below.

Power analysis for moderation?
G*Power does not cover moderation directly. However, moderation is a regression, thus estimate N in moderation by using:
  1. The G*Power regression (R2 increase) option.
    • You would have at least three predictors 
      • IV1
      • IV2 (or MO [moderator])
      • IV1xIV2 (the interaction between IV1 and IV2)
  2. Rule of thumb N = 50 + 8k
  3. Rule of thumb N = 104 + k
Where: k = predictors and N = total participants.

Out of 1, 2, and 3 use the one that produces the larger N

Power analysis for mediation
G*Power does not cover mediation directly. Estimate N in mediation using these options:
  1. Using regression (change from zero) in G*Power
  2. N = 50 + 8k
  3. N = 104 + k
Where k = predictors and N = total participants.

Out of 1, 2, and 3 use the one that produces the largest N.

Difficulty downloading the above files
  • Try right-clicking the link and try any "save as" or "save link" options. 
  • If you are using Chrome and are logged in to Google you might like to click the file (Google will open the file as a preview) then you should have options at the top of the window to download the file.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

EndNote hints

Cite author name(s) in text

You can get EndNote to put the names outside of the bracket/parentheses if you like.

Go to the EndNote X5, X6, or X7 tab

Click Edit & Manage Citation(s)

In the Formatting drop down menu select the Display as: Author (Year) option

Edit styles

Depending on your version of EndNote you might have to move the EndNote "style" into your "Documents" folder or any folder where you have 'read-writing' privileges. See EndNote help

Friday, November 28, 2014

Collaborating on a document and useful shortcuts

Using a Microsoft Word document (offline)

Having clear rules when collaborating on a document such as a research report can save a lot of time and effort. Here are some rules, let us call them guidelines, that I have found useful when working with my students and colleagues on different types of documents. 

First of all, someone needs to be responsible for the document in question. This would normally be the first author on a manuscript or the student (e.g., thesis). 

Second key shortcuts to use: 
  1. Track changes (shortcut to turn track changes on and off in Microsoft Word is ctrl+shift+e).
  2. Comments (shortcut to insert a comment in Microsoft Word is ctrl+alt+m).
  3. To delete a comment just right click it and select delete. 
  4. To comment on a comment. At the end of the comment add some empty lines, put your initials and start typing your comment on the comment (e.g., "done", "what do you think of this solution ..."). 
  5. Use shift+F10 to get the context menu or shortcut menu.

Two collaborators

Send the document to the second author or supervisor without any track changes but maybe with some comments. 

Second author creates a new copy of the document adding:  
  1. "-- EBT comments" to the end of the file name if a thesis,
  2. "v02EBT" if a manuscript indicating that this is now the second version (v02) of the manuscript and it has been edited by the second author (EBT). 
  3. Thus, the file name for a manuscript might be "Burnout in Ambulance drivers v02EBT".

Second author makes changes using track changes but with some exceptions such as for major changes to tables and figures where the second author might just note the change with a comment. 

When the first author/student get the document back she or he changes the end of the file name
  1. deleting "-- EBT comments" if a thesis and putting "v02 instead",
  2. changes "v02EBT" to "v03ST"if a manuscript indicating that this is now the third version (v03) of the manuscript and it has been edited by the first author (ST). 
The first author/student then answers the comments by adding text at the bottom of the respective comment and accepting or rejecting suggested changes (track changes) and adds her/his own changes using track changes. 

File names

  1. Don't use "final" in your file name. It is only final if it is published and then you should call it published.
  2. Don't put a date in the filename unless absolutely necessary.  
  3. Maybe use your surname, three words to capture your thesis project and a version number 
    1. “Thorsteinsson Socials support and depression v01.sav”
    2. "Burnout in Ambulance drivers v02EBT".


Assuming you are in Microsoft Word. Some assume you have EndNote open too.
  1. ctrl+shift+e toggle track changes on/off 
  2. ctrl+alt+m inserts a comment
  3. alt+2 insert citation(s) where your cursor is in your Word document; citation you have already selected in EndNote
  4. hold down ctrl and select with mouse multiple citations (in EndNote)
  5. ctrl+k in EndNote copies the citation as it will appear in the reference list - just try and paste in Word
  6. ctrl+a selects all of your text - well most of the time - be careful when using in Excel
  7. Format your reference list using the little button 'hidden' in the EndNote 'strip' in Word, see Figure 1. 

Figure 1. The EndNote 7 strip from Word 2010

Shortcuts for some browsers and pdf software

  1. Something too small or too large to read? Check out ctrl++ and ctrl+- (will not work for Word)
  2. ctrl+f that would be f for find

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

SPSS: How to get SPSS if you are a UNE Psychology student?

UNE students should purchase SPSS from Hearne.

  • Importantly, Hearne provide support to the point of installation. 
  • They also administer all SPSS licences for IBM. 
  • Other retailers don't seem to provide this support.

Which version of SPSS?

  • Undergrad psychology students will only need the “Standard” version. 
  • Fourth year psychology students (and above) may want the "Premium" version instead (i.e. it has, in addition, missing value analysis, power analysis and bootstrapping among other things).

To purchase SPSS, go to:

  2. select 'SOFTWARE',
  3. then 'SPSS Grad Packs for Students by IBM',
  4. then 'Statistics Standard Grad Pack' for the "Standard" version, or 'Statistics Premium Grad Pack' for the "Premium" version,
  5. then 'view prices', or

For a link direct to the "Standard" version go to

Post last updated September 3, 2014.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Mediation and moderation: Lecture related material

Key material

SPSS data set "gambling study v04.sav
Spreadsheet to create moderation figures
Table templates
Figure template for flow of participants for randomized control trials (RCT)
Figure template for reporting mediation results 
Word document with APA style

Lecture files (1 Feb 2017)

- PowerPoint file "Mediation-Moderation-2017.pptx"
- SPSS output file "gambling study output 2017.spv"
- SPSS syntax file for graph "gambling study syntax 2017.sps"
- SPSS data file "gambling study v04.sav"

Lecture slides (27 Jan 2016):
- PowerPoint file "Mediation-Moderation-2016-v08.pptx"
- PDF with six slides to each sheet file "Mediation-Moderation-2016-v08-6to1.pdf
- SPSS output file "gambling study output 2016.spv"
- SPSS syntax file for graph "gambling study syntax 2016.sps"

Lecture slides (6 Feb 2015): 
- PowerPoint file "2015-Mediation-Moderation-v07.pptx"
- PDF with six slides to each sheet "PSYC402H 2015 Mediation Moderation 6to1.pdf

Lecture video/audio (mp4) - Delivered April 2014

Power for mediation and moderation analyses

Please see


Video on Moderation and Mediation by Andy Field 


What about effect sizes for mediation?
Plenty of effect sizes reported in the output. When thinking about the effect size and which one to report/write about, think about the indirect (mediation) effect in relation to the total or direct effects (ratio). This type of discussion plus reporting the ratio might help you understand the 'size' of the effect size. Make sure you report at least one of the effect sizes in the output as per examples given in the lecture/output. 

Also, consider the suggestion that small, moderate, and large effect size criterion should be smaller for moderation type analysis, see: 

Aguinis, H., Beaty, J. C., Boik, R. J., & Pierce, C. A. (2005). Effect size and power in assessing moderating effects of categorical variables using multiple regression: A 30-year review. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90, 94-107. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.90.1.94

Difficulty downloading the above files
  • Try right-clicking the link and try any "save as" or "save link" options. 
  • If you are using Chrome and are logged in to Google you might like to click the file (Google will open the file as a preview) then you should have options at the top of the window to download the file.

Friday, November 15, 2013

APA figure template for flow of participants for randomized control trials (RCT)

Figure: Flow

Figure that captures flow of participants through the procedure, assignment, follow-up, and analysis. Use for randomised/randomized control trial (RCT) flow. 

Based on this document from covering the following:
    1. "Journal Article Reporting Standards (JARS)".
    2. "Meta-Analysis Reporting Standards (MARS)".
    3. "Flow of Participants Through Each Stage of an Experiment or Quasi-Experiment".

APA style report: Word document template

Here is an attempt at an APA type text template. Please note that it has some personal quirks such as single spacing for table (a) text, (b) caption, and (c) number as well as for figure captions.

Here is the NEW v02 of the MS word docx template

Here is the OLD MS word docx template

I strongly suggest you use Word style options. Only way to format a document without major hassles later. Using styles
  1. enables you to use the navigation panel in word
  2. makes any table of contents easy to create
  3. helps prevent headings being separated from text
  4. helps keep table rows together on the one page.