Friday, October 4, 2013

Some common essay and thesis issues

Rather than give you a ramble here is a list that I have tried to keep clear and concise

  1. Improve the flow of your argument (e.g., links paragraphs). The reader should not be surprised when he/she starts reading a new paragraph. 
  2. Not following APA style (e.g., citations and reference list). Consider using programs like EndNote or Mendeley to look after your citations and reference list.
  3. An essay claiming to review the literature should include all the relevant studies. 
  4. Page numbers are helpful and necessary.
  5. Make sure you have clear links from one paragraph to the next to maintain the 'flow' of your argument. 
  6. Report statistics to so that the reader knows the magnitude of a change (e.g., Cohen’s d), difference between groups (e.g, Cohen’s d), strength of an association (e.g., r), risk (e.g., %, OR, RR, RRR, ARR) etc. and remember that absolute values are preferred to relative values.
  7. Gender vs. Sex. Please read: 
APA style guide type issues
  1. Forgetting to put a comma when listing authors in the reference list see Example 1.
  2. Do not put a shortened version of the journal name, see Example 1.
  3. When citing in text or brackets don’t put a comma before the and or & if only two authors, see Example 2.
  4. Do not report the issue number after the volume. That said I never comment on this error or deduct marks for it as I find knowing the issue number most useful when looking up journals on the Internet as they do not list page numbers and volumes but rather issue numbers and volumes.
Example 1. Reference list.
Incorrect:
Becker, B. J. & Hedges, L. V. (1984). Meta-analysis of cognitive gender differences: A comment on an analysis by Rosenthal and Rubin. J. of Edu. Psych., 76(4), 583-587.


Correct:
Becker, B. J., & Hedges, L. V. (1984). Meta-analysis of cognitive gender differences: A comment on an analysis by Rosenthal and Rubin. Journal of Educational Psychology, 76, 583-587.



Example 2. Citations.
Incorrect:
(Becker, & Hedges, 1984)
(Belina, Fidler, Williams & Cumming, 2005)
No comma if two authors (different from reference list).


Correct:
(Becker & Hedges, 1984)
(Belina, Fidler, Williams, & Cumming, 2005)


That is it for now,

Einar

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