Monday, May 30, 2016

Notes on the Conclusion

Purpose of the Conclusion

  • To connect the paper's findings to a larger context, such as the wider conversation about an issue as it is presented in a course or in other published writing.
  • To suggest the implications of your findings or the importance of the topic.
  • To ask questions or suggest ideas for further research.
  • To revisit your main idea or research question with new insight.

Should you summarize?

Consider what readers can keep track of in their heads. If your paper is long or complex, some summary of your key points will remind readers of the ground you've covered. If your paper is short, your readers may not need a summary. In any paper, you'll want to push beyond mere summary to suggest the implications or applications of your work.

How to Write the Conclusion

  • Effective conclusions take the paper beyond summary and demonstrate a further appreciation of the paper's argument and its significance: why it works, why it is meaningful, and why it is valuable. To get started, you might ask yourself these questions:
    • How do the ideas in your paper connect to what you have discussed in class, or to what scholars have written in their treatment of your topic? 
    • What new ideas have you added to the conversation? What ideas do you critique?
  • Discussion on policy/theoretical implications.
  • Discussion of the study's limitations which will lead to the recommendations for future research.
Conclusion of a Conclusion

  • It is important to end the conclusion chapter (in the case of dissertations and thesis) with a very short paragraph as a conclusion 
  • This section serves as the capsule for the overall conclusion of the study and should therefore be very concise and precise. 
  • An excellent strategy is to highlight what has been presented as the norm or standard point of view and how your work has proved otherwise or provided evidence in support of this view. 
  • This is often related to the research questions, thesis statement or title. 
  • It can also be a statement this emphatically states beyond doubt, how invaluable the research is to the research area in question. 
  • This paragraph should always have a positive connotation in the case of a positive question and a negative stance in the context of a critique. 

Indicators of a Bad Conclusion

  • Beginning with the phrase "in conclusion" or "in closing."
  • Introducing a new idea or subtopic.
  • Restating results. 
  • Making sentimental, emotional appeals.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Notes on Design Proposal Format

Title (same as the scientific journal article format)

Succinctly summarize the motivation, goals, and approach of the overall project.

What is the project about and what is the motivation?  Review any prior work in the subject area (include patent search, if appropriate).  What is the state of the art? Who are expected end users? 

Describe the project goals and intended functions and features.  Comment on critical design parameters and what challenges might stand in the way of accomplishing your design objectives.

Design Strategy
Describe your approach to this project, including mode development, model validation, simulation, control design and tuning, and performance verification.

This section should describe how you were able to create your design; therefore, a diagram of your product should be included.

Plan of Action
The plan of action consists of various tasks needed to create the product.    

Testing Procedures:  This section should discuss the procedure for testing the product’s efficacy.

Cost and Schedule
Cost Analysis:  Include a cost of the project based on labor and material.  Include a list of parts, lab equipment, shop service, which are not routinely available at no cost. 

Schedule:  Include a timetable showing when each step in the expected sequence of design and fabrication work will be completed (generally, by week).

Works Cited
Throughout the proposal, you should cite the sources of your information (including web site URL’s) and list the references in this section.

Detailed information that is useful for reference purpose but may detract from the flow of the proposal (e.g., data sheets, program codes, etc.) should be included in the Appendix.  The Appendix should be divided into sections with separate titles, and numbered.  The page number should continue from the proposal body. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Notes on Research Paper Format

For those doing quantitative research, use the following format:

Literature Cited

Section Headings

Main Section Headings:all caps, centered, at the beginning of the section, and double spaced from the lines above and below. Do no underline the section heading ot put a colon at the end.

Subheadings: first letter capitalized, left justified, bold italics


The title should be centered at the top of the page (do not use a title page).
The author's name and institutional affiliation are double-spaced form and centered below the title.


Kuan: Bamboo Art Installation Using Guerilla Approach 

Romuel Aloizues Zuniga Apuya
Humanities Division, University of the Philippine Cebu


Summarizes in one paragraph the major aspects of the entire paper.

Order of information of your abstract:

1. State the purpose in the first or second sentence.
2. Describe the basic methodology without excessive detail.
3. Report the major findings such as key quantitative results or trends
4. Sate the implication or application of your findings.

Use past tense. Maximum length should be 200-300 words, in a single paragraph, should not contain abbreviations, illustrations, figures, tables, etc.


Your introduction should answer the following questions:

  • What was I studying?
  • Why was it an important question?
  • What did we know about it before I did the study?
  • How will this study advance our knowledge?

Order of information of your introduction:

  1. Begin your introduction by identifying the subject area of interest. 
  2. Provide a brief review of pertinent literature--contains a general review of the primary research literature (with citations) but should not include very specific explanations that you will probably discuss greater in the discussion. 
  3. State the purpose or hypothesis thate you investigated--avoid using words "hypothesis" or "null hypothesis." Use pat statements like, "the purpose of this study was to . . ." or "We investigated three possible mechanisms to explain the . . ."
  4. State the rationale of your approach to the problem studied--why did you choose this kind of research design or method? Do not discuss the actual techniques. 


Explains how you carried out your study.

Use the past tense.The methods section is not a step-by-step, directive, protocol as you might see in your lab manual.

For those who adopted an experimental design, please follow the order of information for your methods:

  1. Describe the organism(s) used in the study--how and where they were collected, size, how they were handled before the experiment 
  2. For laboratory studies you need not report the date and location of the study unless it is relevant. If you have performed experiments at a particular location or lab because it is the only place to do it, then you should note that in your methods and identify the lab or facility. 
  3. Describe the protocol for your study in sufficient detail so that other scientist can repeat your work. When using standard lab or field methods and instrumentation, it is not necessary to explain the procedures or equipment used since other scientist are already familiar with them. You may want to identify certain equipment by vendor name and brand or category if it is not found in most labs. When using a method described in another published source, save time and words by providing the relevant citation source. 
  4. Describe how the data were summarized and analyzed. 


Objectively present your key results

Begins with text, reporting the key results and referring to your figures and tables as you proceed.

Use the past tense. Avoid repetitive paragraph structures.Do not interpret your data here.

Tables and Figures Formatting:

  • Tables and figures are assigned numbers and in the sequence that your refer to them in the text. 
    • The first table your refer is Table 1, the next is Table 2, and so forth. 
  • Each table or figure must include a brief description of the results presented and other necessary information in a legend. 
    • Table legends go above the table. 
    • Figure legends go below the figure.

When referring to a figure from the text, "Figure" is abbreviated as "Fig." For example, Fig. 1. Table is never abbreviated.

The body of the results section is text-based presentation of the key findings--they might include obvious trends, important references, similarities, correlations, maximums, minimumns, etc.

Do not reiterate each value from a Figure or Table.

Do not report raw data when they can be summarized as means, percents, etc.


Interprets your results in light of what was already known about the subject of the investigation, and to explain our new understanding of the problem.

Questions the discussion section needs to answer:
  • Do your results provide answers to your hypotheses?
  • Do your findings agree or contradict with previous studies? 
  • What is your new understanding of the problem you investigated?
  • What would be the next step in your study? 
  • Do not waste entire sentences restating your results. If you need to remind the reader of the result, make sure that it leads or is the introductory phrase to your interpretation. 
Relate your work to the findings of other studies.

Literature Cited

Gives an alphabetical listing (by the first author's last name) of references that you actually cited in your paper.

Do not label this section as "bibliography." A bibliography contains references that you may have read but have not specifically cited in the text.


Contains the information that is non-essential to understanding the paper.

Each appendix should identified by a Roman numeral in sequence. For example "Apenndix I," "Appendix II," and so forth. Each appendix should contain a different material.

Material that might be put in an appendix:
  • questionnaire
  • maps
  • photographs
  • explanation of formulas
  • specialized computer programs
  • full generic names of chemicals or compounds
  • diagrams of specialized apparati
  • Figures and tables, should be numbered in a separate sequence from those found in the body of the paper. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Notes on Sampling Methods

Important Terms:
  1. An element is an object on which a measurement is taken.
  2. A population is a collection of elements about which we wish to make an inference.
  3. Sampling units are non-overlapping collections of elements from the population that cover the entire population.
  4. A sampling frame is a list of sampling units.
  5. A sample is a collection of sampling units drawn from a sampling frame.
  6. Parameter: numerical characteristic of a population
  7. Statistic: numerical characteristic of a sample
Reasons for Sampling:
  • Sampling can save money.
  • Sampling can save time.
  • For given resources, sampling can broaden the scope of the data set.
  • Because the research process is sometimes destructive, the sample can save product.
  • If accessing the population is impossible; sampling is the only option.
Random Sampling vs Non-random Sampling

Random sampling
  • Every unit of the population has the same probability of being included in the sample.
  • A chance mechanism is used in the selection process.
  • Eliminates bias in the selection process
  • Also known as probability sampling
Nonrandom Sampling
  • Every unit of the population does not have the same probability of being included in the sample.
  • Open the selection bias
  • Not appropriate data collection methods for most statistical methods
  • Also known as nonprobability sampling
Random Sampling Techniques

Simple Random Sample
  • Uses a random number table or a random number generator to select n distinct numbers between 1 and N, inclusively.
  • Easier to perform for small populations
Stratified Random Sample
  • Population is divided into non-overlapping subpopulations called strata
  • A random sample is selected from each stratum
    • Proportionate -- the percentage of thee sample taken from each stratum is proportionate to the percentage that each stratum is within the population
    • Disproportionate -- proportions of the strata within the sample are different than the proportions of the strata within the population
Systematic Random Sample
  • Systematic sampling is often used instead of random sampling.  It is also called an Nth name selection technique. 
  • After the required sample size has been calculated, every Nth record is selected from a list of population members. 
Cluster (or Area) Sampling
  • Population is divided into nonoverlapping clusters or areas
  • Each cluster is a miniature, or microcosm, of the population.
  • A subset of the clusters is selected randomly for the sample.
Nonrandom Sampling Techniques

Convenience Sampling:  sample elements are selected for the convenience of the researcher

Judgment Sampling:  sample elements are selected by the judgment of the researcher

Quota Sampling:  sample elements are selected until the quota controls are satisfied

Snowball Sampling:  survey subjects are selected based on referral from other survey respondents


Monday, May 9, 2016

Notes on Qualitative vs Quantitative Research

Quantitative Research
  • Ask specific questions
  • Collects data from participants
  • Analyzes numbers using statistics
  • Conducts the inquiry in unbiased, objective manner
Qualitative Research
  • Ask broad, general questions
  • Collecting data consisting largely of text (anything that has a message)
  • Descriptions and analysis of text for themes
  • Conduct inquiry in subjective, biased manner
Analyzing and Interpretating Data
Quantitative Research
  • Data analysis tends to consist of statistical analysis
  • Describibng trends, comparing group differences, relating variables
  • Interpretation tends to consist of comparing results with prior predictions and past research
Qualitative Research
  • Text analysis
  • A description of themes
  • Stating the larger meaning of findings

Monday, May 2, 2016

Notes on Questionnaire Design

Questionnaires should be able to collect information that is:
  • Valid:  measures the quantity or concept that is supposed to be measured
  • Reliable:  measures the quantity or concept in a consistent or reproducible manner
  • Unbiased:  measures the quantity or concept in a way that does not systematically under- or overestimate the true value
  • Discriminating:  can distinguish adequately between respondents for whom the underlying level of the quantity or concept is different
A Guide to Making Your Questionnaires

1. Write a detailed list of the information to be collected and the concepts to be measured in the study.     Are you trying to identify:
    • Attitudes
    • Needs
    • Behavior
    • Demographics
    • Some combination of these concepts
2.Translate these concepts into variables that can be measured.
    • Define the role of each variable in the statistical analysis:
    • Predictor - independent or experimental variable
    • Confounder - other variables that have an effect on the dependent variable that the researcher did not account for 
    • Outcome - dependent variable
3. Review current literature to identify related surveys and data collection instruments that have measured concepts similar to those related to your study’s aims. Saves development time and allows for comparison with other studies if used appropriately.

4. Determine the mode of survey administration:  face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews, self-completed questionnaires, computer-assisted approaches.

5. Format the draft as if it were the final version with appropriate white space to get an accurate estimate as to its length – longer questionnaires reduce the response rate.

6. Place the most important items in the first half of the questionnaire to increase response on the important measures even in partially completed surveys.

7. Make sure that a question provides the necessary information.  If a question does not address one of your aims/objectives/sub-problems, discard it.

8. Refine the questions included and their wording by testing them with a variety of respondents.
    • Ensure the flow is natural.
    • Verify that terms and concepts are familiar and easy to understand for your target audience.
    • Keep recall to a minimum and focus on the recent past.
Guide to Improving Your Questions

Question:  How many cups of coffee or tea do you drink in a day?
Principle:  Ask for an answer in only one dimension.
Solution:  Separate the question into two –
(1) How many cups of coffee do you drink during a typical day?
(2) How many cups of tea do you drink during a typical day?

Question:  What brand of computer do you own?
(B) Apple
Principle: Avoid hidden assumptions.  Make sure to accommodate all possible answers.
(1) Make each response a separate dichotomous item
Do you own an IBM PC? (Circle:  Yes or No)
Do you own an Apple computer? (Circle:  Yes or No)
(2) Add necessary response categories and allow for multiple responses.
What brand of computer do you own?  (Circle all that apply)
Do not own computer

Question:  Have you had pain in the last week?
[  ] Never [  ] Seldom     [  ] Often     [  ] Very often
Principle:  Make sure question and answer options match.
Solution:  Reword either question or answer to match.
How often have you had pain in the last week?
[  ] Never     [  ] Seldom     [  ] Often     [  ] Very Often

Question:  Where did you grow up?
Principle:  Avoid questions having non-mutually exclusive answers.
Solution:  Design the question with mutually exclusive options.
Where did you grow up?
House in the country
Farm in the country

Question:  Are you against drug abuse? (Circle: Yes or No)
Principle:  Write questions that will produce variability in the responses.
Solution:  Eliminate the question.

Question:  Which one of the following do you think increases a person’s chance of having a heart attack the most?  (Check one.)
[  ] Smoking [  ] Being overweight [  ] Stress
Principle:  Encourage the respondent to consider each possible response to avoid the uncertainty of whether a missing item may represent either an answer that does not apply or an overlooked item.
Solution:  Which of the following increases the chance of having a heart attack?
Smoking: [  ] Yes   [  ] No   [  ] Don’t know
Being overweight: [  ] Yes   [  ] No   [  ] Don’t know
Stress: [  ] Yes   [  ] No   [  ] Don’t know

(1) Do you currently have a life insurance policy?  (Circle:  Yes or No)
If no, go to question 3.
(2) How much is your annual life insurance premium?
Principle:  Avoid branching as much as possible to avoid confusing respondents.
Solution:  If possible, write as one question.
How much did you spend last year for life insurance? (Write 0 if none).

Jenkins, Cathy. Questionnaire Design. Powerpoint Presentation.