Tag Archives: technical writing

How to Write a Thesis Statement

Once you have made observations, conferred with experts, discussed issues and concerns with friends and read a great deal of literature on your chosen research topic, you should be ready to write your thesis statement. But do you already understand well enough the meaning of a thesis statement? Or are you one of those who find these two words difficult to comprehend?

If the thesis statement concept is quite vague to you, then this should be defined clearly first to foster understanding. Once this is done, then you can proceed to the process of writing those statements. Thus, this article will define thesis statement then provide you with detailed tips on how to write one. Examples are also given.

What is a Thesis Statement?

A thesis statement is essentially a synthesis of what you have read and observed regarding the phenomenon that you are trying to explain. It is a statement that serves as your anchor in advancing your argument about say, the causality of things. Among other things, the thesis statement serves as the focus of your discussion.

The statement that you make is not just a random position but a well-thought one, based on objective judgment and empirical evidence. Empirical means verifiable by observation or experience. It is your “educated” point of view. It is your proposed explanation of the phenomenon after a critical examination of evidence at hand. Are there convincing evidences that can support your contention?

Based on the definition given above, it is therefore necessary that you read a great deal of literature to understand how other people viewed, explored, tested and verified the phenomenon that you are trying to understand. Reading a lot not only broadens your horizon but also helps you pinpoint exactly the problem areas you need to address or look into, in the process, narrowing down your research topic.

If someone wrote a review of literature on the subject, then that’s the ideal starting point. A good thesis statement arises from how well you have familiarized yourself about the research topic. You should aim towards becoming an authority in the research area you have decided to focus on.

How to Write a Thesis Statement

Before you present your thesis statement, you should describe first the setting or situation which served as basis or foundation of your statement. This is called contextualization. You may refer to the article How to Write a Good Thesis Introduction on details on how to do this. You should be able to present your thesis statement at the end of the first paragraph of your exposition. State your point of view in a sentence or a few sentences.

In the ensuing paragraphs, provide examples and existing evidences to support your argument. Your research paper will supply the needed method or methodology to test your point of view or thesis. Your conceptual framework will serve as your map in conducting the investigation.

Examples of Thesis Statement

The following are examples of thesis statement in different fields of specialization.

  1. Overfishing continues to occur due to a generally poor understanding among fishers on the link between fishing intensity and the reproductive capacity of target fishes.
  2. Adolescents and young adults devoting at least six hours a day in front of their computer screen become obese in their adult years.
  3. Urban dwellers are better off using conventional over-the-counter drugs than herbal remedies due to problems of accessibility.
  4. Employees walking at least 30 minutes a day are able to accomplish their tasks on time compared to their sedentary colleagues.
  5. Chronic exposure to blue light from LED screens (of computer monitors and television) deplete melatonin levels thus reduce the number of sleeping hours among middle aged adults.

Notice in the above examples that the specific variables of the study are described. This defines the scope of the study and makes analysis easy, focused, and doable.

Further, the thesis statement is not carved in stone. While more information is gathered along the way, the thesis statement may be revised or rewritten for better treatise of the subject. This is where your thesis adviser’s suggestions, assuming he or she has a better grasp of the subject, come in handy.

©2015 January 1 P A Regoniel

Technical Writing Tips: Interpreting Graphs with Two Variables

How do you present the results of your study? One of the convenient ways to do it is by using graphs. How are graphs interpreted? Here are very simple, basic tips to help you get started in writing the results and discussion section of your thesis or research paper. This article specifically focuses on graphs as visual representation of relationships between two variables.

My undergraduate students would occasionally approach me and consult on some of their difficulties they encountered while preparing their thesis. One of those things that they usually ask me is how they should go about the graphs in the results and discussion section of their paper.

How should the graphs and the table be interpreted by the thesis writer? Here are some tips on how to do it, in very simple terms.

Interpreting Graphs

Graphs are powerful illustrations of relationships between the variables of your study. It can show if the variables are directly related. This is illustrated by Figure 1. If one variable increases its value, the other variable increases, too.

graph of direct relationship
Fig. 1. Graph showing a direct relationship between two variables.

For example, if you pump air into a tire, the tire expands, and so does the air pressure inside it to hold the rubber up. This is the pressure-volume relationship. If pressure is increased, there is a corresponding increase in volume. The variables in this relationship are pressure and volume. Pressure may be measured in pounds per square inch (psi) and volume in liters (li) or cubic centimeters (cc).

How about if you have another graph like the one below (Figure 2)? Well, it’s simple like the first one. If one variable increases in value, the other variable decreases in proportionate amounts. This graph shows an inverse relationship between the two variables.

graph inverse relationship
Fig. 2. A graph showing an inverse relationship between two variables.

For example, as a driver increases the speed of the vehicle he drives, the time it takes to reach the destination decreases. Of course, this assumes that there are no obstacles along the way. The variables involved in this relationship are speed and time. Speed may be measured in kilometers per hour (km/hr) and time in hours.

The two examples given are very simplified representations of the relationship between two variables. In many studies, these relationships seldom occur. Graphs show something else. Not really straight lines but curves.

For example, how will you interpret the two graphs below? Some students have trouble interpreting these.

two graphs
Fig. 3. Two graphs showing different relationships between two variables.

Graph a actually just shows that the relationship between the two variables goes up and down then progressively increases. In general, the relationship is directly proportional.

For example, Graph a may show the relationship between profit of a company through time. The vertical line represents profit while the horizontal line represents time. The graph just portrays that initially, the profit increased then at a certain point in time decreased, then recovered and increased all the way through time.

Something may have happened that caused the initial increase to decline. The profit of the company may have declined because of recession. But then when recession was up, profits continued to increase and things get better through time.

How about Graph b? Graph b just means that a variable in question reaches a saturation point. This graph may represent the number of tourists visiting a popular island resort through time. Within the span that the study was made, say 10 years, at about five years since the beach resort started operating, the number of tourists reached a climax then started to decline. The reason may be a polluted coastal environment that caused tourists to shy away from the place.

There are many  variations in the relationship between two variables. It may look like an S curve going up or down, plain horizontal line, or U-shaped, among others. Those are actually just variations of direct and inverse relationship between the two variables. Just note that aberrations along the way are caused by something else, another variable or set of variables or factors that affect one or both variables, which you need to identify and explain.  That’s where your training, imagination, experience, and critical thinking come in.

©2014 November 20 Patrick Regoniel

What is the Topic Sentence, Paragraph Unity (TSPU) Writing Technique?

Have you heard or read about the so-called TSPU writing technique? This acronym stands for Topic Sentence, Paragraph Unity. Read on to know details about this simple but effective way of writing.

Whenever I read and write articles or research papers for that matter, I always remind myself of the TSPU writing technique. TSPU is acronym for Topic Sentence, Paragraph Unity. I couldn’t exactly remember where I got this idea. It must have been a technical writing book I read several years back. And I was glad I read that book.

There is nothing new about this technique. It’s just easy to recall and apply in your writing making you more effective in putting your ideas across. Thus, I always recommend this way of writing to my students who usually have a hard time making themselves clear. Once they apply the TSPU writing technique, I can read and comprehend their composition better.

So how does the TSPU writing technique work? To make things clear, examples with explanations is the norm.

Example of the TSPU Writing Technique

Well, I just have given you an example of the TSPU writing technique in the way I write this article. If you examine closely the structure of the paragraphs I wrote, you will notice that I start off with the main idea in the first sentence of each paragraph I write. I then expound or explain the first sentences in the succeeding sentences that I write.

The first sentence of the paragraph refers to the topic sentence. Some writers call it the lead sentence. This sentence is the very first sentence of a written composition. This is the most crucial part of the paragraph as it can make or break your research paper, essay, or article. Thus, the topic sentence should be well thought out and interesting.

How do you make sure that the topic sentence is interesting? The expected result is that your readers will want to read the paragraph, the next one, and then the rest of the write-up.

How will you know that your audience read the paper or composition that you wrote? Google Analytics makes assessment or evaluation of your writing possible. Reader behavior translates into a low bounce rate, meaning, readers stick to your article and read it right to the bottom. If they are uninterested, they will just skim through your article in a few seconds then click away to find other articles.

How about the paragraph unity in the TSPU writing technique? What does it mean? Paragraph unity simply means that whatever you write after the topic sentence should be related to it. All sentences after the topic sentence should support, clarify, describe, or give details on the idea expressed in that first sentence. Thus, paragraph unity is achieved.

Now, the rest is up to you. Develop your writing style. Your writing style will show to your audience your personality and your view of the world.

©2014 November 9 Patrick Regoniel

Effective Strategies for Engineers Writing Technical Reports in English

The research or report produced by an engineer is extremely important in getting himself established in his field. The hard work he put into his research could not be well presented if not well written. However, novice technical writers face numerous obstacles that prevent them from presenting their information clearly thus create wide readership.

This article shares some tips to engineers who are non-native speakers of English who would like to become successful technical writers in that language. It highlights some strategies to be adopted during writing. Further, the article outlines how various aspects like word choice, paragraph building, tone and grammar of a text could affect the way readers comprehend the text. It also shares some do’s and don’ts to become a good technical writer.

Introduction

Engineers investigate and try to answer questions on the working of things. While writing research reports, not only a sound knowledge of the subject is a pre-requisite but effective communication through correct language use is also important. Technical writers need to adopt a clear and effective way of expression in order to be well-understood by the readers.

This article outlines a few aspects that need attention when writing research reports in English in order to be well accepted by readers and field experts. Particular attention is given to word choice, sentence and paragraph structure, tone and grammar.

Word choice

Choices made at the lexical level make huge difference in how texts are received by the readers. While this is equally true for both verbal and written communication, verbal message especially face-to-face can be accompanied by acts such as gestures, eye contact and body language. This facilitates overall comprehension.

Unfortunately, this facility is not available in written communication. The only way left to convince the reader is through the correct word choice.

There are many factors which are decisive in determining the choices at the lexical level. To begin with, a technical writer needs to have information on the prospective readers of the text. A text written without an imagined reader is like music without soul. They need to identify who is going to read the text – whether they are students with limited knowledge or field experts with vast level of knowledge and experience. The language should have appeal to both sectors and should possess technical depth to satisfy the experts while simple enough to gain attention of novice learners of the field.

There is a possibility that as researchers, engineers writing a report might possess greater domain knowledge than their readers. This situation often results in failing to provide a proper background to their study as they tend to fall prey to the assumption that since they are aware of it, the readers ought to know it as well.

Contrary to their assumption, writing involves putting the reader in the situation. The text should be written by identifying exactly what the reader wants to know and orienting the text to arouse his interest.

Technical jargon

A technical write up usually contains a lot of technical vocabulary which do not pose a problem to field experts. However, a list of acronyms should be provided for students or newcomers in the field as they might eventually be reading the report after it has been accepted by the field experts.

Sentences

Long, complex sentences do not indicate the expertise of a technical writer. These sentences act as a hindrance in readers’ comprehension of a composition. While conveying highly technical information, small connected sentences should be preferred over very long and run-on sentences.

Paragraph building

The essential component of a written piece is the way paragraphs are built. The writers often cram information in a paragraph without any thought on organization. This leads to information dumping rather than information building.

The paragraphs should follow a structure. Each paragraph must revolve around a single idea. The first sentence of a paragraph should be the topic sentence and the rest of the sentences should be written to support that main idea presented in the first sentence (see the TSPU writing technique). The last sentence could either refer back to the first sentence or lead to the idea in the following paragraph.

(Next page please)

A Critique on the Cooperative Writing Response Groups

Are you interested in writing a critique and would like to see how it is done? This article is for you. I write about the work of an English teacher, Melina Porto, on how to teach students to write. How did Melina approach students’ difficulty in writing good papers? I explain below how she made innovations in her pedagogical approach and presented my own perspective about what she did.

Writing the Paper

The author of this article is Melina Porto. She is an English teacher from the National University of La Plata, Argentina. She believes that timed writing itself contradicts recent research on writing pedagogy, and is therefore inappropriate.

This pedagogic proposal is based on cooperative writing response groups and self-evaluation. However, the university has already established testing procedures and she can only take limited instructional decisions.

The university requires students to devote two hours in writing approximately 350 words on a teacher-selected topic. The teacher then gives feedback in the form of error correction. In this process, grammar is given more emphasis than content. This means that a student would receive a failing mark if his sentences are grammatically wrong.

This situation contradicts Melina’s belief that writing is an interactive activity wherein learners need to know who they have to interact with and why (Widdowson, 1984). In addition, writing is a provoked activity; it is located in on-going social life.

Raimes (1985) intensifies this argument by giving a real audience for the students —their own teacher. In doing this, students become more social and communicative in their written works because they know whom they are writing to.

Another problem in teaching writing is the time pressure involved. Students are deprived of the concept of writing as recursive, interactive, communicative, and social activity (Silva, et al., 1994) due to the length of time allotted in finishing a composition. They do not have enough time to give suggestions or comments about their classmates’ paper nor to revise the final copy of their work.

Finally, little or no teacher feedback only leads to limited improvement in student’s writing because of unawareness of the linguistic problems and thus, they cannot generate alternatives and assess them.

Porto’s Research

The problems mentioned above encouraged Porto to conduct a research guided by the following criteria for good writing pedagogy:

  • to respond to student writing as work in progress (Zamel, 1985),
  • to encourage revision for meaning, and
  • to offer specific guidelines and directions on how to proceed (Raimes, 1991; Zamel, 1985).

With these in mind, she used the cooperative writing response groups (Bryan, 1996) in which three or four students as a group take turns in reading out their written pieces to members who then give feedback to the writer based on instruction given. This was implemented by selecting a topic that was developed at home through teacher-student negotiation. The point of discussion was merely on the content.

As a result, the students were able to ask questions, give clarification and opinion, make suggestions for improvement, give examples and pinpoint ambiguities before grammar related aspects were considered. Likewise, the writer was able to evaluate himself based from his teacher’s and classmates’ suggestions and feedback. In this process, the learners need to write the first draft, two revisions and the final copy.

The steps involved in cooperative writing response groups and self-evaluation are complicated and time consuming; but at the end, this is rewarding. Students’ performance can be easily monitored by including their cooperative writing response groups and self-evaluation in their portfolios; however, it entails more time for a teacher and the students as well, to read and give feedback for the initial draft, the two revisions (one on content, one in grammar) and the final copy.

On the other hand, students achieved better when 80 percent of the learners passed the required writing task in 1997 compared to the 70 percent passing rate before the innovation was introduced.

Further, empirical support was clearly lacking. Thus, further research should be made whether the approach actually succeeded in helping the students meet the writing requirement set by their institution. Cooperative writing response groups synthesizes product and process; thus, capturing the complexity of writing.

The Critique

I strongly agree with Porto’s idea of implementing the cooperative writing response groups and self-evaluation because it is student-centered and content-based rather than grammar. As a teacher, I also experienced before the dilemma of giving grades. I tended to give higher grades to students whose papers were grammatically correct; and in effect, students got a lower score if their papers had grammatically incorrect sentences, no matter how comprehensive and substantial they were.

I also agree that students should address a particular audience in writing and have a definite purpose. In doing this, they will know what kind of words they will use and how they will organize and present their ideas. The use of a more familiar audience or a particular person whom they know more – like their teacher or a classmate can motivate them to express their ideas well. They might feel that it is a cool and non-threatening activity.

Likewise, the concept of writing as recursive, interactive, communicative, and social activity entails a lot of time. Therefore, students must be given ample time to write and to interact with their classmates for suggestion and feedback. The giving of feedback by their classmates and most especially, by their teachers can help them improve their work and correct their mistakes. This also helps them become critical thinkers, writers and readers.

However, the implementation of this concept is impossible if the school administrators still insist on carrying out their traditional belief or policy concerning writing. A total re-engineering of the curriculum is necessary in order to avoid mismatch of the theories and principles (worthwhile activities that should be done in a classroom to make students communicatively competent) and of our practice in the educational system.

© 2014 October 9 M. G. Alvior

Four Tips on How to Write a School Newsletter

This article is for students who would like to know some tips in writing a school newspaper. 

Before I give you the tips, I would like to define first the word, newsletter. According to Jacci Howard Bear, a newsletter simply contains articles about one main subject or topic written by one or more authors and that is periodically published. It is also purposely written for a specific group of audience and it may contain jargons or technical words which may not be understood by the general audience/readers.

The writer goes on to say that as to the layout and format, it could be 1-2 pages or in some cases, up to 24 pages in letter size format. More often than not, it is in black and white and printed in plain paper.

So, with the definition in mind, if the newsletter is for school purposes, then it is called – the school newsletter. Here are four tips on how to write it.

Four Tips on How to Write the School Newsletter

  1. Decide how many pages your newsletter should be and how many times you will publish it. I t could be monthly or quarterly with one or two pages only.
  1. Have a list of only relevant and related topics to the theme of your particular issue. If you do it monthly, every school has monthly celebration, so you may focus your articles on that issue or you may focus on the events that took place during a particular month or period.
  1. Make the headline attention-getting. This means that since you have intended readers in mind, you already know what is interesting for them. The headline maybe a complete or incomplete sentence. It may be a thought-provoking question.
  1. Make it colorful. Though there is no hard and fast rule about this, and most of the newsletters are in black and white, I suggest that you place pictures and add colors into it. Well, this could easily be done with e-copies since you don’t need to pay for the printing which is too costly on your part. But if the school has enough funds for the layout and printing, then you may have it that way. So, it depends on your preference.

I wish that I have given you basic tips on how to write a school newsletter. You may see a sample here.

References

Bear, J. H. What is the Difference Between a Newsletter and a Magazine? Retrieved on September 28, 2014 from http://desktoppub.about.com/od/newsletters/f/magnews.htm

Wikihow. How to Write a Good Newsletter. Retrieved on September 28, 2014 from http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Good-Newsletter

© 2014 September 28 M. G. Alvior

10 Pointers from One of the Winners of a Research Paper Contest

How do you write  a competitive research paper? Here are 10 points that can guide you towards realizing your goal to win.

Getting awarded for a research paper I hurriedly prepared within a three-day period is something that confirmed my approach in research writing. Last Thursday, August 14, the paper I wrote based on a nine-month project completed in 2013 garnered the third prize in the 8th Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Contest under the professional category.

During the convention, I learned that a total of 31 entries were submitted from all over the country for a double-blind review by experts in the field of health. And only three research papers made it – mine included. More than 500 participants nationwide coming from the 17 regional health research consortia participated in the event.

A senior colleague and once the university’s Vice-President for Academic Affairs was instrumental to my success as she prodded me to join the contest although I had misgivings because the deadline was three days away. Despite my apprehension, I confidently nodded and said okay. I thought I might be able to glean useful data and information from recently concluded research project on the economic analysis of household adaptation options to climate change.

I summoned all I could muster to at least beat the deadline despite the limited time frame. I reviewed relevant literature and organized my thoughts as I write, guided by the theme of the celebration.

I did this kind of writing before mainly for compliance; but this time, I thought I’d aim to win — for a change. I’m giving research tips in this site and I’d like to put them to work. My intention was, if ever I win the contest, I would share pointers in writing it here. And that will make this site a more credible reference for colleagues and students in writing their research papers.

So here are  the 10 key points that helped me deliver a winning research paper despite the time constraint.

10 Key Points for a Winning Research Paper

1. Assess your capability and stick to the deadline.

Before writing anything, note the deadline of paper submission. Is it still possible for you to figure out a paper before the deadline ends? You have to assess your capability and resources at hand to deliver a paper within the prescribed period.

My typing speed of at least 60 words per minute helped me write the research paper with ease as my hands can cope up with what’s in my mind. That speeds up my composition as every idea that comes to mind rapidly goes on paper in real-time.

I like blogging and I’ve written hundreds of online articles for the past six years; so putting ideas into writing has not really become much of an issue. This is the reason I encourage colleagues to blog. This will hone their writing skills while at the same time earn something if they join free writing sites that pay their bloggers.

Back to the deadline issue, if the deadline is Monday, then by all means, submit your research paper on or before the deadline. Indeed, during the announcement of the winners, the chairman of the board of judges mentioned that research papers submitted beyond the deadline were no longer accepted. I submitted my research paper in the afternoon of the deadline date.

2. Make your research paper relevant to the theme.

I made sure that the paper I submitted adheres to the theme of the convention. The convention’s theme focused on the role of health research in disaster and emergency health management. Thus, I titled my paper “Climate Hazard Effects on Socio-Environmental Health and Adaptation Strategies in Two Coastal Communities in Palawan Island.” That’s about disaster’s effect on the health of marginalized communities and how two communities adapted to climatic threats. The communities explored “soft” and “hard” adaptation strategies to make their communities more resilient to the negative effects of climate change.

3. Keep to the rules. See the contest guidelines.

I followed the contest guidelines in its entirety. There is a prescribed format for writing the research paper as well as in the slide presentation. I followed the IMRaD format using my favorite word processor. The slides must not exceed 10, so I prepared 10 slides; no more, no less.

4. Do the writing in the morning.

I have fun doing my write-up in the morning. My mind works best from 4:30 to 11:30 am. After lunch, my brain goes into a slumber. There’s something in the food that makes me sleepy.

According to Ben Biggs, increased serotonin in the brain as a result of eating heartily is the culprit. To keep my writing momentum, I will either eat a small meal at lunchtime, or… sleep.

In that three-day writing spree, I took the latter approach, taking a one-hour nap after lunch. I’m alive after that brief trip to dreamland.

Surprisingly, I was able to sustain my writing from the usual drowsy 2 pm writing struggle. Somehow, the adrenalin push caused by the nearing deadline counteracted the effect of serotonin. At 4 o’clock, I regain back my writing momentum.

5. Have a good review of recent and relevant literature.

Many of the published literature on climate effects are in scientific journals that I have no access at the time of writing. Unfazed by this constraint, I resorted to online material that are both relevant and recent, and of course, free.

My references on the weather and disasters were obtained from mostly government-operated sites that I could rely on as these are public service sites. I gathered the most relevant ones and kept my writing concise, summarizing each report as succinctly as I could by applying the 5Ws and 1H technical writing strategy.

third place winner
My certificate of recognition and trophy for winning the third prize during the 8th Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) week celebration.

6. Adopt the viewpoint of the reader.

I adopted the viewpoint of the one screening the research paper. I have had experience reading and evaluating the work of others so I tried to take the reader’s viewpoint while I read my own paper. This proved to be difficult because I have my biases. But thinking as if I am the judge myself and using the contest’s judgment criteria, I saw critical areas or arguments in my manuscript that need revision.

Asking colleagues would have been better, but the brief period to prepare the research paper would not allow it. I will certainly do this once another opportunity arises.

7. Be particular about your grammar.

In any contest where English is the medium of expression, a non-native English speaker like me has to rely on previous educational training, readings and references. I did good in English during my high school and college days. Further, I developed my writing skills by reading the composition of great writers as well as practicing the trade, mainly, through blogging.

For me, if it sounds right and not really awkward to read, then it’s probably written right. Further, a good word processor can point out obvious grammatical errors. I made good use of it.

8. Use short sentences.

A veteran research writer colleague reminded me once to keep my sentences brief and concise. This simple suggestion helped me all the way in my writing engagements.

Whenever possible, I see to it that each sentence I write contains one idea or a set of ideas that work harmoniously. This writing style simply works.

9. Provide relevant figures and tables.

Remember the adage “A picture is worth a thousand words?” I selected figures, graphs and tables that contribute to the message I want to put across. Just glancing at these complementary sources of information improves the readers’ understanding of the research paper.

Specifically, for the pictures to include in the research paper, show something controversial or intriguing that will spark a discussion. The picture should be socially relevant if the theme is about people.

As for the tables, I adopt three guidelines: 1) limit columns to a maximum of four as much as possible, 2) arrange the title of each column from the most important to the least important information, and 3) provide explanatory notes under the table for better understanding.

10. Direct your mind towards winning.

When I wrote the research paper, I thought of winning the contest. I didn’t try this mindset before. My write ups were not written to compete but just to comply with the minimum requirements for participation. I didn’t enter any contest for lack of a good reason to do so. I just don’t like to compete as a matter of choice.

How did a changed mindset help me write better?

Adopting a winning attitude forced me to bring my talents and creativity to the fore. One of those things that I determined within myself is the idea that I will not settle for anything less as much as possible. I will make my work as perfect as possible if I can afford it. My work should be more than just enough. It should be as excellent as it should, at least in my point of view. So I read and reread the paper many times over.

Of course, the time pressure did not really turn out the best in my research paper as I realized some loopholes when I read it again and when the panel of judges were asking questions. But during the time of writing, the composition was the best I could muster. And it worked, because it passed the initial screening. The research paper made it to the six finalists out of 31 submitted for review.

A proper mindset allows you to harness your talents and creativity. Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck argues that people with a growth mindset see their qualities as things that can be developed through years of passionate practice and learning. And I believe I just did that.

Finally, connecting ourselves to the Supreme Being and having a noble purpose matters. All these things will not happen without blessings from the One who made it all possible. To Him all glory and honor return. After all, this toil is geared towards the betterment of humanity.

Try these tips and see how you perform. Or if you are a winner yourself, posting your thoughts below will be of great help to research writers.

© 2014 August 17 P. A. Regoniel

Thesis Writing: What to Write in Chapter 5

This article simply tells what a budding researcher must include in Chapter 5-the Summary. It also includes the tense of the verb and the semantic markers which are predominantly used in writing the summary, conclusions and recommendations.

For others, writing the Chapter 5 is the easiest part in thesis writing, but there are groups of students who would like to know more about it. If you are one of them, this article is purposely written for you.

A. Writing the Summary

Your summary may include the following: (1) objectives of the study; (2) statement of the problem; (3) respondents; (4) sampling procedures; (5) method/s of research employed; (6) statistical treatment/s applied or hypotheses tested, if there is any; (7); and results.

If you notice, all the parts mentioned above are already included in your Chapters 1- 4. So, the challenge is on how you are going to briefly write and present it.

First, you must go direct to the point in highlighting the main points. There is no need to thoroughly explain the details. You must avoid copying and pasting what you have written in the previous chapters. Just KISS (keep it short and simple)!

Then, write sentences in simple past and use always the passive voice construction rather than the active voice. You must also be familiar with the different semantic markers.

When I was enrolled in Academic Writing in my masters degree, I learned that there are semantic markers which can be used in order not to repeat the same words or phrases such as additionally, also, further, in addition to, moreover, contrary to, with regard to, as regards, however, finally, during the past ___ years, from 1996 to 2006, after 10 years, as shown in, as presented in, consequently, nevertheless, in fact, on the other hand, subsequently and nonetheless..

Next, you may use the following guide questions to check that you have not missed anything in writing the summary:

  1. What is the objective of the study?;
  2. Who/what is the focus of the study?;
  3. Where and when was the investigation conducted?;
  4. What method of research was used?;
  5. How were the research data gathered?;
  6. How were the respondents chosen?;
  7. What statistical tools were applied to treat the gathered data? ; and
  8. Based on the data presented and analyzed, what findings can you summarize?

Finally, organize the summary of the results of your study according to the way the questions are sequenced in the statement of the problem.

B. Writing the Conclusions

Once you have written the summary, draw out a conclusion from each finding or result. It can be done per question or you may arrange the questions per topic or sub-topic, if there is any. But if your research is quantitative in nature, answer directly the research question and tell if the hypothesis is rejected or accepted based on the findings.

As to grammar, make sure that you use the present tense of the verb because it consists of general statement of the theory or the principle newly derived from the present study. So, don’t be confused because in your summary, you use past tense while in conclusion, you use present tense.

C. Writing the Recommendations

The recommendations must contain practical suggestions that will improve the situation or solve the problem investigated in the study. First, it must be logical, specific, attainable and relevant. Second, it should be addressed to persons, organizations, or agencies directly concerned with the issues or to those who can immediately implement the recommended solutions. Third, present another topic which is very relevant to the present study that can be further investigated by future researchers. But never recommend anything that is not part of your study or not being mentioned in your findings.

After organizing your thoughts as to what would- be the contents of your recommendations, you should write it using the imperative mood of the verb. Imperative mood is to express a request or a command. So, the tense is also simple present tense.

However, there are universities especially in the Philippines that require a specific thesis format to be followed by students. Thus, as a student, you must conform to the prescribed format of your college or university.

Reference

Nordquist, R. n.d. Imperative Mood. Retrieved July 29, 2014, from http://grammar.about.com/od/il/g/impermood.htm

© 2014 July 29 M. G. Alvior

Cite this article as: Alvior, Mary G. (July 29, 2014). Thesis Writing: What to Write in Chapter 5. In SimplyEducate.Me. Retrieved from http://simplyeducate.me/2014/07/29/thesis-writing-what-to-write-in-chapter-5/

Five Time Management Tips for the Busy Faculty

Are you one of those who want to do research but find yourself too busy with your teaching tasks? Do you wish you can do more and improve your research performance? Here are five time management tips to help you out.

One of the four major functions of regular faculty members in the university is to do research. However, I always hear complaints among colleagues about their inability to deliver research outputs due to time constraints. There are just too many things to do with very little time to spare. For someone who has to prepare lessons for several subjects, writing a sensible research proposal for possible funding appears to be an impossible proposition.

How can you deliver despite these obstacles to your research writing engagement? I have found the following ways helpful which colleagues and anyone in the same plight may find handy:

1. Optimize.

Don’t work towards perfection. This doesn’t mean that you will write or do work haphazardly but set an acceptable standard that you can at least meet. It is better to do something than keep on griping that you can’t do anything other than teach.

2. Outline your planned composition.

Outlining before writing anything  can be a great motivator. Thirty minutes will be more than enough to prepare an outline.

I created a mind map to help anyone come up with a research proposal. Writing your proposal in chunks of activities at a given period can help you check your progress.

3. Use a pocket note.

Ideas crop up in your mind in the middle of the night or at unexpected times of the day. It’s difficult to capture these fleeting ideas unless you have a pocket note ready for this purpose. Keep one that is easily accessible in your pocket or stash in your handbag or waist bag.

busy personI advise against using electronic storage such as an android phone, tablet, or similar gadget. It is easy to lose files and even the whole thing. When you do lose it, it becomes a distraction because you feel bad having lost something valuable.

Besides, pocket notes are very cheap. After you have finished writing about those ideas in your notes, tear off the page and dump that in the garbage bin. That gives you a sense of accomplishment as your pocket note becomes thinner.

4. Identify your best writing time.

Set aside a specific time each day to write about research-related tasks.

My best time in writing about anything is the first four hours of the day. My mind is fresh especially after I have made my usual six to seven kilometer run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

After lunch, I’m useless as my eyes start to droop. I call that the “after lunch phenomenon.” A 15-minute nap will perk me up to work once again, albeit, with difficulty.

Unless something really needs to be done, I resolve to spend the afternoon on household chores or light tasks such as buying groceries, shopping, taking leisure time, and similar activities.

5. Be consistent. Practice makes perfect.

I know I am one of those rare guys out there who can keep on doing things I have set out to do. I find that writing each day gives me unexplained pleasure. Now, I can’t count the online articles I have written since I started off in 2008. I lost count but I am pretty sure I wrote at least 600 articles on different topics.

While consistently writing a lot of short articles for many years, I noticed that my writing skills improved and I do it with much less effort than before. I find my writing activity handy in writing research-related tasks.

Things happen when you do something about your plan. Nothing will happen unless you act NOW. I like that Nike slogan “Just do it.”

© 2014 June 30 P. A. Regoniel

A Study on the Vision and Mission of the Palawan State University and the Goal and Program Objectives of its Graduate School

To provide excellent service to its clients, any organization needs to have a clear-cut statement of its mission and vision. The vision and mission statements will bring the organization towards its desired direction.

Universities, as prime movers of change in society, need to be exemplars of good practices along this concern. To make academic institutions relevant to the society’s needs, there is a need to evaluate its mission and vision statements.

Along this concern, Dr. Alvior conducted an exploratory study on a state university’s vision and mission statements. She also studied the goals and objectives of the graduate school of the same university. This article sums up the result of that study. – The Editor

Introduction

The success of an institution depends upon unity in people’s thoughts and interests, both physically and philosophically. The view of the world is influenced by the values the people hold in their institution. They need to reconcile differing perspectives, find common ground, and create a shared vision and mission.

The shared vision statement should be clear, concise and create a visual image in the mind of the reader. The mission, on the other hand, tells how a group should behave to reach the shared vision. The statement becomes a tool to communicate the group’s purpose to others. This can generate enthusiasm and excitement in performing the work at hand.

According to Kent Peterson (1995), schools are likely to be more successful in achieving in-depth learning when leaders work with the staff and the community to build a collective educational vision that is clear, compelling and connected to teaching and learning. This collective vision helps focus attention on what is important, motivates the staff and the students, and increases the sense of shared responsibility for student learning.

Moreover, Jerry Bamburg, a professor of Educational Administration and Director of the Center for Effective Schools at the University of Washington in Seattle, discusses the benefits of a clearly defined school vision, to wit:

“Schools, like any organization, function best when the staff have a clear idea about what is important. The schools that have been most successful in addressing and increasing the academic achievement of their students have benefited from a clarity of purpose that is grounded in a shared set of core values and beliefs. Primary among the beliefs that school staff must share are high expectations for all students and for themselves”.

Likewise, a professor of Education in Northeastern Illinois University, Samuel Betances, describes the administrator’s role in building a collective vision in the school and community, in a presentation at the July 1992 Summer Institute of NCREL’s Academy for Urban School Leaders. He said that it is important to set a tone as instructional leaders – a tone in which people are encouraged to bring whatever they want when they come to an organization. And whatever expertise they bring should be expanded, built upon, and respected by the administrative leadership in order to universalize the spirit.

With these principles in mind, the Palawan State University (PSU) and its Graduate School conducted a strategic planning workshop in 1999. The university reformulated its vision and mission.

In 2001, the Graduate School started to offer new academic programs in response to the needs of the community like Diploma in Teaching, Diploma in Social Science Teaching, Diploma in Language Teaching, Diploma in Physical Education and Master of Arts in Education and Master of Science in Environmental Management.

As a result, the graduate programs in Education and Public Administration were awarded the candidate status (Level 1) by the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities (AACCUP) in 1999 and the accredited Status (Level 2) in 2002.

To improve further on its course offerings in the Graduate School (GS), a study was conducted to once again evaluate how the university performs as perceived by its clients. The main purpose of this study is to determine the level of stakeholders’ awareness and acceptance of the University’s vision, mission, goals and objectives.

Specifically, this study attempted to answer the following questions (next page please):