Monday, February 22, 2010

Moving on to the Results and Discussion

I'm mostly done with my methods chapter now. So I get to move on to the fun parts--results and discussion.

I'm a bit concerned that a barrage of numbers will turn off readers trained in English, so I'm going to try to combine results and discussion. Otherwise I don't know if anyone will actually look at my pretty histograms. (If you want to make a histogram in Excel, here is the best explanation. It's written for an out-of-date version of Excel, but it's so much clearer than version-correct explanations that it's still the most usable set of instructions for Excel 2007.)

So I'll need a section in which I cover the results from my questionnaires. Some of this information is quantitative and lends itself to tables and charts. For instance, I definitely need charts that depict when the students started their papers. I'd like to be able to show on one chart both times planning and times drafting. Maybe some distribution curves? I'm not sure.

I'll also want to have a chart that compares proofreading of procrastinators and non-procrastinators.

But some of the information from the questionnaires doesn't chart well, like "If you feel you should have started your paper sooner, why is that? " So I'll also need to discuss what kinds of answers students put down for open-ended questions.

Then the next section covers the data I pulled from the students papers--the length and the numbers and kinds of errors. I have several charts for this section already, but there are a few more in the works. I also need to do some regression analysis. Or at least find where I wrote down the regression analyses I did before...

Then the final section will be case studies of the actual procrastinators' papers. I didn't plan to do this when I designed my study. But since I ended up defining only five participants as procrastinators, it made sense to look at their papers more in depth. (See here, here, here, here, and here for what I posted previously.) I'm a big fan of quantitative data, but I think the case studies are useful for a few reasons. One, while the quantitative data can help show whether there are differences between the performances of procrastinators and non-procrastinators, it can't give much sense as to why that is. I could just speculate. For instance, since procrastinators appear to have fewer performance errors than non-procrastinators, I might speculate that procrastinators are just using simpler sentence structures. But instead of just speculating, I could actually pull out Mort's paper and note that he actually used complex sentence structures which got him into trouble with subject-verb agreement. Another reason I think case studies are a good idea is because people in the English department might actually read them instead of glossing over them.

No comments: