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  • terrywellch 11:35 am on April 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    APA Formatting Help 

    I need to format my dissertation as per APA 6th edition. My university has given no guidelines. The problem is that there are so many sources online, which are not similar. Where can I find the accurate APA formatting guidelines? And is there a formatting tool?

    • alexoliphaant 9:54 am on May 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Ever checked out the guidelines of Purdue University? It has got everything you need to know about APA formatting. From tables to headings to references, everything is explained in a comprehensive manner. I use the guidelines of this university. Check it out:


    • davidm34 9:12 am on May 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      First of all, use Microsoft Word for doing your formatting. Don’t go for any complex tool like Latex as it will be really difficult to work on it. You can use any version of MS Word, like 2007, 2010 and 2013, any would do. See the major task in formatting is creating sections, page numbering, Table of contents, list of tables and figures. And the major tasks of APA formatting is doing more apart from these like introducing running head, formatting tables and figures and references, page layout, indentations and headings. Editing tables and figures is a tedious task. So, I’d like to refer you this blog for the same:


      For the others, you can get information from Google and YouTube. There are a lot of resources available.

    • terrywellch 11:53 am on May 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      God, I can’t even do section breaks correctly! The page numbers seems to move all the time! And the more I ‘do something’, the document looks even more pathetic. It’s giving me a headache now!

    • robertmaxeey 11:57 am on June 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Hey, it’s not really that difficult, a little confusing but you can do it. First, clear all the formatting of your document, sometimes it auto-formats, so you need to get rid of that. Do it by selecting all the contents and click on the Normal style on the Home tool bar. From there you can follow the steps of making section breaks by searching on Google.

    • davidm34 12:58 pm on June 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      There are a lot of APA style guides available online, have you had a look at them? Usually universities prefer their own format with a mix of APA style. When I was looking for formatting, I came across the guidelines of SMC University, which is actually quite close to APA format. If you search online, its not that easily available, so I am sharing the link, just download it from here:


      You may refer the template, but for title page and all, ask for your university-specific format.

    • sophiaw740 10:40 am on June 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      The main features to be considered for formatting are margins, pagination, running head, spacing, in-text citations and references, table of contents, tables and figures and the overall structure. You can get the details from Google or YouTube. As far as doing it is concerned? It’ll take time, watch videos or get our friends template. Doing it in a template is like doing half the work. So, yeah, that’ll be all.

    • minttyt 11:56 am on June 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I find section breaks really painful among the other things. But hey, its not all about formatting. Keep the language at check too. Proofread your complete document as per the specifications provided in the APA guidelines. And I don’t know why people say that it’s not a big deal. I mean I formatted my sister’s thesis and it literally took a lot of time. It has soo many things and I had to do it twice before getting it right.

  • morry1 9:06 am on April 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Conceptual framework, theoretical framework, research gap and concept matrix: My Literature Review 

    It’s been a long time since I posted anything. With PhD, Supervisor, Husband and simply Life! I am totally packed. So, I have to conduct a literature review and I guess the heading says it all. How should I go about it? What’s the difference between conceptual and theoretical framework? How to find ‘the’ research gap? What is a concept matrix and how do you make one?

    • robertmaxeey 9:33 am on April 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You must have read articles on your topic, now you just have to review them. Your question is too broad. I think you first need to read about literature review. Try this book:


    • morry1 9:23 am on May 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      My question is broad as I have just stepped on the first stair of conducting a literature review. Thanks for the book but I am looking for your experiences on how to do this research.

    • sharonbaneey1 4:11 am on May 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      A true literature review is text that Synthesizes & Analyses all the available current research from Peer-reviewed Sources and shows how it relates to your investigation. You can basically categorize your LR as per your topic. For example, let’s say that I have to write an LR about the impact of customer satisfaction and service quality on the airline industry. So for that, I can divide my LR into subheads like, introduction to aviation industry, definition of customer satisfaction, definition of service quality, impact of customer satisfaction on aviation industry and impact of service quality on aviation industry. In each of this headings, I will explore the related studies, what methods are used by them and their findings. On this basis, I will now develop a research gap, something that the others have missed out. Then I can develop a conceptual framework pertaining to the variables I intend on examining like, reliability and tangibility (they define the service quality). That’s just a way to go about writing an LR. Can you relate your research to that?

    • leatriceamar 11:47 am on May 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Hi! I can help you out with differentiating between conceptual and theoretical framework. I am a student of California Institute of Technology and was stuck in the similar dilemma as you are right now. My professor gave me some crucial ideas to distinguish between both of them. The difference is minute but substantial, in simple term a conceptual framework should show your idea on how research problem should be explored and this idea is established on the grounds of theoretical framework which includes theories and findings of numerous investigations to substantiate your research. Follow this link to learn more:


    • adamflindeers 6:10 am on May 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I checked out the above blog and I started going through the site. I found another one, where the writer has explained it real good, about how to make your Literature Review useful. You can refer to it.


      And how about you simply alter a framework that has already been developed by someone else, instead of creating your own intellectual framework from scratch?

    • morry1 11:55 am on June 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Adam, you are suggesting that I should just incorporate a variable (add-on) in a theoretical framework and call it as a conceptual framework? And which theoretical framework should be used, from old literature or recent ones?
      I am just reading academic papers related to my area, lots of it, so I haven’t started writing it down. I am planning to first gather all the literature, go through it and first develop the gap, then Ill segregate the LR.

    • adamflindeers 12:56 pm on June 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      New framework is usually preferable, however, if relevant, you can use the old ones (which are less explored). The additions you make should be thoroughly researched and justified. So the variables you take should be backed with literature. The proper way of writing an LR is to first present the studies on the matter segregated with headings, then the gap is evaluated. After that the conceptual framework is created where you may/may not develop the hypothesis. Here you need to explore the literature about all your variables. I think that summarises everything. If unclear, you can certainly ask for any more doubts.

    • leatriceamar 10:42 am on June 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      It’s not necessary to have a conceptual framework, really. The literature should be relevant, that is what matters. With a tinge of systematic organisation, you’ll be good to go.

  • minttyt 6:11 am on April 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Fake Survey! 

    I had to distribute 200 questionnaires to collect the data but I am lagging far behind. Can I fill the excel sheet of data myself? That would be like too easy and make my life simple. But I am afraid of the risks associated with this unethical way. Has anyone done something like this before and didn’t get caught?

    • sophiaw740 7:41 am on April 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I am no one to judge, but that is so not ethical. Anyway, people do that all the time, though I don’t know if they got caught or not.

    • dolliejgandy 11:20 am on May 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Yes you can do that, my friend faked it too. In fact he didn’t even fill out the questionnaires, just developed a fake excel sheet. There were 200 quantitative questionnaires to be distributed. He just filled out the excel sheet with the fake responses (in 1s and 2s…etc.). Then he gave the sheet to the statistician and got the analysis done. As simple as that. And the shocking thing is that nobody asked for his filled questionnaire. So, the thing about fake survey is that if someone runs a background check, you are gonna be in deep trouble and if no one gives a damn, then that’s freaking awesome!

    • minttyt 9:14 am on May 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I think I can go with this idea but what if I am asked for the filled questionnaires?

    • dolliejgandy 11:58 am on May 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Then you’re gonna have to show them the dummy questionnaire, which is next to impossible as you’ll have to match your results to what you have to fill. But you can do that, or just fill your questionnaire before, and then run the analysis. That will be easy.

    • tappedward 11:48 am on June 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Tell your friends to fill up your questionnaire according to the results you want and just lay-back. Easy-peasy!

    • alexoliphaant 11:59 am on June 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Minty! I‘ll suggest you not to fake all the 200 questionnaire. Instead you can develop an online questionnaire and post it on Survey Monkey https://www.surveymonkey.com/

      Through this website you will be able to create a genuine questionnaire and you will not require to fake your data.

    • tedg8 10:44 am on June 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Pass on your questionnaires to your relatives, friends or friends’ friends. Ask them to fill it with different pens with different handwriting styles. That way it won’t look that fake. And yeah, the questionnaires may be fake but do run a real analysis!

    • sharonbaneey1 5:34 am on July 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Faking surveys is not uncommon now, reason being the-lack-of-time or financial constraints. If you type on Google, you’d find several options for faking a survey. I haven’t tried an online tool for that matter, but I have used “Fake Name Generator” (fakenamegenerator.com). See, this online tool generates fake names with fake addresses of people. So, you can take its help for filling the demographic profiles for your survey.

  • adamflindeers 1:08 pm on April 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Balancing job with PhD 

    Research is my passion, but due to monetary reasons I am doing a job along with my PhD. So how can I maintain the balance between my PhD and job? Do I really need to discontinue one of the things? Please suggest some ways through which I can manage both the things without much stress.

    • davidm34 10:51 am on April 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Hey, have you heard about PhD studentship? These are basically jobs related to your PhD like teaching or researching. So, if your finding it difficult to work out with both job and PhD, then maybe you can switch your job to something that is related with your PhD research.

    • alexoliphaant 7:38 am on April 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      If you are unable to manage both the things, then why don’t you leave your job? Once you have your degree with good marks, you can always land another job. If you have funding problem, then you can apply for scholarships or funding programs?

    • adamflindeers 9:47 am on May 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I have been working for 6 years now. I am the only son and my father is physical disabled, and that is the reason I joined PhD, to help me boost my career. I don’t find it as a good option to leave my job or look for something else. I hardly get time to sleep, don’t wanna waste in in job hunting.

    • sophiaw740 9:18 am on May 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      That’s a crappy situation to be in. You must be a part-timer. A PhD will definitely boost your career and do wonders in the long run but as your finding it difficult with your job, why not talk to your boss? Maybe you can change your schedule? And even better, have you tried consulting your college administration or counsellor? There are a lot of students who face such kinds of problem. With their consultation, I am sure you can find out a way.

    • dolliejgandy 4:27 am on May 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I know it’s tough to balance a job with PhD but the only thing which can sort all your worries is ‘Time Management’. You need to divide your time and stick to it like a parasite. One of my friend who has just completed her PhD was working as a waitress but still with her hard work and determination, she was able to make her dream come true. You can use software like Zotero or Mendeley for planning your work.

    • adamflindeers 6:57 am on May 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I would really like to sincerely thank you all for your advices.
      I have been talking to my college administration and they are ready to help me work it out. The solution is to extend my time, or you can say deadlines. So it’ll take more years for me to complete my course but I hope it’ll be less stressful.

    • leatriceamar 11:55 am on June 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Hi all. I was reading this thread and I am in a similar kind of situation. Instead of creating a new thread, I thought to continue on this one. Umm…I am actually quite disturbed with my job and part-time PhD. I enjoy my work (9 to 6) and it is important for me. At first, things were slow and smooth but now as I am in my second year, it’s getting kind of ‘tedious’. My supervisor was also okay at the start but now he wants more participation and I think that’s why he won’t settle for my procedure of collecting data and keeps poking. For my research I settled for conducting interviews with the chief security auditors at banks, 3 of them to be particular. I know it’s less, but at least it would be simpler for me. But my supervisor thinks survey method would be more appropriate or rather more interviewees will do the trick. The hitch is that I don’t have that much time on me. If I take more participants:

      A. I’d have to take out more time into conducting those
      B. The analysis will be more difficult
      C. I don’t think I’ll do justice to my research as less participants means more efficiency
      I am looking for a solution to manage all the things, which will not affect my performance at work and at research.

    • dolliejgandy 10:47 am on June 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Determining the scope of the research is quite important and you should do that. 3 participants are however less and I think you should consider your supervisor’s advice. Maybe you can increase the count to 8 or 9? That should suffice, as per my views.

    • alexoliphaant 11:59 am on June 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Hey show your guide this:
      It’s a tip really, for NOT taking a large sample size. I am not sure if as per your study 3 is less or more, but I do know that people can take whatever sample they want, if they can justify it. You have a right to choose judgmental sampling and justify your reasons for it.

  • davidbergeviin 12:41 pm on April 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Tips for Defending Thesis 

    Hello everyone
    I am getting close to my Viva, which is being held in May. Till now, I haven’t really studied much and I am kind of nervous. How will I pull it off? I am looking for any tips/suggestions as to how should I defend my thesis, also in a really fast way.

    • jackthomas01 11:51 am on April 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Put up questions and answer them. I am preparing my Viva too and that’s the strategy that I am applying. I am going chapter wise, writing all the possible questions that can come out of a particular chapter and then I write their answers. It’s like taking notes, and as writing is a more effective method of learning, I find it useful.

    • davidbergeviin 9:51 am on May 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the reply, but taking notes and making questions is a lot of work. My viva has been postponed to July, thankfully (a much required relief!). But I am still looking for some useful insights. Like what happens in the viva-room, what all can they ask, what do they look for? Something around, how can you win over your examiners?

    • sophiaw740 4:18 am on May 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Examiners look for a way to catch a glitch and then focus on it to make the student really very very uncomfortable. And that’s saying it lightly. My examiners were as bad as they come. And the only way to win over such people is to answer all their questions except when you don’t know. See, do not brag or try to give answer when you know you’re stuck. Giving wrong response is even worse than being quite. Anyway, the examiners have points for each category like timely submission, etc. etc. They don’t judge you on the basis of your viva alone but you’re overall conduct during the course of program. So, if you have been wrong somewhere, prepare some excuses.

    • terrywellch 11:52 am on May 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      It’s important to defend your claims about the novelty of the thesis and its impact to knowledge.

      However, no research is flawless, and showing that you have considered what could have been done differently, or even better, is not a bad thing.
      So confront your examiners with honesty and confidence. All the best.

    • robertmaxeey 11:45 am on June 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      In my experience, you should work on your presentation slides. Most of us take time in preparing and studying like book worms, but what we miss is a good presentation. No matter how well we prepare our research, if we are not able to present it proper, then it’s worthless.

    • terrywellch 7:48 am on June 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Hey, I came across this piece of article given by University of Leicester .The tips suggested by them are worthy of attention! I have shared the link below.


    • minttyt 12:01 pm on June 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Focus on your presentation skills more, because I guess that the way you can win over them. I read it somewhere, that to impress someone, you need to hone your presentation skills.

    • jackthomas01 12:03 pm on June 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Defending thesis is the most-infuriatingly-crucial-thing that has to be taken care of. Though I think that it’s really about the moods of examiners, some precautions can be taken. I am referring to this blog on an editing website (seems quite popular), but the write-up in the blog is what really caught my attention. Have a look yourself:

  • brunoperryblog 12:33 pm on April 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Writing methodology chapter 

    Took an additional month, but finally I am done with my literature review. Now its turn for methodology chapter and like before, I don’t want to make any mistakes. So guys, help me out with this part. For all I know, I need to just explain the methods I adopted and why they were appropriate. What else should I incorporate?

    • davidm34 10:49 am on April 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      A research methodology is a blueprint of a research incorporating each and everything you want to do for answering the particular research questions. It is something that you have to study in detail as I don’t think anyone can explain all the methods to you here. As you have to start from the start, how about you check out this book:
      Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed approaches, by Creswell (2003)

    • brunoperryblog 11:58 am on April 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the reference. I already know the methods, it’s the way I have to explain and justify why I chose them. I have heard that when students are unable to justify their research methods, the examiners not only reject their thesis but also ask them to use another method. And that is like doing all-the-work, all-over-again. Considering my supervisor, I don’t want to be that situation. So, how to I write the methodology in a persuasive manner?

    • davidm34 9:42 am on May 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      For justifying your methods, you need to consider all the methods and evaluate why they can’t be good for your research. You can give examples from your literature about the methods adopted by others and also show the significance of your method by highlighting its advantages backed by more literature.

    • alexoliphaant 8:03 am on May 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Hey, check out this blog on how to write a methodology chapter:


    • robertmaxeey 9:16 am on May 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Outline your methodology and then present it to your supervisor before writing it completely. If there will be any error, the supervisor will point out and that will save you re-do time. Take a look on this post, on quick writing and see if that works:

    • brunoperryblog 6:50 am on May 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      From what I gather, the main thing is to support your choices of methods with literature. Which studies should I mention, the ones who used the same methods, or those who didn’t?

    • minttyt 11:43 am on June 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I guess you can present both. You can explore the studies that chose a different path with their limitations and the reason why your method can be much better. And you can explore those, which chose the similar kinda method and how that turned out to be fruitful.

    • davidbergeviin 7:52 am on June 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Providing justification for your adopted methodology stems solely from the outcome of your literature review. From the review, it may be that the methodologies employed by the previous studies did not adequately explain the phenomenon; 2. It may be that the new methodology in other field of studies may contradict the existing knowledge about the phenomenon and offer fresh insight which you may want to apply; 3. It may be that the way the problem and its associated concepts were approached and defined were problematic; and 4. It may be that the contemporary problem have falsified at the previous claims about the issue you are investigating. On the basis of these arguments you can justify your methodology chapter.

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