The Right Time to Go for Substantive Editing Assistance

While many research students go for professional editing help, it is not substantive editing that is always required for your dissertation. If you have native-like command on the English language, then you may not be the one needing substantive editing support. However, it is most required when a student is unaware of basic linguistic rules and academic writing standards. Substantive editing should be availed when you are not confident of your command on the language or you are an ESL (English as a second language) student.

In the above cases, your content and language may not do justice to your hard-done research work. Thus, it will highly require making your work meaningful and logical through substantive editing. This type of editing or review can correct all basic and advanced linguistic errors in your dissertation. Additionally, substantive editing done by a professional editor can make your content more presentable, clear and concise. It can even do fact checking and correct your referencing styles.

If you do not have knowledge about professional styleguides and the writing styles to be adopted in your research area, then it is again time to go for professional help. An editor can assist you in complying with the rules and standards of the style manual recommended by your university. Through substantive editing assistance, you can make your work flawless, as well as can add value to your content. If you do not own a rich vocabulary, then do not worry. Substantive editing improves upon your word usage and paragraph logic too.

Thus, the absence of effective command on the language will not be a barrier for you when you take substantive editing help. In fact, you should go for professional support as soon as you are ready with a rough draft of your dissertation. A professional editor can take care of the rest.

Part Time PhD Programme: Am I on the Track?

Are you a part time PhD scholar, who is sailing in more than one boat at a time? Yes? In retrospect, when you see what you have accomplished in your programme so far, how do you feel? Do you compare your PhD accomplishment with the accomplishments of your co scholars who started around the same time as you? If they are on a full time programme, unlike you, do not do injustice with yourself by comparing. Know that your timelines are different and it doesn’t work similar as a part timer as it works for a full time scholar. Having done her Master’s programme as full time student and now on a part time PhD programme, Anna knows there isn’t any wisdom in doing comparisons. They could be poles apart like chalk and cheese. It was her deliberate, well thought over decision to get into a part time programme. Being there at two places, a full time job and a research scholar, the balance is hard to strike. It has its own set of challenges. There could be various tips to deal with this, but the most important key is to be fair in your expectations from self and accept before you begin that you would take longer than others and it is a choice you have made for yourself.

By now, we have understood that being a part time scholar isn’t easy. But if you are one of those, then just realisation of this may not help the purpose. To successfully accomplish your herculean task of a part time doctoral along with other personal or professional commitments, you need to use the skills you may have developed in your professional life or develop those skills, if you lack them. You need to learn to work around:

1. Setting deadlines
2. Being more focused and task oriented
3. Organised in your work habits
4. Multitasker
5. Scanner or as we called a skim reader

You have all these above mentioned skills. You are a seasoned and mature part timer who knows how to balance and multi task efficiently. If it is in your agenda to enrol into a part time programme, remember to go through this checklist and evaluate your key strengths so as to foresee whether it is a wise move for you or you need to first, like I said, work around your skill set.

Choosing the Right Research Methodology for Your Dissertation

Remember that your entire dissertation and its success is dependent on the kind of research you conduct. Therefore, the right research methodology can make all the difference in your dissertation outcome.

Choosing between quantitative and qualitative methods:

Many students prefer taking the quantitative route simple because they find it easier to deal with numbers and statistics than going the qualitative way. However, many times, numbers cannot do justice in understanding behavior or experiences, which need a strong qualitative method to analyze.

Using both methods together:

This is a common trend that is used quite often by many students and researchers. This helps you collect data in both ways and you can back up one set of findings by the other which is conducted through a different method. You can use a questionnaire to get the quantitative data and conduct interviews for your qualitative data collection.

Things to remember while asking interviews:

  1. Identify the right sample
  2. Keep a set of questions ready that will help you gain the information you are looking for
  3. Try the questions with a friend or a colleague before you take it on the field
  4. Keep notes of the interview
  5. Don’t ask questions that might lead to predefined answers

Things to remember while formulating a questionnaire:

  1. Ensure that the questions are in a logical order and they are easy to understand
  2. Gain permission from the respondents to use the information as your sample
  3. Ensure that the questions are not confusing or leading to expected answers
  4. Code the questionnaire so you can analyze it easily afterwards
  5. Use the right statistical tools to analyze the data

Think about the advantages and problems associated with different research methodologies and then pick one that suits your study perfectly.

Research and the Value of a White Paper

Why is a white paper written? It is written to provide the solution to a problem. There was a time when white papers were typically used for government work. Different government departments had various problems that they needed to tackle at different points of time. They used to appoint commissions and officers to write documents that would provide the answers to all these solutions.

But now white papers are used everywhere. They are used in the IT industry quite a lot especially when a new product has to be introduced to investors and customers. Marketing departments are known for their extensive use of white papers to draw attention to their products and impress upon the outside world the value of what they are selling.

Many white papers are written and they are published on the web. People are always hunting the Internet for information. They want details on a product before they buy it. They want details on an application before they use it. They want details on a service before they subscribe to it. That is why many researchers prepare white papers and then they load it on the Internet. People go online and they read it. Then they make up their minds if they want to subscribe to what the white paper is saying or not.

Students who are working in the Information Technology field should start preparing white papers from a young age and from early on in their academic lives. Once they join the job market, they will find that the demand for white papers is huge. They will find that there is much money to be made in the writing and publishing of white papers. That is why researchers are not complete till they have mastered the art of writing white papers.

Screening of information sources for dissertation

Have you ever been to a movie without first reading reviews or asking your friends about it? Or, do you dine at a new place without being sanguine about the quality of food? Obviously no! Then how can you prepare your dissertation without confirming the reliability and relevance of the resources? Hence, one of the first steps of research process is carefully selecting the information sources that you are going to use. This applies to both primary and secondary sources. When selecting your primary sources, judge whether the participants are interested in the study and providing genuine information. You also have to qualify them to ensure that they are capable of answering your questions.

The secondary sources commonly used for research include journals, books, magazines, web sources, census reports, conference papers, etc. It is wrong to pick such references just to boost the number of entries in your bibliography, without a thorough consideration of their quality. You have to screen them on the basis of the following criteria:

• Relevance of matter: it is not sufficient for your references to be vaguely related to the subject that you are studying. They must be pertinent to the topic of research and provide some ideas or facts that are worth mentioning in the dissertation. They can either support your theory or refute it, but the logic or argument must be strong enough to be considered for research.

• Authenticity: check whether the author and publisher are completely authentic or not. The reference sources must not have any trace of plagiarism. Also ensure that the facts and figures given in the sources are 100% accurate. For this, you can double check them from any other source or talk to the author. Sometimes, the source of funding for publication also needs to be checked to ensure that the material is genuine and unbiased.

• Updated: ensure that the information provided in your references is up to date. Out dated facts and figures must not be made a part of the dissertation. Look for recent editions of books and journals.

Scrupulous scrutiny of references will take some time, but it will provide you a strong foundation for a valuable dissertation that is worthy of publication.

Is It Okay to Avoid Formatting in Your Dissertation?

Formatting indicates toward the overall look and presentation of your content. You can also call it as the layout of your content. Generally, in a research dissertation, formatting is done to correct the layout of headings, text paragraphs, graphics, tables, and citations and references. Formatting is also done for making all the notes and fonts consistent. Thus, a document is made to look flawless in terms of its appearance by using varied formatting styles. However, many research students find it an unnecessary job.

Students may not feel the need of formatting when they have written their content well and without errors. If you also feel that formatting is simply wasting your precious time, then it is very important for you to understand its importance and benefits. A major advantage of formatting your dissertation is to make it actually look like a dissertation. When you are conducting serious research, you are also expected not to be casual in your writing or presentation. This is the reason why academic institutions provide formatting guidelines for you to follow stringently.

Another benefit of formatting is that it makes your work more readable. Even though your faculty members may not grant extra marks for your formatting, they will really appreciate if your content is presented in an impressive manner. A neat and tidy dissertation can create substantial influence on your readers. If you were presenting the work that looks professional and enhances readability, then your target readers would hold a favorable attitude toward it. A well-formatted dissertation also has the capability to hide a few linguistic mistakes, if left in your project.

Further, you cannot avoid formatting your dissertation for the very simple reason that your institution may only accept your project when it is formatted according to the recommended guidelines. Thus, you should devote time to format your work well so it only adds to your credibility.

How to Write a Case Study?

A case study is a particular type of research paper. A case can be a person, group, event or situation. Case studies are used as a learning tool in most fields including medicine, management and law. In order to write a case study, it is first of all important to understand the purpose of the study, whether the study is being made to report occurrences of certain phenomenon and their causes or whether the study is being made to identify existing challenges and seek their solutions. In the former type the focus is on analysis while the latter type the focus is on problem solving, a case study may be written keeping both the approaches in mind. In order to write a case study both secondary and primary research is required, some cases may be written purely on secondary information.

A case study generally has following parts:

Abstract: here the writer should specify the subject of study, its purpose and importance and methods used for conducting the study.

Observations: this part should clearly mention what the researcher has found out by his/her observations.

Interpretation: the researcher uses his/her knowledge to explain the observed phenomenon; if the study is analytical researcher can use causal methods to establish cause effect relationships. Researcher may also explain problems and their context in several dimensions.

Suggestions: in this section the researcher can suggest the solutions to the identified problems or relate the observed phenomenon with factors, the researcher may also give details regarding the method of applying the solutions so as to get the correct result.

Conclusion: in this section the researcher needs to summarize the main findings, suggest generalizations and scope for future study or applications.

References: in this section researcher needs to list down all the cited or quoted works in prescribed style.

Appendix: this section contains tables, graphs, charts etc., which could not be included in the main text so as to maintain its sequence or flow and avoid diversion.

Statistics and the Marketing Student

As a marketing student you might think that life is all about building relationships and networking. But that is not the case. You need to be prepared for a life that is full of numbers. You need to be as good at statistics as anybody else because you will be spending a lot of your life working with numbers.

There is a lot of statistical analysis in marketing. There are many researchers and surveyors whose sole job it is to gather data, compile them and find patterns in them. Major multinational brands have markets that consist of millions of people of all genders, all age groups and with different kinds of wants and needs. There is no way that a marketing manager can possibly go to each and every individual, find out what they want and design products to cater to them. They need data that splits the vast population into various divisions and slots them into convenient categories.


For this task to be accomplished, the marketing manager would need employees who are skilled with numbers. He would be asking them on a regular basis to make excel spreadsheets full of vast quantities of data, build a database that has massive volumes of information, create graphs and charts and tables, make PowerPoint presentations that explain these vast volumes of data, and prepare reports for the higher management.

Marketers themselves need to be good at reading numbers and understanding the nature of all the numbers. So, along with their networking skills, it is vital for marketing students to become good at numbers as well. In fact, when they are working on their dissertation or post-graduate reports marketing students will be called upon to justify their project with large volumes of data and extensive surveys.

Difference between citation and quoting

Citation and quoting are the two most important words used in dissertations or thesis which shows that the student or the researcher has done proper work and also made clear that there is no plagiarism. However there is confusion in using these two words in proper way. A citation is something which is used where you have a particular idea of other person. A quotation is used when you are using the same words used by some other author. In simpler terms citation is used when you use your own words and you quote when you use words of someone else and both requires to name the original author. A quotation must be carefully used as it appears in the original text. If the quote requires some changes it can be done using the square brackets for the words which are not in the original passage or text. If the quote requires a substantial change then it is better to cite it rather than buying difficulties.

Failing to do any one of these while using others work leads to plagiarism finally leading to rejection of the report. A quote is used to prove or support a point while a citation is used as an example or proof. Never use many quotes that will over weigh your own analysis and make sure that you quote at least once or twice to support your point or idea. Also do not use back to back quotes and make sure you have your own analysis and presentation in between. Citation always requires a format and there are different formats being followed by different universities or journals. Different citation styles include American Psychological Association (APA) style used for Education, Psychology, and Science works, Modern Language Association (MLA) style used for literature, arts, and humanities, Chicago/Turabian style which is used by used by Business, History, and the Fine Arts people.

Problems in processing data

The problem concerning “Don’t know” (DK) responses:

There are times when the researcher comes across few difficult situations to handle like a DK response. This response of DK does not hold much importance till the time it remains small. But when it becomes big, it becomes a matter of concern. The respondent might not actually know the answer or fail in getting the right information.

The best way to deal with DK response is to design correct and more appropriate questions. Even the rapport with respondents can help in minimizing DK responses. There could be times when the DK response has already occurred. What should e done in such a case? An estimate should be made about the allocation of DK answers from other data in the questionnaire. The other could be to keep them as altogether a separate category if DK responses are legal, otherwise the reader can make his own decision.

Another way to minimize DK response is to assume that DK responses can occur more or less randomly and as such could be distributed them among the other answers in the ratio in which the latter may have occurred. The same response could be achieved if all DK responses are excluded from tabulation purpose and that too without inflating the actual and right numbers of other answers.