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Understanding confounding variables

In research that investigates a potential cause-and-effect relationship, a confounding variable is an unmeasured third variable that influences both the supposed cause and the supposed effect. It’s important to consider potential confounding variables and account for them in your research design to ensure your results are valid. What is a confounding variable? Confounding variables (a.k.a. confoun...

How to format a paper in Chicago style

The information in this article is largely drawn from Turabian style—a version of Chicago style aimed at students and researchers. When writing a paper in Chicago style, these are the guidelines to follow; for the sake of simplicity, the term “Chicago” is used here. To apply Chicago format: Use a standard font like 12 pt. Times New Roman. Double-space the text. Use 1 inch margins or larger. Indent...

Tables in your dissertation

Dissertations and theses often include tables. One advantage of tables is that they allow you to present data in a clear and concise manner without having to provide a lengthy explanation in the text. This is particularly helpful in sections such as your results chapter. The steps presented below will help to ensure that any tables you use in your dissertation follow the basic rules and standards....

How to write a discussion section

The discussion chapter is where you delve into the meaning, importance and relevance of your results. It should focus on explaining and evaluating what you found, showing how it relates to your literature review and research questions, and making an argument in support of your overall conclusion. There are many different ways to write this section, but you can focus your discussion around four key...

How to write a narrative essay

A narrative essay tells a story. In most cases, this is a story about a personal experience you had. This type of essay, along with the descriptive essay, allows you to get personal and creative, unlike most academic writing. Narrative essays test your ability to express your experiences in a creative and compelling way, and to follow an appropriate narrative structure. They are often assigned in ...

Internal vs external validity

When testing cause-and-effect relationships, validity can be split up into two types: internal and external validity. Internal validity refers to the degree of confidence that the causal relationship being tested is trustworthy and not influenced by other factors or variables. External validity refers to the extent to which results from a study can be applied (generalized) to other situations, gro...

How to format tables and figures in APA Style

This article reflects the APA 7th edition guidelines. Click here for APA 6th edition guidelines. A table concisely presents information (often numbers) in rows and columns. A figure is any other image or illustration you include in your text—anything from a bar chart to a photograph. Tables and figures differ in terms of how they convey information, but APA Style presents them in a similar format—...

How to compare and contrast in an essay

Comparing and contrasting is an important skill in academic writing. It involves taking two or more subjects and analyzing the differences and similarities between them. You might find yourself comparing all kinds of things in an academic essay: historical figures, literary works, policies, research methods, etc. Doing so is an important part of constructing arguments. When should I compare and co...

Beginner’s guide to APA in-text citation

This article reflects the APA 7th edition guidelines. Click here for APA 6th edition guidelines. In-text citations briefly identify the source of information in the body text. They correspond to a full reference entry at the end of your paper. APA in-text citations consist of the author’s last name and publication year. When citing a specific part of a source, also include a page number or range, ...

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