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Showing posts from November, 2014

Lies, Damn Lies, and Charts?

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Over at Nautilus, Becca Cudmore is puzzled by how the same information can be displayed on charts with two entirely different attitudes, or spin. According to Ruth Rosenholtz, a scientist over at MIT, the way you can tell if a chart is trying to deceive you is by how long it takes you to figure out what that visual is trying to say. "A bad chart requires more cognitive processes and more reasoning about what you’ve seen."

Since you are often required to use visuals, including graphs and charts, let's take a look at a couple of Nautilus's examples of what you should NOT do.

Puzzling Perspective - The purple chart is about "labor." It is displaying the same information, so why do these charts look so different?

The pie chart on the right puts labor up front and closer to you, so it takes up more space. The chart at left puts the labor information farther away from you, so it takes less space (think vanishing point perspective).

In other words, making your numb…

What's an In-Text Citation?

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You would think it would be crazy hard for new academic writers to write a college-level academic paper, but NO, what's really hard for new academic writers is to format that paper correctly, especially when it comes to IN-TEXT CITATIONS (YES! that is ALL CAPS and BOLD).

Why? I don't know...it seems pretty straightforward to me, but then I've been writing and grading academic papers for a long time...
would think it would be crazy hard for new academic writers to write a college-level academic paper, but NO! What's really hard for new academic writers is to format that paper correctly, especially when it comes to

So here's the basics: If you borrow someone's idea, you have to give him or her credit--it's their idea. They did a lot of work to come up with something original, so give credit where credit is due. A person's ideas can be expressed verbally or in writing. A writer can use those ideas by paraphrasing, summarizing or quoting directly. Any way …