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How many marks taken off for bad formatting/style

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 12 ✭✭✭ Teoman


    I submitted my dissertation a while ago and although I though the content was very good (my supervisor said so too) the formatting was pretty abysmal.

    For instance, tables started on the bottom of the page and continued onto the next one. A heading that should have started on pg 4 is right at the bottom on page 3. Some references may be missing and some may be included that I didn't mention in the text. I also forgot to include an abstract.

    I just didn't have the time to read over it, my fault. Spent months working on it and underestimated the amount of time needed for formatting. Things like table Numbers are spot on though e.g. "table 4" referred to in the text refers to the table 4 below (the simple formatting like this that I did manage to do took ages)

    Just wondering what's the maximum amount that can be taken off for sloppy errors like this?


Comments



  • I cannot speak for your dissertation chair, committee, department, or university, but at UCI they want your PhD manuscript "free of spelling and format errors;" i.e., they have a zero tolerance for errors, and may block your graduation until you meet their requirements for format (not content).




  • At PhD and Masters level, there is zero tolerance. After your viva you'll have to make all the necessary corrections.

    If it's an undergraduate dissertation you may be penalised. You'll certainly piss off any reader.

    Of course this is a classic example why people should use a proper tool such as LaTeX instead of Word for writing their thesis.




  • If this is a PhD dissertation, then you will want to publish it in Dissertation Abstracts, etc., etc., so it needs to be letter perfect without style errors.




  • Sorry I should have said, it's an undergraduate dissertation. Yeah I'd imagine if it was a PhD would have to be perfect and would just be sent back to me.

    However, we had a once only deadline so I just had to make it the best I could and hand it in. Disappointing because I felt it was a first. I even had to leave out data that I had collected and analysed so it was probably well below a first in the end

    Any idea how many marks would be taken off me?




  • Hard to say how many marks would be taken off you. It could vary considerably depending on who examines/reads it...the main problem is that the work is going to look very sloppy if tables are starting and ending on different pages. Definitely try and learn LaTeX at some stage though.


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  • Yeah thanks for that, sounds interesting, I'll keep LaTeX in mind if I ever choose to do an Masters. Editing and formatting in word is an absolute chore

    True, it's going to look sloppy. Do you think somewhere in the region of 5-10 marks off for sloppiness would be accurate?




  • I don't get the love for Latex.
    Is editing so hard in Word ? I don't find it an issue




  • I don't get the love for Latex.
    Is editing so hard in Word ? I don't find it an issue

    Think of it this way. With Word the pain typically comes at the end of a large document such as a thesis. Unless you're really careful, formatting will leak all over the place and you'll spend those last few nerve wrecking weeks of your write up trying to deal with it.

    With LaTeX the pain is at the beginning as you get to grips with it. Once you have a nice set up, and there are plenty of document classes you can use, you can just keep plugging away at your document without worrying about formatting, white space, references, some table getting split up across two pages, or equations looking like muck.




  • 5uspect wrote: »
    Think of it this way. With Word the pain typically comes at the end of a large document such as a thesis. Unless you're really careful, formatting will leak all over the place and you'll spend those last few nerve wrecking weeks of your write up trying to deal with it.

    With LaTeX the pain is at the beginning as you get to grips with it. Once you have a nice set up, and there are plenty of document classes you can use, you can just keep plugging away at your document without worrying about formatting, white space, references, some table getting split up across two pages, or equations looking like muck.

    I don't have problems with word for mac 2011. I use Mendeley plugin to manage references which it does very well. Admittedly I don't really do equations and I can imagine word would suck for that but I'm sure there is some plug in that handles it.




  • I don't have problems with word for mac 2011. I use Mendeley plugin to manage references which it does very well. Admittedly I don't really do equations and I can imagine word would suck for that but I'm sure there is some plug in that handles it.

    My other half uses Word exclusively and it's mostly fine for her needs, even if I tease her about it. She keeps her formatting simple and avoids the things which lead to formatting hell. But she spent the last week trying to put together a publication which she is editing. It was a nightmare to get it all together since nobody respected the formatting guidelines and various incarnations of Word refused to play nice on her Mac.

    If it were a TeX file you would just send them a template to fill out and compile it together. It's just a text file you can edit in any editor so nothing can (should!) go wrong. I attended a workshop in Stanford last summer and the Proceedings were generated by uploading our source files to their server. All they had to do was run a make file to generate the entire proceedings.

    For the Word die hards, LaTeXiT for OS X is an excellent way of generating equations for other uses outside TeX, especially Powerpoint. You can also use a LaTeX interpreter in Matlab to annotate your figure labels. The TeX math syntax is probably the best way to generate equations. It's easy to read, ubiquitous and powerful.

    Plus for me you can't beat a beautifully typeset document from LaTeX. I've never seem Word produce a document that looks as elegant.


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  • I've always used OpenOffice myself. I was actually commended on the formatting of my masters thesis by one of the examiners, all I did was make sure there were no annoying things like tables crossing pages, headings in the wrong places etc and just sent it off as a .pdf to the binders. The .pdf was a perfect copy of the document, page for page, so all I had to do was set the right margins, use a nice clear font and have at it...




  • Sarky wrote: »
    I've always used OpenOffice myself. I was actually commended on the formatting of my masters thesis by one of the examiners, all I did was make sure there were no annoying things like tables crossing pages, headings in the wrong places etc and just sent it off as a .pdf to the binders. The .pdf was a perfect copy of the document, page for page, so all I had to do was set the right margins, use a nice clear font and have at it...

    with Microsoft moving to a annual subscription model for office I will probably migrate to openoffice over time I think.




  • I can think of few instances in my own field where using latex would be an advantage. Planning your formatting in advance in word sidesteps the majority of problems - check your submission guidelines for margins, tables and figures, then set up your document with the appropriate template. Communicating documents for editing to non-latex users (as are the majority in my field) is nearly impossible.

    This is doubtless reversed in equation-heavy disciplines, but the most I ever do is write model specifications in notation - maybe a few formulas for calculations or variable transformations, or a couple of footnoted formulas for non-standard estimation procedures. The equation editor in word handles these just fine, I can export my stata output and syntax in a batch log file - change the font and copy it straight into my word document. I've just sent my final thesis to the printers for binding, and it took less than an hour to sort out my formatting (600 pages).

    I prefer using wysiwyg - I like to see what I am getting in real time.




  • with Microsoft moving to a annual subscription model for office I will probably migrate to openoffice over time I think.

    LibreOffice is better. Mendeley also supports LO. There are a few alternatives to both now.

    efla wrote: »
    I can think of few instances in my own field where using latex would be an advantage. Planning your formatting in advance in word sidesteps the majority of problems - check your submission guidelines for margins, tables and figures, then set up your document with the appropriate template. Communicating documents for editing to non-latex users (as are the majority in my field) is nearly impossible.

    This is doubtless reversed in equation-heavy disciplines, but the most I ever do is write model specifications in notation - maybe a few formulas for calculations or variable transformations, or a couple of footnoted formulas for non-standard estimation procedures. The equation editor in word handles these just fine, I can export my stata output and syntax in a batch log file - change the font and copy it straight into my word document. I've just sent my final thesis to the printers for binding, and it took less than an hour to sort out my formatting (600 pages).

    I prefer using wysiwyg - I like to see what I am getting in real time.

    I haven't made the jump to latex. One major issue is my PI only uses Word. Sending her everything in an exported pdf may be an option, but her accepting that I don't use EndNote was enough for now. I might play around with Latex before I write up my MSc to see if it helps.


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