Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Facts

While this project is challenging and often quite stressful, you should know that Professor Stull is always available for advice and encouragement. At the first sign of a potential delay to your progress, pay him a visit and you will be back on track in no time.
The work itself is very manageable and I would recommend starting relatively early, at least on your sampling. Once you have collected and entered all of your data, the next most time consuming part is the chart making and calculations of variables. A neat Excel document will come in handy when comparing variables. I recommend saving copies of your raw data in a separate document entirely, should you do irreversible damage to your spreadsheet.
The project can be done alone, but I suggest choosing a partner to split up the tedious tasks, which can often take several hours. On average, my partner and I needed two hours for every 40 samples we collected. If you wish to have a large sample size, you and your partner should split up and do the sampling separately. Also, when it comes to analyzing data and graphs, partners can be extremely helpful as they often see things that you might have overlooked.
Make sure your questions prompt numeric answers. Qualitative data has its place in this project, but the bulk of your calculations will rely on numbers. Additionally, Excel hates qualitative data. I rue the day that I put yes and no into cells.
Before you make any rash decisions on what you would like to study, make sure you are passionate or at least somewhat interested in what you will be working on for several weeks. An interesting prompt makes the time fly by and in the long run produces more satisfying results. 

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