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What You See Is What You Get Document Preparation Choices at the University of Tennessee by Jennifer W. Spirko UT Graduate School.

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Presentation on theme: "What You See Is What You Get Document Preparation Choices at the University of Tennessee by Jennifer W. Spirko UT Graduate School."— Presentation transcript:

1 What You See Is What You Get Document Preparation Choices at the University of Tennessee by Jennifer W. Spirko UT Graduate School

2

3 Who are these people, and what do they think theyre doing?

4 ETDs at UT: A snapshot Total ETDs using MSWord using LaTeX Other Spring Summer Fall

5 ETDs at UT: a snapshot 465 ETDs submitted in ETDs submitted in Just over 89% of those were created using MSWord. Just over 89% of those were created using MSWord. n.b. MSWord is freely available on all campus computers, and extensive help resources are available. n.b. MSWord is freely available on all campus computers, and extensive help resources are available. Just over 8% of those were created using LaTeX. Just over 8% of those were created using LaTeX. n.b. The Office of Information Tech. does not provide LaTeX resources or support. n.b. The Office of Information Tech. does not provide LaTeX resources or support.

6 Methodology Qualitative Qualitative Brief e-interviews of three open-ended questions Brief e-interviews of three open-ended questions contact with all students who submitted ETDs in 2007* contact with all students who submitted ETDs in 2007* Query, followed by Query, followed by Informed Consent Statement, followed by Informed Consent Statement, followed by e-interviews e-interviews * (excluding those for whom we had no current contact information)

7 ParticipantsQueriesResponsesConsentInterviews314* 125 yes 1 no 189 n/a 81**52 * Contact info unavailable for 151 ** 2 paper IC statements illegible

8 e-Interview Questions What program did you use to prepare your thesis or dissertation (e.g., MSWord / LaTeX?) Why did you choose that program?

9 e-Interview Questions What program did you use to prepare your thesis or dissertation (e.g., MSWord / LaTeX)? Why did you choose that program? How easy did you find preparing this document? You might consider the process of creating the formatting (for example, margins, page numbering, headings), of laying out the design (for example, placement of figures and tables), of revision, and of converting to the final.pdf.

10 e-Interview Questions What program did you use to prepare your thesis or dissertation (e.g., MSWord / LaTeX)? Why did you choose that program? How easy did you find preparing this document? You might consider the process of creating the formatting (for example, margins, page numbering, headings), of laying out the design (for example, placement of figures and tables), of revision, and of converting to the final.pdf. How much help did you get with the program (e.g., MSWord / LaTeX)? What sort of help did you receive? (Examples might include: Workshops, seminars, informal tutoring from a friend, formal tutoring from an expert, online help/tech support, etc.)

11 Responses

12 Responses 52 responses 52 responses 5 LaTeX users 5 LaTeX users 47 MSWord users 47 MSWord users W

13 Help received (These are all MSWord users.) 2 students attended seminars 2 students attended seminars 1 attended the OIT MSWord course 1 attended the OIT MSWord course 5 spent a half-day – OR MORE – reading on-line help or using the MSWord manuals 5 spent a half-day – OR MORE – reading on-line help or using the MSWord manuals Most got help from a friend, a professor and/or the graduate school thesis consultant Most got help from a friend, a professor and/or the graduate school thesis consultant One student got help in.pdf conversion from the staff at Kinkos. One student got help in.pdf conversion from the staff at Kinkos.

14 Help received 3 students suggest UT offer a course in MSWord 1 student suggested such a course be required

15 What about LaTeX users? Published, online or professor-provided templates Published, online or professor-provided templates LaTeX manual LaTeX manual Friends, professors Friends, professors

16 Sample responses Not much [help] - informal help from a friend at the most. Usually online tutorials, trial-and-error, looking at source code from other documents. Luckily, it's open source and very well documentated (sic) online. There's quite a learning curve, but it's well worth it. LaTeX user Food Science & Technology, PhD

17 Sample responses Most of my learning was from using sample documents from my colleagues and documents you can find online. There are also plenty of tutorials on the internet, all of them free and very well documented. It was fairly easy for me because I am a CS major, but it might be a little bit more challenging for other majors. I do know, however, people from other Engineerings that have successfully used LaTeX for their documents and are much more happy with it than with MSWord. LaTeX user Computer Science, PhD

18 Sample responses I found the process very easy. However, I didn't have any figures. MSWord user History, MA

19 Sample responses It is not easy to create the format of the document. I worked at different places (school or home) and used different versions of MSWord. The document's format sometimes changed among different versions of MSWord. At first I also had some problems when I tried to convert.doc to.pdf. MSWord user Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, PhD

20 Sample responses Sometimes it was difficult. MSWord tended to autoformat when I didn't want it to autoformat. Or if I needed to change one section, it changed them all. Also, I had graphs that contained a LOT of data, and MSWord didn't handle that much data well. MSWord user Chemistry, PhD

21 Sample responses For writing - very easy. For formatting - very problematic.... It often made changes I didn't want to make and I had to go in manually to make changes. Then it would un-do the changes I had made!... Converting to the pdf was easy. Overall - while I tried to write my dissertation in the proper UT dissertation format from the very beginning, I still had numerous formatting problems before I finally got the finished product. MSWord user Sociology, PhD

22 Themes Choice vs. no choice Choice vs. no choice Mentoring vs. formal help Mentoring vs. formal help Complexity vs. simplicity of formatting Complexity vs. simplicity of formatting

23 Themes Choice vs. no choice Choice vs. no choice MSWord users tended to see the software as a default option rather than an active choice: It was what I was familiar with or It was freely available on the computers I used. LaTeX users were more likely to have the perception of CHOOSING it over another option: [It] is the standard in [my field] or My professor recommended it or My department has the documentation for us to use.

24 Themes Mentoring vs. formal help Mentoring vs. formal help Both MSWord and LaTeX users reported relying on a variety of types reported relying on a variety of types of instruction and assistance with of instruction and assistance with the software. MSWord users tended the software. MSWord users tended to go into greater detail, listing more resources, to go into greater detail, listing more resources, and recommending further training and help be made and recommending further training and help be made available. But there was considerable overlap. available. But there was considerable overlap.

25 Themes Complexity vs. simplicity of formatting Complexity vs. simplicity of formatting Only students in technical fields used LaTeX. MSWord users who were LaTeX. MSWord users who were most satisfied with MSWord were most satisfied with MSWord were those in less technical fields, and those in less technical fields, and this seems to correlate with the this seems to correlate with the relative simplicity of their documents relative simplicity of their documents in terms of equations, charts, and in terms of equations, charts, and so forth. so forth.

26 Limitations Number of participants Number of participants Acquaintance with researcher Acquaintance with researcher Possible future acquaintance of masters level students Possible future acquaintance of masters level students Open-ended questions/self-assessment Open-ended questions/self-assessment Lack of detail Lack of detail

27 Limitations Number of participants Number of participants Acquaintance with researcher Acquaintance with researcher Possible future acquaintance of masters level students Possible future acquaintance of masters level students Open-ended questions/self-assessment Open-ended questions/self-assessment Lack of detail Lack of detail

28 Limitations Number of participants Number of participants Acquaintance with researcher Acquaintance with researcher Possible future acquaintance of masters level students Possible future acquaintance of masters level students Open-ended questions/self-assessment Open-ended questions/self-assessment Lack of detail Lack of detail

29 Limitations Number of participants Number of participants Acquaintance with researcher Acquaintance with researcher Possible future acquaintance of masters level students Possible future acquaintance of masters level students Open-ended questions/self-assessment Open-ended questions/self-assessment Lack of detail Lack of detail

30 Limitations Number of participants Number of participants Acquaintance with researcher Acquaintance with researcher Possible future acquaintance of masters level students Possible future acquaintance of masters level students Open-ended questions/self-assessment Open-ended questions/self-assessment Lack of detail Lack of detail

31 Conclusions: Action Plan Larger, quantitative study Larger, quantitative study More specific training/assistance for students More specific training/assistance for students More information about alternatives to MSWord More information about alternatives to MSWord This research made available This research made available

32 The dissertation or thesis is the finish line of the graduate study. Ideally, the preparation of the document should not add substantially to the difficulty of the scholarship which the document represents.

33 Questions?

34 Questions?


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