Authoring a PhD Thesis How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Dissertation by Patrick Dunleavy

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because it is distorted by the top two scores. The table’s notes
give the range (the variation between the highest and lowest
scores) and the midspread (the variation between the quartiles).
They also confirm that the top two observations are upper out-
liers (that is, they lie more than 1.5 times the midspread above
the upper quartile), and hence are highly unusual.
Layout. Table 7.1 is made hard to read by being overly
spaced out across the page. Many students (and some journal
and book publishers) still seem to believe that every table
should use the full width of the page, no matter how few
columns it has. The effect is always that the row numbers are
put further away from their labels than is necessary, an impact
intensified here by not using boxing or shading inside the table
and by having the row numbers in column 2 spaced unevenly
because some of the row labels use two lines. In addition the
table uses a smaller font than surrounding text even though
there is plenty of space on the page. It includes small
superscript note numbers inside the table cells, which cloud the
second column. And a succession of note numbers also clutters
up the bottom of the table with unnecessary details. There is no
clear finish to the table at the bottom and no source is given.
By contrast Table 7.2 uses minimum-width columns without
overspacing, bringing row numbers and labels into closer
proximity. Within the available space, always use the largest
possible font size for tables, up to a maximum set by the main
text font, as here. With large tables use a whole page in
landscape layout to keep table fonts readable. And as here, you
should box the rows and columns (which usually helps
readers). The median and quartiles are highlighted in Table 7.2
with light background grayscale shading (you could also use
yellow or very pale shades of other colours with a colour
printer). The design is uncluttered by note numbers within
the table or other distractions. If some form of reference detail-
ing needs to be given that is not essential to understanding
the table, it is best handled by using an endnote in the main
text accompanying the table. Table 7.2 uses a line under the
notes and sources to achieve a clear finish to the table.
All these differences in Table 7.2 from Table 7.1 are generally
applicable to every table you have to design. Just to recap, the


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