Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Course Work Lamentations

Everyone is head down, flat out either studying for exams or writing course work.  I spent all yesterday trying to cull 700 words from my case study.  It had to be 3000 words with a 10% leeway which means you could do 2700 – 3300 words excluding title page, appendices and references.  I had already gone through it several times tightening up the language by cutting out any extraneous ands, buts, and adjectives.  By the end it felt like a right slash and burn job! If you submit too many words you get marked down and they stop reading when the word limit is reached.

This year I have discovered the joys of the reference tool on Microsoft Office. Prior to this I had laboriously entered each reference by hand, making sure it was in the acceptable format (American Psychological Association or APA) and always ending up with an adverse comment from the tutor marking the piece saying I still hadn’t done it quite right. If you have never had to do references, take it from me - it is totally boring...and as soon as you sit down to do your first essay make friends with the reference tool!
Here is an example of how a reference has to be entered in APA format:

Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Women's Health. (2012). The Mitchell method of simple relaxation. Retrieved April 14, 2012, from The Association of Chatered Physiotherapists in Women's Health:

Beck, A. (1991). Cognitive therapy and the emotional disorders. London: Penguin.

Bruch, M. (1998). The UCL case formulation model: Clinical applications and procedures. In M. Bruch, & F. W. Bond, Beyond Diagnosis Case formulation Aproaches in CBT (pp. 19-41). Chchester, West Sssex, UK: John Wiley & Sons Limited.

Now it may look pretty straightforward but you have to get all the commas and full stops in the right places, space it perfectly then put all the bits in the right order, know what goes in italics and what doesn’t and then make sure the right lines are indented by the right amount and then double space it all – whew!
When I did my degree we used a different system called the Harvard Referencing System and so I found it a complete faff to have to change to a new system.

...anyway the joys of academia!!

I have also discovered some other wonderful things thanks to my resident IT consultant. If you include tables in your text the words are counted as part of the auto word count.  However if you convert the table to a pdf document and then take a screen shot, it becomes a picture and the individual words aren’t counted. I managed to lose 90 words with that little trick!

And then I have finally mastered the document ‘Styles’ tool so that my latest piece of work looks beautifully uniform with lovely titles and headings.  Now hopefully the tutor marking it will be suitably impressed!

So with all my usual angst this week getting the course work done, unfortunately our lovely three day  trip to Paris the week before Easter is a distant memory.

We had been invited to stay with our wonderful San Franciscan cousins who had rented a flat in St Sulpice.  We arrived to perfect Spring weather with no rain and blossoms everywhere.  We walked at least 10 miles each day, caught some great art exhibitions, engaged in lots of people watching, got to enjoy the totally wonderful architecture and ate the best croissants ever.  Being situated directly opposite the church, we were woken each morning to the sounds of the bells calling the faithful to prayer.  

My cousin told me of a fascinating place – the Shakespeare and Company bookshop situated on the left bank in Paris opposite the Notre Dame.

I can hardly believe that I have never come across it before.  I would have loved to have lolled around on one of the sofa’s tucked away in the corners indulging my love of reading but unfortunately it has become a victim of its own success – there was a steady stream of tourists doing exactly what I was doing – rubber necking in total fascination!

Dissertation Steps :  Flickr user chnrdu
Why does my head hurt so much? :

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