Monday, October 21, 2013

Ghostwriter

Sterling is my thesis ghostwriter. Or writing companion. Or something. This is what working on my thesis looks like these days.
I slept in those "clothes." I slept in that hair. That is yesterday's mascara under my eyes because all my personal hygiene routines have been carried out under duress since Sterling was born. BUT. I can type with both hands when Sterling is in the wrap, and that's what matters.

In other thesis news, I think I figured out how I want to display some of my data. I had my research participants indicate their agreement/disagreement on a Likert scale regarding some statements that are intended to get at the specifics of some cultural differences. For some of these statements, I want to show how the (Western, native speakers of English) instructors indicated different opinions than the (Muslim, Arab) students. I could have done a side-by-side double bar (or column) chart, but it just didn't show off the differences (or similarities) very well.

I did some googling and came up with a diverging stacked bar chart. Here are two samples I generated from my data to run by my supervisor. Because I need to know that he's on board with them before I invest the time to generate two dozen more.



Don't you think the above charts show the data off better than, say, this?

Once my supervisor gives the go-ahead (please oh please), then I'll fine tune the chart to just how I want it. There are a few...a lot...of quirks in Excel. Like how the legend switched the order of Disagree and Strongly Disagree. Not to mention the fact that it seems like there should just be a Diverging Stacked Bar Chart option in Excel to begin with. The internets are full of people begging to learn how to do these, and to make one you almost have to force Excel to create one against its will.

Hooray for beautiful charts that display data efficiently!

9 comments:

Kristi said...

Excel charts are literally my life! I'd say 75% of my time at work is spent building and formatting Excel charts. So if you ever need help with anything, let me know. For example, to switch the "Disagree" and "Strongly Disagree" have you right clicked on the chart and chosen "Select Data"? This should give you a list of your variables and you can then change the order of the variables so they show up in the order that you want them.

Bridget said...

Hmm, I did that, and if the legend is in the right order, the data segments themselves are not. Weird, since in the source data cells, they are in the correct order. Excel is so weird sometimes. I wish I could absorb your experience all at once!

Crys said...

Ohh, I love your charts and your wrap! Since you are the one writing and he is sleeping on the job, doesn't this make you the ghost writer ;-). Considering you are writing a thesis and a new again mommy to a number three I think you look pretty darn good. It has to be two weeks without washing the hair before I start to worry :)

Kathy Haynie said...

I definitely prefer the diverging stacked bar chart. I never knew what those were called. Excel charts make me a little crazy every time I try, so I am definitely in awe. Looks like Sterling is enjoying his new writing job. Atta mama!

Liz Johnson said...

This post makes my heart go pitter-patter. It's about 75% the data/charts/excel and 25% the adorable baby. (sorry, Sterling. I have a thing for Excel.)

Timothy Browning said...

Our kids never liked it when we sat down with them in the wrap, which was a bummer. I am glad it is working out for you.

Bridget said...

Yeah, he's a little iffy with me sitting down. If I get him to sleep first by walking around then I can usually transition to sitting without him waking up. Thank goodness!

Eevi said...

I have nothing intelligent to say about the charts except that I am glad that you and Sterling are writing that paper and not me. I guess that wasn't even intelligent...so would be totally weird of me to ask how is life the newborn stage after few years of not having baby around? I am sincerely interested.

Bridget said...

I will write a post on this subject...someday...

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