Every now and again, you see a critique of a manuscript that brings you up short and makes you go “Huh”.
A student of mine defended her thesis a while ago, and one of her examiners commented on one of her chapters that “the Results section is too short”*. Huh, I said. Huh.
I’m quite used to seeing manuscripts that are too long. Occasionally, I see a manuscript that’s too short. But this complaint was more specific: that the Results section in particular was too short. I’d never heard that one, and I just couldn’t make sense of it. Or at least, not until I realized that it fits in with another phenomenon that I see and hear a lot: the suggestion that nobody should ever, ever do their statistics in Excel. Continue reading