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[SOLVED] anyone care to have a look at my first ever .tex file

DeusAbscondus

Active member
Jun 30, 2012
176
its for a year 11 assignment that i have handed in and had graded and for which i got a pretty poor mark...
i'm bitterly disappointed, though i think i can see my teacher's rationale for marking me down

anyway, its a pretty simple thing: exploration of population in Australia over past 100 years, asking student to come up with a formula for finding 2009 and 2030 population..

i got the right answers but she didn't like the presentation

anyone interested, it would be a great help to me to get some feed back
I hope the pdf is here:
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B1dm4jTwqEQfekt2NDFWZHptSEU
as i couldn't upload at MHB as the file was too big (don't worry, there is a lot of empty space in there!)


regs,
Deus' Abs
 
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CaptainBlack

Well-known member
Jan 26, 2012
890
its for a year 11 assignment that i have handed in and had graded and for which i got a pretty poor mark...
i'm bitterly disappointed, though i think i can see my teacher's rationale for marking me down

anyway, its a pretty simple thing: exploration of population in Australia over past 100 years, asking student to come up with a formula for finding 2009 and 2030 population..

i got the right answers but she didn't like the presentation

anyone interested, it would be a great help to me to get some feed back
PM me with your email so i can send the .pdf

regs,
Deus' Abs
Why not attach the pdf to your post?

CB
 

DeusAbscondus

Active member
Jun 30, 2012
176
Hi folks, I tried to upload my assignment here but failed.

I trying in the meantime to locate at google drive. Unless someone can give me alternative suggestion.

It's very simple, low level problem of exponential growth.

I marked 12.5/20 for it; i think i agree with assessment i got, though it felt a bit harsh for all the work i put in.

Please, if you are going to have a look at this, be brutally frank: I want to know where I went wrong: teacher says I lost my way, without stipulating how.

the task was this: work out a formula for predicting the population of australia in 2009 (backglancing "prediction") and 2030

thanks guys and gals,
Deus'Abs
PS, thanks especially to Sudharaka, Cap'n Black and Amer, at whose suggestion I bravely bare more poor work to the scrutiny of my superiors(Worried)
 
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Ackbach

Indicium Physicus
Staff member
Jan 26, 2012
4,193
1. Your table of contents is not very standard, I'm afraid. Typically, you'd have entries like this (page numbers would be right-justified):

1. Project Aim . . . 3
2. Method . . . . . 3
3. Results . . . . . 7
4. Conclusion . . . 10
A. Appendix . . . . 11

You would not typically include separate entries for cover page and contents, but you would definitely include page numbers. Use the \tableofcontents command in conjunction with sectioning and/or chapters to do your table of contents automatically. You may have to compile your $\LaTeX$ three times in a row to get everything correct in the end.

2. I don't know if your teacher said anything about passive sentences or not, but I find them very dull and pretentious-sounding. Passive sentences allow you to omit the subject of the sentence ("The experiments were performed and the results were obtained.") Scientists dearly love this, because they think it gives them an air of objectivity. (Did they do the work, or was it some unquestioned super-machine?) An English professor would immediately grade that sort of thing down. The fact is, people do science, not machines. People are biased, and the more honest thing to do would be to acknowledge your bias openly. So a better sentence, in my opinion, would be "I/We performed the experiments and obtained the results." It humanizes the whole thing.

3. The whole business of "zeroing the clock", which you discuss on pages 5 and 6 should probably by eliminated entirely, along with the first line fit. Just mention that you're setting $t=0$ to be the year 1900, and present the second fit only.

4. When you have a list of things you want to say, such as on pages 4 and 5, use the enumerate environment. It will do automatic numbering for you. I notice that you skipped the number 4, and also that you have some odd formatting issues.

5. On page 6, you mention that the standard exponential growth function is $f(x)=e^{x}$. Actually, it's more $f(x)=Ab^{x}$, or even better $f(t)=Ab^{t}$. You can use the natural base $e$ if you like, at no cost of expression.

6. All graphs should have the axes labeled (what variable is what).

7. You need to discuss the $R^{2}$ value for your fits. It's a measure of "how good" a fit your model is, first for the linear, then for the exponential.

8. In your conclusion, there's no such thing as "margin for error" in a future prediction. It's the future! You don't know what the value is going to be. If your model lines up better with known data, as in the $R^{2}$ value, then you can mention that, and say that you have more confidence in this prediction.

9. Don't even include a section of appendices if all you're going to do is refer to another email.

Hope these are helpful.
 

DeusAbscondus

Active member
Jun 30, 2012
176
1.
3. The whole business of "zeroing the clock", which you discuss on pages 5 and 6 should probably by eliminated entirely, along with the first line fit. Just mention that you're setting $t=0$ to be the year 1900, and present the second fit only.

7. You need to discuss the $R^{2}$ value for your fits. It's a measure of "how good" a fit your model is, first for the linear, then for the exponential.
8. In your conclusion, there's no such thing as "margin for error" in a future prediction. It's the future! You don't know what the value is going to be. If your model lines up better with known data, as in the $R^{2}$ value, then you can mention that, and say that you have more confidence in this prediction.

Hope these are helpful.
Just and pertinent! Thank you kindly Ackbach. I knew much of it was piffle, and I agree with you, on reflection, about the passive voice; finally, you nail the core problems -especially in the bits i've quoted from your extensive and illuminating response - with the accuracy of a lazer-guided nail-gun.

I am better off for being in the company of such guides.

Please, les autres, bring your pedagogic beampole intelligences, you as well, to bear upon my -now thoroughly unveiled - piece of mathematical cant. I am serious: I aim to divest myself of: verbiage, cheap attempts at veilling my ignorance with obscurantist tactics of a 1st year philosophy student who has yet to give up the hooch and begin to think; out goes the smart poses where there should be pared down, honest, hard-working sentences each carrying their own burden....
And I'm resolved to spend less time online and more time with nose in book, pencil in hand, tongue twisted just so, and think, think, think.

Chastened, Ackbach, chastened and quickened! Just the high-pressure hosing-down I needed to find my own rapier again, under the dross of soi-disant Arts Graduate word-craft.

Deus Abscondus

PS: Just to clarify (because this post showcases the very same faults I say I wish to extirpate) I have given up the hooch and decided to think, think, think ... about a year ago now. Such a good idea: you've got no idea!
 
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Ackbach

Indicium Physicus
Staff member
Jan 26, 2012
4,193
You're very welcome for whatever good things I was able to say. Mistakes are the gems of learning. Hope things go well with you!