Dissertation lengths compared
Does size matter?
No surprise history’s at the top. And who got away with writing a 175-page history dissertation anyway??
All sorts of ways you could analyze this. One that immediately jumps out is the variation by discipline (duh). History seems to have a pretty clear sense of dissertation length and a normal distribution, whereas fields like anthro and soc have a much wider spread. And one diss advisor clearly failed to ride herd on his/her advisee in Natural Resources Science and Management.
[For those unfamiliar with boxplots (or whisker plots), the colored boxes are the middle 50% of the distribution; the vertical line within the colored box is the median page length. The horizontal lines are the outer 25% of the distribution on either side, with dots as extreme outliers. I tweaked boxplots for my old siege length graphic. You can also make them in Excel – high-low-close graph (stock prices) I believe they’re called.]
Details at “R is my friend” blog (R is a stats program that can do all sorts of graphics – I believe Wienand used it for that map of Germany awhile back). See the blog post with further discussion here.