The devil is in the details. When using numbers in your thesis, there are several important conventions. These conventions make the numbers esier to read and avoid misunderstandings.
- When presenting small numbers in the text, it is custom to write them in text as well. Larger numbers (typically above 20) should be written as a number. For instance: “There are eleven participants in the survey. They earn on average 20,000 USD per annum”.
- Mind the number of significant digits. It is best to keep the number of digits at 3 or 4. This facilitates easy reading. For in stance, don’t present the number 0.0076584739, but round it to 0.00766 or 0.77%. If this number refers to a unit of measurement such as gram, it is even better to write 7.65 mg. This enables the reader to see differences between the magnitude of the numbers more easily.
- Mind the decimal point. In English texts, your interest rate would be 8.5%, while in the rest of Europe it would be 8,5%. In a similar way, you would earn 20.000 Euro in mainland Europe but 20,000 GBP in the UK or the US. Doing this wrong and may lead to serious misunderstandings.