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Best thesis writing software?
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kraft
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 6:47 pm    Post subject: Best thesis writing software? Reply with quote

I'm starting the process of writing my MSc thesis (microbiology), and want to know the best program to use. I have access to both MS office and iWork 09, and have heard a bit about latex. I also have parallels running so Windows7 programs are another option.

Recommendations?

Also, are there any packages to add scientific terms to the dictionaries of Pages or Word so that it doesn't think they are misspelled (rather than entering them one by one)?

Thanks
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ReliantLion
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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

www.OpenOffice.org maybe? It's free, but takes a tad bit getting used to if you're a MS Word user. You should be able to right-click to add words to the dictionary, it sounds like you do it manually or something.
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Cypher
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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 3:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used Scrivener to write my Dissertation and I would definitely say thats worth a look at.

Scrivener allows you to write without worrying having to worry about the overall layout. You create a project and have lots of small documents, you can use this for a sentence a paragraph even a complete section it's completely up to you. All the sections you create are then very easy to move around. You eventually select the sections of your draft which you want to include in the final version and then compile the draft.

It has a research area where you can store related documents and lots of options for organising your work.

I can't really do it justice in a few words, your best heading over to http://www.literatureandlatte.com/ and have a look yourself. There are plenty of Video Tutorials which will show you lots more of what it can do.


When you compile your draft into a final document you can select from a range of file formats. I compiled my draft and then moved it into a word processor called Mellel for final touch up and to check the layout etc create a TOC and add the finishing touches. The two apps worked pretty well together.
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Cypher
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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 3:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another piece of useful software which might be worth a look during your research is DevonThink / DevonAgent

I used DevonThink Pro during my research phase and used it to collect any documents, websites, snippets of info etc which I found on my travels. It makes the collection of research material really easy and it also logs where you got the information from. Its power come in it's search capablilities making it fairly easy to find things again once they have been added to DevonThink.

DevonAgent is a very useful Internet search tool. You enter the search term once and it looks after finding all the search results from the various Internet resources (over 130). The way it presents the results is just so powerful. It collates the results from all the search engines, and is very intelligent and picking out the important detail. It provides spider type diagrams for the common key words it finds and will even summarise the results it obtains.
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Cypher
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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For getting your ideas clear I find MindMaps to be very useful.

I found this app called MindNode to be very good and very easy to use. Its freeware but I paid for the pro version which added a few extra bits I thought would be useful. There's even an iPhone / iPad version.


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kraft
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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Cypher, I had heard of Scrivener, but not looked into. Never used one of those mind mapping programs, but worth a look. Thanks for the suggestions.

EDIT: Checked out Scrivener and it looks really good for organizing the thesis and the dual pane text editing looks very useful.
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lidador
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can try a lot of software and you can lose a lot of time...

In your place I would chose something standard, useful for this project and for the years to come. I would go with Word 2008 + Bookends.
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JohnnyBoy
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lidador wrote:
You can try a lot of software and you can lose a lot of time...

In your place I would chose something standard, useful for this project and for the years to come. I would go with Word 2008 + Bookends.

That's a very cautious approach, Lidador! Smile

Word processors like Word 2008 are wonderful tools that relieve us of the tedious and error-prone chore of handwriting. But neatly placing legible text onto a piece of paper is all that they do for us. I call them "typewriter impersonators". Cool

Unfortunately, typing up and printing out only make up the last 10% of the process. The other 90% involves clarifying the task that's been set, identifying a suitable structure for the written response, recording excerpts of useful research, looking for relevant connections between those excerpts, recording our own thoughts on what we find, and so on. Applications such as those recommended by Cypher can offer tremendous amounts of help with these tasks.

My own favourite ("Oh, here he goes again..." Rolling Eyes ) is the outliner. It took me a matter of minutes to learn to use one, and about a day or two for "the penny to drop" and for me to realise just how deceptively powerful they could be. I was so keen to spread the word, I wrote a short tutorial: http://www.123macmini.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=14707
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graceangela9
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:08 am    Post subject: Re: Best thesis writing software? Reply with quote

kraft wrote:
I'm starting the process of writing my MSc thesis (microbiology), and want to know the best program to use. I have access to both MS office and iWork 09, and have heard a bit about latex. I also have parallels running so Windows7 programs are another option.

Recommendations?

Also, are there any packages to add scientific terms to the dictionaries of Pages or Word so that it doesn't think they are misspelled (rather than entering them one by one)?

Thanks



I think you should go with Literal software.This software is best suited for writing thesis because it is specifically created for writers that write long pieces of text.It also has various advanced features.
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graceangela9
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lidador wrote:
You can try a lot of software and you can lose a lot of time...

In your place I would chose something standard, useful for this project and for the years to come. I would go with Word 2008 + Bookends.


I agree with you that word 2008 is efficient software for making projects etc. but there are other software also that is best suited for writing purpose like Literal software is quite easy to use and pick up and also contains various additional features.
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graceangela9
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kraft wrote:
Thanks Cypher, I had heard of Scrivener, but not looked into. Never used one of those mind mapping programs, but worth a look. Thanks for the suggestions.

EDIT: Checked out Scrivener and it looks really good for organizing the thesis and the dual pane text editing looks very useful.



You should try the Literal software because it provides distraction free writing and its split screen feature allow us to see side by side all documents.
In literal software One can easily import the previous file.
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graceangela9
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cypher wrote:
Another piece of useful software which might be worth a look during your research is DevonThink / DevonAgent

I used DevonThink Pro during my research phase and used it to collect any documents, websites, snippets of info etc which I found on my travels. It makes the collection of research material really easy and it also logs where you got the information from. Its power come in it's search capablilities making it fairly easy to find things again once they have been added to DevonThink.

DevonAgent is a very useful Internet search tool. You enter the search term once and it looks after finding all the search results from the various Internet resources (over 130). The way it presents the results is just so powerful. It collates the results from all the search engines, and is very intelligent and picking out the important detail. It provides spider type diagrams for the common key words it finds and will even summarise the results it obtains.


I like your idea of using Devon agent since it is really a effective search engine for finding information related to our search term and it also show only important details.
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graceangela9
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cypher wrote:
I used Scrivener to write my Dissertation and I would definitely say thats worth a look at.

Scrivener allows you to write without worrying having to worry about the overall layout. You create a project and have lots of small documents, you can use this for a sentence a paragraph even a complete section it's completely up to you. All the sections you create are then very easy to move around. You eventually select the sections of your draft which you want to include in the final version and then compile the draft.

It has a research area where you can store related documents and lots of options for organising your work.

I can't really do it justice in a few words, your best heading over to http://www.literatureandlatte.com/ and have a look yourself. There are plenty of Video Tutorials which will show you lots more of what it can do.


When you compile your draft into a final document you can select from a range of file formats. I compiled my draft and then moved it into a word processor called Mellel for final touch up and to check the layout etc create a TOC and add the finishing touches. The two apps worked pretty well together.


Scrivener is really a good software since it allow us to write without worrying about the layout but i thing the Literal software is more effective since it provides binder,split screen and research project features.
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T'hain Esh kelch
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would recommend that you take a look at Papers2. It was recently updated 14 days ago, and now has reference manager support, which is awesome. Also, it is god send for organising scientific articles.

I am a molecular biologist, so I assume we have the same needs.
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graceangela9
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ReliantLion wrote:
www.OpenOffice.org maybe? It's free, but takes a tad bit getting used to if you're a MS Word user. You should be able to right-click to add words to the dictionary, it sounds like you do it manually or something.



Of course if we are adding words by right clicking that means we are doing this manually.
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