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There were three distinct types of software I found useful: La Te X and associated packages, referencing software, and “productivity software”. These plugins for your web browser (I used leechblock) block your access to the distracting parts of the internet (facebook, twitter et al) during the working day and crucially do not allow you to alter the settings during this time. For referencing I used a combination of Mendeley and Jabref.I found that whilst Mendeley was great for searching papers and adding notes, its bibtex output left something to be desired, so I exported these to Jabref before inserting.
I decided that complete figures with a caption and all the correct formatting and cross referencing were the equivalent of 1000 words.I have Mendeley set up to watch and sort my random papers folder, I save all papers here and Mendeley sorts them and makes them searchable.Finally, I wrote my thesis using La Te X, which I recommend.Today’s post is by Anne Pawsey, who recently completed her Ph D at the University of Edinburgh working on the behaviour of colloids dispersed in liquid crystals.She is currently a post-doc at the Rowett Institute of the University of Aberdeen, but based in Edinburgh.On the other hand this was really hard work, I think I might have been happier with a slightly more relaxed schedule as there was no let up.I structured each chapter into sections and then began to fill them in.I tended to write out the opening paragraghs of each section long hand in a notebook and then type them up editing as I went.Once I had got started on a section it was then easier to keep going, typing straight in.Once I had all the chapters and comments back I made the suggested corrections and sent the revised chapters to a small army of proof readers, one per chapter.Finally, I gave a final copy to my supervisor to check over before printing.