A successful PhD: software recommendations and other tips?
October 8, 2011 5:55 AM Subscribe
Hacks for a Successful PhD? I'm looking for tips or software that will help me - as a new PhD student - finish successfully. Researchers: tell me your tricks!
posted by UniversityNomad to Education (22 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Three days ago, I started a PhD in the humanities. It's a three-year research-based PhD (i.e. no time spent on course-based Master's work, no TAing, etc. - it's research right away). I'm obviously invested in doing a good job and am of course prepared to do the bulk of the heavy lifting on my own. However I'm curious to know any tips from those already in the trenches. I'd be interested in more general advice and strategy, as well as particular software that might make my life easier. Essentially, I'll be reading secondary sources this year (primarily books, not articles), doing archival research next year, and writing up my findings in my final year (that's the plan anyway!).
I've heard Papers for Mekentosj recommended, although looking at it, it seems it might be more helpful for those in the sciences and/or those working primarily with PDF articles rather than books. I've also heard Endnote recommended, as well as Latex/Bibtex (?), but don't know much about how good they are. I've been warned that writing up a PhD is "almost impossible" in Microsoft Word, although I have no way to assess whether or not this is true. I've always done things totally old school and low-tech, working in Word. Certainly, when I was writing my master's dissertation, I would have welcomed some software to help organize and check my footnotes, but I don't know if what's out there is suitable for my subject, or more trouble than it's worth. Basically, I'd love to hear any advice you all have, especially regarding software, that you wish you'd known about at the beginning of your PhD. And if it's applicable to my humanities subject, even better!