Jump to content


Photo

Best Word Processor for a PhD Dissertation


  • Please log in to reply
32 replies to this topic

#1 Nathan Parker

Nathan Parker

    Gold

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 268 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Hot Springs, Arkansas
  • Accordance Version:10.x

Posted 06 March 2014 - 08:37 PM

I'm curious as to what would be the best word processor for a PhD Dissertation between Word for Mac, Pages, Mellel, and Nisus? Pages is probably too bare bones, and I'm not sure if Word's performance is really good enough. I'm wondering if Mellel would be ideal since it offers pretty solid performance and iCloud support for backing up the files. 

 

Also, for doing research for a PhD, is Accordance Notes and/or user tools a good place to store research? Logos' note taking capabilities are pretty buggy, and performance isn't great at all. Evernote is great, but it's outside the realm of Bible software, so the notes can't be searched in line with Bible software without exporting out of Evernote and into the Bible program. Accordance has great performance, and everything's searchable inside Accordance without doing an export/import dance.

 

Just curious as to the ideal workflow for this setup.

 

Thanks!


Nathan Parker

 

President/CEO

Mallard Computer, Inc.


#2 Rod Decker

Rod Decker

    Gold

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 251 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Pennsylvania
  • Accordance Version:10.x

Posted 06 March 2014 - 09:29 PM

That depends on your subject area. If it is OT or NT that includes Hebrew, R-to-L text, then I'd look at Mellel. It's perhaps the best for anything with Hebrew. By all means don't use Word if it includes any R-to-L text (Hebrew or any other Semitic language). I've not used Nisus, but I've heard it does OK in that area. Pages, as you note, is not ready for a dissertation-sized project. If you need only English or English and Greek, then Word does just fine, even a full-length diss. MS. Once you get up in the 400 (?) page range, it gets a bit slower and wants to repaginate more often than necessary (but you can cancel that with Esc), but I've had up to 1,200 pages of technical English/Unicode Greek in a single document w/o problems. It's also the most robust in terms of features, even if you don't need all the fancier ones for a dissertation. Keeping footnotes on the right page is always a problem and I'd be surprised if any word processor is always perfect in that regard, esp. given the quantity of documentation expected in a diss.

 

As for notes, you'll have to listen to others. I'd be very hesitant to commit my notes to any Bible software program. Though they all provide for notes, you really need something dedicated to notes if you want digital research notes for a diss. There is no way to organize or collect notes in the limited notes features in Bible software. I've always done it an older way and simply recorded my notes in Word processor documents. Using the outliner features there provides some ability to organize and Find is very handy. There are probably better solutions.


Rodney J. Decker, ThD
Professor of NT & Greek
Baptist Bible Seminary
NTResources.com/blog/

#3 Frank

Frank

    Member

  • Active Members
  • Pip
  • 20 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Accordance Version:10.x

Posted 06 March 2014 - 10:40 PM

I would consider using Scrivener. It is great for research notations, chapter divisions, and writing. You can export into Word to beautify it but nothing really beats it for writing. Now, I must confess that I have not thrown Hebrew at it yet.

 

Frank Jones, Pastor


  • circuitrider likes this

#4 Mike Thigpen

Mike Thigpen

    Bronze

  • Active Members
  • PipPip
  • 50 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Louisville, KY
  • Interests:Old Testament, Hebrew, ANE History, etc.
  • Accordance Version:10.x

Posted 07 March 2014 - 03:55 PM

I used Nisus Writer Pro for an OT dissertation and it's performance was superb.  It handled RTL and mixed LTR and RTL text well.  I used Sente for bibliographic management as well as note taking on articles.

 

Though the word processor was important, I couldn't have done it without Accordance! 


Edited by Mike Thigpen, 07 March 2014 - 03:59 PM.

  • Timothy Jenney likes this

#5 Guntis

Guntis

    Gold

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 365 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Riga, Latvia
  • Interests:Theology, music, art,  gadgets, photography, etc... Enjoy reading good books.
  • Accordance Version:10.x

Posted 09 March 2014 - 01:31 PM

I'd probably use Mellel. It's little bit "strange" application, has its own ideology, but once you master it, it's really robust. Very structured and supports L-to-R and R-to-L. I wrote almost all of my MA papers with it.


“Teach the way of God in Accordance” (Matt 12:14, NIV-Accordance edition)
“Those who live in Accordance (with the Spirit) have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” (Rom 8:5, NIV-Accordance edition)

#6 Robert Holmstedt

Robert Holmstedt

    Platinum

  • Accordance
  • 507 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Accordance Version:10.x

Posted 09 March 2014 - 08:17 PM

LibreOffice.

 

I use it for all my articles, books, and even edited a collection of articles entirely with it.

It saves to native format (.odt) or Word (.doc/.docx). And it handles Hebrew beautifully (though you must turn on the Complex Text Layout options in the preferences). 

 

Basically it's 99% as powerful as MSWord with a cleaner engine under the hood.


Associate Professor, Ancient Hebrew and Northwest Semitic Languages
Dept. of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations
The University of Toronto
blog: ancienthebrewgrammar.wordpress.com

#7 Rick Yentzer

Rick Yentzer

    Silver

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 134 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Boston, Georgia
  • Interests:Bible, family, reading, philosophy, apologetics, theology, markup, coding and programming
  • Accordance Version:10.x

Posted 09 March 2014 - 09:07 PM

LibreOffice.

 

I use it for all my articles, books, and even edited a collection of articles entirely with it.

It saves to native format (.odt) or Word (.doc/.docx). And it handles Hebrew beautifully (though you must turn on the Complex Text Layout options in the preferences). 

 

Basically it's 99% as powerful as MSWord with a cleaner engine under the hood.

Did you use a bibliography app with LibreOffice?


"I'm not afraid of failure. I'm afraid to succeed in something that isn't important." William Carey

#8 Robert Holmstedt

Robert Holmstedt

    Platinum

  • Accordance
  • 507 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Accordance Version:10.x

Posted 10 March 2014 - 04:58 PM

I used Endnote for years (originally integrating it with MS Word, but then giving that up due to Word crashing all the time b/c of the bloated file). I now use Bookends and don't bother integrating it with my files. I simply keep a running biblio and copy the references from Bookends in the style of whatever journal or publisher I'm writing for. 


Associate Professor, Ancient Hebrew and Northwest Semitic Languages
Dept. of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations
The University of Toronto
blog: ancienthebrewgrammar.wordpress.com

#9 Joe Weaks

Joe Weaks

    Platinum

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,043 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Raytown, MO (outside KC)
  • Interests:I like things that are Orange, and possibly Blue.
  • Accordance Version:8.x

Posted 10 March 2014 - 07:16 PM

If you're not doing much Hebrew, then I would suggest Word. It's still the standard.


Joe Weaks
The Macintosh Biblioblog

Sometimes I'm so helpful even I can't stand it.

#10 joelmadasu

joelmadasu

    Member

  • Active Members
  • Pip
  • 42 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Accordance Version:10.x

Posted 10 March 2014 - 07:42 PM

I would consider using Scrivener. It is great for research notations, chapter divisions, and writing. You can export into Word to beautify it but nothing really beats it for writing. Now, I must confess that I have not thrown Hebrew at it yet.

 

Frank Jones, Pastor

 

Scrivener is a great program for writing! You can organize everything neatly! But, I think it only works well with English. I tried typing, copying and pasting Hebrew. It will look great, but when you compile it to doc/rft formats - boom, it will flip the letters/words in odd-reverse way. :/ So, I got tired of it, and now I am using Mellel for my dissertation, it is a great program, and need to learn a lot :) I wish I could really use Scrivener for the entire project!


Edited by joelmadasu, 10 March 2014 - 07:47 PM.

Thank you
Joel

#11 Frank

Frank

    Member

  • Active Members
  • Pip
  • 20 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Accordance Version:10.x

Posted 10 March 2014 - 11:32 PM

 

Scrivener is a great program for writing! You can organize everything neatly! But, I think it only works well with English. I tried typing, copying and pasting Hebrew. It will look great, but when you compile it to doc/rft formats - boom, it will flip the letters/words in odd-reverse way. :/ So, I got tired of it, and now I am using Mellel for my dissertation, it is a great program, and need to learn a lot :) I wish I could really use Scrivener for the entire project!

 

Thanks Joel for the information on using Hebrew. It will save me a step. I have used Mellel but there is a learning curve and the proprietary doc format bothers me a little.



#12 Guntis

Guntis

    Gold

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 365 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Riga, Latvia
  • Interests:Theology, music, art,  gadgets, photography, etc... Enjoy reading good books.
  • Accordance Version:10.x

Posted 13 March 2014 - 02:27 PM

The only real problem with Mellel for me these days is the lack of iOS support. I have Mellel documents in my Dropbox, which I cannot see on iPad and iPhone. But as for the writing - excellent app! One of the best optical text justification. Text looks way better than in Pages. Really fast and it has crashed only once in 7 years (!!!).
“Teach the way of God in Accordance” (Matt 12:14, NIV-Accordance edition)
“Those who live in Accordance (with the Spirit) have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” (Rom 8:5, NIV-Accordance edition)

#13 Graham Buck

Graham Buck

    Silver

  • Accordance
  • 125 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:God's Country (New England)
  • Accordance Version:10.x

Posted 13 March 2014 - 04:27 PM

Just throwing it out there…

 

You could always forego a word processor and use a typesetting system like LaTeX. Then you do not need to worry about proprietary source files, or get bogged down in formatting. It can easily handle book sized projects and given time on the learning curve is super easy to understand. And because they are plain text documents so that you will never have to worry about not being able to open your files. You could even use TextEdit and get iCloud backup.

 

Support for Hebrew is also quite strong. See this pdf.

 

Perhaps the best part is that the product is also super pretty, not like Word output… [ugh]. And it autogenerates things like table of contents, footnote numbering, etc.


Graham Buck
Content Development [Ninja]

OakTree Software


#14 Timothy Jenney

Timothy Jenney

    Platinum

  • Accordance
  • 1,488 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:sunny Winter Haven, FL
  • Interests:a good cup of coffee, sci-fi, playing bass, listing to jazz and the blues, camping, fishing and the great outdoors
  • Accordance Version:10.x

Posted 14 March 2014 - 09:41 AM

The bottom line is, as is typical, the standard set by the degree-issuing institution.

 

U Mich, where I took my doctorate, required MS Word. It remains the most commonly required program by publishers and universities, the standard as it were. Yes, it does have issues with right-to-left text, but the Near Eastern Studies Department at UM still had to abide by the university standard.

 

Other institutions may have different standards. Check with them.

 

If you are preparing a manuscript for a publishing company, check with that company. If you are fortunate enough to have a company that is will to accept a PDF, most professional-level word processing programs will export to that format. You can then use whichever of those you want.


  • circuitrider likes this
Blessings,
"Dr. J"

Timothy P. Jenney, Ph. D.
"Lighting the Lamp" Host and Producer

#15 Enoch

Enoch

    Gold

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 433 posts

Posted 14 March 2014 - 10:30 AM

"Without doubt, the absolutely best word processor would be

Nota Bene using a DOS computer!"

 

so some might say.

(Or you might do it on a Windows 3.11 computer.)

 

LOL


Edited by Enoch, 14 March 2014 - 10:32 AM.


#16 Nathan Parker

Nathan Parker

    Gold

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 268 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Hot Springs, Arkansas
  • Accordance Version:10.x

Posted 17 March 2014 - 11:13 PM

Thanks everyone for the excellent feedback! A few additional questions:

 

1. How well does Mellel do with formatting end notes (if I can get by using end notes over footnotes so at least the formatting won't be all crazy)?

 

2. Between Mellel and Nisus Pro, which has better performance? When I've used Mellel, performance was pretty good over Word. I almost had the hang of exporting Mellel docs to Word with very few "conversion errors".

 

3. Are there any training videos on Mellel, or any other training besides the "big manual" that'd help me learn more quickly and easily (like a "Mellel for Dummies"?

 

4. What's Scrivener? I've faintly heard of it but never used it. Sounds interesting. 

 

5. Any suggestions of storing research notes in Accordance User Tools? Good or bad idea? It'd be searchable in Accordance and a little less clunky than having to use Logos Personal Books and re-compile all the time.

 

6. Thoughts on Microsoft's new OneNote for Mac? I store all my college documents in OneDrive and all my company docs in SharePoint, so would this interface better with my workflow?

 

Thanks!


Nathan Parker

 

President/CEO

Mallard Computer, Inc.


#17 James Tucker

James Tucker

    Platinum

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 644 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Accordance Version:10.x

Posted 17 March 2014 - 11:53 PM

Thanks everyone for the excellent feedback! A few additional questions:

 

1. How well does Mellel do with formatting end notes (if I can get by using end notes over footnotes so at least the formatting won't be all crazy)?

 

2. Between Mellel and Nisus Pro, which has better performance? When I've used Mellel, performance was pretty good over Word. I almost had the hang of exporting Mellel docs to Word with very few "conversion errors".

 

3. Are there any training videos on Mellel, or any other training besides the "big manual" that'd help me learn more quickly and easily (like a "Mellel for Dummies"?

 

4. What's Scrivener? I've faintly heard of it but never used it. Sounds interesting. 

 

5. Any suggestions of storing research notes in Accordance User Tools? Good or bad idea? It'd be searchable in Accordance and a little less clunky than having to use Logos Personal Books and re-compile all the time.

 

6. Thoughts on Microsoft's new OneNote for Mac? I store all my college documents in OneDrive and all my company docs in SharePoint, so would this interface better with my workflow?

 

Thanks!

 

Re: 1. You won't have a problem. I had a 30 page course paper, in which I used footnotes. I wanted to edit this paper and submit to an annual conference, in which case I wanted to clearly see how many pages I needed to edit down. Mellel worked like a charm, with either footnotes or endnotes.

 

Re: 2. Depends on for what. Text manipulation? Charts? Graphs? Document length? Hebrew font rendering? Not sure what you mean by performance, as it is relative to a task.

 

Re: 3. Mellel has several tutorial videos. It's not that hard to learn—just start using it. Software learning is an empirical process! Just start using it, and solve each problem when you encounter it.

 

Re: 4. Scrivener is a research/writing application. If you are doing Hebrew, forget it exists. It's also heavily reliant on Ms Word or another editor. Also, it doesn't support Live Bibliography like Mellel does (which is very handy at times).

 

Re: 5. Funny. My advisor keeps all his notes on Qumran in Accordance. He is the Accordance note master! I like the idea, and have recently started to use them more. All of my data on my thesis is in notes and a tool.

 

Re: 6. Wouldn't have a clue. I detest MS Word and Microsoft products. I bought a Mac for a reason.



#18 Martin Shields

Martin Shields

    Silver

  • Active Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 146 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sydney, Australia
  • Accordance Version:10.x

Posted 18 March 2014 - 06:08 AM

Thanks everyone for the excellent feedback! A few additional questions:

 

1. How well does Mellel do with formatting end notes (if I can get by using end notes over footnotes so at least the formatting won't be all crazy)?

 

2. Between Mellel and Nisus Pro, which has better performance? When I've used Mellel, performance was pretty good over Word. I almost had the hang of exporting Mellel docs to Word with very few "conversion errors".

 

3. Are there any training videos on Mellel, or any other training besides the "big manual" that'd help me learn more quickly and easily (like a "Mellel for Dummies"?

 

4. What's Scrivener? I've faintly heard of it but never used it. Sounds interesting. 

 

5. Any suggestions of storing research notes in Accordance User Tools? Good or bad idea? It'd be searchable in Accordance and a little less clunky than having to use Logos Personal Books and re-compile all the time.

 

6. Thoughts on Microsoft's new OneNote for Mac? I store all my college documents in OneDrive and all my company docs in SharePoint, so would this interface better with my workflow?

 

Thanks!

 

I'll make a few comments:
 

1. Mellel allows multiple note streams, so you can have endnotes and footnotes, or multiples of each.

 

2. I've had problems with performance in Nisus with very large documents, but performance in Mellel has never been a problem.

 

3. Not that I'm aware of.

 

4. I understand Scrivener is best for writing novels or screenplays. I'm not sure it supports footnotes or how it handles different languages.



#19 Ken Simpson

Ken Simpson

    Platinum

  • Accordance
  • 1,335 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sydney, Australia
  • Interests:Astronomy
    Archaeology
    Physics
    Hebrew and Greek
    Papyrology
    Surgeon
  • Accordance Version:10.x

Posted 18 March 2014 - 06:58 AM

Re a video tutorial for Mellel. There's not much, but this is a start. (you need to look through the forum post to find the link)


Regards
Ken
Australian Accordance Demonstrator

Administrator, Accordance Exchange

Assistant Minister, Summer Hill Church


#20 Peter Bekins

Peter Bekins

    Bronze

  • Active Members
  • PipPip
  • 99 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Accordance Version:8.x

Posted 18 March 2014 - 09:59 AM

I wrote my dissertation in Mellel and have also copy-edited the manuscript for publication in Mellel. I sent everything to my readers and editors as pdfs, so electronic format was not an issue. It is an issue with journals that want .docx files, however, so you should think about that for the future. That is, once you establish a workflow you are comfortable with, you will probably want to keep using that for publication projects after the dissertation. I have had to find work-arounds for the cases where a docx was required.

 

Mellel is great for controlling the text. My only problem was the lack of a feature comparable to "wordart" for charts or diagrams. There were a few places I would have liked to have made a simple diagram that I ended up using ASCII symbols. 

 

Finally, I can't imagine your readers will want endnotes. They are incredibly cumbersome for a scholarly work, particularly a dissertation where there will be significant interaction with secondary literature in the notes. No one wants to have to flip back and forth to the end of the book or chapter.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users