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Best Word Processor for a PhD Dissertation


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#21 James Tucker

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 12:43 PM

Mellel's export to word has proved trustworthy for me over the years, and has recently made improvements.



#22 Guntis

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 01:56 PM

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.

 

For charts I used Pages. Created a chart, grouped and copy/paste in Mellel. 

I agree that endnotes are not good idea, especially for the printed materials. Avoid as much as possible. 

I've created 1000+ page document in Mellel. No problems, speed is good, no formatting issues. What I like about Mellel is character spacing and kerning. Text looks better than in Pages.


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#23 Rod Decker

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 08:41 PM

Best thing for any form of graphics, *esp.* if you anticipate eventual publication, is to create in a separate app and save as eps (NOT as pdf!), then import/place in your word processor. Be sure to save the eps graphic since most publishers will want that format, not native word processor-created graphics. (If you send camera ready copy to an academic press, you might get by with internal graphics--and of course vanity presses take anything, but provide no editing either, and it shows!). Commercial publishers will want the graphics as separate eps files with a note in the text file where each graphic is to be inserted.

 

There are inexpensive graphics programs quite capable of most academic-oriented graphics. On the Mac, the old MacDraw Pro was a classic, but it did not survive the shift to OS X. I use EazyDraw with good results, but there are several other decent graphics apps. (I'd guess there are on Windows as well, but I've no experience there.) I have a grammar coming out this year with a pretty good number of grammatical diagrams that originated as Accordance diagrams, exported to EazyDraw where they were converted to eps and "touched up." Be sure the final text in Greek or Hebrew is in Unicode.

 

One trickier type of graphic is the graph or chart. If they aren't too complicated, you can created them in a program that automates some of the drugery, say Excel, Word, or PowerPoint [I suspect other Office suites have similar options], export them to EazyDraw, then convert to eps--or if they are a simple format, just redraw then in a separate layer using the imported one as a template. If you have a lot of these, then a native graphing/charting program that will create eps directly might be a better option. Thus far EazyDraw had done what I've need to do in that arena, but that's not been a lot.

 

And BTW, I second the recommendation to avoid end notes at all costs. I don't know of any PhD guidelines that allow them, and readers (either of the diss. or of a published version) hate them. Yes, my published diss. had endnotes [don't ask why!], and I've regretted it ever since.


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#24 Martin Shields

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 11:12 PM

More publishers are accepting PDF graphics now (so long as they're prepared correctly), although it's best to check with the specific publisher beforehand. Conversion between EPS and PDF is usually not a lot of trouble.



#25 Graham Buck

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 07:38 AM

I would highly recommend familiarizing yourself with scalable vector graphics. Start here for a brief introduction. Even if a future publisher will ask for image files in a different format, if you create them as svg you will never have to worry about image sizes/resolutions/etc.

 

And, please, please, please, never ever do a simple table of text as an image. Even if publishers will accept them, from a e-text developer's perspective these are the worst. ;)


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#26 joelmadasu

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 10:46 AM

Dr. Decker, 

 

Would you please post a screenshot of diagram(s) made with Easydraw, if you have time? I am trying to find out a software to draw tree diagrams for my dissertation.

 

Thank you.


Thank you
Joel

#27 Rod Decker

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 09:51 PM

I can't offer you a tree diagram; the ones I created using Accordance are grammatical diagrams, exported as pdf and then converted to eps. (Graham's suggestion of SVG is also a good one--and EazyDraw supports SVG nicely. Which is most useful is up to your publisher.) EazyDraw uses a human readable file format (some form of XML I think), so it is fairly portable and "safe" down the road

 

This disc board does not supports eps graphics, so I can't upload anything that would show you anything meaningful (a jpg or png image of an eps file isn't very pretty!). You could go to this link and find such a file.

 

 


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#28 Enoch

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 09:56 PM

End notes are a great convenience to the writer, but not to the reader.  I wonder if for a dissertation it would be acceptable to put the end notes in a 2nd volume.



#29 James Tucker

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 12:05 AM

Joel, 

 

I am unsure which linguistic theory you are using. If you are taking a P&P approach, you might find TreeForm Syntax helpful. If you are going to use a Role and Reference Grammar, or some other variation, you might find TreeForm ill-suited to allow Periphery Structures, etc. You can find some good resources here: https://linguistlist...e=LF&WRTypeID=2


Edited by James Tucker, 20 March 2014 - 12:05 AM.


#30 Martin Shields

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 01:42 AM

FYI, SVG is XML (sorry about all the TLAs, I couldn't resist). iDraw is, I think, cheaper than EazyDraw and yet a very good vector graphics drawing program that reads/writes PDF, SVG as well as exporting to a range of bitmaps if you really must. There's also a version for iPads!



#31 joelmadasu

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 10:53 AM

Joel, 

 

I am unsure which linguistic theory you are using. If you are taking a P&P approach, you might find TreeForm Syntax helpful. If you are going to use a Role and Reference Grammar, or some other variation, you might find TreeForm ill-suited to allow Periphery Structures, etc. You can find some good resources here: https://linguistlist...e=LF&WRTypeID=2

 

James, 

 

Thank you for the info. I will check these links.

As far as the linguistic theory - I have not come to any conclusion yet. I did not take any classes on linguistics. But, the more I read about linguistic theories and using them in my dissertation, the more I am having negative impressions on them (at least for now :)) I know I have to 'learn a lot' about theories!

 

But, thanks for your help!


Thank you
Joel

#32 Nathan Parker

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 04:51 PM

Thanks again everyone for the comments! I'll answer a few questions that were asked and throw out a few more things.

 

1. When I mentioned "performance", I was referring to long, PhD, level documents. Basically what's a good program I can type a bunch of text into and ensure I can maneuver through it lightning fast and without crashing my system. 

 

2. Thanks for the info on learning Mellel, as well as the links to the videos. I'll check it all out. I have some templates from my college now for writing papers. Should I try writing any of my smaller papers in Mellel now while I'm going for my M Div so I can get the feel of Mellel, or stick with Word for now then transition to Mellel later? I already own it, so all I have to do it fire it up.

 

3. Sounds good about Accordance notes as well. I may keep my research notes bare minimum in Accordance User Tools. They're not something I'd have to heavily export out, and having the search integration with Bible Software would be nice. And Accordance is faster to search and easier to build User Tools over Logos (having to build a Word document, convert to Personal Book, etc.)

 

4. Sounds good about footnotes. Only reason I mentioned end notes was I'm always worried about footnotes formatting getting off. If Mellel is pretty solid with footnotes though, I can definitely use them. They're definitely easier for readers, and I don't mind inserting them, I just want them to work right. :-)

 

5. Thanks for all the graphics info as well. I haven't gotten into building graphics much. Might be something I spend more time doing.

 

6. For times when I'm stuck exporting to docx or sending out Word docs, I could export to Word and do some minor "cleanup" work in Word. It's a little extra effort, but for the times I'd have to do it, I'd just break down and do it.

 

Thanks!


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#33 James Tucker

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Posted 20 March 2014 - 05:45 PM

 

James, 

 

Thank you for the info. I will check these links.

As far as the linguistic theory - I have not come to any conclusion yet. I did not take any classes on linguistics. But, the more I read about linguistic theories and using them in my dissertation, the more I am having negative impressions on them (at least for now :)) I know I have to 'learn a lot' about theories!

 

But, thanks for your help!

 

So long as you aware that any linguistic analysis isn't devoid of theory—especially in regards to syntax. I hear folks sometimes chide that North American biblical studies is too saturated with discussions of theory. I for one welcome it. At the Ph.D. level, I am surprised your dissertation doesn't designate at least a chapter to a theoretical discussion of syntax. Of course, I don't know what you're doing exactly, but anytime a researcher tells me how s/he is going to produce meaning, it's always a high mark so that I can reproduce those results for analysis.






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