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Looking for PIM / Thesis Writing Software for the PC

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Posted by Lucas
Oct 10, 2009 at 01:28 AM

 

Hi again Peter,

Yes, I’ve heard good things about ATLAS.ti—clearly useful for processing field notes and the like.

Since I don’t think it’s been mentioned yet in this thread, I’ll just mention one other soon-to-be-available solution, Citavi:

http://www.citavi.com/en/index.html

I think they’ve been promising an English version for years now, but I trust that it will come out eventually (and they seem to imply that it will be quite soon).

@Manfred—

You convinced me to give CT another shot!

Lucas

 


Posted by Peter
Oct 11, 2009 at 06:44 PM

 

Hi Lucas,

Thank you for all the tips! It seems to me like you have a developed a great research workflow integrated with some cool apps. Do you mind summarizing it here for us (well at least for me) i.e. an overview of your entire process from data collection to analysis and writing and how the software fits in? You’ve already mentioned a few applications that you like (Zotero, PDF-XChange Viewer) but I am curious to get an overview of how you fit all the pieces altogether. ;)

If this is too much trouble then no worries. I just thought I’d ask. I’ll try to sketch mine to give you an idea of what I mean.

Literature search:
I use some of the more traditional tools like Web of Science but have come to love Google Scholar. It integrates a bib manager link that can be used to import the source directly into the database (e.g. Endnote or BibTex).

Qualitative data analysis:
Up to now I’ve used ATLAS.ti. It’s a comprehensive program for coding a range of media including txt, doc, pdf, audio and video. However, I’m finding it slow when it comes to searching pdfs. Still, it’s one of the few programs that allows annotation and searching of pdf files as well as text docs like interview transcripts. In the future I might use it to replace Endnote but currently it does not have a bibliographic mode. I’m also looking forward to try out PDF-XChange Viewer. :)

Citation management:
I’ve been using Endnote for many years. I have a library of over 1000 pdfs. On nice feature its ability to ‘package’ the entire database and move or back it up to a different computer. One problem however is that it doesn’t allow full-text searches of the pdf content. For this reason I’ve been cutting and pasting the abstract into the abstract field to permits searching for relevant keywords. I can also add my reading notes to the same post. It easily imports the reference into Word as you write and creates a fully formatted bibliography at the end of the paper. Some interesting bibliographic alternatives are Mendeley and Zotero.

Brainstorming and mind-mapping:
Freemind is a great like open source program that I love.

Drafting and writing
Word has been my main tool. I make us of the outline function especially for long reports. However, like many out there I have the problem of creating new drafts every week or so and end up with loads of file versions scattered across multiple folders. Scrivener seems like a solution to this problem. Hence my interest in this forum!

Best,

Peter

 

 


Posted by Lucas
Oct 19, 2009 at 02:46 PM

 

Hi Peter,

Sorry for the delayed response. My academic workflow is far less worked out than you might have guessed—-i’m still trying to come up with a workable system. In fact, I decided finally to take the ConnectedText plunge recently, so all of a sudden my “workflow” has totally changed. So far so good, although it’s too soon to conclude whether I’ll stick with CT. Once my system is better worked out—-or, more to the point, once my system has shown results in terms of my academic work—-i’ll share in more detail the elements of the system.

Best,
Lucas

 


Posted by Peter
Oct 19, 2009 at 10:32 PM

 

Great! I look forward to reading all about it when you get the chance.:)

In the meantime does anyone have recent experience to share with pdf annotation / markup?

Lucas wrote:
>Hi Peter,
> >Sorry for the delayed response. My academic workflow is far less worked
>out than you might have guessed—-i’m still trying to come up with a workable system.
>In fact, I decided finally to take the ConnectedText plunge recently, so all of a
>sudden my “workflow” has totally changed. So far so good, although it’s too soon to
>conclude whether I’ll stick with CT. Once my system is better worked out—-or, more to
>the point, once my system has shown results in terms of my academic work—-i’ll share
>in more detail the elements of the system.
> >Best,
>Lucas

 


Posted by Stephen R. Diamond
Oct 20, 2009 at 03:25 AM

 

Manfred wrote:
>I know I am late to the party, but as someone who has no only written Ph.D. thesis, but
>also directed quite a few, I have been wondering about the following:
> >“Meanwhile,
>ConnectedText’s Win98-like interface, like so much of the PC stuff, doesn’t really
>cut it aesthetically.”
> >What does aesthetics have to do with researching and
>writing? When I wrote my dissertation I really wanted an IBM Selectric, but not
>because it was available in different (attractive) colors, but because its
>correction system was better than anything else available.

But what if the Selectric was lacking in subjective appeal for some reason _relevant_ to its _function_; say, you couldn’t stand the way the keys felt, even though you could type fast and accurately enough? That would seem a better analogy for the aesthetics of an interface; just as a typewriter keyboard is for typing, an application’s interface is for?looking.


>In the same way, I
>suppose that function should dictate form in software tools. As someone who actually
>uses ConnectedText in his research, I also feel that I need to pint out that its
>interface is very Win98-like to begin with. (Nor does it need DOSBox to run circles
>around GrandView—- sorry, but I could not help myself.)
> >Manfred

 


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