Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Just Write!





Since I'm in the middle of creating my dissertation proposal and have so severely neglected my blog, I decided to just write.  Here's the thing, I actually consider myself a writer but have had a terrible time getting motivated go into dissertation mode.  In my defense I got married, moved into a different home & had a rough year at work.   Hey, life happens.  But every doctoral student I know is full of excuses like I seem to be lately.

With that, I'm back in the business of writing in my blog for reflection, thinking, sharing and pure habit.  This post is dedicated to all the doctoral students out there insane enough to take this journey.  I've been looking for resources and methods to get myself going and have run across some cool tools, books and other information I'd like to share.  These are for anyone interested in writing for any purpose-students, teachers and authors alike.

Tools I Can't Live Without Lately:

Evernote- This is my go to app for taking notes.  It allow you to tag, organize, take pictures, clip web pages and anything else you may need to do & categorize by subject.  Not only is it great for research, but I love it for making sense of my work responsibilities. Plus, the mobile app makes all your notes accessible 24/7.

Wikispaces - I created one for my study group recently.  It's a great way to collaborate and compile ideas all in one place.  I found myself constantly combing through my docs, pdf's and way too much clutter on my desktop.  This made it easier.  Plus, since I'm a student I received a free educational upgrade allowing me to invite more members and use other features not available to the general public.

Dropbox- Storage in the cloud-priceless.  I am wondering how Google Drive will impact my use of this though since I have a ton of information in my Google Docs as well.

CiteULIke- No, it is not a citation creator but it does allow you to find articles based on subject area and allows the option to find similar articles.  Also tells you what people and groups are reading the same material.  Great way to connect to other great minds!

Diigo- What can I say- bookmarks, tags, highlights, groups, sticky notes.  Anything you need in terms of research this can do!  I never use anything else to bookmark and highlight ideas from the web.

Refworks- I seriously wonder how doctoral students lived without this in the past.  You can search, organize, cite and create formatted reference lists.  If you're a student you should check with your institution to see if your membership is free.

Recently Discovered:

Scrivener- I haven't used it enough to decide if it's worth it but I did download free trial.  Seems like it may be useful.

StyleEase- If this does what it's supposed to I'll be in grad student heaven.  Formats in APA and MLA, making it easier to cite references, include tables and other sections of your paper.  The demos have me excited especially since after initially creating a reference you can cite it repeatedly and its automatically added to your reference list!  Where have you been all my life?