The most important thesis writing tool ever invented

You can argue forever* about whether to use Google scholar or Web of Knowledge, Word or LaTeX, Excel or Origin…

But the most important tool is the simplest.

Get yourself a thesis writing notebook, and make it the first and last thing you use every day.

Start the day by writing down what you hope to achieve. Break down tasks into small, achievable milestones, and tick them off as you go.

Write down ideas and tasks for later throughout the day… so you don’t lose the thought, but you don’t get distracted from what you’re working on now, either.

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How to write your PhD thesis: The secrets of academic writing

21st November 2018 2018

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And at the end of the day, write down ideas for tomorrow.

It’s the simplest technology in the world, but sometimes the simplest things make the biggest difference.


(* there is no argument. Use LaTeX, WOK and Origin.)

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6 thoughts on “The most important thesis writing tool ever invented

  1. This advice strengthens one of my thoughts on writing. I don’t know if anybody else ever experienced this, but I sometimes got a critical block to writing things into a computer. It seems the idea flow simply gets hampered, with all the typing and mouse using. I feel much better taking a pen and a notepad and start wrting sentences and sketching diagrams. The ideas just come much easier. Then, afterwards I take what I sketched and bring it to the computer. This may seem time consuming, but effective in many cases.

    • Im with you on this. This was probably the first advice I received from one of my seniors. Take notes on paper. Sometimes is difficult though, since my notes are usually unorganised, unstructured and perhaps untidy.

  2. Scrivener. Sooooo good to see the thesis as a whole, set writing targets with indicator lights, screen blackout tool for focus, easy to edit sub sections, export, format, add notes etc. But yeah, a notebook. First and foremost. Just don’t lose it! ( I also have one notebook dedicated for supervisor meetings).

  3. Evernote, Moleskine, Wunderlist, Mendeley, Word ( I know I know, but coauthors only use this)

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