The Only Dissertation Toolkit You’ll Ever Need!
The college experience is multifold and defined by so many experiences. But one of the most important parts of life at university (whether or not you like it) is finishing up your dissertation.
Now, you could cram all your work just days before it is due, or you could space it and ace it like a boss!
The internet is booming, so this means that the resources used to write an A grade thesis are more accessible than ever! Here’s our curated list of resources that you should keep coming back until the day your hard-bound book is in your professor’s office.
#1: Mind Mapping Apps
The beginning is the hardest. It’s a cliche, yes, but only because it’s true. Once you’ve found your jam, your life is a lot easier. But until then, your head is going to be a jumble. So, first things first, get your literature review sorted. They say a good beginning is half the work done…in academics, that beginning is a lit review.
While mindmaps help you narrow down what you want to write about, they also help you structure your thesis itself.
#2: Google Scholar
As the name suggests, it is Google for academic works. While it will take a little more time for you to access journal articles and books on a regular Google search, Google Scholar is an archive of the same information that is presented to you quickly as it filters out other random web pages that are on the radar of your keywords.
It’s totally free, and accessible to anyone who has Google.
#3: Microsoft Office
MS Office is undoubtedly one of the most efficient sets of tools to use while preparing information. Extend that to your thesis as well! You can write (duh!), create tables and diagrams, make presentations, and so on.
Using MS Office is so obvious, it should have been at the top of our list.
If you have a MacBook (or you just like working online), then Google Docs is also a pretty great option.
Pro-tip: Work online, so you don’t have to worry about losing stuff.
Developed by Elsevier, Mendeley is a reference management software that helps you in citing your paper – it generates citations depending on the format that you are using. What even cooler is that Mendeley also lets you manage your literature! You can save and study your papers within the app itself. Mendeley helps you manage all your material in one place!
On their website, Paperity describes themselves as an aggregator of open-source journals. This means that you don’t have to burn a hole in your pocket to carry out good research. Unlike aggregators like JSTOR and Taylor & Francis, you don’t have to pay exorbitant sums of money to access literature in your field.
With resources and 8,300 resources and a welcoming attitude towards research, there’s little that could go wrong with Paperity.
Turns out, Canva has many uses apart from helping you design your local movie screening. With hundreds of built in templates, you can use Canva to design illustrations and diagrams that your dissertation needs. If you don’t have any (yay!), use them to give your presentation the aesthetic appeal it deserves.
Note-taking is very important in writing a good paper. It is a step that is with you every way of the process: from brainstorming to writing the conclusion of your paper. If mind maps help you plot your trains of thought, then notes help you flesh them out. Evernote is an incredibly reliable app to do just that, and you can connect it to your email so you can access your notes wherever you go. Just had a genius idea in the bus? Just open up Evernote!
APA, MLA or Chicago? How on Earth is a person manually supposed to remember all the differences?
When your mind is preoccupied with revolutionary ideas, technical things like formatting are last in your mind. That’s when LaTeX should be your ally. It is an automatic way to get your dissertation down in the format you desire. Aside from regular formatting, it is also one of the most reliable citation generators.
Some other things to remember, offline or online
Self-care is super important! This is something you don’t want to skimp on, EVER, lest you drown yourself in the complication of your research. It is, after all, an important part of your life – you’ll be writing, re-writing, editing and proofreading your dissertation constantly – but make sure that you take breaks from time to time. Have a hot mug of tea, read a nice non-academic book in your bath, and go out with friends. Do whatever you must to keep yourself sane in this time.
Once you’re done, you can also check out our post about the final checklist you should refer to make sure you’ve checked off all the steps in the thesis writing process.
Now, go. Conquer the world with flying colours! With the combination of this toolkit and self-care on your team, you’ll be indestructible in the academic world.
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