6 – Get geeky

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Yes, we all know Word is a little clunky, but don’t bash on it too much.

There are so many pieces of software out there for researchers, whether it be for writing or something more specific. Use your time as a Ph.D student to find these, get to know how they’re used, and you’ll probably end up with a whole new skillset you didn’t even realise you needed!

Here are a few apps, aside from the typical Microsoft Office stuff, that could help you along and might be worthwhile spending some time over (while you have the time to do so!):

  • LaTeX – a typesetting system with a scary amount of control; can take a while to get used to
  • Scrivener – similar to Word but with a few added features (e.g. word count goals)
  • SPSS – quantitative research / stats buddy with a decent level of usability
  • R – an equal parts powerful-to-headache-inducing piece of statistical wizardry that provides a level of control than what is provided by SPSS; can take a LONG time to learn, but there’s a huge community of users who can help out
  • NVivo – quite a powerful qualitative research software with some quantitative applications; easy to use (once you get your head around the terminology)
  • ELAN – a lightweight application for time-aligned annotations of audio-visual data; used widely, but a little clunky…
  • Mendeley – a place for all your academic references to live in harmony… sort of…
  • GanttProject – a small application that creates good-looking Gantt charts (which will obviously increase your efficiency just by looking at them!)
  • Steam – because you’ll need some downtime 😉
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