Study Hacks for Postgraduate

Dissertation writing is not a walk in the park, but you can make your experience more bearable by utilising the many study tools available to you!

Writing tools

Word processors such as Microsoft Word, Open Office and Libre Office are the standard and default writing software of the industry. As these are the most commonly used software, most students are already familiar with it. Unfortunately, just because it is popular does not mean it is 100% perfect as certain word processors suffer technical limitations and are incapable of performing selected tasks.

Suggested writing tools

  • Scrivener
  • LaTex
  • IdeaROVER
  • Nota Benez

Reference managers

Ask any graduate student and you will hear that one of their major woes is to compile and structure their bibliography or references towards the end of their thesis. It may not be an entirely difficult exercise in comparison to other sections of your thesis, but it can be extremely tedious and time-consuming when you have over 100 citations. You may also face dire consequences if you fail to reference or cite your sources wrongly.

Reference managers differ from bibliography generators whereby they tend to have more extensive and complicated functions. Some reference managers also allow you to read and annotate articles as you work through them, in which you can then cite your findings within or at the end of your thesis. Others may even have in-built search engines which allows you access to journal databases where you can download abstracts, selected pages and sometimes, full of published articles.

Suggested reference managers

  • Mendeley
  • Zotero
  • End Note
  • Sente

Grammar/spell checkers

Most word processors should already have built-in grammar and spell checkers. However, if you feel that they are unreliable or insufficient for your work, then perhaps you should look for more and better options online. A quick internet search will crop up a number of online grammar, and spell checkers that are usually free and easy to use. If you prefer, you can even opt for the paid upgrades if their program specifications meet your research and writing objectives. 

Suggested grammar/spell checkers

  • Grammarly
  • Google Docs
  • Read&Write
  • ClaroRead