Published: 24th April 2018
Here are a few softwares that will make writing a PhD thesis easier
While Grammarly can help you deliver error-free documents, Mendeley can help you manage the references for your thesis
The stages of PhD are as follows: coursework, literature review, thesis proposal, experimental program, analytical studies, numerical studies, comparison, synopsis submission, thesis writing, presentation delivery at synopsis and viva-voce meeting.
Of these, one of the challenging and time-consuming tasks is thesis writing. In this article, some software which assist the writing of PhD thesis are discussed. The list of software assists in making the thesis writing process easier.
Text-to-speech software converts the text in documents into speech. If students feel that it is difficult to read journal papers continuously, then text-to-speech software tool is the best alternative. While reading your own thesis with text-to-speech software, 'usage mistake' in English can be identified, which cannot be corrected by spelling or grammar checking tools. For example, if compassion is written mistakenly instead of compression, the spelling or grammar checking software will not highlight the mistake. When the text is read aloud, the mistake can be easily spotted. Zabaware and Natural reader are the available text-to-speech open source software.
Generally, the number of pages in a PhD thesis ranges between 150 and 300. Of course, typing long essays in the computer is a time consuming and tedious process. This speech-to-text software tool is an alternative to the conventional method of typing in the computer. Speech notes extension in Chrome browser is a useful tool which converts speech to text. The detection of speech using this extension is more accurate since the tool has the option "English, India", whereas other options available are " English US and English UK". The same can be achieved through google docs too.
Grammarly is a spelling and grammar check software tool which is used to deliver error-free documents. Grammarly automatically detects grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice and style errors in any written documents. Either copy paste of the text to the primary editor of Grammarly or installing the add-on to MS Word can be done so that the document shall be proof-checked. In the premium version, Grammarly provides vocabulary enhancement suggestions, detection of Plagiarism and citation suggestions.
Mendeley is a desktop web program used for reference management. It is useful for reading, organising and citing references from various sources. Everyone from students, researchers to lecturers may use this opensource software for storing, sharing and citing articles. Also, it is useful in collaborating with others online and discover the latest research.
Custom Templates can be created and edited using the option ‘styles’ in MS word, which can be saved as ‘.dotx’ file. Template formatting allows the user to define font, spacing, size and indent of heading, subheading, text, the title of the table, figure and equation.
Video editing/gif preparation
Many journals encourage authors to submit supplementary video material as supporting documents for the manuscript. Using Photoshop CS6 software, video or GIF can be created and edited. GIF can be used for small animations and low-resolution video clips.
Digitization is representing an object or image by generating series of numbers that describe a discrete set of its points. The plot digitiser is a free open source software used in digitizing graphs and plots. The objects like contour map and cracks of structural members can be digitized using “IMAGEATTCH” command in AutoCAD. Further, digitized image can be scaled up using “SCALE” command.
Turnitin is a commercial, Internet-based plagiarism-detection service. Universities and research institutions typically buy licenses to use the software-as-a-service website which checks submitted documents against its database and the content of other websites with the aim of identifying plagiarism. Results can identify similarities with existing sources, and can also be used in formative assessment to help students avoid plagiarism and improve their writing.
Writing skills improvement
Learn English writing for free with video lessons by experienced native-speaker teachers in EngVid, a YouTube channel. Classes cover English grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, writing, listening, speaking, and more.
( Dr Leon Raj J, PhD (IIT Madras) is working as Scientist in CSIR North East Institute of Science and Technology, Jorhat, Assam)