Recent posts by Shane

How to complete your PhD (or any large project): Hard and soft deadlines, and the Martini Method

January 7th, 2008 by shane

Having recently completed a PhD, I will share with you three indispensable nuggets of advice for how to get the monster vanquished: use hard deadlines, soft deadlines, and the Martini Method. With a small amount of imagination these can be applied to any large project.


Living with Microsoft Word: Tips for survival

August 7th, 2007 by shane

I have been using Microsoft Word for 12 years, but having just written a 75,000 word document, I feel I am just starting to learn how to use it properly. MS WORD is open to abuse and I guess that many, if not most, of its users don’t get the most out of the program. In this article I share some tips for non-expert MS WORD users that have garnered from my recent experiences of WORD. (more…)

Quicker references with Google Scholar

June 29th, 2007 by shane

This post is an ode to Google Scholar (GS). GS has a major advantage against expensive institution only academic search engines in that is free, which makes services indispensable to independent scholars wishing to get some access to research literature when they don’t have an institutional subscription. However, even though I personally have institutional access to indexing services like Web of Science and Scopus, I still prefer GS for the majority of my searches, and in this post I will explain why. (more…)

Skimming on the MAC – a new PDF reader

May 16th, 2007 by shane

I am PC bound, but my MAC jealously was aroused when I spied a new freeware app  “skim”:

Skim is a PDF reading and note-taking app for Mac OS X that is designed to make reading research papers and manuals better. Just like in Preview, you can search, scan, and zoom through PDFs, but you also get some custom features for your workflow…

I read about it on this blog.

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12 tips on how to review journal articles

April 25th, 2007 by shane

Psychologist Henry L. Roediger III gives some excellent advice for reviewing journals papers (two word summary: be nice!). Though a psychologist, his twelve tips should have applicability for all academic disciplines. An excerpt from his introduction follows:

Many critical skills needed for becoming a successful academic are typically not taught in graduate school, at least not in any formal way. One of these is how to review journal articles. Few students coming out of graduate school have much experience reviewing papers, and yet, at least for those students continuing on in research, reviewing is a skill that will be increasingly critical as their careers develop. In fact, being a good reviewer can greatly help a career. If a young psychologist becomes known as an excellent reviewer, he or she may be selected as consulting editor, then associate editor, and then perhaps the primary editor of a journal.