Most recent process flow for academic writing

Just for the record, I thought I’d repost my comment here that I’ve just left on Christian Tietze’s blog concerning on how I go about outlining and writing on the back of Zettelkasten notes these days.

My latest process flow on Windows 7 for academic writing, using 3 monitors, so some of this software could be viewed simultaneously:

1) read the literature (usually PDF articles or books);

2) take reading notes (mainly quotes + interpretation) in ConnectedText as Zettelkasten;

3) use VUE to develop a concept map to make sense of the material, while reviewing the CT notes in floating windows (i.e. multiple notes can be viewed simultaneously);

4) develop an outline for the paper in a Freeplane mind map, building on the VUE concept map and adding hyperlinks to selected quotes and notes in ConnectedText, so they can be easily called up when writing about a given point;

5) write in plain text using Markdown in WriteMonkey (distraction-free writing software), while checking off nodes in the Freeplane outline as they get written up, and paste in raw EndNote code for academic references, where necessary;

6) paste draft into Outline 4D (single-pane outliner with inline notes) and reverse outline it, i.e. add a heading to each paragraph to see the overall logical structure and content of the paper, and edit it accordingly to improve coherence, eliminate redundancy etc.

7) Import into MS Word, do final editing, add final headings, table of contents, and convert raw EndNote code into formatted references and bibliography.


6 thoughts on “Most recent process flow for academic writing

  1. Dr Andus,

    Thank you very much for your excellent blog here. It is a rare one that I have found about academic research flow based on windows OS.

    About your most recent flow, I think it is more brief and clear. Are you still use gingko for outlining?

    Which outliner do you think is best now among those still alive?


  2. Thank you, Charlie. In my experience there isn’t such a thing as a “best outliner” for all outlining and writing purposes. Rather, I find that particular outliners are best for specific tasks and phases of the outlining and writing process. As I have lots of outliners in my toolbox, I always pull out the one that seems the most equipped to deal with the particular task, and it’s not uncommon that I may have 3 or 4 different outliners open at the same time, providing slightly different views on the text I’m writing or focusing on different segments or levels of hierarchy. I’m writing a chapter right now, and I have open Notepad2-mod, WriteMonkey’s Jumps window, ConnectedText, Freeplane, WorkFlowy, and Noteliner. These are all outliners of one kind or another. I do use Gingko occasionally for specific tasks.

  3. Dr Andus,

    Thank you. Do you know which outliner support inline note and tag together? I mean the note can be shown with bullet point in one pane.for the tag, after I read each paper and use tags to categorize each comment or quote, I want collect them and find patterns. I know citavi does this, any outliner can do the two?


    • Not sure what you’re asking exactly. Yes, I do tend to dock CT’s panes, but there are many different ways to arrange them. Different tasks, projects and different sized monitors might need different arrangements. You can save each arrangement as a desktop layout (View > Desktop > Save desktop layout) , and then easily switch between them.

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