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Graduate Students

This guide points to special resources for those starting on a large and complex writing project.

Organizing

You will have multiple organizing tasks. One is THE document. Free advice from

Trevor Duke, "How to do a postgraduate research project..." in

Documents and backup

Write one master document, which can be used for the initial technical and ethics proposal, then expanded during your study to form your thesis, or sometimes adapted as a report to a funding agency, and concisely revised as a journal article you may write after completion of the study. Some people use multiple documents for each of these purposes and have multiple thesis versions on their computer. That is OK if it works for you, but it can be inefficient and confusing. The advantage of using one master document is that when you update or revise it, add a table, figure or reference or correct an error, everything gets updated and you do not have ‘version confusion’. You will inevitably end up with a couple of versions: first the proposal, then use that document to expand to a thesis document, then a paper you might write that is based on your study. Clearly name (and date) each type of document and each version, for example, Audit of antibiotic use Masters project proposal Your Name February 10  2018.doc and Audit of antibiotic use Masters thesis Your Name May 6  2018.doc, or a file name that clearly indicates what the purpose of the document is and when it was written or revised. Discuss version control with your supervisor(s) early in your research project—ensure you all agree on a system. A good method might be for you to date each version, and when your supervisor(s) review or edit your work, they add their initials to the file name. This ensures it is clear who has worked on the document. Ask your supervisor to ‘track changes’ so any suggested edits are found easily.

Set up a folder that contains all the separate documents for your thesis, do not just have them randomly scattered in your computer.

Back up the latest version of all thesis and study documents regularly, and keep the backup flash-drive or external hard drive in a safe and secure place. On your backup drive, only have your project documents, and do not use it in other people’s computers to minimise the risk of viruses. Backing up your data and study documents on cloud storage can be useful if you have reliable internet access: Dropbox is an open-access program, which provides free (up to 2 GB) cloud storage (https://www.dropbox.com), Google Drive is another method for cloud storage of documents for security in case your computer malfunctions. Cloud storage also enables sharing of documents with your supervisor.

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