Any document on academic research writing

I am in the trial period. I downloaded this software to see if it could help me in my medical sciences research writing. I use APA style for my academic writing.

The software has some interesting features but I have not seen any document or help in how to get started specifically in the area of research writing. In research we use a lot of in-text citation which have to conform to either AP style or Chicago style etc. We need a sorted reference list in alphabetical order or according to numerals.

We need title pages, Bibliographic Reference section, Appendex section to list tables, images, figures, equations etc.

We need capabilities to use special characters inserted in the text such as bullets etc. I looked at the option for special characters but it does not have any special characters to choose from. May be I do not know how to find this.

When I do medical research I import a lot of PDFs from different web sites and I need to be able to store them in organized manner in one place. I think your research folder allows to do this.

Please help ASAP let me know how you can help or your software can help in my research writing.

Any help will be appreciated.


Sayyid Razavi M.D. :question:

I use Scrivener for academic writing (in psychology) as do a lot of other people. Like many others, I use Sente for managing my bibliography, though I have used Bookends in the past, and also Endnote. There are other options, such as Bibdesk and Zotero, but the latter is not the most convenient for use with Scrivener.

My own workflow uses Sente for downloading and annotating pdfs of articles, and also for downloading reference data from university library catalogues, such as Cambridge, or Library of Congress. Those who work in the medical profession tend to use PubMed. If you look at the Sente forum you will find a lot of users discussing the finer points. The same could be said for Bookends.

The second stage in my workflow is to organise my research material in DevonThink Pro Office. I then write in Scrivener, after which I compile an rtf of my work, and format the citations and the bibliography (usually APA for me) using Sente.

A lot of people seem to use a similar workflow, but there will obviously be others.

Cheers, Martin (BA Hons, MSc, PhD)

I am a neuroscientist (Prof in the UCLA Med School) and I use Scrivener for grant writing. I don’t write much research papers anymore (my grad students and postocs do that, and I comment on the manuscript). I also use Sente for references, which is the best reference manager out there. The great thing about Scrivener is that you can import all the PDFs you need in your project, and have immediate access to that material. The other great thing is that you can organize your document in many small segments. Even if I am writing a short grant application (say, five pages max) I think it makes a lot of sense to organize your document in smaller segments. The other great thing about Scrivener is that you can split your editor so that you can look at two parts of your document at the same time. This is really a useful feature especially when it comes to NIH grant applications in which I am matching my Specific Aims with certain aspects of my experimental design and analyses.
At some point, while working on your project, you are going to have to use some other programs, especially because it is unlikely that your collaborators use Scrivener. Yet, Scrivener is an incredibly useful tool for first drafts.
I published a book for general readers on my brain research (which has been quite visible for a few years). At that time I didn’t know Scrivener. I know Scrivener would have made my first draft so much easier to handle. For book length projects, I’d say Mellel is an excellent program. If I had to write another book today, I’d use Scrivener for my first draft, Mellel to finish the manuscript before sending it to my editor, but then at some point I’ll have to use freaking Word because that’s what most editors at major publishing houses tend to use.

Thanks a lot Martin Cheers and Professor Marco. I appreciate your assistance from the bottom of my heart.
I like the Scrivener software, I am brand new to it so it is going to take time to learn and adapt. But off the bat I can see the benefits.
For managing Bibliography, thanks for the input about Sente, I am definitely going to look into it.
God Bless You Both. :laughing:

Do download a trial of Bookends, Zotero etc. too. Certainly, when it comes to the big Mac-only bibliography management programmes, Sente and Bookends, it seems to me it comes down to personal preference in terms of way of working and maybe small differences that can be important to you. Martin has moved from Bookends to Sente, which he has found suits him better; I have never felt comfortable with Sente when I’ve tried it and haven’t found any drawbacks in Bookends.

So try them all, and see which one suits you — and your pocket — best.


Here is a little idea of what my workflow looks Iike. I use Sente to search research databases, finding relevant literature which I then download into Sente (along with the reference metadata). I read the articles in Sente (on either the Mac or iPad although the text is crisper on the iPad), annotating the PDFs and taking quotes and notes in Sente. I also tag the references for the project I am working on so I can easily find them later.

When I have some literature read and I am ready to start drafting some text, I export the notes I have taken to the Scrivener project and put them in the Reference folder, as a separate document within folders by article (I wrote a script to do this which is linked in my signature).

I then open two panes in scrivener side by side and put the draft text in the left pane and then click on the folder containing the notes and display them as index cards which I use to refer to while writing. I have 2 monitors (laptop monitor and external display) side by side and so can open the PDF in Sente to refer to if needed. I also sometimes stretch the Scrivener window so that it spans both monitors with the split of the 2 panes on the edge of one monitor so I can see more notes while writing. I also sometimes group the note cards or move them into different folders to organize them.

Sente allows you to copy the citation tag into the text using a command-key combination but I often just add the citation tags manually (usually author year). When I an done with the manuscript I compile as usual.

This thread is very helpful, thanks. I’ve just started at an institution which provides an academic licence for RefWorks. Does anyone have experience working with that and Scrivener?

I am also at an institution that provides RefWorks. I did not like it, or find it helpful. It seemed heavy and tiresome. I am currently working with Mendeley, which is free. I do wish that I could use it in-line while in Scrivener, but it does plugin to MS Word.

Unlike others here, I have not established a clear workflow process. I am working the first of three papers for my comprehensive exams, and I just started using this software. I appreciate the organizational flow, but I am still struggling with a few things - in-line citations, searching documents for key words so that I can find page numbers for my references, syncing correctly and fully with my Dropbox, but these are minor to me in comparison to other programs.

Good luck!