LaTeX or Word for Research Paper

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Sigur, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. Sigur macrumors regular

    Sigur

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2008
    #1
    Hello Mac Community.

    I'm certainly a exchange student in the United States. And since I'm actually going to school I actually gotta do what they tell me to do. So I have to write a 10 pages research paper about a topic of my choice. I don't know if it's everywhere the same in the United States but here they definitely care more about how you format your paper than in Germany when I wrote a research paper about sulfuric acid in 9th Grade.

    So my question is if it would make sense to write the paper using LaTeX or Word. I have access to Word 2007 at school and I'm probably writing a lot over there. And since my teacher is using Word it would be nice if there would be the possibility to convert what I write into some kind of Word compatible format.

    Thanks for everybody who tries to help.

    Sigur
     
  2. kuwisdelu macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    #2
    LaTeX is almost necessary for something like a thesis paper, but for an ordinary 10-page research paper, Word should suffice and be easier.
     
  3. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    dolphin842

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    #3
    If you know your way around LaTeX, it's easy to format the document for standard 1" margins or whatever your instructor requires. I used LaTeX for most papers in my senior year without much problem.

    How many sources will have? If you already have a BibTeX database and know how to do LaTeX bibliographies, then it makes sense to use LaTeX. If you don't have the time to learn that, though, I'd recommend using Word.

    Of course, stuff typeset with LaTeX looks really nice so I encourage people to use it whenever they can :)
     
  4. Sigur thread starter macrumors regular

    Sigur

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2008
    #4
    I haven't done anything in LaTeX yet but I'm sure that I have the time to learn it.

    My other possibility would be Pages. Has anyone any experience with writing a research paper using Pages?
     
  5. exegete77 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    #5
    Consider OpenOffice or NeoOffice. Both are free and give you the equivalent of MS Word plus it includes a database to use as bibliography source.

    Depending on your needs, Mellel is a powerful academic word processor. Combine it with Bookends (seamlessly) and you have a winning combination.

    Nisus Writer Pro works well.
     
  6. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    dolphin842

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2004
    #6
    Pages would basically be the same as using Word, but Pages doesn't have auto-save backups! Given that TextEdit has auto-save :)eek:), you'd think Pages would get up to speed. That said, one time when writing in Word 2004 with auto-save turned on, I ran into an artificial memory error which prevented me from saving the paper. Nothing is safe apparently :rolleyes:.

    OpenOffice has always been kludgy to me, but I haven't used their bibliography database. It's not to hard to pick up LaTeX... I learned all the essentials over the course of a week.

    If you still have worries about formatting, just ask your instructor... say "the font will be a little different and the text will be justified, but your eyes will thank you afterwards!" :D
     
  7. kuwisdelu macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    #7
    Pages, Word, or OpenOffice should all be fine for an ordinary 10 page research paper.

    I use Pages myself.

    If you have the time, LaTeX is alway worth learning, though.
     
  8. Am3822 macrumors 6502

    Am3822

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    Location:
    Groningen, The Netherlands
    #8
    What's the general subject of the paper you have to write?

    A compromise between a Word-like application and latex would be lyx.
     
  9. Sigur thread starter macrumors regular

    Sigur

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2008
    #9
    Sorry, I totally missed your post. I'm writing about Metrication in the United States and I've decided to write it in Word.
     
  10. Am3822 macrumors 6502

    Am3822

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    Location:
    Groningen, The Netherlands
    #10
    Fair enough -- Best of luck, then.

    I do think that it would be a good idea to give LaTeX a try sometime, when you're not under a deadline.
     
  11. jw2002 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2008
    #11
    Ha ha! More likely you'll have to write about the lack of metrication in the US. The only things I can think of that are widely accepted are (1) 2-liter soft drink bottles, (2) pharmacy (such as 100mg aspirin), and (3) the concepts common to electrical engineering (volts/amps/watts etc). Even other areas of engineering (esp. mechanical, aerospace) are a mess and still use a mix of SI and English units. I think NASA lost a Mars probe a few years ago due to an SI/English conversion snafu.

    Anyways, you should be fine in Word for such a report.
     

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