Want to speed up the process of academic writing?

I have been asked by several people to share my approach to managing citations.   This system seriously speeds up the process of academy writing. It requires Mendeley and Dropbox, a copy of Microsoft Word, and an iPad or Android tablet with the iAnnotate PDF app.



  • all of the papers you read will be in one place, along with your highlights and notes
  • you will be able to access them anywhere on multiple devices
  • you will highlight documents and save notes directly to the pdf
  • you will automatically produce a summary of  the highlights and notes along with the page numbers
  • You will automatically produce the bibliography for your paper… with one click.

This really does work so it is worth spending a bit of time setting it up.

The ‘dd’ Citation Management Workflow: 10 steps.

Tools for research and publishing

I am often asked about the tools I use in my research and publishing. I have wasted a lot of time and energy trying to find the perfect technological solution. I love technology that makes work less tiresome and I hate technology that fails. I use more tools than I have listed here. These are the ones that I really like and recommend. This is not a static list but one that I will update as my needs and tools change – I will post updates on this blog.


Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/dimdimich


Remember, you do not need to use these tools… most of the professors I know successfully completed their doctorates with nothing more sophisticated than a typewriter!

Formulating good literature review questions – part 1

As with any research, the primary decision in preparing a literature review is to establish its focus. This is done most effectively by asking clearly framed questions. By clearly formulating the question, criteria for primary study inclusion in the review become clear.


Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/geopaul

The question(s) also defines the scope of the review. Finding an appropriate balance is key: a review that focuses on a specific question is likely to exclude much of the available evidence. Whereas making your question(s) broader is likely to take up more resources.

In the first instance, the review question may be a free form question, written in natural language. For example, how can I effectively lead a project team? The free-form question can then be structured into a focused and answerable question.

Formulating good literature review questions – part 2

This post is the second part of a series on formulating good literature review questions. Part 1 explained the importance of formulating clear questions. This post explains the components and structure of a good review question and describes a variety of different types of questions that can be addressed in a literature review


Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/jpa1999

Towards a methodology for developing evidence‐informed management knowledge by means of systematic review

D Tranfield, D Denyer, P Smart
British journal of management, 2003, 14 (3), 207-222


Undertaking a review of the literature is an important part of any research project. The researcher both maps and assesses the relevant intellectual territory in order to specify a research question which will further develop the knowledge base. However, traditional ‘narrative’reviews frequently lack thoroughness, and in many cases are not undertaken as genuine pieces of investigatory science. Consequently they can lack a means for making sense of what the collection of studies is saying. These reviews can be biased by the read more