Monday, December 3, 2012

Proposal Packaged in $\LaTeX$

And it looks stunning.  There isn't much need to sing the praises of $\LaTeX$ since so many others have already done so and many more will continue long into the future but I will anyway:  the typesetting software is that good.

In the early stages of writing my dissertation proposal I was using MS Word but as soon as I reached the Methods section of the document and it became obvious I'd be including multiple formulae, I decided the time and energy necessary to gain a working knowledge of $\LaTeX$ would be well worth it.  The prospect of using Equation Editor was dreadfully unappealing.  The ability to easily typeset equations wasn't the only great thing about $\LaTeX$, however.  There is, for example, the seamless formatting of the table of contents with entire document, the straightforward inclusion of a bibliography, the addition of line numbers to each page, and the linking of acronyms to an acronym definition table.  I would be remiss, though, if I claimed the transition was problem- and struggle-free.  But fortunately for me, the $\TeX$ and $\LaTeX$ online forums are well-organized and exceptionally helpful (otherwise there would have been even more head-banging against my desk).  

For my dissertation proposal, I created a primary $\TeX$ file containing my preamble, the title page information, the list of acronyms, then separate \input commands calling each section of my proposal (each section is its own $\TeX$ file):  Abstract, Aims, Background & Introduction, Research Design & Methods, Conclusion, and Appendices.  Pasted below is a polished and slightly abridged version of my main $\TeX$ file (the rudimentary comments preceded with an % are suppose to remind me of what the packages do).

% Author:  CJT      Date: October 2012
% Dissertation master file containing preamble statements, commands, & settings as well as title page.
% Each chapter is referenced via an /include statement.

% Document class is 'book' although some documentation I've read suggests using 'report' for theses/dissertations (oneside).
\documentclass[12pt,oneside,openany]{book}              % Omit blank pages
\usepackage[letterpaper,left=3.2cm,right=3.2cm,top=2.5cm,bottom=2.5cm]{geometry}       % formatting per GWU
\usepackage{textcomp}       % package permitting printing of <, >, |
\usepackage{mathtools}      % package containing math tools, symbols, etc.
\usepackage{graphicx}       % allows for insertion of images
\usepackage{bbding}         % package for changing bullet points
\usepackage{verbatim}       % allows for, among many other things I'm not really aware of, multiline comments 
\usepackage{acronym}        % acronym package
\usepackage{lineno}         % adds line numbers to the output (PDF? DVI?)
\usepackage{wrapfig}        % wraps text around figures & tables.
\usepackage[titletoc]{appendix}     % replaces "A" w/ "Appendix" in ToC
\usepackage{setspace}       % set document to single or double space
\usepackage{arydshln}       % allows dashed lines in tables
\usepackage{hyperref}       % adds hyperlinks to the ToC
    bookmarks=false,         % show bookmarks bar?
    pdftoolbar=true,        % show Acrobat’s toolbar?
    pdfmenubar=true,        % show Acrobat’s menu?
    colorlinks=true,       % false: boxed links; true: colored links
    linktoc=all,            % all of ToC entry is link
    linkcolor=black,          % color of internal links
    citecolor=black,        % color of links to bibliography
    filecolor=black,      % color of file links
    urlcolor=black           % color of external links
%\usepackage[nottoc,numbib]{tocbibind}      %use this if want References section as a numbered chapter.
\renewcommand{\labelitemi}{\OrnamentDiamondSolid}       % change to ornamental diamond
%\renewcommand{\familydefault}{\sfdefault}       % Sans Serif (Arial)
\renewcommand{\rmdefault}{ptm}                      % Times New Roman
\renewcommand{\chaptername}{}       % removes "chapter" from text
\renewcommand{\bibname}{References}         %changes Bibliography to References
\setlength{\parindent}{10mm}                    % Paragraph indentation



%TITLE PAGE:  placing the title page here allows for printing of more than just title, author, and date.
% See ( for the example I followed.

%Creates section of document paginated w/ arabic numbers and not included in ToC (read: Specific Aims not a chapter).

%creates ToC


%add line numbers in the left column for easy reference and editing among committee members
\setpagewiselinenumbers         %reset line numbering on each page
%\modulolinenumbers[5]          %print numbers every five lines

%Dissertation Abstract

%Specific Aims

%The main body of the dissertation w/ Roman numeral pagination...

%change spacing to double space

% Background and Introduction

% Research Design and Methods

% Conclusion

% Appendix (Medications Checklist and Timeline)


% Bibliography
\addcontentsline{toc}{chapter}{References}      %this adds "References" to the ToC but doesn't number it.



I think the number of packages called in the preamble might be a bit excessive but I'm not sure --- perhaps documents of this size and complexity have longer preambles?  I guess I'll find out as I become a more experienced $\LaTeX$ user.  In the meantime, embedded below is a page from the "Research Design and Methods" section of my proposal containing a few equations.  Love $\LaTeX$!

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