[texhax] latex in social sciences?

Peter Flom flom at ndri.org
Sat May 6 19:39:51 CEST 2006

Peter L. Flom, PhD
Assistant Director, Statistics and Data Analysis Core
Center for Drug Use and HIV Research
National Development and Research Institutes
71 W. 23rd St
New York, NY 10010
(212) 845-4485 (voice)
(917) 438-0894 (fax)

>>> "Novak Elliott" <N.S.J.Elliott at warwick.ac.uk> 05/06/06 11:28 AM >>> wrote
A friend of mine has got her first research job for the summer in political science and I'd like to offer some words of wisdom and help out in terms of writing a research paper.

Besides the obvious stuff, there's the question of which tools to use for the actual writing.  I'd love to suggest latex/bibtex and a good text editor but I'm not sure its the right choice.  What she'll be writing will be text with harvard style citations, footnotes (lots), section headings and a bibliography - but no equations or figures.  The other option would be something like Word + Endnote.

So my questions are these:
1. Does anyone out there use latex in politics/social sciences?
2. Are politics journals typeset in latex?
3. Is it possible to do the "ibid"/"op cit" type citations in latex?
4. Is there a nice way to handle multiple references from the same source, with only the pages being different, in bibtex?

I don't know about questions 2, 3, and 4, although I am pretty sure the answer to 3 and 4 is Yes.  Others will know more.

Regarding 1, I think LaTeX has some definite advantages for social scientiss; I wrote an article about this for the PracTeX journal.  which is available here:

I also plan to present something on this at the PracTeX conference this summer.

A lot of stuff that social scientists need to do is MUCH easier in LaTeX than in Word.  Sectioning and cross-referncing come immediately to mind as two of the biggest advantages (you can DO these in Word, but it's MUCH easier in LaTeX).  

So far, the only thing I have found that is easier in Word is bibliographies - but there may be packages out there that I don't know about.  BibTeX is great, but I find Procite (which is a lot like Endnote) really nice - especially the Cite While You Write feature.  I'd be interested in others' experiences.

Also, it is possible to write in LaTeX and convert to Word - I have used TeX 2 Word with some success.



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