Let’s distinguish between two types of documents:
- Short documents ( 30 pages )
- Long documents (50 page and above).
To handle longer documents we need techniques called LDS&F (long documents structuring & formatting ) techniques. To write a long document using the basic knowledge in MS Word requires a time that is exponentially proportional to the log of the number of pages. The relation between the number of pages and the time to properly format these pages is not a linear relation e.g. if it takes you 1 hour to write and format 50 pages, then it takes you 2½ hours to write and format 100 pages.
Most of the university don’t pay much attention to LDS&F. For two reasons:
- Most journal papers are considered short documents, total length of 90% of the journal papers are less than 3000 words . Hence to write a journal paper you don’t need LDS&F.
- The hypothesis or pre-assumption that the students know MS Word very well, and that they don’t need any support.
In fact there is a general confusion between the basic skills required for daily tasks in MS Word, and the advanced skilled required for LDS&F.
I want to ask a question, your answer is very important:
How many of the following ‘MS-Word-tools’ do you use in a daily basis?
- Section breaks
- Cross reference
- Landscape pages
- And finally, do you know the difference between dotx files and docx files.
If your answer is less than 4 then I advise you to consider LDS&F revision or training.
I have been working with many Postgraduates and some faculty members, many of them are so busy and consumed by the research problems. They don’t have time to learn LDS&F methods or they are underestimating the topic.
A good university will direct its faculty members to learn LDS&F in an early stages of their academic career and the PGs to learn it in early stages of their thesis writing. The point here is that a systematic effort must be mobilized by any academic institutions to promote and implement the LDS&F methods amongst their faculty members and students… This will save a lot of the time and efforts spent on minor LDS&F using improper techniques. And believe it or not , this will lead to an advance in the university Ranking !