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Mechanical Engineering

Documentation: Needs & Rationale

As you complete your research, documentation is key - take notes on all aspects of your project, from background research to methods to results.  Depending on your research field, notes may include:

  • Why you chose one research approach over another
  • Assumptions made prior to experiments/analyses
  • Comments within code
  • Metadata
  • Manufacturer/batch information

Besides preparing for questions from a graduate committee, the reasons for keeping good documentation include:

  • Preparing for writing an article or thesis/dissertation
  • Having data available and usable for future researchers
  • Keeping within proper scientific ethics - people can trust your work!

Using LaTeX

LaTeX is a wonderful tool that can simplify your writing process, and if you are looking to get started, some resources are included here:

  • latex-project.org - main site for LaTeX releases, development and how to get LaTeX
  • ctan.org - Comprehensive TeX Archive Network, find information about the 5700+ packages you can use in LaTeX
  • tex.stackexchange.com - community Q&A all about LaTeX, if you have a question go here first
  • overleaf.com/learn - free online LaTeX editor that has a well-developed help section with information from getting started to details of document formats
  • UMD LaTeX Template - use this for your theses and dissertations

If you are looking for in-person LaTeX support, check out our LaTeX workshops!  See the UMD Libraries Common Quandaries for more information about our workshops, including LaTeX and more.  Finally, if you would like one-on-one support, schedule a consultation with me and we can work through your LaTeX questions and issues together.