Chapter 6 Intermediary stages

I like to do a full rendering of my PDF anytime I make major changes, just to make sure everything still works so as to avoid major errors along the way.

In the interim, I have a couple of different methods for viewing my work. These are some suggestions:

  • Bookmark an .html version of your most recent version for quick and easy viewing: Every day, I compile a gitbook version of my dissertation. This outputs an HTML file that can be viewed in a web browser. I’ve saved this page to my Chrome bookmarks so I can easily glance at the most recent version whenever I want.

  • Keep a bookdown project of notes that can also be bookmarked and easily viewed: I also have another bookdown project that I update regularly called my dissertation “roadmap”, and which is also bookmarked for easy access. I use this “book” as a collection of notes to myself (mainly changes to my methodology, issues I’ve run into with compiling, etc…). I also used it to cut my teeth on while getting used to bookdown, before actually compiling the bones of my dissertation for the first time.

  • Knit individual chapters in isolation: You can knit individual .Rmd files to see how images show up, how the text looks, etc. I like to knit to HTML on a very regular basis because it’s a) fast and b) shows up immediately in my Viewer pane in RStudio. I also will occasionally knit individual chapters as Word documents to see how they will show up when I send them to my supervisor for edits (see below), and to keep track of things that aren’t playing nice with Word.

  • Use child documents to knit partial previews of the dissertation to send to your supervisor/committee: My supervisor does not need to see my entire dissertation document every time I add a section. It is much kinder and realistic to send individual chapters or sections to him. Furthermore, he likes to receive things in .docx format so he can used tracked changes to add suggestions. After much hemming and hawing, I have settled on a workflow for this that I am happy with, though it is by no means the best option for everyone. See the next Section 7.