Section 1 Introduction

The materials available here were created to guide students through the CSDE workshop Microsoft Word for the Social Sciences.

Please see the PowerPoint presentation introducing the workshop.


Documentation is central to all research. There is an adage that applies to scientific research: “if it did not get reported, it did not happen.”

Although there are a number of options for producing documentation (e.g., \(\LaTeX\), Sweave, RMarkdown), each with their own benefits and drawbacks, Microsoft Word (hereafter as “Word”) remains as a widely used option.

I have found that most students and even many highly experienced senior researchers and professors do not know how to use some of the built-in functions within Word to increase productivity, standardize formatting, and reducing unnecessary and potentially error-producing workflows. In my many years in higher education, I have also found almost no attention paid to the practical use of the world’s most widely-used word processing application.

What this course is

This course will introduce students to some of the functions within Word to increase productivity and reduce busy-work.

What this course is not

This course is not intended to teach fundamentals of document structure (e.g., what should be placed in “results” versus “discussion”).


Each of the topics shown below will be covered during the course.

  1. Spell checker (duh!)
  2. Use of styles for consistent headings, body, indentations, etc.
  3. Style separator for including different styles in the same paragraph
  4. Table, figure, and equation captions and cross-referencing
  5. Including captions and graphics in tables for easier position management
  6. Citations and bibliographies using Mendeley
  7. Using RMarkdown for Word output