The process of social science scholarship - research, theoretical, methodological, and conceptual work - does not happen in isolation nor by accident. Scholarship builds on the ideas and efforts of others, challenges established orthodoxies, and provides the insights and evidence for a field of study. It is the collective process by which we've developed high resolution understandings of phenomena, solutions for complex problems, and more effective ways to flourish in our world. There is nothing natural about effective scholarship. Human nature tends toward confirmation bias, affiliatory preferences, and myopia. In other words, scholarship is a process that must be diligently maintained or it will regress back to the default characteristics of human nature.
Consider what usually happens when a large and complex problem is encountered. All too often there's a paralysis by analysis and nothing meaningful gets done at all. Sometimes solutions are identified from external sources (e.g., academic literature, colleagues, case studies) and applied. Maybe something works, maybe it doesn't. Often the metrics for improvement are fuzzy, so it's hard to tell. People become frustrated, lose interest, and move on to something else.
LaTeX is a powerful free and open-source academic writing system; however, it does come with a learning curve. This curve can be especially steep when trying to incorporate bibliographic references and formatting a document to the current writing style of the field - APA 6th edition. Anyone who has submitted a manuscript for publication is familiar with the trials and tribulations of formatting and citing sources. Any tool to help with this process is a welcome one. Although LaTeX comes close to APA compatibility natively, it doesn't quite nail it. This post describes how to set-up and integrate a powerful (and free) LaTeX editor with a powerful (and free) citation manager to assist with formatting and citing. To get started, you will need to download and install two programs.