The cornerstone of every scientific and academic work is proper and in-depth research. Having sufficient and accurate data on the subject you are currently researching is the first step towards completing your paper, essay, or publication. However, doing research is one of the most arduous and least inspiring steps on your road to knowledge.
Of course, the Internet makes things a bit easier, but more often than not, there is a whole ocean of data standing between you and the information you need, making the entire process incredibly time-consuming, and not unlike trying to find a needle in a haystack. Luckily, there is something you can do to streamline this process. We have prepared a list which contains 10 fantastic tools which will make your research more fun and interesting, whether you’re a scientist, teacher, or a student.
Sifting through your ideas, finding the ones that are useful and then developing them requires some serious brainstorming, which is why you should give Coggle a shot. This browser-based app allows you to visualize your ideas and concepts by employing mind mapping techniques. Its minimalistic interface is deceptively simple, because you will have to put in the effort to master it, but once you do, Coggle becomes an exceptionally powerful tool, which also allows you to brainstorm with your collaborators in real-time.
2. Cold Turkey
It is a given that you will have to be online while doing your research, but being online also involves plenty of distractions that will impede your efforts at finding what you need. One of the most efficient, yet unrelenting tools which can help you cope with that is Cold Turkey. Its name is a dead giveaway, because it will restrict access to distracting websites once you use up your time limit, no matter what! And forget about turning it off, or killing it in Task Manager, it can’t be done!
As we’ve previously pointed out, doing research will take up a lot of your time, so you need to be able to manage it. Wunderlist is a useful app which you can access through your browser, your mobile device, or simply install on your desktop. It allows you to organize all of your tasks, important dates, due deadlines, assignments, birthdays, shopping lists, notes, and just about anything else you can think of. You can categorize and search through all of that by using tags, as well as share your lists with other users.
Regardless of how good you are at using a search engine, you are bound to hit a wall at some point. In such cases, it doesn’t hurt to ask for some professional help, and EduGeeksClub is one of the best online services out there. Its team gathers professional writers, scholars, and researchers which can help you find all the information you need for your projects. Also, they can help during any stage of your project, including writing, editing, proofreading and citing.
Zotero is one of our favorite research tools. Not just because it’s free, but because it’s so easy to use. It works as an extension for your browser, and the clever thing about it is that it has the ability to recognize content. All you have to do is click on the content you need and it will save it. You can also use Zotero to create and share your own custom research libraries, making sure you have all the data you need, in one place, neatly organized.
Presentations are arguably the most fun and concise way of delivering information. SlideShare allows its subscribers to share, favorite and comment on their presentations, and seeing as it has a pretty vibrant and downright massive community, it also represents a valuable source of information on any topic. With 60 million visitors per month, it is in the top 200 pages on the web. Apart from presentations, SlideShare also supports PDF documents, webinars and video content.
Every serious projects relies on diagrams and charts to display statistics and research results. However, people who aren’t too fond of Excel, because they find it complicated, will have their work cut out for them when it comes to creating the aforementioned forms. Fortunately, Draw.io is a browser-based application that allows you to create diagrams, using a wide selectiion of basic vector graphics and an intuitive drag-and-drop approach, without any previous knowledge whatsoever. You can also upload all of your work on Google Drive and access it later.
8. Lazy Scholar
If you are looking for full texts of publications and research papers, your best bet would be Google Scholar. But, this means you have start a new Google Scholar search each time you come across an abstract, which is incredibly tedious and repetitive. With Lazy Scholar, which integrates itself into whatever browser you are using, this process is completely automated, which means it will save you a ton of time and make your research more streamlined.
Proper citation of your sources is mandatory in order to avoid plagiarism, but it can be challenging to keep track of all your sources. Not with Bib.me, though. It automatically searches through a database of several million documents, and auto-fills in the required info. You can also create your own bibliographies if you decide to sign up. Also supports MLA, APA and Chicago formatting styles.
Checking your work for accidental plagiarism is incredibly easy with Paperrater’s Plagiarism Checker, which also checks your spelling, grammar, and vocabulary. In addition to that, it will provide you with a list of all the necessary suggestions on how to make your paper even better.
These clever and effective tools will change the way you do research forever, by speeding up, streamlining, and automating certain aspects of the research process. That way, you can direct all of your focus on developing your ideas, without getting distracted or bored. All you have to do is write.
Author info: This is a guest contribution by Antonio Tooley. Antonio is a hopeless optimist who enjoys basking in the world’s brightest colors. He loves biking to distant places and occasionally he gets lost. When not doing that he’s blogging and teaching ESL. He will be happy to meet you on Facebook and Twitter.