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4 minute read
12 Apr 2023

10 best research tools every scholar should use

Automatic transcription

There were times when those interested in research had to spend hours in the library searching for the right literature. Modern researchers are equipped with a range of digital tools. Here you can find a list of the best citation, statistics, transcription, survey, project management, and plagiarism software. Most of them are free!

We’ve compiled a list of the best digital research tools on the market. Endorsed by thousands of researchers all around the world.
Moreover, if you’re not impressed by our picks, we’ve also included some Honorable mentions. This way you can quickly check out the alternatives.


EndNote citation software

This was a tough choice. There are three big players in the citation software market.
We choose EndNote only because it provides some advanced functions. However, competing products are better in other domains. One of them is visuals. EndNote looks outdated and you’ll definitely have to watch a tutorial or 2 on how to use it.

Zotero is extremely user-friendly and has an extension for Chrome to cite web content.
Mendeley offers a social network, where researchers can communicate & collaborate.

Honorable mentions: ZoteroMendeley.


SPSS is used by thousands of students and researchers worldwide. It offers many functions for advanced statistical procedures, such as factor analysis, ANOVA.
Moreover, you can import data tables right from Excel and run tests. Also it allows you to quickly visualize your quantitative data with plots, charts, and graphs.

Lastly, the interface definitely isn’t striking, but at least it’s not difficult to orient around the software!

Honorable mentions: STATANumber AnalyticsJASP


There are many platforms that allow you to create surveys. Qualtrics is one of the most popular tools among universities. It comes with a wide range of functions and allows you to do virtually anything with regard to data analysis. The interface is also quite intuitive. The only downside is – it’s super expensive, that’s why it’s mostly used by universities and big organizations.

Honorable mentions: Google FormsSurveyMonkey


OCR is a straightforward technology that can potentially add tons of value to your workflow. Although most content (as well as literature) is available online, there will be a few occasions where you’ll have to work with real paper-based books or hand-written texts.

OCR allows you to convert written or printed text into encoded text that you can copy, paste, edit, etc. There are hundreds of tools out there, but they all provide the same basic functions.

Free Online OCR is very simple to use.


If you’re looking for a tool that would allow managing tasks, to-do lists, and projects – there are many options available.
Many people are wondering why Trello is not our first recommendation. Although Trello is nice and user-friendly, when it comes to visuals – Miro is just one step ahead.

You can literally visualize everything and make your whiteboard look exactly the way you envision it. Something that Trello desperately lacks.

Honorable mentions:


You all know how big of a deal is plagiarism in the academic world. But how does plagiarism software work?

Turnitin is known as the most sophisticated plagiarism detection software out there. It uses certain machine learning algorithms (such as Natural Language Understanding), which makes plagiarism detection very accurate. The downside is the same as for Qualtrics – only businesses and universities can afford a license.

Honorable mentions: GrammarlyBachelorPrintQuetext


ResearchGate replaces Quora, Facebook, and LinkedIn for scholars.
You can ask questions, write peer reviews, and even apply for research-oriented jobs. All in one platform.

Honorable mentions:


Where to search for relevant articles? Google it. Google Scholar is a search engine dedicated to academic publications.

Google indexes millions of articles and provides very accurate search results.
You can also use it to download citations/search for authors etc.

Honorable mentions: Microsoft AcademicScinapseSemantics Scholar


After you transcribe an interview, the next step will be to analyze your qualitative data.
Again, plenty of tools to choose from.
We stick to QDA Miner because it’s free and very simple-to-use.

You can check out our tutorial on qualitative coding, where we show the basics of QDA Miner Lite.

Honorable mentions: MAXQDAAtlasti


Transcribing interviews manually can be a real pain. Luckily, there are online transcription tools that do the job for you.

Amberscript is not the only transcription software out there. Above all, it has one of the highest accuracy rates and it is adapted to a wider range of languages than its competitors. You do not have to take our word for it, you can try it for free! Works very intuitively, quickly, and performs transcription in multiple languages.

What kind of transcription services does Amberscript offer?

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Frequently asked questions

  • Can I burn the subtitles directly onto my video?

    If you have exported the transcript as a SRT, EBU-STL or VTT file, you can easily burn them onto your video using video-editing software.

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    That needs to be done using a video editor like VLC. Go to Tools > Preferences [CTRL + P]. Under Show settings, select the option that says All to switch to the advanced preferences. Navigate to Input/Codecs > Subtitle codecs > Subtitles. Under Text subtitle decoder set, the Subtitle justification to left, right or center.

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