There were times when those interested in research had to spend hours in the library searching for the right literature. Not to mention that a lot of things were done with handwriting… Fortunately or not, those times are over - modern researchers are equipped with a range of digital tools, that simplify and aid the research process.
We’ve compiled a list of the best digital tools on the market, endorsed by thousands of researchers all around the world.
Moreover, if you’re not impressed by what we propose, we’ve also included some Honorable mentions, so you can quickly check out the alternatives.
1 Best Survey Platform - Qualtrics
There are many platforms which 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 regards 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.
2 Best OCR (Optical Character Recognition) Software - Free Online OCR
OCR is a straightforward technology that can potentially add tons of value to your workflow. Although most content (as well as literature) are 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 (obviously) free and very simple to use.
3 Best Transcription Software - AmberScript
Transcribing interviews manually can be a real pain.
Luckily, there are online transcription tools that do the job for you.
AmberScript works very intuitively, quickly, and performs transcription in multiple languages.
4 Best Task Management Software - Miro
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 probably 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: Trello
5 Best Plagiarism Software - Turnitin
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.
6 Best Social Networking Websites for Researchers - ResearchGate
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.
7 Best Statistics Software - SPSS
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. It also 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!
8 Best Literature Search Engine - Google Scholar
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.
9 Best Citation Software - EndNote
This is a tough one. There are three big players in the citation software market.
We choose EndNote only because it provides some advanced functions, but 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 easily cite web content.
Mendeley offers a social network, where researchers can communicate & collaborate.
10 Best Qualitative Coding Software - QDA Miner
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 own tutorial on qualitative coding, where we show the basics of QDA Miner Lite.