10 research tools that every doctoral student needs

A doctorate is the penultimate university degree. Through their research focused on solving critical global problems, PhD graduates help everyone better understand the world around them; hence the important role of research tools that help them achieve this.

A doctorate requires applicants to collect and collate data for their dissertation so that they can perform an informed analysis of the merits of their hypothesis, as well as infer future probabilities and trends. This is often a time consuming process – one has to search for literature in the library and on the Internet, conduct experiments, write and publish articles, in addition to the tedious task of format these sources.

Since a thesis can have more than 60,000 words, how then to collect and compile everything efficiently? Now that the world has become more and more technologically advanced, it makes sense to know how to use the many online tools available to make the research process easier.

The right tools can help you save time, effort, and energy, helping you to produce more accessible and visually presentable as well. You can even enjoy a better work-life balance, as these tools will make long-term research easier.

These research tools can help you free up valuable time to focus on writing your doctoral thesis. Source: Marc Wattrelot / AFP

Helene hartmann – getting it PhD at the Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Unit in Vienna, Austria – has compiled a useful list of research tools for doctoral students. Many have found the list to be endlessly useful (“superb”, “made my day”) and that’s why these 10 best research tools every doctoral student needs are highlighted here in no particular order.

Research tool 1: journal reviewer

Have you ever had trouble choosing a journal to submit your research article because you didn’t know which journal has good or bad reviews? the Journal reviewer through @PhDVoice makes that tiring guesswork for you.

This easily accessible database has ratings on the quality of the reviewers, the speed of the peer review and publication process, and whether you should submit to a particular journal, among others. You can even include your comments and experiences, and choose to be anonymous as well; the best part is you know exactly which journals are interesting to submit.

Research tool 2: connected articles

When you are doing a literature review and want to find links between published articles, Connected papers through @ ConnectedPaper can help you do that. Entering a typical article there, they will display a visual graphic of similar articles in your field.

The more you explore, the more you can see trends, popular works, and dynamics in your field. With more new articles published every day, Connected Papers helps you stay on top of these important articles; you can also access their past work to search for ancestor work in your field and derivative work for literature reviews in your field.

Finding aid 3: Diversity of citations statement

Citation bias means having a tendency for a research survey that shows an advantage in being cited more than neutral or negative ones. Other definition is a scientist who tends to cite research articles published in his favorite journals more frequently.

Checking and clearly indicating the proportion of male and female authors of first and last names can be tiring. Using this statement on the diversity of quotes by Zurn et al is a useful tool for reducing citation bias; you can also easily add this simple and effective statement to your document.

Research tool 4: CRediT

Credit (Taxonomy of contributor roles) aims to recognize the contributions of individual authors while reducing paternity conflicts and improving collaboration. With CRediT, authors can accurately show and describe their various contributions to published work.

Here is how it works: the corresponding author must confirm that the descriptions are correct and that all authors agree on this point; the different roles are listed according to the categories. The CRediT statement must be provided at time of submission – then it will appear above the thank you section of the published article.

Finder 5: Unpaywall – OpenAccess

Unpaywall is a open database of 30,887,744 free scientific papers of more than 50,000 publishers and repositories. This means that you can easily find, follow and use this open access content; it is absolutely legal.

Unpaywall uses the DOI function to search for articles published in peer-reviewed journals; in fact, Unpaywall has already been integrated into many library systems, research platforms and other information products around the world. To use Unpaywall, navigate to any closed access article, click the green button and you can get an Open Access version.

Research Tool 6: Build Your Own Website

Any scholar who wants their research and publications to be easily accessible should consider setting up a website. Hartmann found Dan Quintana’s Twitter feed tutorial on making easy and priceless websites – see Hartmann’s website here.

In an hour, Quintana will show you how to build a website for free. All you need is a @github and @netlify account and downloaded file @coded – and your website with all your research and publications will be up and running in no time.

Finder Tool 7: Excel Log Database

If you want to have an easy compilation of your literature review sources, Stephen mcquilliamExcel log database Online seminar can help you in this aspect. In this Youtube video, McQuilliam explains step by step how to create an Excel database to organize your notes and put them together for your writing.

Search Tool 8: APA Word Template

For researchers, having to format their papers in APA can be a difficult process. Fortunately, Nicolás F. Narvaez Linares’ point may bring relief to many researchers.

In Microsoft Word, just type APA in the New Document tab and the APA template automatically appears. A word of warning: this model uses the 6th edition of the APA, so you may need to make some changes since the APA has now released its 7th edition.

Finding aid 9: Concept

If you have many apps and want to keep them all in one place, Hartmann considers Notion to be the best. Fundamentally Notion acts as an all-in-one workspace – you can keep your notes, tasks, wikis, and databases in Notion.

Finder 10: Canva

Finally, this website design is excellent if you need to prepare slides and figures for your presentations. Free, professional and enjoyable designs can make your presentations more visually appealing.

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