The library is dead – long live digital research. While still a fantastic venue for those looking to peacefully study or access public materials, libraries are no longer the one-and-only avenue for academic researchers. Publicly available digital research tools have given a new generation of academics the ability to test and research from the comfort of their favored mobile device or desktop computer.
After combing through the vast swaths of programs and software available on the net, we’ve collected the ultimate short-list of truly impressive research aides. Here are 5 of the most useful digital research tools out there; tools that you can use to vastly improve the way you conduct and manage your research.
Out of all the products featured on this list, Grammarly is most likely to be the one you’ve already got some familiarity with. This is because Grammarly is a hugely popular tool – lauded for its ease of use and its utility as a browser add-on.
More than a simple spell-checker, Grammarly provides a complete package for writers and researchers looking to dramatically improve the quality of their writing overnight. Grammarly can scan texts for spelling mistakes, provides author feedback on issues like tone or tense, and can even help bolster your vocabulary by suggesting synonyms and removing redundancies in your writing.
Whether you’re submitting a term paper or looking to get published, correct grammar matters. That’s why no matter what field of study you’re in, Grammarly helps you build confidence in your writing. Check out Grammarly Review.
Top Features of Grammarly
- Corrects grammar mistakes whenever you’re writing outside of a word processor (emails, work/text messages, Google searches, social media posts, etc.)
- Provides feedback on your work to facilitate clear, confident writing
- Manage consistent tone throughout your work
- Built-in plagiarism detector (Premium version only)
2. HathiTrust Digital Library
HathiTrust Digital Library is the ultimate Google Scholar alternative. Publicly funded, this digital library offers users free access to tens of thousands of documents in the public domain: novels, art, research papers, newspapers, and other media.
Developed in conjunction with over 60+ research libraries across the US, Canada, and Europe, HathiTrust.org remains one of the largest online repositories of its kind since launching in 2008. The platform is federally upheld by the courts, so users can rest assured knowing they can utilize materials featured on the platform in their work without the looming fear of copyright infringement.
Top Features of HathiTrust Digital Library
More ethical alternative to Google Scholar
Contains thousands of public domain novels, research materials, and more
Publically funded and completely free to use
Organization is vital to navigating the field of professional research; the best way to keep organized is by planning and drafting a schedule. This is where GanttPRO comes in.
GanttPRO is dedicated management and collaboration software meant for career professionals as well as academics and students. Using Gantt charts, users can create and manage project timelines, log work hours, organize and schedule tasks, and even share these files in real-time with other collaborators. Whether you’ve got a research team of one, or one-hundred; this software is going to transform the way you view the value of your time.
Top Features of GanttPro
Manage your time with an evolving, fully-modular platform
Create and share Gantt charts with other researchers
Generate reports and charts with the click of a button
Free sign-up; tiered pricing plans for full services
When it comes time to finally format your paper and mold it into a publishable shape, Typeset is a lifesaver. Typeset.io saves you hours of work that would otherwise be spent formatting and reviewing your paper by doing it for you. Organizing your research paper is as simple as choosing from one of Typeset’s 100,000+ verified journal formats. One button press is all it takes for the software to reorganize your work into your chosen layout.
In addition to offering users a more efficient way to edit their research papers, Typeset also allows for collaboration on documents with other users. The platform also boasts a built-in plagiarism and grammar checker, to ensure you’re getting all the features you need to review documents in one place. You can even submit your work to journals directly from the Typeset platform!
Top Features of Typeset
- Organize papers into one of over 100,000+ verified journal formats with the press of a button
- Collaborate with other researchers on shared documents
- Built-in plagiarism and grammar checker
- Easier to insert and format references than traditional word processors
- Submit research papers directly to journals for publishing
Helpfull is a real-time feedback platform used by researchers and businesses to quickly gather opinions from real people. On Helpfull, users split test two or more variations of their designs; surveys made up of these split tests are then sent directly to your target audience member via email. On average, tests on Helpfull finish in 20 minutes or less.
When researchers split test their ideas – getting feedback from general or specific audiences on their designs – they are able to save time and effort typically spent reviewing and editing their projects.
Having access to a diverse audience of people to survey and interview presents a number of potential research opportunities. The ability to target audiences from over more than 100+ different demographic segments gives you the ability to gather valuable research data for a limitless number of potential topics.
Top Features of Helpfull
- Test virtually any question or design element
- Pick a winner using 3rd party feedback
- Gauge trends in real American consumers
- Real-time feedback provides immediate access to your insights
- Blog and articles featuring how-to guides, news, surveys, and more
- Export charts and graphs directly from the website
- Free to sign up
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We now have a larger number of people working and attending school from home than ever before. In-person visits to the library are becoming a less tenable option for many; students find themselves without resources that would typically be offered to them in a traditional classroom setting. Knowing what tools are at your disposal is vital to the success of your digital research project.
These five tools represent some of the best pieces of research software on the internet; software like Grammarly and Helpfull can help you transform the way you tackle your projects overnight.
Keep in mind that these programs we listed are also only a small fraction of what you can find if you know where to look. Use these platforms as a springboard as you continue to build out your academic research toolkit.